Medici Ventures takes an observer’s seat in bitcoin startup Ripio’s board of directors meetings

Overstock.com’s blockchain subsidiary announces participation in Ripio’s Series A financing

SALT LAKE CITY, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Medici Ventures, a global leader in advancing blockchain technology, has added bitcoin consumer financial service platform Ripio to its portfolio of strategic blockchain-focused investments through participation in Ripio’s Series A financing. In addition to Medici Ventures’ equity position, the blockchain-focused subsidiary of US e-commerce pioneer Overstock.com will take an observer’s seat in Ripio’s board of directors meetings.

Ripio’s bitcoin financial services suite utilizes the blockchain and traditional payment rails to allow Latin America’s unbanked and underbanked population (as high as 70% in some areas) to buy and sell bitcoins using local currencies, and to pay for goods and services through a simple, direct transfer to peers and merchants. The platform currently has over seventy thousand users across Argentina and Brazil, and is in the process of expanding to other countries in the region, including Mexico and Colombia.

“Ripio has simplified the peer-to-peer payment system in a way that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone, no matter his or her level of technical sophistication,” said Medici Ventures’ President Jonathan Johnson. “This is exactly the type of life-changing application of blockchain technology that Medici Ventures is interested in.”

“We are super excited to partner with Medici Ventures team,” stated Sebastian Serrano, CEO and Co-Founder of Ripio. “This investment and their experience will help us to leverage our vision of democratizing access to financial services in emerging markets. We are honored to be part of its portfolio and we look to strengthen our synergies in the near future.”

Medici Ventures is a leader in advancing blockchain technology, and parent company of t0.com, which recently aided Overstock.com in completing the world’s first blockchain-based stock offering on its proprietary platform. Medici Ventures has investments in emerging technologies across several industries, including capital markets, banking, identity authentication and protection, land titling, voting, and more.

About Medici Ventures:
Launched in 2014, Medici Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc. created to advance blockchain technology by operating and investing in firms building solutions that will usher in a new era of efficiency, security and transparency in financial technology.  Medici Ventures’ blockchain-focused investments include t0.com, Peernova, Bitt, SettleMint, Factom, IdentityMind, and Ripio. The company’s majority-owned financial technology company, t0.com, executed the world’s first blockchain-based stock offering in December 2016.

About Ripio:
Born in 2014, Ripio (by BitPagos) is a full suite of financial services with more than 70,000 users across Latin America that provides many options to buy and sell Bitcoins in local currencies and to pay online in thousands of websites and stores that accept digital payments. Ripio has also launched a new disruptive credit feature called Ripio Credit (2016 Techcrunch Disrupt NY finalist)  on top of its wallet that allows customers to buy now and pay later using blockchain technology and traditional payment rails. Current main company investors are Tim Draper, Medici Ventures, Boost.VC, Huiyin Blockchain Ventures and Digital Currency Group.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact.  Additional information regarding factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in the Company’s Form 10-K for the quarter ended December 31, 2016, which was filed with the SEC on March 3, 2017, and any subsequent filings with the SEC.

SOURCE: Overstock.com

Media Contact:
Mark Delcorps, Overstock.com, Inc.
+1 (801) 947-3564
pr@mediciventures.com

Investor Contact:
Mark Harden, Overstock.com, Inc.
+1 (801) 947-5409
ir@overstock.com

Sprouts Farmers Market President and CEO Jim Nielsen and CFO Brad Lukow to present at the BMO Capital Markets 12th Annual Farm to Market Conference

PHOENIX, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (Nasdaq:SFM) today (April 27, 2017) announced that Jim Nielsen, president & chief operating officer, and Brad Lukow, chief financial officer, will present at the BMO Capital Markets 12th Annual Farm to Market Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York. The presentation will begin at 8:10 AM EDT on May 18, 2017.

A live webcast of the presentation will be available on the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website at investors.sprouts.com. A replay will be archived and available at the same location. 

About Sprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. is a healthy grocery store offering fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices. Sprouts offers a complete shopping experience that includes fresh produce, meat and seafood, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, deli, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items catering to consumers’ growing interest in health and wellness. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Sprouts employs more than 25,000 team members and operates more than 260 stores in 15 states from coast to coast. For more information, visit sprouts.com or @sproutsfm on Twitter.

SOURCE: Sprouts Farmers Market

Investor Contact:
Susannah Livingston
(602) 682-1584
susannahlivingston@sprouts.com

Media Contact:
Donna Egan
(602) 682-3152
media@sprouts.com

Sainsbury’s Home research: 1 in 10 Brits last sent a handwritten card or letter over five years ago

Sainsbury’s Home research: 1 in 10 Brits last sent a handwritten card or letter over five years ago

London, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — New research reveals true extent of the demise of handwritten correspondence in the 21st century; Tech generation set to revive flagging penmanship skills.

  • The average Brit last sent a handwritten card or letter 17 months ago (with 45-54 year olds the worst offenders)
  • 1 in 10 Brits last sent a handwritten card or letter over five years ago
  • 1 in 10 men haven’t sent a handwritten card or letter for over 11 years
  • However: 7 in 10 Brits would prefer to receive a handwritten card or letter rather than an email or e-card
  • 74% of 16-24 year olds would prefer to receive a handwritten note from friends rather than e-communication

A whopping 74% of 16-24 year olds would prefer to receive a handwritten note from friends rather than a typed note busting the myth that young people have moved on from writing by hand. Ironically the iGeneration could be the ones to save the dying practice of penmanship.

The research, commissioned by Sainsbury’s Home, found the average Brit hasn’t sent a handwritten card or letter in nearly a year and a half (17 months ago); whilst the average 45-54 year old hasn’t sent a handwritten card/letter for 20 months. Over 1 in 10 Brits (11%) said they have not sent a handwritten card/letter in the past five years.

Yet despite these statistics it’s clear the nation is still in love with traditional penmanship – almost 7 in 10 (68%) Brits prefer to receive a handwritten letter or card rather than a less personal email or e-card.  A carefully penned love letter appears to be the stuff of fantasy in the UK; 12% of men haven’t sent a handwritten card or letter for over 11 years although 71% of women would prefer to receive a handwritten note from their loved one than an email.

The national survey of 2,000 people across the UK shows a significant decline in handwritten communications although in contrast the national supermarket chain has seen a 10% YOY uplift in pen & pencil sales.  Suggesting the nation is using their pens & pencils to write shopping lists, doodle & draw or take notes at work rather than handwrite cards and letters for friends and family.  Over 4 and a half million pens and pencils were sold across Sainsbury’s stores last year – which if lined up end to end in a single line would be long enough to stretch the length of Great Britain (approximately 700km long).

Director of Non Food Trading at Sainsbury’s, James Brown commented, “Tapping and texting on a keyboard has taken over as the primary method of communication in the modern age and although that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, we hope that by revealing these figures we might encourage the nation to send more handwritten cards and letters and revive the dying art of penmanship. We know receiving something handwritten makes the recipient feel special so an easy win with friends and family would be to swap to writing something by hand rather than tapping into a device.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Data: Sainsbury’s Home commissioned Censuswide to poll over 2,000 UK consumers, April 2017
  • National Stationery Week runs in the UK from 24th April to 30th April 2017

Regional breakdown for “Would you prefer receiving a handwritten letter or card from a friend than an email/e-card?” in descending order:

  • London 73.2%
  • South West 72.3%
  • West Midlands 70.3%
  • South East 69.9%
  • Yorkshire & Humber 69.3%
  • North East 69%
  • Scotland 68.8%
  • East 66.6%
  • North West 63.5%
  • Wales 62.4%
  • East Midlands 62%
  • Northern Ireland 60.3%

Regional breakdown for mean number of months since last sending a handwritten card or letter in descending order:

  • London 27months
  • East Midlands 20 months
  • Wales 19 months
  • Yorkshire & Humber 18 months
  • South East 17 months
  • North East 16 months
  • North West 16 months
  • Northern Ireland 16 months
  • East 15 months
  • West Midlands 13 months
  • Scotland 13 months
  • South West 12 months

For corporate press enquiries please contact press_office@sainsburys.co.uk or call 020 7695 7295.

