John Standley, Darren Karst and Matt Schroeder of Rite Aid will address the 33rd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, January 14, in San Francisco

Camp Hill, Pa., 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) announced today that John Standley, chairman, and chief executive officer; Darren Karst, executive vice president and chief financial officer and Matt Schroeder, group vice president, strategy, investor relations and treasurer, will address the 33rd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, January 14, in San Francisco. Rite Aid’s presentation is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. PT.

A link to the live webcast of the presentation will be available at: http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/directlink?p=17081 for all interested parties. Slides from the broadcast will also be available in the Investor Information section of the Rite Aid website at:http://www.riteaid.com/company/investors/presentations.jsf.

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

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Contact:

Investors: Matt Schroeder 717-214-8867 or investor@riteaid.com

Media: Susan Henderson 717-730-7766

Jocelyn Konrad promoted group vice president, pharmacy initiatives and clinical services Rite Aid

Camp Hill, Pa., 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) announced today that Jocelyn Zazyczny Konrad, currently vice president, healthcare initiatives, has been promoted to group vice president, pharmacy initiatives and clinical services. Konrad succeeds Karen Staniforth, who was recently promoted to the role of chief operating officer at Health Dialog, a subsidiary of Rite Aid.

Konrad, a licensed pharmacist with more than 20 years’ experience in retail pharmacy, will be responsible for the development, implementation and management of new pharmacy business and clinical programs including Rite Aid Health Alliance, immunizations, medication therapy management and medication adherence. Additionally, Konrad will oversee the Company’s Wellness Ambassador strategy. Unique to Rite Aid’s Wellness Stores, Wellness Ambassadors work closely with Rite Aid pharmacists and are specially trained to provide customers with access to information on over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements and Rite Aid programs and services. She will report to Dan Miller, Rite Aid’s senior vice president of pharmacy.

“Already a valued member of our pharmacy leadership team, in her new role, Jocelyn will undoubtedly contribute to the continued development of our 11,000 pharmacists as well as key pharmacy initiatives and our clinical services programs,” Miller said. “We look forward to benefitting from her knowledge and retail pharmacy expertise as she leads our clinical pharmacy team and works toward our goal of providing impactful patient care programs that create an outstanding experience for our pharmacy customers, each and every day.”

Konrad began her career in pharmacy in 1992, serving as a pharmacist for Thrift Drug Pharmacy. In 1997, she joined Eckerd Pharmacy as a district manager. Konrad joined Rite Aid in 2007, when Rite Aid acquired the Eckerd and the Brooks pharmacy chains from Jean Coutu. In 2011, she was promoted to regional pharmacy vice president, overseeing 350 pharmacists at approximately 150 Rite Aid pharmacies in Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and had responsibility for implementing company programs, growing pharmacy business, managing costs, talent management and enhancing both the customer and Rite Aid associate experience. She was promoted to her current role in 2012.

Konrad holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

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Contact:

Media: Kristin Kellum 717-975-5713

FINAL November and December J. C. Penney Holiday sales update

Same store sales for the combined November/December period up 3.7 percent; Company narrows fourth quarter sales guidance to upper end of range

PLANO, Texas,  2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today provided a preliminary update on the Company’s performance for the combined nine-week November and December period. The Company reported comparable store sales growth of 3.7 percent over the same period last year.

“Our highest priority over the last year has been to restore profitable sales growth at JCPenney. This holiday season was instrumental in that effort – and our teams delivered. I would like to thank our associates for their hard work, warrior spirit and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience every day,’ said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chief executive officer. “Customers clearly responded to our combination of great merchandise and compelling promotions this holiday season. We are proud of these results, and believe the work we are doing will fuel the continued growth of our business.’

The Company also announced that it now expects to report fourth quarter comparable store sales at the upper end of its previous guidance range of 2 to 4 %.

Media Relations:
(972) 431-3400 or jcpnews@jcp.com

Investor Relations:
(972) 431-5500 or jcpinvestorrelations@jcpenney.com

Investors and others should note that we currently announce material information using SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts. In the future, we will continue to use these channels to distribute material information about the Company and may also utilize our website and/or various social media to communicate important information about the Company, key personnel, new brands and services, trends, new marketing campaigns, corporate initiatives and other matters. Information that we post on our website or on social media channels could be deemed material; therefore, we encourage investors, the media, our customers, business partners and others interested in our Company to review the information we post on our website as well as the following social media channels:

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jcp) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/jcpnews).

