Alliance Boots comments on Mexico media speculations about potential acquisition of Casa Saba’s pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution business

Nottingham, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — In response to a media story which appeared in El Economista in Mexico on 12 May 2014 and also reported in MergerMarket in the UK on 13 May 2014, Alliance Boots denies having had any contact with Pharma Equity Global Fund and World Global Equity Fund, and further denies that it is conducting negotiations with any party regarding a potential acquisition of the pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution business of Grupo Casa Saba S.A.B. de C.V. (“Casa Saba”).

Alliance Boots also denies comments in the same media sources that it is considering other retail and distribution businesses in Mexico as potential acquisition targets.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Alliance Boots is a leading international, pharmacy-led health and beauty group delivering a range of products and services to customers. Working in close partnership with manufacturers and pharmacists, we are committed to improving health in the local communities we serve and helping our customers and patients to look and feel their best. Our focus is on growing our two core businesses: pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing and pharmaceutical wholesaling and distribution, while increasingly developing and internationalising our product brands.

Alliance Boots has a presence in more than 25* countries and employs over 108,000* people. Alliance Boots has pharmacy-led health and beauty retail businesses in nine* countries and operates more than 3,100* health and beauty retail stores, of which just over 3,000* have a pharmacy. In addition, Alliance Boots has around 605* optical practices, of which around 190* operate on a franchise basis, and around 390* hearingcare practices. Our pharmaceutical wholesale businesses deliver over 4.6 billion* units each year to more than 170,000* pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals from over 370* distribution centres in 20* countries.

In June 2012, Alliance Boots announced that it had entered into a strategic partnership with Walgreen Co., the largest drugstore chain in the US, to create the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

* Figures are approximations as at 31 March 2013 and include associates and joint ventures.

For further information, please contact:

Media relations:

Yves Romestan/Laura Vergani/Katie Johnson/Julie Longton, Alliance Boots: +44 (0)207 980 8585
James Murgatroyd/Katie Lang/Claire Scicluna, RLM Finsbury: +44 (0)207 251 3801

National Retail Federation: Consumers tempered their spending in the month of April

WASHINGTON, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Despite nicer spring weather, consumers tempered their spending in the month of April. According to the National Retail Federation – the world’s largest retail trade association – April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“The shift of Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70 percent of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”

April retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4.0 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”

Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:

•    Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 2.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 0.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Stephen E. Schatz (855) NRF-PRESS
Press@nrf.com

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Wincor Nixdorf’s new tablet-based Assisted Teller solution included in British consulting firm Ovum’s “On the Radar” series

On the Radar: Analysts look at an innovative solution from Wincor Nixdorf

Paderborn, Germany, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Wincor Nixdorf’s new tablet-based Assisted Teller solution enables greater effectiveness in engaging directly with customers and supports transformation from a transactional to a sales- and service-oriented branch culture. This is the conclusion reached by Ovum, the market research and consulting firm specializing in the technology and telecommunications sectors, in analysis that has now been published as part of its “On the Radar” series.

Banks around the world are working to transition from providing employee-aided transaction services to other channels. The latest analysis from the British consulting firm Ovum confirms that Wincor Nixdorf is the world leader in helping them achieve that. It regards the Assisted Self Service concept of the CINEO C4090, where staff can provide help using a tablet PC as and when required, as being so advanced that it has included the solution in its “On the Radar” series. As part of this series of research notes, Ovum highlights new technologies and enterprises that develop and offer innovative ideas, products or business models. “Wincor Nixdorf is one of the first vendors to bring such a solution to the market,” states Ovum.

“The role of a teller in a bank branch is becoming more service- and sales-oriented,” is Ovum’s conviction. With the CINEO C4090 and the employee-aided, tablet-based self-service concept, Wincor Nixdorf meets the demands of modern self-service systems and supports the sales- and service-oriented role of employees as it also brings banking staff closer to customers. In addition, the use of tablets increases the effectiveness of face-to-face interaction, which translates into stronger customer loyalty in the long term. As soon as customers log into the system with their card, the bank employee is shown information such as their financial status and product history.