SOURCE: J Sainsbury plc

Starbucks Reserve® Roastery to open on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in 2019

Starbucks Reserve® Roastery to open on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in 2019

One-of-a-kind coffee experience will be built in an iconic retail space on North Michigan Avenue

 Chicago Reserve® Roastery to be the third in the U.S. and sixth internationally for the company as Starbucks continues to transform the global coffee industry

 New Roastery expands Starbucks portfolio of premium retail experiences in Chicago, including a new Reserve® store concept opening in 2018 and multiple Starbucks® stores with Reserve bars 

SEATTLE, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today (April 26, 2017) announced it will open a Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in Chicago in 2019. Located on North Michigan Avenue and Erie Street on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Reserve® Roastery represents the company’s third Roastery location in the U.S. following Seattle, which opened in December 2014, and New York City, which is on track to open in 2018.  The company also plans to offer customers multiple international Roastery experiences, including Shanghai, opening late 2017, alongside Milan and Tokyo, slated to open in 2018.

“Having opened our first Starbucks store in Chicago nearly 30 years ago, our first outside of Seattle, this is a very special city for me. At the time, it was a true test for Starbucks because the Chicago customer is so savvy and discerning about their coffee,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman. “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, so we took our time to find an incredible space to match the unprecedented coffee experience our premium Roastery will offer. To be located on one of the best-known retail streets in the world is a proud moment for all of us and we can’t wait to bring Chicago and the world a coffee experience worthy of their most premier real estate.”

“Chicago’s Magnificent Mile brings in millions of visitors from across this globe and is the perfect location for a world-class coffee destination,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This Starbucks Reserve Roastery will be an investment in Chicago and a strong addition to Michigan Avenue, where residents and visitors can enjoy incredible coffees from around the world in a remarkable environment.”

Much like its flagship Seattle location, which was the most successful store opening in the company’s history, the new Chicago Roastery will be a fully sensorial coffee environment dedicated to roasting, brewing and packaging its rare, small-batch Starbucks Reserve coffees from around the world. Tailored to the Chicago customer, the interactive four-story, 43,000-square-foot space will also be designed to bring coffee craft to life by offering multiple brewing methods, specialty Reserve beverages and mixology.

“Howard and I share the same passion for the companies we created, each centered around the customer experience and a relentless attention to detail. This building has a unique way of becoming a beacon for a brand, and I can’t think of a better retailer than Starbucks to offer Chicago something new and exciting with its Reserve Roastery,” said Gordon Segal, founder, Crate and Barrel.

As announced at the company’s December Investor Day, Starbucks will also include fresh baking on site in all Reserve Roastery locations courtesy of Italian baker Rocco Princi. Known for his artisan breads created from traditional family recipes, Princi’s handcrafted food pairs perfectly with Reserve coffee, elevating every daypart – breakfast, lunch and dinner in all Starbucks Roasteries. Princi food will also be available in the company’s new Reserve stores, a retail concept inspired by the Roastery but not yet open to the public.  Starbucks has announced a Reserve store coming to the West Loop in Chicago in 2018 and Seattle in 2017. During last year’s Investor Day, Starbucks confirmed that it would open 20-30 Roastery locations globally over time and up to 1,000 Reserve stores.

The premium Starbucks Reserve brand is also coming to life in Starbucks stores with the inclusion of Reserve experience bars in select locations worldwide. Currently, there are 20 Starbucks stores in the U.S. with Reserve bars – three in downtown Chicago and one in Lake Forest, Illinois. This spectrum of Starbucks retail experiences is not new for Chicago: Since opening in 1987, the Chicago customer has seen many firsts from the company, including early iterations of the third-place experience, modular Drive Thru stores made from shipping containers, an express format focused on the commuting customer and, more recently, the opening of its first store in Englewood, providing job skills training to youth in addition to investing in local women- and minority-owned businesses while creating dozens of Chicago-area jobs.

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 25,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks 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 our stores or online at news.starbucks.com and Starbucks.com.

About Princi

Princi is a Milanese institution built around baking a range of quality hand-made, wood-fired breads.  You can learn more at http://www.princi.com/

For more information on this news release, contact us

SOURCE:  Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks announces locations of its next five Military Family Stores

The newly dedicated stores will provide a welcoming environment for all customers, with particular recognition and support of the local military community

SEATTLE, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — As part of its continued commitment to the veteran and military spouse community, Starbucks today (April 25, 2017) announced the locations of its next five Military Family Stores (MFS): Austin and El Paso, Texas (Camp Mabry and Ft. Bliss); Clarksville, Tennessee (Fort Campbell); Newport, Rhode Island (Naval War College); and Bedford, Massachusetts (Joint Base Hanscom).

The five stores bring the total MFS count to 37 operating across the U.S.

In March, at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Starbucks announced it would be dedicating 100 more stores with a MFS designation over the next five years. This is part of a commitment to hire 25,000 Veteran and military spouses by 2025. The company has hired more than 10,000 Veteran and military spouse partners (employees) since 2013.

“Service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens.  Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenship,” said John Kelly, senior vice president, Social Impact & Public Policy. “We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”

Functioning as a hub within the military community, stores with an MFS designation focus on programs that address the specific needs of Veterans, military spouses and active-duty service members. Each store catalyzes Starbucks Veteran hiring efforts and connects to its community through relationships with the local military base and with Veterans service organizations. The stores will also honor Starbucks partners and customers with design components, such as special murals, patriotic green aprons and offer merchandise that reflect the company’s appreciation for military service.

“Military families move often and live far from family and friends,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “We rely on outstanding partners like Starbucks in our communities across the country. Having a Military Family Store nearby means knowing that there is a welcoming environment to engage with neighbors and combat that sense of isolation.”

Among the special programs from these stores is Military Mondays, a collaboration between local veteran service organizations and Starbucks that offers pro bono legal support and other veteran and military spouse services at the company’s stores.

Many of the stores with MFS designation have also joined the Adopt a Military Unit program, where store partners sponsor units and send care packages to those deployed overseas.

In addition, the stores allow Starbucks to work with various Veteran Service Organizations that serve the needs of distinct groups within the military and veteran populations, including:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Foundation: a program launched in 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.

Blue Star Families: the leading advocate for and supporter of military spouses with a focus on career development, caregiving, and our informative research.

Team Red White and Blue: a program that enriches the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS) supports the families of fallen service members.

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

SOURCE: Starbucks Corporation

MEDIA CONTACT

Global
Phone: 206 318 7100
Email: press@starbucks.com

Majid Al Futtaim expands its leisure and entertainment offerings with the opening of Orbi Dubai on 7th May in City Centre Mirdif


Majid Al Futtaim expands its leisure and entertainment offerings with the opening of Orbi Dubai on 7th May in City Centre Mirdif

 

Dubai, UAE, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, today (Apil26, 2017) announced that Orbi Dubai, a game changing multi-sensory experience and a first in the Middle-East, will open to the public on 7th May in City Centre Mirdif.

Collaboratively developed by SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd. and BBC Worldwide, Orbi Dubai fuses BBC Earth’s world-renowned Natural History content with SEGA’s innovation and plunges visitors into the heart of the natural world. Through its exclusive partnership with SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd., Majid Al Futtaim will provide guests with unprecedented access to the unique nature experience.

Featuring innovative audio visual technology and interactive walk-through touchpoints, Orbi Dubai’s immersive offering will feature 12 spectacular exhibits. Revealed for the first time today, the attraction will include:

  • Animalpedia: a giant interactive screen featuring life-size visuals of animal shapes. Visitors can virtually reach out to an animal on screen and it responds with pop-up facts.
  • Earth Palette: a 360 visual treat with a wealth of natural images in a spectrum of colours, as visitors are enveloped by countless images of animals, landscapes and plants.
  • Base Camp: projection mapping to exhibit beautiful images captured by BBC Earth onto walls and a standalone sculpture. The sculpture changes character to represent different animals, which interact when touched.
  • Time Slice: hugely immersive,visitors gauge their abilities in relation to some of the speediest animals on our planet.
  •  Extreme Photo Spot: a captivating, green screen experience encouraging visitors to step into the wild and pose alongside their favourite animals.

