COSTCO CEO REPAYS $200,000 IN OPTION GRANTS
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Jim Sinegal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale here, said last week he has repaid the company $200,000 “to avoid any question” of benefiting from improperly dated stock-option grants, Costco said in a government filing last week. The retailer here said recently it was cooperating with a federal investigation into potential backdating of stock options. Costco has said its own investigation into the matter was inconclusive.
BLOOM DEBUTS NEW AD CAMPAIGN IN D.C. MARKET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Food Lion's Bloom chain will introduce itself to shoppers in the Washington, D.C., market with a television ad campaign recalling “The Partridge Family,” reports said last week. According to AdWeek, 30-second commercial spots feature customers and shoppers dancing to an updated version of “The Partridge Family” theme, “C'mon Get Happy.” The ads target upscale households and women, and are designed to introduce the Bloom concept to the market. Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., has converted 40 former Food Lion stores to the new banner.
ALBERTSONS LLC CANCELS DISCOUNT CARD IN ROCKIES
BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons LLC here has discontinued use of its Preferred Savings Card at the 46 stores in its Rocky Mountain region, spokeswoman Christine Wilcox told SN. “Since acquiring the stores last June, we have evaluated all of our previous marketing efforts and concluded that discontinuing the Preferred Savings Card would help differentiate our stores from the competition,” Wilcox said. “Shoppers like getting card savings without having to use the card.” Safeway and King Soopers, Albertsons' competitors in the region, require their shoppers to present loyalty cards to receive lower prices. Albertsons, which began phasing out the cards late last month, is promoting the change with “No Card, No Hassle” signs at stores.
SPARTAN STORES' BILL FOR FELPAUSCH: $38.5 MILLION
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spartan Stores here said it has agreed to pay $38.5 million for its previously announced acquisition of certain assets of G&R Felpausch Co., Hastings, Mich., including $2 million that will be held for 18 months pending indemnification and other matters. Spartan also will purchase the store inventories. The company revealed the purchase price in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
WAL-MART OPENS NEW-LOOK NEIGHBORHOOD MARKETS
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market stores that opened last week in Naples, Fla., and Plano, Texas, feature a stylish new design that targets women shoppers, the retailer here said. The stores represent the latest incarnations of a Neighborhood Market design that debuted in Tulsa, Okla., in January. The stores feature stylish track lighting, wood trim and expanded offerings of fresh-baked goods and health and beauty products targeting woman shoppers, Wal-Mart said. The 51,000-square-foot Naples location is the site of a former Winn-Dixie store.
DOLLAR GENERAL PROFITS DOWN 66% IN 4TH QUARTER
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General here said last week that an ongoing inventory and real estate restructuring brought profits down by 66% in the fiscal fourth quarter and contributed to an annual earnings decline of 60.6%. A plan to abandon its traditional “packaway” inventory strategy with closeout sales helped increase sales by 3% to $2.6 billion for the quarter, but profits fell to $50.1 million and profit as a percent of sales fell from 29.5% to 25.3%, Dollar General said. The retailer earlier this month announced plans to be acquired and taken private by buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Sales for the fiscal year improved 6.8% to $9.2 billion. Annual earnings were $137.9 million, down from $350.2 million in the 53-week 2005 fiscal year.