The CINEO C4090 allows deposits and withdrawals of banknotes and coins, prints account statements and other documents, automates check processing and allows customers to pay bills with the aid of staff or on their own. Barcode and NFC readers are installed and are operated using disability-friendly touch screens. “The CINEO C4090 enables bank staff to devote more time to sales and personal consulting,” says Uwe Krause, Vice President at Wincor Nixdorf. If a customer needs help at the terminal, the employee is on hand with the tablet and can, for example, carry out transactions that are otherwise only offered at the counter such as authorizing withdrawals above the defined cash limit.

With the CINEO 4090 Assisted Teller Solution, Ovum believes that Wincor Nixdorf is “at the beginning of its journey of developing tablets for use by tellers at branches.” It adds that this step was a good springboard and now banks also need to develop application examples from their everyday activities and develop the system further.

Download a free issue of Ovum’s “On the Radar: Wincor Nixdorf’s tablet-based assisted teller solution” .

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: Consumer optimism about the economy fell to its lowest level this year

​ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rising gas prices during the annual spring transition to summer-blend fuels has finally driven down consumer optimism about the economy, which fell to its lowest level this year.

Overall, 41% of consumers say that they are optimistic about the economy, a drop from 44% the month prior, according the latest monthly NACS Consumer Fuels Survey that examines how gas prices affect consumer sentiment. Lingering poor weather across much of the country and a 14-cent-per-gallon increase in gas prices are among the factors that likely drove down consumer confidence.

Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) consumers say that gas prices affect their feelings about the economy, and nearly 4 in 5 (79%) noticed that gas prices increased over the past 30 days, the highest percentage saying so since March 2013. And two in three (66%) consumers say that prices will increase over the next 30 days, the highest percentage saying so since NACS initiated monthly consumer surveys in January 2013.

“Higher gas prices usually mean tighter margins for fuel retailers as they compete for price-sensitive customers,” said NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. “Combine that with reduced in-store sales that most retailers have faced because of bad weather and the first few months of the year have been rough for both consumers and retailers.”

Strong demographic variations exist in how consumers fell about the economy. A majority (51%) of younger consumers — those ages 18 to 34 — are positive about the economy, but only 34% of those over age 50 are optimistic about the economy.

Consumers’ also feel that their purchasing power at the pump is decreasing. Self-reported miles per dollar decreased again in May, dropping 5.7% to 6.32 miles per dollar, or 15 cents per mile on average. This mark is also at a low for 2014, another potentially worrisome indicator of overall consumer sentiment.

There are some positive signs as the summer-drive season approaches. Gas prices have trended downward over the past 10 days and warm weather is finally spreading across much of the country battered this winter.

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) conducts a monthly nationwide survey in partnership with Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC to measure consumer perceptions about gas prices and how they relate to broader economic conditions; 1,113 gas consumers were surveyed online May 6-7. The OPIS weekly national average price for gas was $3.681 on May 5, the week in which the survey was fielded. Summary results can be found at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey Consumer optimism about the economy fell to its lowest level this year

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Intershop supports “IRCE Focus: Brands & B2B Conference” May 18–20, 2014 in New York

  • Intershop to demonstrate integration of leading B2B and B2C ecommerce platform with Adobe Experience Manager for Experience-Driven Commerce at IRCE Focus: Brands &B2B

San Francisco, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Intershop, the largest independent technology vendor for omni-channel commerce solutions, today announced that it is a Gold sponsor at the inaugural IRCE Focus: Brands & B2B Conference, held at the Jacob Javits Center, New York City, May 18– 20, 2014.

Traditionally e-commerce events have focused solely on the B2C experience while the B2B market has remained an afterthought. As a pioneer in B2B commerce, Intershop is excited to support the IRCE Focus: Brands & B2B conference and open the door of possibilities to B2B companies that are facing the challenges of the direct-to-consumer relationship, channel conflict and digital marketing for their brands.