Orbi Dubai’s centerpiece is undoubtedly the Theatre space. At 35 metres wide, ‘Theatre 23.4’ will  play custom made BBC Earth films, amplified by two massive screens behind viewers to create a 360°, fully immersive edutainment experience. The theatre also boasts 3D sound and cutting-edge technology that generates wind, fog, vibrations and even smells. Theatre 23.4’s debut showings include: The Magic of Yellowstone, which follows the stories of four iconic park inhabitants, and The Meerkats featuring this ever-popular creature on adventures in the Kalahari Desert.

Nabil Al Busaidi, the renowned Arab explorer, has also been appointed as a Nature Ambassador for Orbi Dubai. Otherwise known as ‘The Arab Adventurer’, Nabil was the first Arab to walk to the magnetic North Pole and has rowed 4,600 km across the Atlantic Ocean; an accomplishment achieved by less than 500 people.

Damien Latham, Chief Executive Officer, at Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment, said, “Orbi Dubai is set to transform the way people in the UAE explore the mysteries of nature, inviting them to see, hear and feel the planet in a unique and enchanting way. As we get closer to opening Orbi Dubai’s doors to the public we’re even more excited about sharing this attraction with the UAE – there’s simply nothing like it in the world when it comes to being right at the heart of nature. We’re also delighted to partner with Nabil Al Busaidi – his spirit of exploration and adventure perfectly embodies Orbi Dubai’s approach and we look forward to working with him as we approach our launch date.”

Nabil Al Busaidi, Adventurer and Orbi Dubai’s Nature Ambassador comments, “I’m passionate about the world we live in and the extraordinary elements that make up our planet. It is so important to educate children about the natural world and also to encourage them to take ownership of it for future generations. I’m so excited to partner with Orbi Dubai; I’ve undertaken some incredible expeditions and seen many of the unique sights that the world has to offer. Now the UAE will be able to experience this first hand too.”

Orbi Dubai will open on 7th May in City Centre Mirdif, where it will complement other family favourite Majid Al Futtaim – Leisure and Entertainment offerings such as Magic Planet, Little Explorers and iFly. For further information, please visit www.orbidubai.com. As part of its commitment to education, Orbi Dubai will also host school visits and birthday parties, providing and educational and fun experience for children as they learn vital facts about nature and earth.

SOURCE: Majid Al Futtaim

 

“Take A Walk Down First Street” Sweepstakes Offers Shoppers A Chance To Donate To Their Choice of Nonprofit Organizations

COMMERCE, Calif., 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Smart & Final Stores, Inc. (NYSE: SFS) – the neighborhood warehouse grocery store – today (April 26, 2017) announced it will transition the full line of Tradewinds Spices & Seasonings under its signature First Street private label brand, expanding its national brand equivalent or better tier of products by more than 140 items. The transition comes as the company aims to expand its First Street product portfolio, which makes up 75 percent of Smart & Final’s private label sales.

The First Street line of spices and seasonings carry the same formula and quality, but are updated with a new First Street label and packaging. Sold in Smart & Final, Smart & Final Extra! and Cash & Carry Smart Foodservice stores, products will be stocked as stores run out of individual Tradewinds items, with a full First Street spices and seasonings product reset to be completed in stores by mid-May.

“Since we introduced First Street, we have continued to see a positive shift in consumer perception about the quality and value of private label products,” said Raymond Swain, Vice President of Corporate Procurement, Smart & Final. “We want to assure our customers that the consolidation of Tradewinds to the First Street private label will not compromise the taste and formula of the spices and seasonings. This is just another way we continue to streamline our product inventory to deliver our customers high-quality products at the right price,” he added.

Same Product, New Look
As part of the brand transition, Smart & Final has introduced an updated First Street logo that features a contemporary look and acknowledges the company’s 146-year history. The consolidation of Tradewinds to the First Street brand will not impact the formula or quality of the spices or seasonings. Customers will still enjoy the same product, simply packaged in the updated First Street logo and labels. As part of the re-brand, customers can participate in a special sweepstakes for the opportunity to win a prize and donate to a charity of their choice.

Smart Giving
Beginning April 26 through May 16, Smart & Final customers can participate in a special sweepstakes for a chance to win and a chance to give back to their communities – a nod to Smart & Final’s First Street, First Percent charitable donation program.

With the purchase of any First Street brand product, shoppers will receive a code to enter to win a grand prize of $1,000 Smart & Final gift card and nominate their favorite nonprofit to receive one of 15 $5,000 charitable donations. Additionally, there will be 240 winners of a $100 Smart & Final gift card.

The Smart & Final Charitable Foundation will select from the charities nominated based on the company’s focus on health and wellness, education, hunger relief, and team sports and youth development initiatives in the cities it serves. In total, the company will award $25,000 to customers and the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation will donate $75,000 to nonprofit organizations, for a total of $100,000 in prizes.

The History of First Street – Community First
Giving back to local communities remains a priority at Smart & Final, and is realized in several ways, including its First Street, First Percent program. With the purchase of any First Street branded item, Smart & Final donates the first percent of net profit to the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. The First Street private label brand includes more than 2,000 products across most categories throughout the store, including: grocery, frozen, dairy, packaging and cleaning products – and now seasonings and spices.

“The First Street private label name was coined as a nod to the days when every town had a grocery store on Main Street,” said Eleanor Hong, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Smart & Final. “However, Smart & Final also wanted the name to reflect the company’s commitment to putting customers and community first. The combination of both ideas was how the First Street name was born.”

In addition to the flagship First Street private label brand, Smart & Final sells a variety of diverse private label brands including: Sun Harvest (natural and organic), La Romanella (Mediterranean-inspired foods), Montecito (Hispanic foods), Ambiance (coffee) and Simply Value (value offering).

About Smart & Final
Smart & Final Stores, Inc. (NYSE: SFS), is a value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer, headquartered in Commerce (near Los Angeles), California. The Company offers quality products in a variety of sizes, saving household, nonprofit and business customers time and money. As of January 1, 2017, the Company operated 305 grocery and foodservice stores under the “Smart & Final,” “Smart & Final Extra!” and “Cash & Carry Smart Foodservice” banners in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho, with an additional 15 stores in Northwestern Mexico operated through a joint venture. In business for over 145 years, the Company remains committed to giving back to local communities through employee volunteer opportunities and Company donations to local nonprofits.

Media Contact:
Marcus Moreno
Burson-Marsteller for Smart & Final
(310) 309-6611
press@smartandfinal.com

SOURCE: Smart & Final Stores, Inc.

CVS Health Reports Prescription Drug Abuse as A Growing Problem

WOONSOCKET, R.I., 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today (April 27, 2017) released a new report following a CVS Health-Morning Consult survey which found Americans see prescription drug abuse as a growing problem that is increasingly impacting their lives. Days ahead of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the report also finds that 75 percent of respondents believe the problem of prescription drug abuse is tied to people who take medication prescribed for someone else. At the same time, nearly one in three people report having unused medication in their home and one in five say they or someone they know has had prescription medication stolen from their home.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurs this Saturday, April 29, 2017. Nearly 140 CVS Pharmacy locations will be among the many sites across the country accepting unwanted prescription medication. These sites supplement the more than 750 year-round drug disposal locations donated to law enforcement agencies across the country by CVS Health’s Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program. The units donated as part of this program have collected more than 80 metric tons, or more than 175,000 pounds, of unwanted medication since the program began in 2014.

“CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing prescription drug abuse in the communities we serve,” said Thomas Moriarty, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, and General Counsel for CVS Health. “Understanding public perception about the epidemic and factors that contribute to it, including safe and environmentally friendly medication disposal, is key to raising awareness and preventing future abuse. We are proud to partner with law enforcement to encourage drug disposal and prevention this weekend for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and all year long through our Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program.”

The CVS Health report also finds nearly one in three people report being personally impacted by the issue of prescription drug abuse and nearly 40 percent say the number of people they know who have been personally impacted by the issue increased in the last year. On the topic of drug disposal, 43 percent of respondents say they have thrown unused or expired medications in the trash, more than any other method indicated in the survey. However, 70 percent of people say they are likely to use conveniently located disposal units to safely get rid of unwanted medication and the same percentage think increasing disposal sites and take back events would be effective in addressing prescription drug abuse.

CVS Health has made resources to educate patients about preventing prescription drug abuse available on CVS.com. Among these resources is a tool patients can use to find a safe medication disposal site available year-round in their local community.

