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Walmart’s digital business booms in Q3

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is heading into the crucial holiday season on fire, with the chain posting a 50% increase in online sales in its third quarter and topping the Street’s profit, revenue and comp sales estimates.

The retail giant’s total revenue rose 4.2% to $123.18 billion in the quarter, versus estimates of $121 billion. Net sales at Walmart’s U.S. operations totaled $77.724 billion, up from $74.550 billion in the prior-year period. Net sales at Walmart International rose 4.1% to $29.5 billion, with 10 of its 11 eleven markets posting positive comp sales.

Same-store sales for U.S. stores, excluding fuel, rose 2.7%, compared with an anticipated increase of 1.8%. It was Walmart’s 13th consecutive quarterly increase. Comp traffic was up 1.5%.

Walmart reported net income of $1.75 billion, or 58 cents a share, which included a $283 million charge to account for a likely fine related to an ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violation investigation. Excluding that charge and other one-time costs, Walmart earned $1 a share, topping Wall Street estimates of 97 cents per share.

Industry experts said that Walmart’s strong quarterly performance show that its heavy investments in digital and store enhancements, along with heavy discounting, are paying off.

“Today’s results show that Walmart is a retailer on the front foot,” commented Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “Admittedly, the investments it is making in price and e-commerce are taking their toll on the bottom line, but they are also positioning the company for significant future success.”

Walmart raised its full-year earnings expectations as it heads into the holiday season. It now forecasts adjusted earnings per share ranging from $4.38 to $4.46 in fiscal 2018. It previously expected earning $4.30 to $4.40 a share.

“We have momentum and it’s encouraging to see customers responding to our store and e-commerce initiatives,” stated Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon. “Existing customers have become advocates for popular initiatives like online grocery and free two-day shipping, and as a result, new customers, suppliers and partnerships are coming to Walmart.”

Last week, Walmart announced a partnership with Lord & Taylor, that will see Walmart launch an online “flagship store” on Walmart.com that will offer premium fashion brands directly from the department store retailer. The discounter is also is building relationships with premium brands, including Bose and KitchenAid.

“Walmart’s longer-term aim is clear: It wants to become the go-to online destination for both every day and specialty items,” said Saunders. “The push into higher-end products should also help to bolster online margins.”

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Fox News’ Carlson to speak at NACDS Foundation Dinner

BY David Salazar

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation Dinner will feature Gretchen Carlson — host of Fox News’ “The Real Story” — as the event’s speaker. Carlson replaces “Saturday Night Live” head writer Colin Jost, who could no longer appear due to unforeseen circumstances, according to the Arlington, Va.-based trade group.

“We are thrilled to present to NACDS Foundation supporters a true professional who is on the leading edge of journalism,” NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger said. “While Gretchen Carlson is widely recognized and respected for her remarkable journalism career, her leadership in children’s health issues also will be of particular interest and appreciation for the NACDS Foundation family. She serves as a National Trustee for the March of Dimes, with which the NACDS Foundation has worked closely on issues including Zika awareness and prevention. Also, this year she created the Gift of Courage Fund to empower young girls by helping them build self-esteem and confidence.”

Carlson has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2017, and has hosted her Fox News show for seven years. She got her start as a political reporter, then anchor and reporter in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dallas. She joined CBS in 2000 as a co-host of the “Saturday Early Show.” She released her second book, “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” in October and she is a member of the board of directors for the Catherin Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, Conn., NACDS said.

“Gretchen Carlson will contribute tremendous energy, passion and insights to our evening and we look forward to welcoming her,” Jaeger said.

The event also will see the NACDS Foundation awards its highest honor on Texas physician Umair Shah, who is the executive director and local health authority for the Harris County (Texas) Public Health organization and president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He will receive the foundation’s 2017 Excellence in Patient Care Award.

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Focus on: Uniweb

BY Seth Mendelson

Space, the final frontier.

For mass retailers, it might just be. With real estate costs and competitive issues combining to put the squeeze on expansion, many merchants are looking for other ways to increase their product selection and give consumers an easier way to choose merchandise. They also are looking for additional ways to give their staff a more efficient and effective place to work.

Enter Uniweb. The Corona, Calif.-based company has a well-earned reputation for finding more space for retailers, around the pharmacy counter, as well as the rest of the store.

“We create new space,” said Ron Mackert, VP and 16-year veteran at the company. “A lack of space can really handcuff a retailer’s ability to maximize sales and profits. We can increase the amount of inventory by an average of 35% more than from traditional fixtures.”

Officials at the 47-year-old business quickly noted that they do not consider themselves just a fixtures operation. Instead, they emphasize that Uniweb is a “solution company,” a firm dedicated to listening to the wants and needs of retailers and developing tailor-made, cost-effective outcomes to their requirements.

“In the end, it is all about saving money and helping to make the retailer more efficient,” Mackert said. “We develop a collaborative relationship with our retail clients and give them a one-stop shop, where they can pick and choose what they need. Our solutions are based on their needs, and our flexibility is designed to help us assist retailers to build unique solutions. In the end, we want to offer our partners all the tools to create the right planogram changes or a faster remodel of their stores.”

The company has long paid particularly close attention to what it offers in the pharmacy area. Uniweb offers a host of products for retailers looking to expand their pharmacy section without any dramatic increase in space allocation. For example, the company offers counter wall fixtures, pharmacy wall fixtures, prescription gondolas, prescription endcaps and prescription-locking units.

One major benefit, Mackert said, is that  the Uniweb prescription bay system does not create a break in between bays, but instead allows for continuous inventory shelving. This translates into zero unused space at the panel joint or behind the bays, he said.

He added that the system could increase product storage by a minimum of 17% to 25% and, in some cases, by as much as 50%. The movable 16-in. trays are easy to adjust and can be positioned on the panel to accommodate the tallest bottle.

The company also manufactures complete pre-engineered modular pharmacies that include locking cabinets, under-counter vials, shelves, doors and sinks. The pharmacy can be assembled in 2-to-3 days, is prewired with a UL-Listed modular wiring system and can be tied into the in-store power and plumbing.

While the pharmacy is a big emphasis for Uniweb, it does not stop the company from also offering a wide range of wall fixtures, gondolas, feature endcaps and specialty fixtures for other parts of a store. “We are a one-stop source for retailers,” Mackert said. “We operate from a single-source manufacturing location with a fully integrated program — that means that we handle the product from the raw material stage to the finished product. We own the process and don’t rely on any outside sources.”

Retailers obviously feel comfortable with this company, as well. Mackert said that most of the major chains across the country use Uniweb’s products and services. That success has given the company a sense of confidence that it can use to develop even stronger relationships with existing and new clients.

“I think it is very important to point out that our design service for retailers is free and includes a free set of plans that the client can keep,” Mackert said. “We think that sends a clear message to our retail partners that we go into this as a true partnership. We are here to help both of us be profitable.”

“In the end, I think our reputation helps us stand out from our competition,” Mackert said.” We have worked long and hard to develop the right products and programs with our clients, and that has paid off nicely. But we do not take anything for granted. We are always ready to sit down with our clients and tell them what we are about and ask them what they need from us.”

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d.neconie says:
Nov-22-2017 11:56 am

Can't say enough good things about how this modular furniture makes the workspace more fluid. Easy to adjust trays, open space, gravity fed panels for fast moving drugs...even brackets for monitors and trays for phones.

d.neconie says:
Nov-22-2017 11:56 am

Can't say enough good things about how this modular furniture makes the workspace more fluid. Easy to adjust trays, open space, gravity fed panels for fast moving drugs...even brackets for monitors and trays for phones.

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