In a survey conducted by Internet Retailer last year 82% of survey respondents cite customer demands and expectations as a main driver for moving to an online platform, and 49% of respondents said they expected to improve their financial performance by moving business customers to an online buying system¹. The IRCE Focus: Brands & B2B conference agenda and tradeshow will tackle the e-commerce channel mix head-on with expert advice, case studies and real-life examples of brands and manufacturers that are successfully building their businesses.

Intershop will demonstrate integration of its leading global commerce platform Intershop 7 with Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe’s leading Web experience management solution, and Siteworx Journey™ in Booth #209. The demonstration will show how successful brands can design, create, manage and deliver engaging omni-channel experiences to both B2B and B2C customers while overcoming business challenges and complexity such as creating a multi-site environment. The Intershop 7 platform is the foundation to delivering great customer experiences across all shopping channels while providing the insight and tools to companies to make decisions that help boost their revenue.

“The IRCE Focus: Brand & B2B conference and tradeshow is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Intershop 7 platform as a best in class solution” said David Cunningham, General Manager, Intershop. “B2B companies are faced with the challenge of running multiple business models and partners on a single platform while delivering a consumer-like experience. Partnering with Intershop allows B2B companies to streamline their processes and focus on the needs of their business while building strong customer relationships.”

As an independent e-commerce company, Intershop’s sole focus is providing a flexible, resilient and innovative platform that can provide businesses seamless integration to manage all their sales channels and business models via a single platform.

To find out more about Intershop 7 please visit here.

¹Internet Retailer, PwC, Intershop’s 2013 E-commerce report & survey

About Intershop
Intershop Communications AG (founded in Germany 1992; Prime Standard: ISH2) is the leading independent provider of omni-channel commerce solutions. Intershop offers high-performance packaged software for internet sales, complemented by all necessary services including online marketing. Intershop also acts as a business process outsourcing provider, covering all aspects of online retailing up to fulfillment. Around the globe more than 500 enterprise customers, including HP, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, and Mexx run Intershop solutions. Intershop is headquartered in Jena, Germany, and has offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, and China. More information about Intershop can be found online at www.intershop.com.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding future events or the future financial and operational performance of Intershop. Actual events or performance may differ materially from those contained or implied in such forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that could lead to such difference could include, among other things: Intershop’s limited operating history, the unpredictability of future revenues and expenses and potential fluctuations in revenues and operating results, significant dependence on large single customer deals, consumer trends, the level of competition, seasonality, risks related to electronic security, possible governmental regulation, and general economic conditions.

Intershop Public Relations

Heide Rausch

Phone: +49 3641 50-1000
Fax: +49 3641 50-1309
E-Mail

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National Grocers Association President appointed to National Cooperative Bank 2014 Board of Directors

Arlington, VA, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — National Grocers Association (NGA) President and CEO Peter J. Larkin has been appointed to serve on the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) Board of Directors.

NCB, a leading financial services company serving cooperatives nationwide, announced the 2014 Board of Directors at its annual meeting, held on May 8th in Washington, D.C.

Along with Larkin, the Board welcomed two additional new members: Roger Collins, CEO and Chairman of Springdale, Ark.-based Harps Foods and David Swanson, a co-op attorney and partner in the Corporate practice group at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, Minn.

“We are extremely grateful for Al, Peter and Doug’s contributions and leadership while on the Board and we thank them for their dedication and service,” said Charles E. Snyder, President and CEO of NCB. “We are excited for what the future brings with our three new members as we continue our efforts to find new and innovative ways to expand our reach in the cooperative community.”

The Board benefits from a diverse roster of members, who come from a variety of industries in which cooperatives play an important role.