“There are far too many unused prescription drugs in medicine cabinets across the country, opening the door for much of the improper use we’ve seen,” said Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. “Shatterproof has worked with doctors, pharmacies, lawmakers and most importantly, patients, to educate them on the dangers of over-prescription and the need for prescription drug monitoring programs. I applaud CVS Health for recognizing this problem and taking action to reduce the number of extra pills and make our communities safer.”

CVS Health is also working to address and prevent prescription drug abuse by increasing access to the opioid-overdose reversal medication naloxone in 41 states. Additionally, through the company’s Pharmacists Teach program, CVS pharmacists have volunteered to educate more than 230,000 students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,700 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact:

Erin Shields Britt
Corporate Communications
(401) 770-9237
Erin.Britt@CVSHealth.com

SOURCE: CVS Health

LS Retails’ Top Performing Business Partners Honored At conneXion Madrid

Madrid, Spain, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — LS Retail honored its best-performing partners during a dinner and awards ceremony that took place at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, on April 26. The awards dinner closed the first day of conneXion, LS Retail’s yearly retail and hospitality conference and Expo, which this year takes place at Meliá Castilla Hotel in Madrid, April 26-27.

LS Retail’s global partner network includes over 270 certified companies in 80 countries. These companies are responsible for delivering LS Retail software solutions worldwide, and for providing local businesses with customized implementations, project management and technical support. Every year, the highest-achieving partners in the LS Retail ecosystem are assigned a level based on their sales successes during the previous year. Partners displaying high, great and exceptional performance are assigned, respectively, Gold, Platinum and Diamond Level.

In 2017, thirteen partners reached Diamond Partner level, the top tier for an LS Retail partner, by displaying extraordinary dedication to the LS Retail solutions, and delivering continued customer success. These partners are: Bedege in Sweden; CGI Suomi in Finland; EG in Denmark; K3 Retail Solutions in the UK; KumaVision, Poresy Consulting and TSO-Data in Germany; Real Consulting in Greece; The Createch Group in Canada; AP&T Business Solutions and Think Tribe Technologies in the UAE; Bhatara Progress in Thailand; and NaviWorld Vietnam.

Twenty-four LS Retail partners met all the criteria to qualify for Platinum Partner level. Twenty-seven more partners achieved Gold Partner level.

During the ceremony, LS Retail also honored the two partners that promoted the LS Retail products and brands most effectively during the past year. The Best Customer Story award was presented to TCOG for their video of “The baby’s corner”, which effectively showcases how LS Retail products support retailers’ business growth. The Best Marketing and Branding award for 2017 went to NaviWorld Vietnam, for their continued focus and passion in promoting LS Retail. With hard work and exceptional marketing efforts, NaviWorld Vietnam has maintained its LS Retail Diamond Partner level for the second consecutive year.

“The LS Retail partner community is the foundation of LS Retail’s worldwide success. In 2016, our community experienced an amazing growth in size and performance. We have never had so many partners achieve Diamond Level before,” says Sigrun Dora Saevinsdottir, Chief Operating Officer at LS Retail. “On behalf of LS Retail, I congratulate all of this year’s Partner Award winners for their achievement, and thank them for their continued loyalty, commitment to LS Retail, and hard work.”

Source: LS Retail

Second B&M Store Opens in Congleton

Hartlepool, United Kingdom, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Shoppers in Congleton celebrated the opening of a new B&M store which opened in the town on Wednesday.

Located at Congleton Retail Park, Viking Way, the new Bargains Store is B&M’s second in the town and has made more great bargains available to even more shoppers in Congleton.

One of the fastest growing retailers in the UK, B&M has taken over the site of the old Poundland Clearance store and following an extensive refurbishment programme the variety retailer is pleased to announce that more than 50 jobs have been created as a result.

Visitors to the store will be able to browse a large range of branded and own label products, including toys, food & drink, pet items and homewares.

Shoppers will also have access to extensive DIY, decorating and furniture ranges.

Congleton Mayor, Cllr David Brown was one of the store’s special guests on Wednesday morning, cutting the ribbon to officially declare the store ‘open’.

And to mark the occasion further, store staff nominated a local charity to take part in the store opening as B&M’s VIP guest.

Friends for Leisure was nominated in recognition of the role it plays in the local community, arranging fun and social activities for disabled children and young people in Cheshire.

As a thank you for taking part the organisation received £250 worth of B&M vouchers.

B&M Congleton’s new store manager, Elaine Dale, said: “The team from Friends for Leisure really stood out for us as they go the extra mile for the community, we wanted to give them some VIP treatment as a thank you for all the hard work they do.

“We hope that our donation can help them to continue the great work they do.”

She also commented: “The new team have been working really hard to get the store ready for opening day and we can’t wait to get the doors open on Wednesday and show customers their new B&M Congleton.”

Contact:

email: press@bmstores.co.uk

Source: B&M

B&M’s Local Hero Initiative Invites Gutsy Grandma To Help Open New Wellingborough Store

Hartlepool, United Kingdom, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — B&M invited along a very special guest to help open the brand new Wellingborough store on Wednesday.

The new Bargain store is based on Market Street and has created more than 30 new jobs for local people.

Visitors to the sort will be able to browse a whole host of branded products, including toys, homewares, food & drink and health & beauty.

As part of B&M’s Local Hero initiative, given to a local charity or individual who’ve made an important contribution to their community, B&M colleagues invited along Maureen Sanders.

The glamorous granny has spent years fundraising for charity and recently took part in a daring zip wire challenge where she raised more than £1000 for Motor Neurone Disease Association.

In addition to opening the new store, Maureen will also receive £250 worth of B&M vouchers to donate to the charity as a thank you for taking part and for all her hard work in the local community.

Also helping to open the store was the Mayor of Wellingborough, Councillor Malcom Waters, who gratefully accepted B&M’s invitation to attend.

Lynne Boarder, store manager at B&M Orient Way – Wellingborough, said: “When we heard about Maureen’s zipwire challenge and all the fundraising she has done, we wanted to give her some VIP treatment as a thank you – she’s an amazing woman who thoroughly deserves it!

“We hope that our donation can help her to continue to help Motor Neurone Disease Association.”

She also commented: “The new team have been working really hard to get the store ready for opening day and we couldn’t wait to get the doors open and show customers their new B&M Wellingborough.”

The fun doesn’t stop on opening day, as a face painter will be in store on Saturday 29th April to transform customers into their favourite super heroes, animals or characters.

Contact:

email: press@bmstores.co.uk

Source: B&M

Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Reports Sales Performance Impacted by Shift in Valentine’s Day and Easter in First Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Reports Consolidated Comparable Sales and Profit in Line with Guidance with First Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results

  • First quarter consolidated comparable sales decline 8.1%, in line with guidance, reflecting holiday shifts and following a 2.2% increase in the fiscal 2016 first quarter
  • First quarter results include GAAP pre-tax income of $4.6 million and net income per diluted share of $0.17
  • Consolidated comparable sales increase mid-single digits for the nine-week period from February 19 to April 22, 2017, which accounts for the Easter shift

ST. LOUIS, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE:BBW) today (Apr. 27, 2017) reported results for the first quarter of fiscal 2017, the 13 weeks ended April 1, 2017. The Company noted sales performance was impacted by the shift in timing of both Valentine’s Day and Easter as well as associated school breaks in the quarter.

First Quarter 2017 Highlights (13 weeks ended April 1, 2017, compared to the 13 weeks ended April 2, 2016):

  • Consolidated comparable sales declined 8.1% following a 2.2% increase in the fiscal 2016 first quarter. The fiscal 2017 first quarter included a 9.0% decrease in North America, following a 3.0% increase in the fiscal 2016 first quarter and a 3.3% decrease in Europe, following a decrease of 1.8% in the fiscal 2016 first quarter. Consolidated comparable e-commerce sales decreased 5.6%, following a 1.0% increase in the fiscal 2016 first quarter;
  • Pre-tax income was $4.6 million, including $0.2 million in adjustments, compared to pre-tax income of $5.3 million, including $0.3 million in adjustments, in the fiscal 2016 first quarter. (See Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted Net Income);
  • Income tax expense was $1.8 million with an effective tax rate of 39.8%, compared to income tax expense of $1.8 million with an effective tax rate of 33.3% in the fiscal 2016 first quarter;
  • Net income was $2.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.5 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, in the fiscal 2016 first quarter; and
  • Adjusted net income was $2.7 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $3.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in the fiscal 2016 first quarter. (See Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted Net Income.)

Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “In the first quarter, sales and profit levels were in line with previously stated expectations and we made progress in evolving our strategies and building on the foundation that has been laid over the past few years to fuel future growth. As expected, sales were negatively impacted by shifts in both Valentine’s Day and Easter as well as the associated school break periods.

“As adjustments were made to our marketing and media programs following a disappointing fourth quarter, we saw an improvement in overall traffic and sales trends. I am encouraged by the start of the second quarter and believe we are well prepared to capitalize on an exciting lineup of proprietary and licensed properties supported by a robust movie schedule while continuing to evolve and diversify our retail portfolio with a goal of enhancing shareholder value throughout fiscal 2017,” concluded Ms. John.

Additional Fiscal First Quarter 2017 Details (13 weeks ended April 1, 2017, compared to the 13 weeks ended April 2, 2016):

  • Total revenues were $90.6 million compared to $95.0 million in the fiscal 2016 first quarter. The decline in total revenues reflects a decrease in consolidated comparable sales and unfavorable currency exchange rates partially offset by increases in sales from new retail locations and commercial revenue from the Company’s strategic wholesale and licensing initiatives;
  • Consolidated net retail sales were $88.6 million compared to $94.1 million in the fiscal 2016 first quarter;
  • Retail gross margin declined 130 basis points to 47.1% compared to 48.4% in the fiscal 2016 first quarter, primarily driven by the deleveraging of fixed occupancy expenses; and
  • Selling, general and administrative expense decreased $2.0 million to $37.6 million, or 41.5% of total revenues, compared to 41.8% of total revenues in the fiscal 2016 first quarter.

Impact of Foreign Currency:

The significant movement in the British pound sterling relative to the U.S. dollar as a result of the United Kingdom’s referendum vote in June 2016 continues to negatively affect the Company’s revenues and pre-tax income with most of the impact resulting from higher retail cost of merchandise sold as most inventory is purchased in U.S. dollars. In the 2017 fiscal first quarter, the Company estimates this impact on revenues and pre-tax income to be approximately $2.0 million and $0.3 million, respectively. This is inclusive of the transactional impact of changes in foreign exchange rates on the remeasurement of the Company’s balance sheets included in the Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted Net Income.

Store Activity:

During the first quarter, the Company opened 1 new store, closed 11 locations and completed 4 store remodels. As of April 1, 2017, the Company operated 336 company-owned stores, including 61 in its new Discovery format, with 275 locations in North America, 60 in Europe and 1 in China. The Company’s international franchisees ended the period with 87 stores in 11 countries.

Balance Sheet:

The Company ended the fiscal 2017 first quarter with cash and cash equivalents totaling $35.6 million and no borrowings under its revolving credit facility. Total inventory at quarter-end was $53.3 million compared to $54.0 million in the prior year, a decrease of 1.2%. In the fiscal 2017 first quarter, capital expenditures were $2.3 million, and depreciation and amortization was $3.9 million.

Review of Strategic Alternatives:

In May 2016, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had authorized an exploration of a full range of strategic alternatives. No timetable has been set for the Company’s review process. The Company does not expect to comment further or update the market with any additional information on the process unless and until the Board of Directors deems disclosure appropriate or necessary. There is no assurance that this exploration will result in any strategic alternatives being announced or executed.

2017 Key Strategic Initiatives:

CHANNEL Evolution

The Company continues to evolve its aged store fleet into new Discovery format stores, finishing the first quarter with 61 locations. Overall, these locations continue to perform ahead of heritage locations. The Company remains on track to have approximately 20 additional locations remodeled into this format in 2017 as it leverages natural lease events. Importantly, ongoing value engineering efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in capital requirements needed to open or remodel a store.

The Company continues to make progress to bring Build-A-Bear to places families go for entertainment, including tourist locations, seasonal event settings such as the successful relationship with Gaylord Hotels, pop-up shops at AMC Theatres and a rapidly expanding wholesale relationship with Carnival Cruise Line. Separately, the Company’s new retail model referred to as “concourse shops” requires less capital, has shorter-term leases and, at approximately 200 square feet, offers a solution for a wide range of settings. The Company expects to have 20 to 25 concourse shops open by the end of the fiscal year.

In addition, the Company is on track to upgrade its web platform ahead of the fourth quarter holiday season. The reinvention of the website platform and e-commerce systems is expected to enable Guests to experience Build-A-Bear online in new ways.

International franchisees ended the first quarter with 87 locations in 11 countries, including 7 Discovery stores, which delivered positive results. The Company continues to expect existing franchisees to open approximately 10 stores and to expand into additional countries in fiscal 2017.

PRODUCT Expansion

The Company is focused on meeting the needs of its core consumer base, boys and girls ages 3 to 12, while systematically building secondary consumer segments, including the teen-plus affinity and gift-giver consumers. Accordingly, the Company plans to balance its offering of core products with a comprehensive program of key licensed properties including products with tie-ins to major movie releases throughout 2017 while continuing to develop and expand offerings of its successful owned intellectual property stories, such as its Promise Pets, Honey Girls and the holiday-specific Merry Mission collections.

The Company also plans to continue to build outbound licensing programs by leveraging the power of the Build-A-Bear brand, as well as other owned intellectual properties. New license agreements have been added in categories ranging from non-plush toys to slippers and electronics, with updates and launches planned throughout 2017.

BRAND and EXPERIENCE Amplification

In addition to creating sharable, emotional content that more authentically communicates the heart of the brand, the Company is making adjustments to marketing programs that create synergy across channels. To that end, in the first quarter, the company shifted its media to better reach moms and kids while leveraging the competitive advantage of its entertainment retail experience by adding in-store events such as story readings, movie release celebrations and appearances by its iconic mascots. The Company plans to continue to develop entertainment content, including mobile apps, music videos and other opportunities that increase engagement, and are designed to improve efficiency, drive traffic and lead to profitable sales growth.

LONG-TERM PROFITABILITY Improvement

The Company is focused on improving profitability by driving revenue growth through the execution of its stated strategies, as well as disciplined expense management and ongoing efforts in process and systems upgrades. In response to business shifts that occurred at the end of 2016, adjustments have already been implemented in core operations, including marketing and media strategies, in order to regain a positive sales position.

As Build-A-Bear enters its 20th year in business and continues to evolve into a multi-generational, multi-dimensional branded company, the plans and actions that have been implemented since the start of the turnaround in 2013 are expected to provide the foundation to execute the Company’s strategies and achieve its goal of sustained profitable growth.

Today’s Conference Call Webcast:

Build-A-Bear Workshop will host a live internet webcast of its quarterly investor conference call at 9 a.m. ET today. The audio broadcast may be accessed at the Company’s investor relations website, http://IR.buildabear.com. The call is expected to conclude by 10 a.m. ET.

A replay of the conference call webcast will be available in the investor relations website for one year. A telephone replay will be available beginning at approximately noon ET today until midnight ET on April 27, 2017. The telephone replay is available by calling (844)-512-2921. The access code is 13659727.

About Build-A-Bear

Celebrating 20 years of business in 2017, Build-A-Bear is a global brand kids love and parents trust that seeks to add a little more heart to life. Build-A-Bear Workshop has approximately 400 stores worldwide where guests can create customizable furry friends, including company-owned stores in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and China, and franchise stores in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. The company was named to the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the eighth year in a row in 2016. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE:BBW) posted a total revenue of $364.2 million in fiscal 2016. For more information, visit the Investor Relations section of buildabear.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain statements that are, or may be considered to be, “forward-looking statements” for the purpose of federal securities laws, including, but not limited to, statements that reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. We generally identify these statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “might,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “predict,” “future,” “potential” or “continue,” the negative or any derivative of these terms and other comparable terminology. All of the information concerning the potential outcome of exploring strategic alternatives, our future liquidity, future revenues, margins and other future financial performance and results, achievement of operating of financial plans or forecasts for future periods, sources and availability of credit and liquidity, future cash flows and cash needs, success and results of strategic initiatives and other future financial performance or financial position, as well as our assumptions underlying such information, constitute forward-looking information.