Any updates to the list of social media channels we may use to communicate material information will be posted on the Investor Relations page of the Company’s website at www.jcpenney.com

About JCPenney:
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), one of the nation’s largest apparel and home furnishing retailers, is dedicated to fitting the diversity of America with unparalleled style, quality and value. Across approximately 1,060 stores and at jcpenney.com, customers will discover a broad assortment of national, private and exclusive brands to fit all shapes, sizes, colors and wallets. For more information, please visit jcpenney.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which include, but are not limited to, statements regarding sales trends, gross margin, liquidity and cost savings. Forward-looking statements are based only on the Company’s current assumptions and views of future events and financial performance. They are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of the Company’s control that may cause the Company’s actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer confidence and spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels, changes in store traffic trends, the cost of goods, more stringent or costly payment terms and/or the decision by a significant number of vendors not to sell us merchandise on a timely basis or at all, trade restrictions, the ability to monetize non-core assets on acceptable terms, the ability to implement our turnaround strategy, customer acceptance of our strategies, our ability to attract, motivate and retain key executives and other associates, the impact of cost reduction initiatives, our ability to generate or maintain liquidity, implementation of new systems and platforms, changes in tariff, freight and shipping rates, changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs, increases in wage and benefit costs, competition and retail industry consolidations, interest rate fluctuations, dollar and other currency valuations, the impact of weather conditions, risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic, the ability of the federal government to fund and conduct its operations, a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information, legal and regulatory proceedings and the Company’s ability to access the debt or equity markets on favorable terms or at all. There can be no assurances that the Company will achieve expected results, and actual results may be materially less than expectations. Please refer to the Company’s most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. Investors should take such risks into account and should not rely on forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We do not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.

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Kimco Realty Corp. announced transactions activity totaling gross amount of $3.1 billion for the full year 2014

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y., 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM), North America’s largest owner and operator of neighborhood and community shopping centers, today announced transactions totaling a gross amount of $999.0 million in the fourth quarter and $3.1 billion for the full year 2014. Highlights for the fourth quarter include the sale of 66 properties for a gross amount of $699.6 million as well as the acquisition of nine properties, including eight from existing joint ventures, for $245.0 million. In addition, the company purchased land for three new ground-up development projects for a total price of $54.4 million.

The major disposition and acquisition activities for the fourth quarter and full year 2014 are detailed below.

DISPOSITIONS
United States

During the fourth quarter, Kimco sold ownership interests in 41 properties (29 wholly owned and 12 joint ventures) in the U.S., totaling 4.5 million square feet, for a gross sales price of $492.3 million. The company’s pro-rata share from these sales was $325.8 million.

For the full year 2014, the company sold 91 U.S. shopping centers (61 wholly owned properties and 30 unconsolidated properties), totaling 9.6 million square feet, for a gross sales price of $1.0 billion, including $249.1 million of mortgage debt. The company’s pro-rata share from these sales was $710.8 million.

Latin America
In the fourth quarter of 2014, Kimco sold a total of 25 properties in Latin America totaling $207.3 million with the company’s pro-rata share from these sales of approximately $192.7 million. These sales included:
• A nine property portfolio in Mexico, totaling 2.7 million square feet, for approximately $180.9 million to one of its local operating partners;
• A Mexican portfolio of 13 net-leased properties for approximately $14.2 million;
• A shopping center in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for approximately $6.4 million;
• The final two remaining Peruvian properties for approximately $5.8 million.

For the full year 2014, Kimco completed the sale of 41 properties in Latin America, totaling approximately 7.5 million square feet, for a gross sales price of $622.2 million, including $36.3 million of mortgage debt. The company’s pro-rata share from these sales was $496.1 million.

These sales reflect Kimco’s strategy to simplify its operations by exiting Latin America and focusing primarily on the U.S. and Canadian shopping center portfolios. With the consummation of these sales, the company has substantially liquidated its portfolio in Mexico, marking the significant completion of Kimco’s goal to exit Latin America.

As previously reported, in the company’s balance sheet within “Accumulated other comprehensive income” is a cumulative unrealized loss on foreign currency translation relating to the company’s investments in Mexico resulting from currency exchange rate fluctuations between the local currency and the U.S. dollar during the company’s investment holding period.

Under U.S. GAAP, upon the company’s substantial liquidation of its investments in a particular country, the company must recognize the then unrealized gain or loss on foreign currency translation in earnings.

Kimco estimates that it will, in the fourth quarter of 2014, recognize a loss from foreign currency translation in the range of $135 million to $145 million, which will be significantly offset from net gains on the sales of operating properties in both the U.S. and Mexico, estimated to be in the range of $105 million to $115 million, during the same period. The impact of currency will apply to the respective gains and losses on the sale of the operating properties and is excluded from the calculation of funds from operations (FFO). The final gains and losses on sales of properties, including the currency impact, will be determined upon the company’s completion of closing its books of account for year ended 2014.

