RETAIL NEWS

Rite Aid pulls in $1.3B with latest store transfer to WBA

BY Michael Johnsen

Rite Aid Monday evening reported the successful transfer of 625 stores and related assets to Walgreens Boots Alliance, and has received cash proceeds of $1.3 billion, which it is using to repay all of its $970 million of outstanding secured loans while maintaining a strong liquidity position.

“Our teams continue to make tremendous progress in transferring stores to WBA and I want to thank them for their ongoing commitment and dedication,” John Standley, chairman and CEO Rite Aid, said. “We are on track to complete the transfer of stores in the spring of this year. Going forward, we remain focused on the continued smooth execution of that process and capitalizing on our most significant business-building opportunities as we work together to deliver a great experience to our customers and patients, and drive value for our shareholders.”

Under the Asset Purchase Agreement, Walgreens will purchase a total of 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid for an all-cash purchase price of $4.4 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

The majority of the closing conditions have been satisfied, and the subsequent transfers of Rite Aid stores and related assets remain subject to minimal customary closing conditions applicable only to the stores being transferred at such subsequent closing, as specified in the Asset Purchase Agreement.

 

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Walgreens Boots Alliance names new communications VP

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens Boots Alliance on Monday named Gulden Mesara-Dogan vice president communications USA.

“We are thrilled that Gulden is joining the Walgreens Boots Alliance communications team to lead many of our critical functions,” Chuck Greener, senior vice president for global communications and corporate affairs, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said. “Her experience and expertise across the spectrum of communications operations, especially in the health care industry, will help to take our organization and impact to an even higher level as Walgreens Boots Alliance begins its fourth year as a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.”

In her new role at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Mesara-Dogan will oversee a number of communications areas serving the enterprise and U.S. businesses and operations. These include the Walgreens communications division, Walgreens external communications and the Walgreens Boots Alliance internal communications and corporate events groups. She will report to Greener.

Mesara-Dogan will serve alongside Laura Vergani, vice president, international and divisional communications, who also will continue to report to Greener in her role overseeing international communications.

Mesara-Dogan was most recently vice president of global commercial and health communications at AbbVie. At AbbVie, she led communications and patient relations for all of AbbVie’s marketed products, pipeline assets and regional business priorities.

Prior to that Mesara-Dogan was 13 years at Pfizer, where she held positions in marketing, communications and public affairs, including as regional head of communications across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and top emerging markets across the world.

Earlier in her career Gulden worked for Ketchum and Noonan/Russo Communications, both based in New York City.

 

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Sobeys, Ocado bring online grocery services to Canadians

BY DSN STAFF

Sobeys a food retailer based in Stellarton, Canada has announced plans to partner with the Ocado Group, a Hatfield, United Kingdom-based online supermarket. Together both companies are aiming towards building an online grocery platform that will serve Canadians. The joint venture will include online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery services.

“Sobeys intends to play to win in Canadian online grocery shopping. We are very excited to bring this best-in-the-world grocery e-commerce experience to Canadian customers,” Michael Medline, president and CEO of Sobeys said. “This unique and innovative Sobeys and Ocado experience will offer consumers the biggest selection, freshest products and most reliable delivery available anywhere on the planet. Our end-to-end e-commerce solution will allow Sobeys to build an online offer in a manner that is profitable and creates exceptional value for our customers, investors and supplier partners.”

The business will be built on the Ocado Smart Platform and will include:

  • best-in-class, front-end website functionality, supported by its proprietary ‘webshop’ and mobile grocery ordering applications;
  • construction of Ocado’s latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse designed specifically for grocery e-commerce; and
  • last-mile routing management technology to optimize delivery truck efficiency, customer service excellence and punctuality.

Both companies also are developing their first Customer Fulfillment Centre in the greater Toronto area, which is expected to take approximately two years.

“We are delighted to be working with one of the leaders in North American grocery retailing. Sobeys is a highly successful and much admired Canadian business and we are proud that they have chosen Ocado Solutions to partner with to build their online grocery business,” CEO of Ocado Group, Tim Steiner said.

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