These statements are based only on our current expectations and projections about future events. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including those factors discussed under the caption entitled “Risks Related to Our Business” and “Forward-Looking Statements” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 16, 2017 and other periodic reports filed with the SEC which are incorporated herein.

All of our forward-looking statements are as of the date of this Press Release only. In each case, actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking information. We can give no assurance that such expectations or forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. An occurrence of or any material adverse change in one or more of the risk factors or other risks and uncertainties referred to in this Press Release or included in our other public disclosures or our other periodic reports or other documents or filings filed with or furnished to the SECcould materially and adversely affect our continuing operations and our future financial results, cash flows, available credit, prospects and liquidity. Except as required by law, the Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Investors:
Build-A-Bear Workshop
Voin Todorovic
314-423-8000 x5221

Media:
Build-A-Bear Workshop
Beth Kerley
bethk@buildabear.com

Source: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

BJ’s Restaurants Inc. Shows Marked Improvements in First Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) today (April 27, 2017) reported financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

First Quarter 2017 Highlights Compared to First Quarter 2016

  • Total revenues grew 5.9% to $257.8 million
  • Total restaurant operating weeks increased approximately 10%
  • Comparable restaurant sales declined 1.3%
  • Net income and diluted net income per share were $9.3 million and $0.42, respectively, as compared to $11.6 million and $0.47 for the same quarter last year

“A marked improvement in sales and operating trends during the second half of the first quarter resulted in total revenue, comparable restaurant sales, restaurant operating margins, and diluted EPS exceeding expectations,” commented Greg Trojan, President and CEO. “Our sales momentum in the latter part of the quarter partially offset the impact from extreme California rains and calendar shifts. The ongoing excellent work of our operators, combined with our operating disciplines, industry leading average unit volumes and the operating leverage in our business model, enabled BJ’s to deliver another quarter of solid earnings.

“In addition to improving underlying sales trends, we made excellent progress with our major sales building initiatives during the quarter. Our new daily Brewhouse Specials, which rolled out company-wide in February, continue to gain traction and are generating some of our highest Pizookie® incident rates during ‘$3 Pizookie® Tuesdays.’ We recently completed the installation of our new slow-roasting ovens in all of our restaurants. These new ovens allow us to slow-cook to perfection large format proteins such as prime rib, turkey, pork shoulder and ribs. We plan to support the rollout of our new slow-cooked proteins through various media channels in May to coincide with Mother’s Day, graduation and Father’s Day celebrations. The launch of our new handheld server tablets is also on schedule, with 86 restaurants now using the new technology. The handheld server tablets continue to drive improvements in items per order incident rates while speeding up order times, thereby enhancing guest satisfaction ratings. Our tests of third party delivery services also continued during the quarter, and we look forward to launching this offering in our restaurants later this year. Most importantly, our team members are embracing these new initiatives and continue to deliver exceptional guest service every day and on every shift.”

In the first quarter of fiscal 2017, BJ’s opened three new restaurants in Noblesville, Indiana, Columbia, Maryland and Mobile, Alabama. To date in the second quarter, the Company has opened restaurants in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Youngstown, Ohio bringing our concept total to 192 locations. Trojan concluded, “We expect to open two additional restaurants in the second quarter and three restaurants in the second half of this year for a total of ten new restaurants in fiscal 2017. With the success of our newest restaurants, coupled with the broad appeal of our concept and the significant number of untapped regions throughout the United States, the majority of our growth remains ahead of us.”

During the first quarter of 2017, the Company repurchased and retired approximately 0.8 million shares of its common stock at a cost of approximately $29.0 million. Since the Company’s first share repurchase authorization was approved in April 2014, BJ’s has repurchased and retired approximately 8.2 million shares at a cost of approximately $319.5 million. The Company’s Board of Directors has approved an expansion of the share repurchase program by $50 million. As a result, the Company currently has approximately $80.5 million available under its authorized $400 million share repurchase program.

Investor Conference Call and Webcast
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. will conduct a conference call on its first quarter 2017 earnings release today, April 27, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Senior management will discuss the financial results and host a question and answer session. In addition, a live audio webcast of the call will be accessible to the public on the “Investors” page of the Company’s website located at http://www.bjsrestaurants.com and a recording of the webcast will be archived on the site for 30 days following the live event. Please allow 15 minutes to register and download and install any necessary software.

About BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. currently owns and operates 192 casual dining restaurants under the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse®, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery®, BJ’s Pizza & Grill® and BJ’s Grill® brand names. BJ’s Restaurants offer an innovative and broad menu featuring award-winning, signature deep-dish pizza complemented with generously portioned salads, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, pastas, entrees and desserts, including the Pizookie® dessert. Quality, flavor, value, moderate prices and sincere service remain distinct attributes of the BJ’s experience. All restaurants feature BJ’s critically acclaimed proprietary craft beers, which are produced at several of the Company’s Restaurant & Brewery locations, its two brewpubs in Texas and by independent third party craft brewers. The Company’s restaurants are located in the 24 states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Visit BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. on the Web at http://www.bjsrestaurants.com for locations and additional information.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
Certain statements in the preceding paragraphs and all other statements that are not purely historical constitute “forward-looking” statements for purposes of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. Such statements include, but are not limited to, those regarding expected comparable restaurant sales and margin growth in future periods, total potential domestic capacity, the success of various sales-building and productivity initiatives, future guest traffic trends, construction cost savings initiatives and the number and timing of new restaurants expected to be opened in future periods. These “forward-looking” statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results to be materially different from those projected or anticipated. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (i) our ability to manage an increasing number of new restaurant openings, (ii) construction delays, (iii) labor shortages, (iv) increases in minimum wage and other employment related costs, including compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and minimum salary requirements for exempt team members, (v) the effect of credit and equity market disruptions on our ability to finance our continued expansion on acceptable terms, (vi) food quality and health concerns and the effect of negative publicity about us, our restaurants, other restaurants, or others across the food supply chain, due to food borne illness or other reasons, whether or not accurate, (vii) factors that impact California, where 63 of our current 192 restaurants are located, (viii) restaurant and brewery industry competition, (ix) impact of certain brewing business considerations, including without limitation, dependence upon suppliers, third party contractors and distributors, and related hazards, (x) consumer spending trends in general for casual dining occasions, (xi) potential uninsured losses and liabilities due to limitations on insurance coverage, (xii) fluctuating commodity costs and availability of food in general and certain raw materials related to the brewing of our craft beers and energy, (xiii) trademark and service-mark risks, (xiv) government regulations and licensing costs, (xv) beer and liquor regulations, (xvi) loss of key personnel, (xvii) inability to secure acceptable sites, (xviii) legal proceedings, (xix) other general economic and regulatory conditions and requirements, (xx) the success of our key sales-building and related operational initiatives, and (xxi) numerous other matters discussed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its recent reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K. The “forward-looking” statements contained in this press release are based on current assumptions and expectations, and BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update or alter its “forward-looking” statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For further information, please contact:
Greg Levin
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.
(714) 500-2400

JCIR
(212) 835-8500
bjri@jcir.com.

Source: BJ’s Restaurants, Inc./globenewswire

Retailers Agree Proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Could Help Economy Grow

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (April 26, 2017) welcomed the proposal on comprehensive tax reform released by President Trump.

“Retailers commend the president for his leadership on much-needed comprehensive tax reform,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “What matters most is that we enact pro-growth tax policy for both individuals and businesses. This puts money back in the pockets of hard working Americans, helping to grow businesses and industries in the communities where consumers live and work.”

“The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, and retailers pay the highest effective tax rate of any industry,” Shay said. “Lowering the rate for businesses would significantly improve U.S. companies’ ability to compete in a global marketplace and will drive more investment to the United States.”

“The devil is in the details, but we are optimistic that when tax reform crosses the finish line it won’t include a border adjustment tax or any other scheme that shifts the financial burden to consumers,” Shay said. “Taxing imports would not only raise prices for consumers, it would ultimately cost American jobs and shutter American businesses. We look forward to continued conversations with the administration and Congress to make pro-growth tax reform a reality.”

NRF has led the retail industry in supporting comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower the corporate tax rate. Retail benefits from few of the tax breaks that lower tax bills for other industries, and pays the highest effective corporate tax rate of any sector of the U.S. economy – at or close to the maximum 35 percent.