ACQUISITIONS
In the fourth quarter, Kimco acquired nine shopping centers for its wholly owned portfolio totaling more than 1.4 million square feet for a gross purchase price of $245.0 million. In addition, the company purchased several land parcels totaling $54.4 million for three future ground-up development projects.

Fourth quarter acquisitions included:
• Braelinn Village, a 227,000-square-foot grocery-anchored center for $27.0 million in the highly desirable Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, Ga. This area is recognized for its high barriers for new development and strong income levels, demonstrated by an average household income of $101,000 within a three-mile radius. The center is 94% occupied and anchored by an expanding Kroger grocer and substantially below-market Kmart.
• As previously announced, a portfolio of seven predominantly grocery-anchored shopping centers from Kimco’s joint venture with BIG Shopping Centers USA Inc. for a gross price of $195.0 million. The properties feature a well-known lineup of national retailers that includes Marshalls, Target, Dollar Tree, Sports Authority, and Ross Dress for Less along with grocers such as Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, and King Kullen.
• Acquired the remaining 89% equity interest in North Quincy Plaza, a grocery-anchored shopping center located in Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from an institutional joint venture partner, for a gross purchase price of $23.0 million.
• Wynnewood – Purchased land for $13.4 million toward the construction of a new 45,000 square foot Whole Foods anchored property located in Wynnewood, Pa., an affluent area in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA supported by high income and population levels.
• Promenade at Christiana – Acquired a former Sears distribution and surplus retail outlet for $13.4 million, which will be developed into a new 440,000 square foot power center. This 46 acre property, located in Christiana, Del. (Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA), fronts I-95 and is directly across from the Christiana Mall.
• Grand Parkway – Purchased 90 acres in Houston, Texas for $27.6 million for the future development of a 350,000 square foot grocery-anchored power center. The property is located off a new outer loop parkway and in close proximity to Exxon’s new corporate campus and The Woodlands, an upscale residential community in Houston.
For the full year 2014, Kimco acquired interests in 60 retail properties, including 33 acquired from existing joint venture partners, totaling 6.7 million square feet. The aggregate purchase price for these acquisitions was $1.4 billion, including $583.7 million of mortgage debt. These properties have, on a prorata basis, an average occupancy of 95.6% and an annual base rent of $15.23 per square foot and are supported by excellent demographics, including an average household income of $90,000 within a threemile radius.

Also, as previously announced, Kimco executed a contract to acquire the remaining 66.7% interest in the 39-property Kimstone portfolio from its joint venture partner, a subsidiary of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII (BREP), for a pro-rata price of $925 million, which includes the assumption of approximately $426.7 million in mortgage debt. The company will pay approximately $512.3 million to acquire BREP’s interest with the transaction expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.

ABOUT KIMCO
Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) headquartered in New Hyde Park, N.Y., that owns and operates North America’s largest publicly traded portfolio of neighborhood and community shopping centers. As of September 30, 2014, the company owned interests in 814 shopping centers comprising 117 million square feet of leasable space across 41 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and South America. Publicly traded on the NYSE since 1991, and included in the S&P 500 Index, the company has specialized in shopping center acquisitions, development and management for more than 50 years. For further information, please visit www.kimcorealty.com, the company’s blog at
blog.kimcorealty.com, or follow Kimco on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kimcorealty.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT
The statements in this news release state the company’s and management’s intentions, beliefs, expectations or projections of the future and are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the company’s actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors which may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, (i) general adverse economic and local real estate conditions, (ii) the inability of major tenants to continue paying their rent obligations due to bankruptcy, insolvency or a general downturn in their business, (iii) financing risks, such as the inability to obtain equity, debt or other sources of financing or refinancing on favorable terms to the company, (iv) the company’s ability to raise capital by selling its assets, (v) changes in governmental laws and regulations, (vi) the level and volatility of interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates and management’s ability to estimate the impact thereof, (vii) risks related to the company’s international operations, (viii) the availability of suitable acquisition and disposition opportunities, and risks related to acquisitions not performing in accordance with our expectations, (ix) valuation and risks related to the company’s joint venture and preferred equity investments, (x) valuation of marketable securities and other investments, (xi) increases in operating costs, (xii) changes in the dividend policy for the company’s common stock, (xiii) the reduction in the company’s income in the event of multiple lease terminations by tenants or a failure by multiple tenants to occupy their premises in a shopping center, (xiv) impairment charges and (xv) unanticipated changes in the company’s intention or ability to prepay certain debt prior to maturity and/or hold certain securities until maturity. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in the company’s SEC filings. Copies of each filing may be obtained from the company or the SEC.

