Alliance Boots completed the acquisition of 1,400 pharmacy stores in Mexico and Chile

Nottingham, 2014-8-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alliance Boots today announces that it has completed the acquisition of Farmacias Ahumada S.A. (“FASA”).

The completion follows receipt of regulatory approvals and the closing of the cash tender offer for the outstanding fully diluted share capital of FASA whose shares are listed on the Santiago Stock Exchange.

The acquisition comprises two main businesses, which together operate over 1,400 stores, with combined revenues of around £835 million. Farmacias Benavides is the third largest retail pharmacy chain in Mexico with around 1,000 stores, and Farmacias Ahumada is one of the three largest retail pharmacy chains in Chile with around 400 stores.


Notes to editors:

About Farmacias Ahumada
Farmacias Ahumada is a network of pharmacies in Chile providing medicines, pharmacy products, nutritional supplements, beauty, hygiene, personal care and convenience items. Its store networks comprise five store formats: Farmacias Ahumada, Native, Farmarebajas, GNC and Guapa. At December 2013, it operated around 400 outlets in 98 cities, primarily in the central region of Chile, and it employed around 3,900 people.

About Farmacias Benavides
Farmacias Benavides is a network of pharmacies in Mexico, providing medicines and pharmacy products, convenience items and health & beauty products. At December 2013, it comprised around 1,000 stores, with coverage of 21 states (over 150 cities, including Mexico City since 2013) and the Federal District, and it employed around 7,800 people.

About Alliance Boots
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 business activities of: 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. We have pharmacy-led health and beauty retail businesses in nine* countries and operate more than 3,150* health and beauty retail stores, of which just under 3,050* have a pharmacy, with a fast growing online presence. In addition, Boots Opticians is one of the leaders in the UK optical market with around 600* practices, of which around 180* operate on a franchise basis, and we have a leading position in the UK hearingcare market through our associate, Boots Hearingcare, which operates in around 430* locations across the UK. Our pharmaceutical wholesale businesses supply medicines, other healthcare products and related services to more than 180,000* pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals from more than 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. In August 2014, Walgreens and Alliance Boots communicated that they plan to merge in the first quarter of calendar 2015 to create the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise, which will be named Walgreens Boots Alliance.

* Figures are approximations as at 31 March 2014 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/Claire Scicluna, RLM Finsbury: +44 (0)207 251 3801

Investor relations:

Gerald Gradwell, Alliance Boots: +44 (0)207 980 8527 (UK)/+1 646 688 1336 (US)


S Group reports improved January–June 2014 result compared to the previous year

Helsinki, Finland, 2014-8-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Cost reductions implemented within the S Group resulted in an improved January–June result compared to the previous year. Retail sales contributed close to €5.5 billion, which is the same as for the corresponding period last year.

In January–June 2014, S Group’s total profit before extraordinary items and taxes was €122 million, whereas the profit for the corresponding period in 2013 was €61 million.

Through streamlining operations, there was a significant improvement in the result before taxes. In addition to cost reductions, the improved result can be attributed to the merger between S-Bank and LocalTapiola Bank. SOK Corporation’s result from continuous operations before taxes was €35.4 million, compared to €13.8 to the negative in 2013.

S Group’s operational result was €62.4 million, whereas in the corresponding period in 2013 it was €32.2 million. SOK Corporation’s operative result was €1.0 million, compared to €22.1 million to the negative in the previous year.

S Group’s result for the whole year is expected to improve somewhat from last year. The result depends, however, on the overall development of the economy.

The Finnish retail trade is currently facing difficulties, which shows as decreased sales. According to forecasts, the negative trend will continue over the next few months.

“Consumers’ purchasing power has diminished and will continue to weaken, mainly because of the five-billion euro tax increases implemented during the current government’s term in office. Consequently, the trade sector is hoping for the Government to support employment through the domestic market by easing the tax payers’ burden”, says SOK CEO Taavi Heikkilä.

In January–June 2014, S Group’s retail sales (excluding VAT) totalled €5,468 million. Despite the 1.1 per cent decrease of sales, comparable sales reached last year’s level with just a slight decrease of 0.1 per cent.

