Walmart supports summer services for kids
WASHINGTON — Walmart announced that it has launched a $25 million giving campaign aimed at filling the gaps created when schools close for the summer through its charitable arm, the Walmart Foundation.
Funding to more than 350 local nonprofit organizations will help expand nutrition, learning and employment services for elementary, middle and high school students throughout the 2011 summer months, the company reported.
Walmart said it would address the achievement gap between higher- and lower-income youth by focusing on three key areas:
Providing eight million meals to more than 85,000 school-age children in lower-income or inner-city areas by donating $7.8 million in funding to the YMCA of the USA, National Recreation and Park Association and community organizations in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and other urban and rural communities;
Helping 20,000 kids access summer learning programs through a $11.5 million grant to the National Summer Learning Association to support programs in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C.; and
Providing summer jobs to more than 5,000 inner-city youth in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. with the help of a $5 million grant.
Walmart’s EVP corporate affairs, Leslie Dach stressed the company’s commitment to children this summer. "Kids should have every opportunity to grow into successful adults, and we’re doing our part to make sure that’s the case this summer," Dach said. "From helping thousands of kids stay active and learn to supporting summer job programs and providing nutritious meals, we’re committed to making a difference."
Rite Aid trims losses as loyalty program, new formats drive same-store sales
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Sales may have been flat overall, but a closer look revealed there was a lot to be positive about in Rite Aid’s fiscal first quarter 2012 earnings, as the company managed significant expense improvement and stronger same-store sales growth. Bottom line: Rite Aid narrowed its losses considerably, and that ain’t all expense control.
Driving the growth in same-store sales is Rite Aid’s Wellness+ loyalty card program, which company president and CEO John Standley told analysts during a June 23 earnings call, currently boasts nearly 40 million members. Card members accounted for 67% of front-end sales during the quarter, Standley said, and 62% of total scripts.
Importantly, Standley explained, Wellness+ card members are emerging as Rite Aid’s most valuable customers. Gold and silver members are shopping both sides of the store, he said, and 50% of these customers are visiting the stores every week, “so we’re getting frequency.”
In addition, Wellness+ members also have higher basket rings than nonmembers, and gold and silver members have higher basket rings than nonmembers. Other highlights during the quarter included expansion of the company’s new Wellness store format. Currently, eight stores are in operation, with the most recent openings in Mechanicsburg, Pa. — a suburb of Harrisburg, Pa., (click here to see photos of the store) — and Newport Beach, Calif. During the call, Standley said the company was planning to open another Wellness store in the Harrisburg, Pa., area.
CFO, chief administrative officer and SVP Frank Vitrano said the company would renovate about 500 stores this year with components of various new formats, including the Wellness, Value and co-branded Rite Aid/Save-a-Lot stores, which the chain operates under an agreement with supermarket operator Supervalu. Vitrano said the company still was working through the overall profitability of the co-branded stores.
While only some initial data were available, sales at the Wellness stores were trending about 100 to 200 basis points higher than the rest of the chain, Standley explained. Front-end sales at the co-branded stores were up 68% year-over-year, and sales at the Value stores were up 140 basis points.
Overall, first quarter 2012 sales at Rite Aid were $6.4 billion, flat compared with first quarter 2011 sales, according to earnings data released Thursday.
The 4,700-store chain had a loss of $63.1 million during the quarter, which ended May 28, compared with $73.7 million in first quarter 2011. Front-end same-store sales were flat, compared with last year, while pharmacy sales increased by 1.1%. Prescriptions filled increased by 0.4%, and prescriptions accounted for 68.7% of total sales. Over fiscal year 2012, the company said it expects sales of $25.7 to $26.1 billion and losses between $370 and $560 million.
RILA expands board
WASHINGTON — The Retail Industry Leaders Association announced that the leaders of Sears Holdings and 7-Eleven have been named to its board of directors.
RILA announced the appointments of Louis D’Ambrosio, Sears Holdings president and CEO, and Joseph DePinto, 7-Eleven president and CEO, to its board at RILA’s semi-annual meeting held this week in Washington, D.C.
“We are honored to welcome Joe and Lou to the RILA board. They join a highly engaged group of chief executives who provide RILA with invaluable strategic leadership and knowledge to help RILA deliver on behalf of the retail industry," RILA president Sandy Kennedy said. “Their experience and industry know-how will add to what is already a stellar board.”