The company refers you to the documents filed by the company from time to time with the SEC, specifically the section titled “Risk Factors” in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, as may be updated or supplemented in the company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and the company’s other filings with the SEC, which discuss these and other factors that could adversely affect the company’s results.

– # # # –

CONTACT:
David F. Bujnicki
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Kimco Realty Corporation
1-866-831-4297

The British Retail Consortium published the seventh issue of its internationally recognised BRC Global Standard for Food Safety

LONDON, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published the seventh issue of its internationally recognised BRC Global Standard for Food Safety on 7 January 2015, and audits against Issue 7 will begin in July 2015.

The BRC Global Standards are internationally recognised as the market leaders setting the benchmark for good manufacturing practices in food, packaging, storage and distribution, agents and brokers, and consumer products. Certification enables customers to have confidence in their suppliers, and helps suppliers by allowing them to show they are maintaining high standards of safety, quality and legal compliance.

What’s new in Issue 7?
The development of Issue 7 followed a wide consultation to understand stakeholders’ requirements, and a review of emerging issues in the food industry. The information has been developed and reviewed by working groups made up of international stakeholders representing food manufacturers, retailers, food service companies, certification bodies and independent technical experts.

The focus of attention for Issue 7 has been:
• continuing to ensure consistency of the audit process
• providing a Standard with the flexibility to include additional voluntary modules to reduce the audit burden
• encouraging sites to put systems in place to reduce their exposure to fraud • encouraging greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain
• encouraging adoption of the Standard as a means of improving food safety in small sites and facilities where processes are still in development.

The requirements of Issue 7 of the Standard are an evolution from previous issues, with a continued emphasis on management commitment, a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based food safety programme and supporting quality management system.

The objective has been to direct the focus of the audit towards the implementation of good manufacturing practices within the production areas with increased emphasis on areas which have traditionally resulted in recalls and withdrawals (e.g. label and packing management).

David Brackston BRC Global Standards Technical Director, said: “The development of Issue 7 has been based on the values of the previous issues while ensuring that the update reflects the latest best practices. The consultation with the users of the Standard set the main focus for the rewrite which was to reduce the need for multiple audits and encourage consistency of the audit process; we believe the working groups have achieved this aim.”

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 7 will be available on BRC Participate, along with the Interpretation Guideline and additional supporting publications. Recently launched, BRC Participate offers immediate access to all documents relevant to a particular Standard, linking them clause by clause. Printed copies and PDF downloads are also available for purchase from the BRC Bookshop.

Notes to Editors:

About BRC Global Standards
BRC Global Standards are the world’s biggest provider of safety and quality standards programmes for food manufacture, packaging, storage, and distribution. BRC Global Standards are generated with the help of technical specialists, retailers, manufacturers and certification bodies from around the world, so everything is based on practicality, rigour and clarity.

The BRC Global Standards certification scheme offer comprehensive support to help new and established businesses to achieve and maintain their quality and safety aims.

For more information please visit www.brcglobalstandards.com
Media Contacts: BRC Press Office +44 (0)20 7854 8924 / +44 (0)7921 605544

Retail Industry Leaders Association expressed support for the bi-partisan Save American Workers Act and the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — In letters sent to Congress today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) expressed the industry’s support for the bi-partisan Save American Workers Act and the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act. Both the House bill, introduced by Representatives Todd Young (R-IN) and -Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and the Senate bill, introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN), raise the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) full-time definition from 30 hours of service per week to 40 hours of service per week.

“This is a jobs issue, not a political issue,” said Christine Pollack, vice president of government affairs at RILA. “Restoring the 40-hour work week is an important step toward protecting American jobs.”

Most retailers traditionally used an hourly or salaried workforce designation, not full-time or part-time, which reflected an employees’ desire for flexible hours and a manager’s need to staff up a store during busy times. The ACA’s definition of full-time as 30 hours of service per week fundamentally limits the flexibility of staffing from both the employee and store manager standpoint.

“Raising the threshold of full-time under the ACA means that retailers will have the flexibility to continue to offer coverage at the traditional level, whether, for example, the level is 32, 35 or 37 hours. Retailers have voluntarily offered coverage for decades and they want to be able to continue to offer this coverage to their employees and their families,”Pollack continued.

Raising the full-time definition in the ACA back to the common standard among the business community will make it easier for businesses to provide more hours to all employees; thereby increasing employees’ take home pay. This change will also provide retailers the opportunity to offer more generous health coverage to full-time employees without making premiums prohibitive and help ensure other employees still have access to affordable coverage options.