In addition to Collins, Larkin and Swanson, NCB’s 2014 Board Members are:
• Steve Cunningham, president of S.F. Cunningham, LLC in Vienna, VA;
• Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clinica de La Raza, in Oakland, Calif.;
• Janis Herschkowitz, president and CEO of PRI, Inc. in Cornwall, Penn.;
• Andrea Levere, president of CFED in Washington, DC;
• Martin Lowery, executive vice president at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Arlington, Va.;
• Michael Mercer, president and CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates in Duluth, Ga.;
• Ray Moncrief, executive vice president and COO of Kentucky Highland Investment Corporation in London, Ky.;
• Kenneth Rivkin, managing director of Hermes Financial Management and Auction.com in New York, N.Y.;
• Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of The Council of NY Cooperatives and Condominiums in New York, N.Y.;
• Robynn Shrader, CEO of National Cooperative Grocers Association in Iowa City, Iowa;
• Judy Ziewacz, former executive director, State of Wisconsin, Office of Energy Independence in Madison, Wis.​

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-0700.

ICSC and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index: Retailers experienced slight dip of 0.1% in sales for the week ending May 10

NEW YORK, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Spending was relatively flat on a week-over-week basis, but surged year-over-year. Sequentially, retailers experienced a slight dip of 0.1% in sales for the week ending May 10, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. On a year-over-year basis sales rose by its strongest gain since June 1, 2013 as yearly sales rose by 3.9% as warm weather in the South helped to drive seasonal goods demand compared with an abnormally cold bout in the mid-section of the country in the comparable week of 2013.

“Temperatures turned milder in some parts of the country which helped drive seasonal demand—especially in the South and ahead of Mother’s Day,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist. “However, weather was not favorable in the West, which held back seasonal spending in that region and contributed to the sequential dip in overall spending,” Niemira added.

For May, ICSC research forecasts that monthly comparable-store sales will increase by 3.0% to 3.5%.

Week Ending     Index 1977=100     Year/Year Change     Weekly Change
10-May-14                568.4                        3.9%                      -0.1%
03-May-14                569.2                        2.0%                      -2.0%
26-April-14                581.1                        3.1%                       1.6%
19-April-14                572.0                       1.9%                        0.4%

Editor’s notes: The complete report will be available at 7:45 a.m. at http://www.icsc.org/research/publications. In addition, historical data from this index is available under the Research section on ICSC’s website. To view the data, visit and click on the “Weekly Chain Sales Tracking” link and enter the following member id number (1177584) and password (press2002pass) to obtain access to report and historical data.

The Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot is produced by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. This index measures U.S. nominal same-store or comparable-store sales excluding restaurant and vehicle demand. The weekly index is constructed as a sales-weighted geometric average growth rate to preserve long-term consistency and is statistically benchmarked to a broad-based monthly retail industry sales aggregate that currently represents a sampling of leading retail chain stores, which also is compiled by ICSC. A representative sample of those major retailers has been used as a control group to extrapolate the weekly sales index. As such, the weekly index statistically represents industry sales and is not just a sum of sales for a handful of retailers. The standard period used for the index is Sunday through Saturday, even though some retailers use a different weekly accounting period. The weekly sales index is presented on an adjusted basis to account for normal seasonality and to counter other data anomalies. Weekly seasonal adjustment is at best difficult for chain store sales given that retailers can and often do shift promotions to counter typical shifts in the calendar. Nonetheless, the approach to weekly seasonal adjustment used follows from the Piser Method, which was popular in the early 1930s and became the standard for weekly adjustment.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a bank holding company and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. Goldman Sachs provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 60,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials.  As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world.  For more information, visit www.icsc.org.

ICSC Contacts:
Michael Niemira
+ 1 646-728-3472
mniemira@icsc.org

Jesse Tron
+ 1 646-728-3814
jtron@icsc.org

Malachy Kavanagh
+ 1 646-728-3495
mkavanagh@icsc.org

Goldman Sachs Contact:
Leslie Shribman
+1 212-902-5400

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Meijer opened two new 190,000-square-foot supercenters in Plainfield and Whitestown outside Indianapolis

Meijer opened two new 190,000-square-foot supercenters in Plainfield and Whitestown outside Indianapolis

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Meijer opened two new 190,000-square-foot supercenters outside of Indianapolis today, Meijer Co-Chairman Doug Meijer announced. The Plainfield and Whitestown stores are creating more than 540 new jobs and provide local residents with a great option for one-stop shopping, fresh produce and a full-service pharmacy that puts family health care first.

