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Bed, Bath & Beyond dips in 4th quarter

BY Marianne Wilson

Bed Bath & Beyond, the parent company of Harmon, issued its fourth-quarter sales and earnings, which beat the Street but also reported gloomy guidance for its current year.

Bed Bath & Beyond said it earned $194 million, or $1.41 a share, in the quarter ended March 3, compared with $269 million, or $1.84 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, the retailer reported adjusted earnings of $204.59 million or $1.48 per share, better than analysts had expected.

Sales rose 5.2% to $3.7 billion in the quarter. Same-store sales fell by about 0.6%.

The company said it expects fiscal 2018 per-share net earnings to be in the low-to-mid $2 range. Analysts had expectations of $3.07 a share for the year.

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The Exchange’s retail mission supports soldiers worldwide

BY DSN STAFF

The Exchange is laser focused on fulfilling its retail mission in supporting active duty personnel, the military retailer shared during a meeting with leadership Wednesday.

Gen. Gustave Perna, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the Army’s senior logistician, met with Army & Air Force Exchange Service director and CEO Tom Shull and senior Exchange executives. The meeting helped lay the foundation for how AMC sees the Exchange fitting into its logistical footprint. Perna and Shull also discussed how AMC and the Exchange can more effectively support the Warfighter.

Shull briefed Perna on the Exchange’s retail mission. Shull discussed how the Exchange BE FIT program supports soldier readiness and resiliency through a robust selection of fitness products in store and at ShopMyExchange.com; the expansion of MILITARY STAR card acceptance at commissaries; and the veterans online shopping benefit. The shopping benefit, which launched last Veterans Day, welcomed home 18.5 million honorably discharged Veterans with tax-free shopping and military exclusive pricing at ShopMyExchange.com.

“Meetings like these are very helpful,” Perna said. “It’s good for me to be informed on what we are or are not doing.”

Perna, the second four-star general to visit the Exchange in the last two years, understands the importance of the Exchange, having served on the Exchange board of directors from January 2015 to September 2016, including about a year as board chairman. As commander of AMC, Perna oversees superior technology, acquisition support and logistics to ensure dominant land force capability for soldiers, the United States and its allies.

“It’s a great privilege to have a Soldier’s Soldier such as Gen. Perna in the Exchange’s corner,” said Shull. “He understands the unique challenges that we face and we truly appreciate all that he does for the Exchange.”

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Ahold Delhaize CEO gives 4 reasons why ‘stores still matter’

BY Michael Johnsen

Something significant this way comes, Dick Boer, Ahold Delhaize CEO, shared in a speech during the Zaandam, Netherland-based retailer’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday. The pace of change has accelerated significantly over the past seven years he’s served as CEO and the role of retail is changing thanks to the influence of digital.

But that doesn’t mean retail is going away, he said. Boer outlined four points of differentiation key to the success of each of Ahold Delhaize’s banners. Each banner delivers on an “inspiring” shopping experience; each banner leverages an expertise in fresh and healthy to benefit the shopper; each banner utilizes online and digital tools to win through personalization; and each banner maintains a leading position in terms of technology and implementing innovation.

“Ten years ago, you needed to visit several stores to find the lowest price for a bottle of Coke. Now, you can find the lowest price across five different stores within a few seconds. Ten years ago, only pizzerias offered home delivery. Now, it is perfectly normal to have groceries and restaurant meals delivered right to your kitchen,” he said. “But at the same time, there are some things that never change. One hundred years ago, fine local products and good personal service were important. That is still the case a century later. A hundred years ago, customers wanted the best quality at the best price. And that will still be the case 100 years from now. Our great brands continue to provide this, both now and in the future.”

It is the final annual meeting presentation Boer will give before he retires in July. But he’s leaving the company in good stead, prepared to seize the opportunities of tomorrow. “With our excellent local brands on both sides of the Atlantic, and with more than 50 million customers per week. At Food Lion and Giant in the United States, for example. Alfa Beta in Greece. Delhaize in Belgium. And of course Albert Heijn and bol.com in the Netherlands … our brands cherish their close relationships with customers and the local community. And they remain relevant by continuously reinventing themselves without losing sight of the customer. This helps our brands to be part of a large company like Ahold Delhaize.”

Of the four points of differentiation, experience is perhaps the most critical to the success of a retailer. “Stores still matter,” he said. “And that will be the case in the future, too. The more virtual the world becomes, the more need there is for the real world. Because people are social animals. They like to meet other people. They like to be surprised and inspired. They like to touch, feel and smell new and fresh products.”

Regarding the promise of fresh and healthy, Ahold Delhaize is the only retailer with a goal of having half of all own-brand sales originate from better-for-you products by 2020, Boer said. “We are also making our existing own brands healthier. For example, Stop & Shop, Giant/Martin’s and Peapod reduced the sugar content in their own-brand products by almost 1 million pounds last year.”

Personalization is another key factor that will contribute to Ahold Delhaize’s future growth. For example, Food Lion’s Shop & Earn program, referenced in the video above, gives customers an opportunity to earn money back after they’ve capitalized on personalized offers. “Last year, our brands sent out no less than 2.5 billion personal offers worldwide,” Boer said. “Meanwhile, we continue to invest in personalizing the shopping experience even further.”

Finally, technology enables Ahold Delhaize to bring to life many of its market differentiators. “I recently heard from our Peapod team about a customer who was incredibly happy with ‘Ask Peapod,'” Boer said. “This is a new Peapod service where customers can place their orders by only using their voice. This customer is blind, but thanks to Peapod’s voice-based service she was able to do her own shopping. This is a great example of how we can continue to reach more customers by using technology.”

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