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.

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Retailers Urge Congress To Help Save Consumers Billions With Swipe Fee Reform

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation and retailers from across the country went to Capitol Hill today (April 26, 2017) as Congress held a hearing on legislation that would repeal debit card swipe fee reform, telling lawmakers that reform has saved merchants and consumers more than $40 billion and should be protected.

“Debit card reform has been a remarkable success,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “It has saved retailers and their customers billions of dollars and it has brought the beginnings of transparency and competition to a market where swipe fees were price-fixed and all banks linked arms to charge the same high fees. If reform is repealed, the big banks will go back to those practices, and nothing will stop them from setting these fees as high as they like and driving up prices paid by consumers in the process.”

“This has been settled law for the better part of a decade,” Duncan said. “We should be looking at the future of payments rather than trying to re-legislate this important consumer protection and vital step forward for fair market competition.”

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing this morning on the Financial Choice Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a larger rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

No retailers were invited to testify at the hearing despite the issue’s impact on the industry. But dozens of retailers are in Washington today for a fly-in organized by NRF and other retail groups to lobby against repeal and many attended the session. In addition, NRF submitted a statement for the record and is running digital ads and circulating petitions addressing consumer benefits, competition and retailers’ concerns that urge Congress to preserve debit card reform.

This morning, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the namesake sponsor of debit swipe fee reform in the Senate, and Representative Peter Welch, D-Vt., the measure’s chief backer in the House, spoke before retailers over breakfast.

Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.

Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from about 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.

The savings has been particularly important to small retailers, who say the fees are among their highest expenses.

A survey conducted for NRF last year found that 89 percent of consumers said the limit should remain in place. In addition, 84 percent said swipe fees should be set on a competitive basis rather than letting card companies set price-fixed fees.

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.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Full-time jobs decline as Retailers Assess Working Relationship with Staff

  • The equivalent number of full time jobs fell by 3.9% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Both Food and Non-Food retailers contributed to the decline in FTE employment, although it was Food that saw the deepest falls.
  • In the first quarter of 2017, the number of outlets rose by 0.6% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Food retailers drove the overall increase in the number of stores.
  • All three months of the quarter reported a decline in FTE employment, with January’s decline only marginally shallower than that seen in February and March.

London, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — HELEN DICKINSON OBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM, SAID:

“Today’s fall in full-time equivalent employment from our sample of retailers shows a continuation of a year-long downward trend of retailers reducing the number of hours being worked.

“We expect retailers to continue reviewing how they work with their people as they look to address the changing face of retail and keep prices low for consumers. Building inflationary pressures and public policy costs, alongside intense competition, are taking their toll and retail, as a people intensive industry, is being hit hard. That said, many retailers are actively investing in their people to improve the quality and productivity of jobs per employee.

“Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations for the next government; certainty for the EU colleagues working in the industry and a business tax environment fit for purpose in the 21st century are what’s needed for the retail industry to drive productivity with better jobs, innovation and new skills for the digital age.”

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE+ 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

Unibail-Rodamco SE Shares Results of Annual General Meeting

Paris, Amsterdam, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Unibail-Rodamco’s Annual General Meeting took place at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, in Paris. All 24 resolutions submitted for approval by shareholders were adopted by very large majorities. Detailed results of the votes are available on the Group’s website (www.unibail-rodamco.com).

Among other matters, shareholders approved the Group’s annual accounts for the 2016 financial year and resolved to distribute a dividend of €10.20 per share, comprised of:

– an interim dividend of €5.10 per share paid on March 29, 2016 from the Group’s tax-exempt real estate activities (“SIIC” regime) and,

– the balance of €5.10 per share to be paid on July 6, 2017, of which €2.42 from the Group’s tax-exempt SIIC activities and €2.68 from the Group’s non-tax exempt activities and eligible for a tax deduction. The ex-dividend date is July 4, 2017.

The term of office of the principal statutory auditors, Ernst & Young Audit and Deloitte & Associés, was renewed.

Shareholders also approved the renewal of the term of Ms Dagmar Kollmann as a member of the Supervisory Board and appointed Mr Philippe Collombel, Mr Colin Dyer, and Mr Roderick Munsters as new members.

As announced on March 17, 2017, the Supervisory Board met after the General Meeting and appointed Mr Colin Dyer as new Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

The next General Meeting called to approve the annual accounts for the 2017 financial year will be held on April 18, 2018.

For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations:
Marine Huet
+33 1 76 77 58 02
marine.huet@unibail-rodamco.com

Media Relations:
Pauline Duclos-Lenoir
+33 1 76 77 57 94
pauline.duclos-lenoir@unibail-rodamco.com

Source: Unibail-Rodamco

Tractor Supply Company Encouraged By Significant Spring Business After Release of First Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results

Sales Increased 6.6% to $1.56 Billion; Comparable Store Sales Decreased 2.2%; Earnings per Share Decreased 8.0% to $0.46

BRENTWOOD, TN, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States, today (04/26/17 ) announced financial results for its first quarter ended April 1, 2017.

First Quarter Results

As previously reported in the Company’s Business Update press release on April 11, 2017, net sales for the first quarter 2017 increased 6.6% to $1.56 billion from $1.47 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Comparable store sales decreased 2.2% compared to an increase of 4.9% (2.6% adjusted for the week shift) in the prior year’s first quarter. Each quarter of fiscal 2017 starts one week later than the same quarter of fiscal 2016 due to the Company’s 2016 fiscal year having 53 weeks versus the normal 52 weeks. The comparable store sales results included decreases in comparable transaction count and average ticket of 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively. The decrease in comparable store sales was primarily driven by lower sales of seasonal merchandise and the impact of deflation. On a regional basis, sales were most challenged in the Northern regions, where weather had a more pronounced impact on sales for the quarter. The weakness in seasonal categories was partially offset by a positive comparable store sales increase in the Livestock and Pet category.

Gross profit increased 4.8% to $518.2 million from $494.4 million in the prior year’s first quarter, and gross margin decreased 60 basis points to 33.1% from 33.7% in the prior year’s first quarter. The decrease in gross margin was primarily driven by higher markdowns on cold weather merchandise, targeted promotional activity, and a higher freight expense for consumable, usable and edible (C.U.E.) products.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, including depreciation and amortization, increased 9.2% to $421.8 million from $386.2 million in the prior year period. As a percent of net sales, SG&A expenses increased 70 basis points to 27.0% from 26.3% in the first quarter of 2016. The increase in the SG&A ratio was primarily attributable to the deleveraging of store personnel and occupancy expenses from the decline in comparable store sales.

Net income decreased 10.9% to $60.3 million from $67.7 million and diluted earnings per share decreased 8.0% to $0.46 from $0.50 in the first quarter of the prior year.

The Company opened 24 new Tractor Supply stores and converted its two Hometown Pet stores to Petsense stores in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 36 new store openings and three store closures, all of which were Del’s stores, in the prior year period. The Company also opened nine new Petsense stores (including the conversion of the Hometown Pet stores) during the quarter and had no store closures.

Greg Sandfort, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Due to the challenging weather conditions, we were unable to offset the strong seasonal performance from last year’s first quarter. As the weather has normalized over the past few weeks, we are encouraged with how the customer has responded and believe there is significant spring business ahead of us. Looking ahead, we know the retail landscape is changing very quickly, and we know our customers’ expectations are changing as well. With this in mind, we continue to execute against the strategic initiatives that we believe will drive sales and customer service as well as maintain our competitive positioning.”

Fiscal 2017 Outlook

Given the seasonality of the business and the impact weather can have on the timing of sales between quarters, the business is more accurately assessed by the halves and not the quarters. As a result, the Company has not updated guidance for the results of operations expected for fiscal 2017.

Conference Call Information

Tractor Supply Company will be hosting a conference call at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time today to discuss the quarterly results. The call will be broadcast simultaneously over the Internet on the Company’s website at IR.TractorSupply.com.

Please allow extra time prior to the call to visit the site and download the streaming media software required to listen to the Internet broadcast.

A replay of the webcast will also be available at IR.TractorSupply.com shortly after the conference call concludes.