RILA letter in support of the Save American Workers Act

RILA letter in support of the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act

RILA, the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, promotes consumer choice and economic freedom through public policy and industry operational excellence. Our members provide millions of jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. RILA members offer quality and affordable health care to their employees and dependents, and are leaders in benefits design by customizing plans to meet their workforces’ specific needs.

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Allie Brandenburger
Senior Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org

The National Retail Federation expressed its strong support for H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act

NRF Key Votes Bipartisan Bill that Restores the Traditional 40-Hour Workweek

WASHINGTON, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today expressed its strong support for H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, a bill that would restore the traditional 40-hour workweek standard for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. NRF sent a letter to each and every House office stating that all votes related to the bill would be considered “key votes” and factored into its annual legislative scorecard.

“Restoring the traditional 40-hour workweek would benefit employers and employees,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “It would return power to employers to establish and maintain health care benefit eligibility standards, protect full-time employees and benefit hourly employees with more hours, more income and greater opportunity to advance to full-time employment.”

The bipartisan bill was introduced earlier this week by Reps. Todd Young, R-In. and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. along with their colleagues, Reps. Pete Olson, R-Texas., Mike Kelly, R-Pa. and Tim Walberg, R-Minn. The bill, which would repeal the ACA’s definition of a 30-hour workweek, is expected to come to the House floor for a vote during the inaugural week of the 114th Congress.

“The Save American Workers Act is a commonsense piece of legislation that will restore an established workforce precedent and protect business owners and their employees,” French said. “The Affordable Care Act is in serious need of revision and reform, and we urge Congress to further that process by approving this bipartisan piece of legislation to restore the traditional definition of a 40-hour workweek.”

A corresponding Senate bill, authored by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine. and Joe Donnelly, D-In., will likely will be introduced this week.

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 $2.6 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
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Marks and Spencer Group Q3 update: Food business delivered another excellent quarter, significantly outperforming the market by c.3% pts

‘Very good Christmas in Food, difficult quarter in GM’

LONDON, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer made good progress in three of its four key priorities for the year:

1) Food growth

  • Great quarter with strong outperformance of the market: sales +2.8%; +0.1% LFL
  • Record sales, +17% in the key Christmas week
  • New stores performing well and store opening programme on track

2) Womenswear performance

  • Difficult quarter for General Merchandise: sales -5.4%, LFL -5.8%
  • Clothing sector performance impacted by unseasonal conditions in October and November
  • Disruption at our Castle Donington distribution centre affected performance in December

3) General Merchandise gross margin improvement

  • Good progress on gross margin: guidance unchanged at +150 to +200bps
  • Slightly lower discounting driven by December

4) Cash generation

  • Improved operating costs performance: guidance improved from c.+3.5% to c.+2.0%
  • Continued tight control of costs and capital expenditure

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said:

“M&S had a very good Christmas in Food. We delivered record Christmas sales, strongly outperforming the market. We had a difficult quarter in General Merchandise, dominated by unseasonal conditions and an unsatisfactory performance in our e-commerce distribution centre. We maintained our focus on General Merchandise gross margin, with guidance unchanged.

“I’d like to thank all of our colleagues for their exceptional hard work and commitment over the key Christmas period.”

Trading summary

Our Food business delivered another excellent quarter, significantly outperforming the market by c.3% pts. We saw record sales over the festive period, up 17% in the key Christmas week. Customers once again turned to us for our highly differentiated food offer, combining the best of quality, seasonal speciality and convenience, all at competitive prices. We launched nearly 750 new products giving customers more choice than ever, with record results in turkeys, party food, desserts and deli.

Our new website performed well operationally, even through periods of peak demand. Customer metrics including customer satisfaction and conversion continued to improve, resulting in positive sales growth through October and November.

However, disruption at our distribution centre in Castle Donington strongly impacted .com and in turn, GM performance in December. We have already made progress in addressing this and have now returned to our improved delivery proposition.

In General Merchandise, we received positive customer feedback on our Autumn/Winter Womenswear ranges. However, trading in October and November was affected by unseasonal conditions which impacted sales across the clothing sector and resulted in a highly promotional market. We deliberately held back the level of discounting especially in December. While this had an adverse impact on sales we delivered a good performance on gross margin.

Overall International business was heavily impacted by the worsening currency and macro-economic issues across our Middle East and Russia franchise region. However, our owned business performed well with strong performance in key markets such as India.

 

Third quarter sales

13 weeks to

27 December 2014

Food

–          Like-for-like

+2.8%

+0.1%

General Merchandise1

–          Like-for-like

 -5.4%

-5.8%

M&S.com sales2 -5.9%
Total UK sales

–          Like-for-like

-1.1%

-2.7%

International sales3 -5.8%
Group sales3 -1.6%

1 Clothing sales were -4.9%, LFL -5.3%

2 Memo only

3  Stated on ex-VAT and constant currency basis. International sales at actual currency were -8.8% and Group sales were -1.9%.

