Weis Markets reports gains in fiscal-year earnings
SUNBURY, Pa. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 26, 2009, Weis Markets posted sales gains of 3.9% to $2.5 billion on the strength of comparable-store sales increases of 1.8%, the Pennsylvania-based grocer announced Monday.
Weis also said its fourth-quarter sales increased 8.4% to $671.4 million compared with $619.4 million for the same period in 2008. The company’s fourth-quarter comparable-store sales increased 1.9%. Meanwhile, the company reported diluted earnings per share of 58 cents for the fourth quarter compared with 63 cents for the same period a year ago.
“We continue to make progress in a difficult market environment, marked by cautious customer spending and price deflation in key categories,” stated David Hepfinger, Weis Markets’ president and CEO. “Despite these challenges, we have produced five consecutive quarters of strong operating results through improved operating performance, more focused promotional programs and increased efficiencies at store and distribution levels.”
GSK may venture into rare disease treatments
LONDON GlaxoSmithKline has identified more than 5,500 rare diseases it could potentially target as part of a new drug-development initiative, the British drug maker announced Thursday.
GSK said it would start a new standalone business unit specializing in creating drugs for treating rare diseases, many of them genetic disorders that can cause lifelong disability or premature death. The company plans to work with Netherlands-based Prosensa and Japan-based JCR Pharmaceuticals, which it entered collaborations with in 2009.
The partnership with Prosensa, which started in October, focuses on drugs based on nucleic acid for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. With JCR, GSK will help develop drugs for Hunter syndrome, Fabry disease and Gaucher disease.
“The entry into this new therapeutic area forms part of GSK’s strategy to deliver more products of value and improve returns in R&D through a focus on areas with a higher probability of success,” GSK SVP drug discovery Patrick Vallance stated. “The risk associated with product discovery and development in rare diseases is generally lower than other disease areas as disease definitions are very clear and clinical trials tend to be small with robust endpoints.”
Report: Kroger opens first Smith’s Express store
SALT LAKE CITY Kroger has opened its first fuel station-convenience store, according to local reports.
The grocer conglomerate’s Smith’s Express store features snacks, fountain beverages, tobacco products, ice, beer, auto needs as well as top-selling grocery and nonfood items. The first store is located in Sugar House, Utah and a second is planned for Salt Lake City this month.
Smith’s Food & Drug operates 132 stores and 62 gas stations in seven Western states, including 47 stores and 35 gas stations in Utah.