Indianapolis is a very important growth area for us, and our new stores reinforce our commitment to serving the needs of families with great solutions to everyday needs,” Meijer said. “We’re excited to bring the Meijer difference to our new neighbors in Plainfield, Whitestown and their surrounding communities.”

Each store kicked off its opening celebration with a ribbon-cutting event, followed by remarks by Meijer officials and local dignitaries, and a donation to local charities. Plainfield Store Director Chad Clark presented a check for $25,000 to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for its food pantry program and $5,000 to St. Susanna School for technology. Whitestown Store Director Shaun Kriskovich presented a check for $25,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville, $2,500 to Zionsville Community Schools and $2,500 to The Caring Center, a Food Pantry in Lebanon, Ind.

These new supercenters feature more than 600 high quality varieties of fresh produce, a meat department offering custom cuts and bakery providing fresh bread baked four times daily.

In addition to the retailer’s traditional grocery and merchandise offerings, garden center and 24-hour gas station, the new Plainfield and Whitestown Meijer stores also feature full-service pharmacies. These pharmacies will provide free select prescriptions as well as clinical services and immunizations designed to promote family health. The Meijer free prescription program includes leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, as well as prenatal vitamins and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol. Since its inception in 2006, the Meijer free prescription program has filled more than 19 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers more than $276 million.

“As a pioneer of one-stop shopping, we’ve always strived to offer variety to our customers and look forward to bringing our fresh offerings to the Indianapolis area,” Kriskovich said. “Whether you’re looking for fruits and vegetables delivered daily, getting your yard ready for summer or seeking answers about a nagging health concern, we look forward to providing value to anyone who steps through our door.”

About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 207 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings. Additional information on Meijer can be found at www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.

# # #

Contact: Joe Hirschmugl, 616-791-3943, joseph.hirschmugl@meijer.com

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Meijer opened two new 190,000-square-foot supercenters in Plainfield and Whitestown outside Indianapolis

Meijer opened two new 190,000-square-foot supercenters in Plainfield and Whitestown outside Indianapolis

Philippines: SM Investments Corporation reports PHP 6.24 Billion in Net Income in Q12014

Pasay City, Philippines, 2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — SM Investments Corporation (SM) reported that net income for the first three months reached PHP 6.24 billion from the PHP 7.42 billion reported during the same period last year.

On a recurring basis, however, SM’s net income grew 11% from PHP5.61 billion. Underlying revenues also grew 12% from PHP53.71 billion. The consolidated net income in 2013 reflected exceptional trading gains in the Group’s banking businesses. These contributed to a surge in the earnings of a number of banks during that period, among them BDO Unibank.

Philippines SM Investments Corporation reports PHP 6.24 Billion in Net Income in Q12014 Chart 1

“We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, having delivered double digit underlying top and bottomline growth. Retail started the year with strong revenue growth even as the intensifying competition puts pressure on margins. The newly formed Property Group has begun operating as a more cohesive integrated unit, and the banks continue to deliver strong profit growth. The environment will continue to be challenging, but we are focused on strengthening our core businesses to build our markets,” SM President Harley T. Sy said.

Net Income Profile Banks continued to account for the largest share of SM’s consolidated net income, contributing 41% of the total. The property business accounted for 40% while retail contributed 19%.

Philippines SM Investments Corporation reports PHP 6.24 Billion in Net Income in Q12014 SM Prime Revenue Profile

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) reported its consolidated net income rose 11% to PHP 4.58 billion for the first quarter from PHP 4.11 billion in the same period last year. Consolidated revenues, rose 3% to PHP15.35 billion from PHP 14.95 billion, year-on-year.