The retail sales of the regional cooperative enterprises also decreased by 0.1 per cent compared to January–June 2013 and totalled €5,071 million. The cooperative enterprises’ proportion in S Group’s sales was 92.7% and in SOK Corporation’s sales, 7.3%.

During the first half of the year, S Group invested €239 million. In the corresponding period 2013, the investments amounted to €351 million.

“For the whole of 2014, the investments will probably be about €100 million euro below last year’s figures. Currently, we are focusing the investments on our smaller outlets and on renovating old ones”, says Mr Heikkilä.

At the end of June, there were a total of 1,641 outlets. This was seven outlets less than in 2013.


S Group’s sales and economic development in January–June 2014

The S Group as a whole

  • S Group tax-exclusive retail sales in January–June 2014 were €5,468 million (€5,528 million in 2013).
  • Comparable retail sales decreased by 0.1%.
  • S Group’s result (cooperatives + SOK Corporation) before extraordinary items was €122 million (€61 million in 2013).
  • S Group’s operational result was €62.4 million, whereas in 2013 it was €32.2 million.
  • Investments totalled €239 million (€351 million in 2013).
  • At the end of June, the number of personnel was 45,943 (46,458 in 2013; the figure includes approximately 5,000 summer employees, but not the trainees in the “Tutustu työelämään ja tienaa” programme)
  • The total number of business locations on 31 June 2014 was 1,646 (1,648 in 2013)


SOK Corporation (SOK + subsidiaries)

  • The revenue of continuous operations was €3,573 million, a decrease of 0.5% compared to 2013.
  • SOK Corporation’s result of continues operations before taxes was €35.4 million (€13.8 million to the negative in 2013).
  • SOK Corporation’s operational result was 1.0 million, whereas in 2013 it was €22.1 million to the negative.
  • Investments totalled €42.9 million (€69.4 million in 2013).
  • The number of SOK Corporation personnel decreased by 327 people from the corresponding period last year, totalling 9,705 at the end of June.


S Group’s retail sales by business area, January–June 2014 (VAT 0%)



1 Jan – 30 June 2014

1 Apr – 30 June 2014

€ million

Change, %

€ million

Change, %

Supermarket trade*





Service station store and fuel sales





Department store and speciality store trade





Travel industry and hospitality business*





Automotive trade and accessories**





Agricultural trade















* Includes the retail sales for neighbouring areas (the Baltic countries and St. Petersburg)

The 34.0 decrease in retail sales is due to the sale and discontinuation of SOK Autokauppa Oy’s operations in 2013. Comparable sales increased by 3.7 per cent.


Supermarket trade

S Group’s supermarket sales increased by 1.2 per cent in January–June 2014. This figure includes the grocery and consumer goods sales of the Prisma, S-Market, Sale, Alepa, Kodin Terra and S-Rauta stores, as well as the grocery and consumer goods sales at other supermarket trade units.

When considered separately, value of S Group’s grocery sales grew by 4.5 per cent, totalling €3,451 million. The consumer goods trade, on the other hand, decreased by 1.4 per cent, totalling €639 million.

Traditionally, a slump in economy affects the sales of consumer durables and consumer goods in particular. The current decrease in consumption, however, has also marred the Finnish grocery trade which has seen its sales decline for eight consecutive quarters.

From the end 2013, the number of supermarket trade business locations increased by five, and the total number at the end of June 2014 was 940.


Service station store and fuel sales

Service station store and fuel trade sales decreased slightly by just less than 1% during the first half of the year. At the end of 2013, there were 236 outlets (438, including all S Group distribution outlets). S Group’s service station store and fuel sales are managed by the ABC service station chain.


Department store and speciality store trade

Retail sales in the department stores and speciality stores decreased somewhat, by 0.9 per cent. At the end of June, there were a total of 21 Sokos stores (including the online store) and 35 Emotion stores.


Travel industry and hospitality business

Retail sales by the travel industry and hospitality business decreased by  1.5 per cent. This can be attributed to the decline in the number of Russian tourists, as well as to dwindling sales of wine, spirits and beer on licensed premises.