Outlook

Gross margin guidance remains unchanged at +150bps to +200bps for General Merchandise and +10bps to +30bps for Food. As a result of tight control of costs as well as lower volume growth, we have improved our operating cost guidance from c.+3.5% to c.+2.0%.

All other guidance remains unchanged.

Marks and Spencer Group plc will report its fourth quarter trading results on 2 April 2015.

Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.

For further information, please contact: 

Investor Relations:

Majda Rainer +44 (0)20 8718 1563
Helen Cox +44 (0)20 8718 8491

Corporate Press Office:+44 (0)20 8718 1919
Out of hours calls:+44 (0)20 8718 2000

Investors & Analysts Conference Call:
This will be hosted by Marc Bolland at 9am on Thursday 8 January 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 1905
Access Code: 2395581

A recording of this call will be available until 18 January 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 0598
Access Code: 2395581

Starbucks global coffee educator Major Cohen hosted master class in coffee in Lima, Peru

SEATTLE, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — César Rivadeneyra’s first memory of coffee begins like many young people who are discovering the beverage for the first time – a quick cup to get going in the morning or while studying  for finals with friends.

“I used to think it was too bitter,” he said, recalling his first taste of coffee. “It just wasn’t for me.”

That changed when Rivadeneyra joined Starbucks Peru eight years ago as a barista in his hometown of Lima. He spent days working on his barista skills such as perfecting the art of pulling that perfect shot of espresso. He was promoted to manager and now leads a Starbucks® store located near Lima’s Camara de Comercio, where he took an interest in coaching partners who were just starting as baristas.

“I became passionate about the story behind each cup,” Rivadeneyra said. “I wanted to keep learning and share what I learned with others because I’ve always believed that coffee and conversation is the perfect pair.”

Rivadeneyra recently joined 200 fellow partners at a master class in coffee in Lima, Peru, hosted by Starbucks global coffee educator Major Cohen. Partners spent the day learning about the company’s ethical sourcing practices, the art of roasting and blending coffee beans, brewing techniques, and tastings or “cuppings” that involve sniffing, slurping, savoring and identifying a range of coffees to help become familiar with describing both the aroma and taste of coffee.

“It’s not common to have this type of learning opportunity at the workplace,” said Rivadeneyra. “I felt very excited because I was not just there to learn from a global coffee educator, but to share my own experience as a Starbucks coffee master.” Coffee Masters complete a rigorous Starbucks course with hands-on activities to become coffee experts. Those who pass the program earn black aprons to wear, instead of the company’s iconic green aprons.

As Starbucks global coffee educator, Cohen has spent more than a decade hosting classes and seminars for partners around the world. His journey with Starbucks goes back even further, to 1995, when he first joined the company as a part-time barista. A life-long coffee fan, Cohen now shares his passion and knowledge by helping partners better understand the story of coffee, from bean to cup.

“Coffee has been at the core of everything we do, ever since we opened our doors more than forty years ago,” said Cohen. “We’re obsessed with the quality of our coffee every step of the way – starting from the soil and ending with each perfectly made cup. Bringing these types of learning opportunities to our partners helps ensure we’re creating the best possible experience for our people.”

Whether hosting a master class for 200 partners in Lima, a “cupping” for 10 partners in Hong Kong, or a tasting with over 1,000 district managers at the company’s leadership conference, Cohen and his team spend many hours customizing the curriculum, selecting the right coffees and developing a perfectly synchronized program.

“I wanted to make sure we showcased the Peru Chonti, a standout in our Starbucks Reserve® lineup, for the class in Lima,” said Cohen. “I also included a couple of classic coffees to cover the full spectrum, like the Kenya and Sumatra.”

As partners tasted the coffees and asked their questions, the room filled with familiar descriptions of the aroma and taste, from “a little spicy” and “roasty” to “a hint of citrus.”

“I’d never been to Peru before, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of slurps at a tasting, and the passionate conversations with partners like César made me feel right at home,” said Cohen.

From visiting Costa Rica with Starbucks partners to meeting Cohen in Lima, Rivadeneyra knows his coffee journey isn’t complete just yet.

“I want to grow my career with this company and keep sharing good moments with my partners and customers,” he said. “I’m excited to see where my next adventure with Starbucks will take me.”

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom.

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Starbucks global coffee educator Major Cohen hosted master class in coffee in Lima, Peru

Starbucks global coffee educator Major Cohen hosted master class in coffee in Lima, Peru

Starbucks Corporation to release its first quarter fiscal 2015 financial results after the market close on Thursday, January 22, 2015

SEATTLE, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) plans to release its first quarter fiscal 2015 financial results after the market close on Thursday, January 22, 2015, with a conference call to follow at 2:00 p.m. PT.