Rental revenues accounted for 56% of the consolidated revenues, and grew by 12% to PHP 8.56 billion in 2014 from PHP 7.63 billion same period in 2013. The increase in rental revenue was primarily due to the new malls opened in 2012 and 2013, namely, SM City Olongapo, SM City Consolacion, SM City San Fernando, SM City General Santos, SM Lanang Premier, SM Aura Premier and SM City BF Parañaque, with a total gross floor area of 818,000 square meters. Excluding the new malls and expansions, same-store rental growth was at 7%.

Real estate sales contributed 33% to total revenues at PHP5.02 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Volatility in real estate is reflective of normal cycles, and driven by the number of projects that come on stream. There were two project launches in 2012 of about 4,600 units from Breeze and Grace Residences compared with the nine project launches in 2010 and 2011 of about 26,700 units mainly from Jazz, Light, Wind, Shell and Green Residences. On the average, it takes about two years before revenues are recognized due to percentage of completion accounting. Noteworthy is the growth in gross profit margin for residential by 42% in 2014 compared with 39% in 2013.

Other revenues coming from malls, residential, commercial business, hotels and convention centers and leisure properties contributed 11% at PHP1.77 billion.

In 2014, SM Prime will open SM City Cauayan, its first mall in the Cagayan Valley region, particularly in Isabela, one of the most progressive provinces in the region. SM City Cauayan has a GFA of 94,386 sqm.

It will also open SM Center Angono in Rizal with a gross floor area of 33,094 sqm which will rise in the art capital of the Philippines. SM Prime is also set to expand SM Bacolod and SM Lipa after expanding SM Megamall with the launch of SM Mega Fashion Hall in 2014. The expansion of SM Megamall transformed it as the country’s largest mall in the country with a total GFA of 506,435 sqm.

In China, SM will open SM City Zibo in the heart of Shandong province. SM City Zibo will have an estimated GFA of 154,000 sqm.

For the residential business, SM Prime will be launching an additional 15,000 units this year from expansion and new projects. In terms of offices, SM Prime has topped off the third E-com building. It will also break ground on another E-com building in the third quarter.

Under its hotels and convention center business, the company is slated to open SMX Convention Center in Bacolod third quarter of this year while Park Inn Clark is expected to be open in the last quarter of 2015.

Banking
BDO Unibank, Inc. recorded a net income of PHP 5.5 billion compared with P10.0 billion in the first quarter of 2013 which reflected exceptional trading gains. The bank revenues and net income are accounted for under the equity method of accounting in SMIC’s consolidated financial statements.

Excluding the one-time gains booked in the first quarter last year, the bank’s first-quarter operating income grew 31%.

The bank’s core businesses, particularly in loans and low cost deposits posted solid gains. Net interest income in the first quarter grew 27% year-on-year and continued to be the main earnings driver at PHP 12.2 billion. This is primarily due to the bank’s thriving customer loan business which expanded 23% to PHP956 billion, supported by a 37% growth in its low cost deposits.

Fee based income from payments, transaction banking, and asset management services also expanded 16% year-on-year, leading to an income contribution of PHP 3.9 billion. Treasury related activities contributed PHP 2.2 billion in earnings. BDO will focus on its core lending and deposit-taking operations as well as its service businesses to drive earnings in 2014. In terms of branch expansion, around 50 branches are scheduled for rollout in 2014.

The ASEAN Integration in 2015 is expected to open up more cross-border businesses for local banks as well as expand client base and market coverage. In BDO’s case, the bank will continue to strengthen and build its domestic presence.

Retail Operations
For the first three months of 2014, SM Retail sales grew 16 % to PHP 42.2 billion amidst greater competition. SM Retail reported a net income of PHP1.2 billion, for a net margin of 3% while EBIT rose 6% to PHP1.8 billion.

At the end of the quarter, SM Retail opened four new stores, bringing the total to 245 stores, consisting of 48 SM Stores, 39 SM Supermarkets, 40 SM Hypermarkets , 96 Savemore stores and 22 WalterMart stores.