At the end of June, there were 64 hotels and 260 restaurant locations. All in all, there were 754 restaurant locations, including units located in connection with other units. The tourism and hospitality business chains include Sokos Hotels, Radisson Blu Hotels and several restaurant chains.


Automotive trade and accessories

The 34.0 decrease in retail sales in the automotive trade and accessories is due to the sale and discontinuation of SOK Autokauppa Oy’s operations in 2013. Comparable sales increased by 3.7 per cent.

S Group had 37 automotive and accessories trade outlets at the end of June. A total of 11 regional cooperatives still engage in automotive trade in S Group.



Agricultural trade

Sales in agricultural trade decreased by 13.1 per cent. The chains operating in the agricultural trade segment are Agrimarket and Multasormi. The number of agricultural trade outlets fully owned by the S Group totalled 15 at the end of June. Cooperatives engaged in agricultural trade include Etelä-Pohjanmaan Osuuskauppa, Suur-Seudun Osuuskauppa and Kymen Seudun Osuuskauppa.


Neighbouring areas (the Baltic countries and St. Petersburg)

Retail sales in the business operations in Finland’s neighbouring countries totalled €292 million, up 7.4 per cent on the corresponding period in the previous year. Grocery trade sales in Finland’s neighbouring countries totalled €270 million, up 9.0 per cent. A new Prisma opened in Lithuania in April 2014.



The most significant event for S-Bank during the first half of 2014 was the combination merger with LocalTapiola Bank. Through the merger, the operations of the old banks were discontinued and a new S-Bank was established. The new bank began its operations on 1 May 2014. S Group’s shareholding of the new bank is 75% and the LocalTapiola Group’s is 25%. In SOK Corporation’s result, €32 million is attributed to the merger.

At the end of June, S-Bank had approximately 2.7 million customers and almost 1.5 million customers had S-Bank’s international payment card. The number of active customers is increasing, and S-Bank is growing from its position as the number two bank of the people to become its customers’ primary bank.

At the end of June, S-Bank’s funds on deposit totalled €4,139.5 million, comprising deposits by private customers to the amount of €3,454.9 million and by corporate customers to the amount of €684.6 million.



Co-op membership

The co-op members, or the members of the cooperative enterprises, are the sole owners of S Group’s cooperative enterprises. Co-op membership is S Group’s way of conducting its cooperative form of business and producing services and benefits for its co-op members.

The growth in the number of co-op members continued during the beginning of the year. In January–June, 33,156 new members joined the cooperative enterprises participating in the bonus system. At the end of June, there were a total of 2,117,313 co-op members.

Cooperative member purchases from S Group, that is, the Group’s bonus sales, was approximately €4.5 billion.



For more information, please contact:


Taavi Heikkilä, CEO, SOK, tel: +358 10 76 80200

Jari Annala, Senior Vice President, CFO, SOK, tel: +358 0 10 76 82040


SOK Corporation’s Interim Report is available in its entirety on 28 August


Jan du Plessis to step down from the Board of M&S to become Chairman of SABMiller plc.

LONDON, 2014-8-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (M&S) notes the announcement made today that Jan du Plessis is to be appointed to the Board of SABMiller plc on 1st September, 2014 and that it is intended that he will become Chairman during July, 2015.  In the light of this appointment, Jan will step down from the Board of M&S during the first half of 2015 before taking on the role of Chairman of SABMiller plc.

As part of the M&S Nomination Committee process, planning for Jan’s succession is already well in hand to meet this timetable.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact: 

Corporate Press Office             0208 718 1919

IKEA to open its future Kansas City-area store on September 10, 2014

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced that its future Kansas City-area store will open in Merriam, KS at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, expanding the IKEA presence in the Midwestern United States.

MERRIAM, KS, 2014-8-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, todayannounced that its future Kansas City-area store will open in Merriam, KS at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, expanding the IKEA presence in the Midwestern United States. It will be the Swedish company’s first store in Kansas, and 40th in the U.S., with the closest IKEA stores in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas. Customers can begin lining-up at the store on Monday, September 8, 2014 – 48 hours in advance of the doors’ opening on September 10 – and soon can learn of more grand opening plans and promotions at

“We are thrilled by the construction progress made to date, and believe theremaining milestones and interior build-up will be complete by September,” notedRob Parsons, store manager of the future IKEA Merriam. “Besides furnishing ourstore, we are focused on training the 300 coworkers now part of the IKEA family.”