The conference call will be webcast and can be accessed on the company’s website: http://investor.starbucks.com. A replay of the webcast will be available on the company’s website until end of day Thursday, February 19, 2015.

About Starbucks
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at http://news.starbucks.com.

Contacts

Investor Relations:
JoAnn DeGrande, 206-318-7118
investorrelations@starbucks.com

Media:
Alisha Damodaran, 206-318-7100
press@starbucks.com

For more information on this news release, contact us.

Tesco announces average price reduction of 25% on hundreds of branded products

  • Simpler, lower, stable prices introduced from 8th January
  • Hundreds of the nation’s favourite branded products are now cheaper at Tesco
  • Average price reduction of 25%
  • New lower prices will apply across all store formats

Cheshunt, England, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Tesco has today cut prices on hundreds of branded products in response to demands from customers for simpler, lower and more stable prices.

As part of the retailer’s plans to focus the business much more closely on customers and to listen to what customers want, many well-loved products from Hovis, Coca-Cola, Marmite and Tetley will now be cheaper at Tesco.

The move follows a series of changes the retailer has made over the last few months to invest in customers and improve the shopping trip.

Commenting on the changes, Tesco’s Chief Customer Officer, Jill Easterbrook said:

“We know that customers want to see changes in the way we serve them. One of the biggest things they’ve been saying is that they want prices which are simple, consistent and low. The changes we’re making today are a first step in that direction – and we’ve focused on many of the favourite brands customers choose every day.”

“We know that brands are important to our customers: they’re the products families don’t want to do without. So from today, customers will be able to buy many of their favourite products cheaper at Tesco – from Tetley Tea to Colgate Triple Action Toothpaste, Hovis White Bread to Kellogg’s Cornflakes.”

“We’re looking forward to hearing what customers think of these prices as we develop more plans to invest in our customers in 2015.”

Typical savings include:

Product Previous Price Now Price Cut %
Colgate Triple Action Toothpaste-100ml £ 1.39 £ 0.99 29 %
Farley’s Rusks- 4 months original-300g £ 2.30 £ 1.48 36%
Hovis Best of Both Medium white- 750g £ 1.00 £ 0.78 22%
Warburtons Crumpets- 6 pack £ 0.89 £ 0.68 24%
Hardy’s Stamp Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon-75cl £ 7.49 £ 4.78 36%
Stella Artois 4x440ml £ 4.49 £ 3.54 21%
Branston Pickle-360g £ 1.30 £ 0.93 28%
Dolmio Original Bolognese Pasta Sauce-750g £ 2.60 £ 1.48 43%
Kellogg’s Cornflakes-750g £ 2.48 £ 1.98 20%
Marmite Yeast Extract- 250g £ 2.49 £ 2.35 6%
Nestle Shredded Wheat- 675g £ 2.39 £ 2.18 9%
Nutella Hazelnut Chocolate Spread-750g £ 3.75 £ 3.49 7%
Tetley soft pack 80 teabags-250g £ 2.29 £ 1.99 13%
Cadbury Chocolate Fingers-114g £ 1.39 £ 0.80 42%
Tunnock’s Milk Chocolate Caramel Wafer-8pk £ 1.59 £ 1.34 16%

Prices are live in stores and online from 8th January 2015.

Read a blog from Jill Easterbrook explaining the changes.

 

The 500th Walmart Neighborhood Market in US is opening Wednesday, Jan. 7 in Springfield

The new store marks a company milestone

  • New Walmart Neighborhood Market located at East Sunshine Street and Blackman Road
  • Up to 95 jobs created by Springfield Walmart Neighborhood Market
  • Store open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week
  • Local Facebook page: www.facebook.com/walmart3228

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — The 500th Walmart Neighborhood Market is opening Wednesday, Jan. 7, following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. The new store is conveniently located at East Sunshine Street and Blackman Road and is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The store will provide Springfield residents with low prices on a broad assortment of merchandise including fresh produce and meats, frozen foods, groceries and pharmacy.

The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and the opening of the new store in Springfield marks 500 Walmart Neighborhood Market locations nationwide. The store will mark the occasion with special guest Missouri State Senator Mike Parson and Springfield Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Seifried attending the grand-opening ceremony.

“We have deep roots in Missouri and we are proud to open our 500th Neighborhood Market right here in Springfield,” said Walmart Vice President and Regional General Manager Nick Berkeley. “Our customers tell us they like the convenience of Walmart Neighborhood Market stores for their grocery and pharmacy needs and we look forward to serving our customers here.”