For 2014, The SM Store will put up new stores in Cauayan, Isabela and SM MegaCenter in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. After rebranding the department store to “The SM Store”, SM Retail plans to roll out new store designs and layouts to accommodate more brands and deliver an enhanced shopping experience on the back of an emerging generation of higher spending, fashion conscious Filipinos.

The Food Retail Group on the other hand continues to be optimistic about 2014 as it plans to introduce more stand-alone stores and through the help of SM’s partnership with Double Dragon’s CityMall Commercial Center, Inc. in order to satisfy the needs of the market.

SM Balance Sheet The total assets of SM grew 10% in the first quarter to PHP 629.05 billion. As of end-March 2014, SM maintains a very healthy balance sheet with a gearing ratio of only 38% net debt to 62% equity. SM recently raised PHP15 billion from a public offer of peso-denominated retail bonds with maturity of seven and ten years. The SM bonds are rated PRS Aaa by Philippine Rating Services Corporation, the highest rating assigned the credit rating firm.

— End –

For further information, please contact: 
Ms. Corazon P. Guidote
Senior Vice President for Investor Relations
SM Investments Corporation
E-mail: cora.guidote@sminvestments.com Tel. No. 857-0117

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Philippines SM Investments Corporation reports PHP 6.24 Billion in Net Income in Q12014

Homebase launches Dianthus “Memories” plant to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and sister charities in Scotland and Ireland

Milton Keynes, UK,  2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Homebase, one of the UK’s leading garden centres, has launched Dianthus “Memories” plant, to help raise money for its charity partner Alzheimer’s Society and sister charities in Scotland and Ireland.

This year, over 100,000 people in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will develop dementia. 25p from the sale of every “Memories” plant (RRP £4 for a pot or £10 for a tray of 6 bedding plants) will go towards supporting people living with dementia to stay in their own homes for longer, maintaining the lifestyle and independence which makes them who they are.

The plant, grown by award winning grower Whetman Pinks based in Devon, is hardy, ideal for pots or borders and is highly scented – making it a good choice for planting in a dementia friendly garden.

Gardens can be a great retreat and sense of comfort to people living with dementia. It’s a great place to socialise with family and friends, which can reduce feelings of isolation. It can also stimulate the senses with colours, smells and textures.

Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Homebase said: “There really is no place like home and familiar aspects of gardening can prompt reminiscence. We’re excited to be selling the hardy “Memories” flower, which makes a great addition to a dementia friendly garden, as well as raising vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society.”

Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive says, “The garden is such an important focal part of people’s homes. It’s wonderful that sales of the Dianthus “Memories” plant will go towards helping so many people with dementia to remain living in their own home, enjoying their gardens and feeling safe in familiar surroundings whilst maintaining their lifestyle and independence.”

The garden can also have many therapeutic effects. It’s an environment that can be very calming, helping to reduce agitation. Gardening is great form of exercise, which can keep people supple and mobile so they are independent for longer. Exercise may improve memory and slow mental decline, as well as preventing boredom and depression.

It is also important that gardens are safe havens for people living with dementia, without potentially harmful or thorny plants.

The money raised from the sales of Dianthus “Memories” plant will go towards helping thousands of people with dementia live full lives in their homes and local communities through funding Singing for the Brain® groups, Dementia Cafes and Dementia Support services around the UK and Ireland. Together Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland are Homebase and Argos’ charity partner 2013 – 2015.

To find out more visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/noplacelikehome

ENDS

Note to News Editors:

For more advice about how to create a dementia friendly garden, see: The positive effects of gardening for people living with dementia http://bit.ly/1ns7YfK.

For more information contact the Homebase Press Office:

0845 120 4365 / media.relations@homebase.co.uk

For all the latest news and images visit www.homeretailgroup.com/news-and-media

Follow us @Homebase_PR

Alzheimer’s Society press desk:

0845 0744 395 / Vicky Ames: vicky.ames@alzheimers.org.uk

About Homebase
Homebase is a leading home enhancement retailer selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden.  It has 323 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland serving around 60 million customers a year, and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2014, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 18,000 people across the business.

Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

About Whetman Pinks
Whetman Pinks was established in 1936. The nursery is situated in a valley three miles from Dawlish. Whetman has a long history as a market garden and cut flower producer. Today, more than 5 million plants are produced on the nursery and shipped world wide.

Whetman Pinks is a family firm dedicated to the production of the highest quality young plants and are the world leaders in their field.

In 2013 Whetman Pinks won the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for International Trade and was voted Overall Grower of the Year.  In 2012 they won Western Morning News Employer of the Year Award.

Dianthus “Memories”

Dianthus “Memories” was voted best in Show, National Plant Show 2011, best new herbaceous perennial, Grower of the Year Awards 2013 and was runner up, RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2012.

Home Retail Group Charity Partnership

  • Together Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland and The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland are Home Retail Group’s charity partner 2013 – 2015. Home Retail Group comprises Argos, Homebase and Habitat.
  • The majority (83%) of people with dementia want to live in their own homes and yet more than one in ten people living with the condition will go unnecessarily into long term care because they don’t have enough support.
  • This year, over 100,000 people in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will develop dementia. Together Home Retail Group, Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland will raise millions to support them to stay in their own home and be part of community life for as long as possible.
  • The money raised by Argos and Homebase colleagues and customers will fund Singing for the Brain® therapy groups, Dementia Cafes and Dementia Support services around the UK and Ireland.
  • You can support our work by calling 0845 678 7678 or visiting www.alzheimers.org.uk/noplacelikehome

 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

  • There are over 840,000 people in the UK and the Republic of Ireland living with dementia today. Numbers are set to rise to 1 million by 2021.
  • People can read about living well with dementia at www.alzheimers.org.uk/hometips
  • The statistics in this press release are calculated using findings from three Alzheimer’s Society reports – Support.Stay.Save. Dementia UK and Mapping the Dementia Gap. New figures taken from Alzheimer’s Society’s Support. Stay. Save report 2011 have been applied to ‘Dementia 2012’ prevalence figures.
  • Dementia can happen to anyone. It is caused by brain diseases; the most common is Alzheimer’s. As the brain shuts down, a person gradually loses the ability to do the things many of us take for granted from enjoying conversations with family or friends to eating or dressing without help. There is currently no cure for dementia. But with the right support, people can live well with dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland and The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland champion the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them.
  • Alzheimer’s Society is the leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Alzheimer Scotland provides information and support to people with dementia, their carers and families in Scotland and also funds research. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland is the leading dementia specific service provider in Ireland.

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Homebase launches Dianthus “Memories” plant to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and sister charities in Scotland and Ireland

Homebase launches Dianthus “Memories” plant to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and sister charities in Scotland and Ireland

 

Homebase and LEGO recreate the least recognisable flowers ahead of Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and encourage children to get gardening

Milton Keynes, UK,  2014-5-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show just around the corner, Homebase has tested the nation on its floral familiarity. From buttercup to bulrush the garden retailer has determined where the nation’s blossom blind spots are and has partnered with LEGO to recreate the four least recognisable flowers.

The four least recognised flowers are:

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dahlia
  • Delphinium
  • Sweet William

Homebase hopes that the LEGO building block buds will encourage children to get gardening and educate the nation, meaning more recognition to forgotten flora, helping us work out our dahlias from our delphiniums.

Photo caption:Homebase recreates the four least recognisable flowers out of LEGO bricks to educate the nation ahead of Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and encourage children to get gardening

ENDS

Notes to news editors:

The research was conducted by Opinion Matters on 11/3/14. 2000 people were questioned.

For more information please contact the Homebase team:

E: homebase@thisissurname.com

T: 020 7260 2770

Follow us @Homebase_PR

About Homebase
Homebase is a leading home enhancement retailer selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden.  It has 323 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland serving around 60 million customers a year, and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2014, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 18,000 people across the business.

Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

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Homebase and LEGO recreate the least recognisable flowers ahead of Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and encourage children to get gardening

Homebase and LEGO recreate the least recognisable flowers ahead of Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and encourage children to get gardening