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Wegmans able to get all stores open in wake of Hurricane Sandy

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets on Tuesday reported that they were able to open all 81 of the company’s stores in the six states where they do business, all of which were affected to some degree by Hurricane Sandy. Wegmans’ stores are located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

“We recognize that we provide an essential service, and not just food, but prescription and over-the-counter drugs," stated Jo Natale, Wegmans director of media relations. "Most of our stores have not been affected by power outages, but several were. We have been planning for days by testing our generators, bringing in additional generators where necessary, and securing an adequate fuel supply.” 

Wegmans will now work with its stores to assess community needs to see how they can help, Natale said.

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Walgreens pledges $250,000 toward disaster recovery, re-opens two-thirds of pharmacies in area

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday pledged $250,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to supplement the organization’s support of East Coast communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

The company also is donating three semitrailer truckloads of bottled water to a Red Cross facility in New Brunswick, N.J., to distribute throughout the disaster area. Walgreens stores in the region also are donating merchandise in response to community requests that have come in since the storm’s impact.

Walgreens continues its effort to serve customers by reopening stores, keeping 24-hour stores in operation and restocking shelves. By 2 p.m. EST Wednesday, more than two-thirds of the 750 stores initially closed due to the storm had reopened, leaving only 239 still closed. More than a dozen were open without power, and 55 were open despite light or moderate damage. Numerous stores are operating with electric generators, 180 of which were stationed in advance of the storm for rapid deployment. 

Walgreens has nearly 1,400 stores in the impacted area.

Major Walgreens distribution centers, including facilities in Windsor, Conn., Bethlehem, Penn., and Maspeth, N.Y. — the latter serving Duane Reade stores — have full power restored and are operating.

Store status information is regularly updated throughout the emergency and is available online at http://news.walgreens.com.

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Fred’s records slight uptick in 3Q sales

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s Super Dollar on Thursday reported an increase of 1% in total sales to $450.6 million for its third quarter ended Oct. 27. Comparable store sales for the quarter declined 2.5% compared with an increase of 1.5% in the third quarter of 2011.

"We were pleased with the response to our increased marketing initiatives that began in October, resulting in positive customer traffic and higher general merchandising comparable store sales," stated Bruce Efird, CEO Fred’s. "One of our key end-of-year programs was the initiation of a $1 down holiday season layaway program, which dramatically increased layaway sales during the month," he noted. "Also, we continued to see growth in script counts in our pharmacy department during October, but this was more than offset by the sales impact of the ongoing brand-name-to-generic conversion. The effect of this shift on total and comparable store sales was 250 basis points in October."

Fred’s increased its projected earnings per share for the year to fall in the range of 96 cents to $1.02 per share. "With the implementation of several key new merchandising and marketing initiatives in the fourth quarter, and the positive impact of the forward shifting of layaway sales and earnings, we continue to project a double-digit earnings per share improvement for 2012," Efird said. 

During the month, Fred’s opened three stores and one express pharmacy location and closed one store.

 

 

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