Customers can shop additional items including top toys, gifts, electronics and home decor on Walmart.com through Walmart pickup, which will offer free shipping to the Springfield Walmart Neighborhood Market. They can also use Walmart’s new Savings Catcher receipt comparison tool to feel more confident they are getting some of the best deals available in Springfield. Savings Catcher looks at other top retailers’ local ads and gives customers an eGift card for the difference if a competitor’s offering is lower than the price they paid at Walmart. Savings Catcher is available through the free Walmart mobile app.

“I am proud that Springfield was chosen to be the site of the 500th Walmart Neighborhood Market opening,” said store manager Jim Russell. “This is an exciting moment for Walmart but an even more exciting time for the city of Springfield as this will provide a new convenient and affordable shopping option for residents.”

Fresh, Affordable Groceries
The new Springfield Walmart Neighborhood Market store offers fresh produce and a full line of groceries from leading brand names, including organic selections. By working with growers Walmart is able to provide farm-grown quality produce at added convenience and low prices.

The Right Size Store Offering More Convenience
The new store is approximately 41,000 square feet and offers a wide assortment to meet the needs of Springfield residents. In addition to groceries, the store features health and beauty aids, baby and pet products and cleaning supplies. Shopping is more convenient than ever as Springfield residents can shop an assortment of 7 million items on Walmart.com, many of which can be shipped for free to the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The pharmacy offers a full range of products and services and pharmacy team members are ready to assist customers with product and prescription questions. Springfield residents can easily transfer prescriptions and order refills on the go with the Walmart mobile app for iPhone and Android.

New Store, New Jobs for Springfield
The new store employs up to 95 jobs full- and part-time associates. Store manager Jim Russell began his Walmart career 17 years ago as a cashier, an hourly associate.

Giving Back to Springfield
The grand-opening celebration includes presentations of $13,000 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to local community groups, including the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, Crosslines of Springfield, Springfield Catholic High School, Glendale High School, Logan-Rogersville High School, Greene County Humane Society, Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Logan-Rogersville Fire Department, Greene County Sheriff and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“We are excited both in southeast Springfield and at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield for the opening of the new Walmart Neighborhood market on East Sunshine Street,” said Cindy Dodson, Boys and Girls Club of Springfield college scholarship and volunteer director. “This new store will give the ever growing east side of Springfield a convenient, quality location to shop and will be a great addition as a partner to non-profits such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield! We look forward to working with the manager Jim Russell and his staff in the New Year!”

In addition to the grants given as part of the grand opening, the new store will further Walmart’s pledge to fight hunger in America. As part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fight hunger through 2015, Walmart stores in Missouri donated approximately 23.7 million pounds of food, in fiscal year 2014, or the equivalent of 19.7 million meals. Additionally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $43.2 million in fiscal year 2014 in Missouri alone. For more information on Walmart’s fight against hunger, visit http://foundation.walmart.com/our-focus/hunger.

A Big Family Welcome
Walmart is happy to be part of the Springfield community and is ready to celebrate with residents on Saturday, Jan. 10.  A Big Family Welcome will give customers a chance to meet Russell and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last. Join the celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

About Walmart 
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 250 million customers and members visit our 11,202 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visitinghttp://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
FACT SHEET
Springfield Walmart Neighborhood Market

Store facts

  • Location: 3720 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, Mo.
  • Size: Approximately 41,000 square feet
  • Store manager: Jim Russell
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week
  • Grand opening: Wednesday, Jan. 7, following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.

Store features

  • Full line of groceries, including:
    • Fresh produce
    • Bakery
    • Self-serve deli
    • Prepared meal options
    • Organic/natural selections
  • Additional merchandise includes:
    • Health and beauty aids
    • Pet and cleaning products
    • Hardware and stationery
  • Convenience services include:
    • Pharmacy, including drive-thru
    • MoneyCenter
    • Walmart pickup

Charitable giving

  • $13,000 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will be presented to the following organizations:
    • Boys and Girls Club of Springfield
    • Crosslines of Springfield
    • Springfield Catholic High School
    • Logan-Rogersville High School
    • Greene County Humane Society
    • Springfield Chamber of Commerce
    • Logan-Rogersville Fire Department
    • Greene County Sheriff
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars

Employment

  • Number of jobs created: Up to 95 jobs
  • Full- and part-time positions

Social

A Big Family Welcome

  • Saturday, Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information

  • Media contact: Bridget Schultz, Mitchell Communications Group, 479-301-7987
  • Walmart Media Relations, 800-331-0085
  • Walmart information online: www.corporate.walmart.com; merchandise sales: www.walmart.com

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