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Winn-Dixie helps customers prepare for hurricane season

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie on Wednesday evening announced its creation of a “hurricane preparedness kit” in advance of what is expected to be an extremely active year.

“Our guests can find the supplies to stock their hurricane kits at their neighborhood stores, and it can be done on a budget by using our customer reward card and taking advantage of this week’s hurricane preparedness stock up and save sale in our stores,” Winn-Dixie’s group VP marketing Mary Kellmanson said. “We are offering a number of buy-one-get-one sales, 10-for-$10 items and ‘Save ’til’ offers. That’s in addition to our Winn-Dixie brand products, which are better than or equal in quality to national brands at a significant cost savings.”

The timing of the announcement corresponded to the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season.

Kellmanson noted that the American Red Cross and emergency management officials urge people to have a “hurricane kit” with enough medicine, bottled water, canned and nonperishable foods, paper products, flashlights and batteries to last at least three days.

According to Winn-Dixie, a typical “hurricane kit” should include:

  • A three-pack of gallon bottles of drinking water or 24-pack of 16-oz. bottles of water;

  • A 32-oz. bottle of Gatorade or 20-oz. bottle of Propel vitamin water or sports drink;

  • A 10-pack of Kool-Aid Jammers;

  • A 7.5-oz. or 15-oz. cans of spaghetti (Chef Boyardee);

  • A 4-pack of Kraft Handi-Snacks pudding and gel cups;

  • A 16-oz. jar of peanut butter;

  • A 16-oz. jar of jam or jelly;

  • A six-pack of canned tuna or chicken;

  • A 5-oz. can of Vienna sausage;

  • A 12-oz. can of Spam or Hormel corned beef or 10-oz. can of Hormel Compleats or Chili Meals;

  • A 3.5-oz. package of beef jerky;

  • A 150-count pack of foam plates;

  • A 50-count of 16-oz. red or clear plastic cups;

  • A 15-count of 13-gal. tall kitchen or 30-count of 4-gal. trash bags;

  • An eight-roll package of paper towels;

  • A 182-oz. bottle of liquid bleach;

  • Flashlights (one per person);

  • Batteries (D-cell, C-cell and AA-cell);

  • A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration emergency alert weather radio;

  • A 10-in. battery-operated fan;

  • A 2.5-gal. plastic gasoline can;

  • A 1-qt. bottle of Coleman Liquid Fuel;

  • A Magic Lamp with refill;

  • One box of kitchen matches; and

  • One bag of charcoal briquettes.

Experts predict the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season will have 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 of which are predicted to become hurricanes. Forecasters expect three to six of those will strengthen to major hurricanes (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale) with sustained winds of at least 111 mi. per hour.

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May sales for Fred’s rise as comps fall short

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday reported sales of $143.5 million for the four weeks ended May 28, up 1%. Comparable-store sales for the month rose 0.2%, compared with an increase of 3.5% in the same period last year.

“The combination of high fuel prices and historic weather events across our markets has caused our customers to become more conservative in discretionary spending,” Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. “This was evidenced by the decrease in average customer transaction amount in May, which was offset by the increase in positive customer traffic,” he said. “We were pleased with the performance of our Core 5 program in May, especially in pets, household supplies and pharmacy, as we continue to anticipate an increase in comparable sales in the range of 1% to 2% for the second quarter."

Fred’s total sales for the first four months of fiscal 2011 increased 2% to $627.9 million. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.8% on top of an increase of 2.5% in the same period last year.

Through May, Fred’s completed 79 of its planned 200 store remodels and upgrades. Additionally, one new store opened during the month.

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FDA to examine possible link between drospirenone, blood clots risk

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a possible link between a class of birth control pills and a higher risk of blood clots in the women taking them, the agency said.

The FDA cited two studies linking birth control pills containing drospirenone to internal blood clots called venous thromboembolisms, or VTEs. Most birth control pills contain an estrogen and a progestin, such as drospirenone or levonorgestrel. Birth control pills containing drospirenone include Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals’ Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz and Safyral, as well as generic versions.

The studies compared women who took birth control pills with drospirenone and pills that contained levonorgestrel and found that those taking the former had a greater risk of VTEs than those taking the latter. However, the FDA said other studies had not found an increased risk, and it would evaluate the findings and release any new safety information as it became available.

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