The 359,000 square-foot future IKEA store, and 1,200 parking spaces, is being built in the city of Merriam on 18.4 acres along the eastern side of Interstate-35 and Johnson Drive, eight miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri. The store will reflect the unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide, the region’s largest geothermal project and plans for the state’s largest rooftop solar array, consistent with the renewable energy presence at 90% of U.S. IKEA locations.

IKEA Merriam will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 450-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking.

In addition to the more than 500 jobs created from construction, 300 coworkers have joined the IKEA family for when the new store opens. Diverse positions at this employer of choice include: sales, interior design, customer service, safety and security, cashiers, maintenance, goods flow, receiving, warehouse and stock replenishment. Also, among its total coworkers, IKEA Merriam employs more than 60 food service opportunities in its Restaurant, Swedish Foodmarket, Café Bistro and coworker cafeteria.

Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 350 IKEA stores in 44 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA has been ranked in FORTUNE’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, Working Mother magazine’s annual list of “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” and Training magazine’s annual “Top 100.” IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, see, @IKEAUSANews, @DesignByIKEA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest.

# # #

Joseph Roth, Expansion Public Affairs
(610) 834-0180 x 6500

Belk announced two executive appointments effective on September 1, 2014

  • Jan Clevenger named Belk, Inc. EVP and GMM, Men’s, Home and Kids
  • David Luoma appointed Chair of Belk Western Division Based in Birmingham, Ala.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 2014-8-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Belk has announced two executive appointments effective on September 1, 2014:

Jan Clevenger has been named executive vice president (EVP) and general merchandising manager (GMM) of men’s, home and kids, reporting to David Zant, president and chief merchandising officer.

Clevenger has served as chair of the Belk Western Division based in Birmingham, Ala. since March 2008. She began her retail career with Macy’s in 1984 in store management before becoming a buyer for men’s and center core.  Jan joined Belk in 2000 as a division merchandise manager for accessories in the Belk Southern Division. In 2002, she was named division merchandise manager (DMM) of men’s sportswear and was promoted to vice president and DMM in 2003. In 2006, she was appointed to senior vice president and director of stores for the Belk Northern Division based in Raleigh, N.C.

While in Birmingham, Clevenger has held leadership roles in a number of community and professional organizations, including service on the boards of directors of the Alabama Retail Association and the YWCA of Central Alabama, the Chairman’s Circle of the Birmingham Business Alliance, and on the Executive Advisory Board of the Junior League of Birmingham. Clevenger is a graduate of the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.

David Luoma has been named chair of the Belk Western Division succeeding Jan Clevenger and reporting  to John R. Belk, president and chief operating officer.

Luoma joined Belk in 2011 as senior vice president (SVP) and director of stores for the Belk Southern Division based in Atlanta, Ga. Prior to joining Belk, David was a SVP and director of stores for Macy’s and May Department Stores in upstate New York and western Massachusetts. He also served as district vice president and director of stores for Macy’s where he had responsibility for 10 stores in the New England Central Region. Prior to joining Macy’s, Luoma held a number of store management positions with Filenes in Boston, Mass. including general manager of its stores in Hyannis, Mass., Albany, N.Y., and Cambridge, Mass., divisional vice president and general manager of its Chestnut Hill, Mass. store, and vice president and general manager of its Braintree, Mass. store. Luoma’s community service while in Atlanta includes serving on the board of directors of Trees Atlanta.  He is a graduate of California State University in Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“We’re pleased to announce the promotions of Jan Clevenger and David Luoma,” said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO.  “Jan and David are valued members of our executive team, and each of them brings a wealth of talent and experience to their new positions. We wish them both continued success in their careers at Belk.”

About Belk, Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. ( is the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 299 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to stay connected via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

For further information: Jessica Graham, Belk, Inc. Vice President, Communications and Community Relations, 704-426-8333,