About Tractor Supply Company

Founded in 1938, Tractor Supply Company is the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States. At April 1, 2017, the Company operated 1,617 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.tractorsupply.com. Tractor Supply stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers and others who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses. Stores are located primarily in towns outlying major metropolitan markets and in rural communities. The Company offers the following comprehensive selection of merchandise: (1) equine, livestock, pet and small animal products, including items necessary for their health, care, growth and containment; (2) hardware, truck, towing and tool products; (3) seasonal products, including heating, lawn and garden items, power equipment, gifts and toys; (4) work/recreational clothing and footwear; and (5) maintenance products for agricultural and rural use.

Tractor Supply Company also owns and operates Petsense, a small-box pet specialty supply retailer focused on meeting the needs of pet owners, primarily in small and mid-size communities, and offering a variety of pet products and services. At April 1, 2017, the Company operated 152 Petsense stores in 26 states. For more information on Petsense, visit www.petsense.com.

Forward Looking Statements

As with any business, all phases of the Company’s operations are subject to influences outside its control. This information contains certain forward-looking statements, including without limitation, statements regarding sales and earnings growth, estimated results of operations, capital expenditures, marketing, merchandising and strategic initiatives. These forward-looking statements are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to the finalization of the Company’s quarterly financial and accounting procedures, and may be affected by certain risks and uncertainties, any one, or a combination, of which could materially affect the results of the Company’s operations. These factors include, without limitation, national, regional and local economic conditions affecting consumer spending, the timing and acceptance of new products in the stores, the timing and mix of goods sold, purchase price volatility (including inflationary and deflationary pressures), the ability to increase sales at existing stores, the ability to manage growth and identify suitable locations, failure of an acquisition to produce anticipated results, the ability to successfully manage expenses and execute key gross margin enhancing initiatives, the availability of favorable credit sources, capital market conditions in general, the ability to open new stores in the manner and number currently contemplated, the impact of new stores on the business, competition, weather conditions, the seasonal nature of the business, effective merchandising initiatives and marketing emphasis, the ability to retain vendors, reliance on foreign suppliers, the ability to attract, train and retain qualified employees, product liability and other claims, changes in federal, state or local regulations, potential judgments, fines, legal fees and other costs, breach of information systems or theft of employee or customer data, ongoing and potential future legal or regulatory proceedings, management of the Company’s information systems, failure to develop and implement new technologies, the failure of customer-facing technology systems, business disruption including from the implementation of supply chain technologies, effective tax rate changes and results of examination by taxing authorities, the ability to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, and changes in accounting standards, assumptions and estimates. Forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company are based on knowledge of its business and the environment in which it operates at the time the statements are made, but because of the factors listed above, actual results could differ materially from those reflected by any forward-looking statements. Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made are qualified by these cautionary statements and those contained in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that the results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to or effects on the Company or its business and operations. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Contact:

Kurt D. Barton
Chief Financial Officer
Christine Skold
Vice President, Investor Relations
(615) 440-4000

Investors: John Rouleau/Rachel Schacter, ICR
Media: Alecia Pulman/Brittany Rae Fraser, ICR
(203) 682-8200

Source: Tractor Supply Company

Chipotle Off To A Good Start With First Quarter 2017 Results

DENVER, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) today (Apr. 25, 2017) reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2017.

Overview for the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the first quarter of 2016:

  • Revenue increased 28.1% to $1.07 billion
  • Comparable restaurant sales increased 17.8% (including 0.6% from recognized revenue previously deferred related to Chiptopia)
  • Restaurant level operating margin increased to 17.7% from 6.8%
  • Net income was $46.1 million, improved from a net loss of $26.4 million
  • Diluted earnings per share was $1.60, improved from a diluted net loss per share of $0.88
  • Opened 57 new restaurants

“2017 is off to a strong start, as our restaurant managers and teams are energized by our renewed focus on the customer,” said Steve Ells, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Chipotle. “By simplifying the focus in our restaurants to only those elements that lead to a great guest experience, our operations have improved every single month, which gives us confidence that we are on our way to achieve our mission to ensure that great food made with whole unprocessed ingredients is accessible to everyone.”

First quarter 2017 results

Revenue for the quarter was $1.07 billion, up 28.1% from the first quarter of 2016. The increase in revenue was driven by comparable restaurant sales increases and to a lesser extent by new restaurant openings. Comparable restaurant sales increased due to improved customer traffic, reduced promotional activity, and increased average check. Comparable restaurant sales increased 17.8%, which included a benefit of 0.6% due to previously deferred revenue related to Chiptopia recognized during the quarter. We opened 57 new restaurants during the quarter and closed 15 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants and one Chipotle restaurant. Our total restaurant count as of the end of the quarter was 2,291.

Food costs were 33.8% of revenue, a decrease of 150 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2016. The decrease was primarily driven by lower food waste and testing costs, and bringing the preparation of lettuce and bell peppers back to our restaurants. This decrease was partially offset by higher avocado prices.

Restaurant level operating margin was 17.7% in the quarter, an increase from 6.8% in the first quarter of 2016. The increase was primarily driven by sales leverage, lower marketing and promotional spend, efficiencies in labor, and lower food costs. The restaurant level operating margin also benefited by 0.15% from sales leverage related to recognizing revenue previously deferred from Chiptopia, slightly offset by free catering discounts for Chiptopia.

General and administrative expenses were 6.5% of revenue for the first quarter of 2017, a decrease of 90 basis points from the first quarter of 2016. In dollar terms, general and administrative expenses increased $7.4 million compared to the first quarter of 2016 due to increased non-cash stock based compensation and bonus expense, partially offset by lower legal and travel costs. Excluding stock based compensation, general and administrative expenses during the quarter were flat in dollar terms compared to last year. Stock compensation expense was higher during the first quarter of 2017 because the first quarter of 2016 included a reduction in expense for performance awards that were no longer expected to vest against performance criteria. Without this reduction, stock compensation expense was consistent in both years.

Net income for the first quarter of 2017 was $46.1 million, or $1.60 per diluted share, compared to net loss of $26.4 million, or a loss of $0.88 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016.

Outlook

For the full year of 2017, management is targeting the following:

  • Comparable restaurant sales increases in the high-single digits
  • 195 – 210 new restaurant openings
  • An estimated effective full year tax rate of approximately 39.0%

Definitions

The following definitions apply to these terms as used throughout this release:

Comparable restaurant sales, or sales comps, represent the change in period-over-period sales for restaurants in operation for at least 13 full calendar months.

Comparable restaurant transactions represent the change in period-over-period transactions, including transactions with no sales dollars due to promotional discounts, for restaurants in operation for at least 13 full calendar months.

Restaurant level operating margin represents total revenue less restaurant operating costs, expressed as a percent of total revenue.

Conference Call

Chipotle will host a conference call to discuss the first quarter 2017 financial results on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 4:30 PM Eastern time.

The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing 1-877-451-6152 or for international callers by dialing 1-201-389-0879. The call will be webcast live from the company’s website on the investor relations page at ir.chipotle.com. An archived webcast will be available approximately one hour after the end of the call.

About Chipotle

Steve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in an interactive style allowing people to get exactly what they want. Chipotle seeks out extraordinary ingredients that are not only fresh, but that are raised responsibly, with respect for the animals, the land, and the people who produce them. Chipotle prepares its food without the use of added colors, flavors or preservatives typically found in fast food. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in Denver in 1993 and operates more than 2,300 restaurants. For more information, visit chipotle.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release, including statements under the heading “Outlook” of our expected comparable restaurant sales increases, number of new restaurant openings, and effective tax rate for 2017 are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We use words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “continue,” “should,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “predict,” “project,” “target,” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions, to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date any such statements are made and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: the uncertainty of our ability to achieve expected levels of comparable restaurant sales due to factors such as changes in consumers’ perceptions of our brand, including as a result of food-borne illness incidents beginning in late 2015, the impact of competition, including from sources outside the restaurant industry, decreased overall consumer spending, or our possible inability to increase menu prices or realize the benefits of menu price increases; the risk of food-borne illnesses and other health concerns about our food or dining out generally; factors that could affect our ability to achieve and manage our planned expansion, such as the availability of a sufficient number of suitable new restaurant sites and the availability of qualified employees; the performance of new restaurants and their impact on existing restaurant sales; increases in the cost of food ingredients and other key supplies or higher food costs due to new supply chain protocols; the potential for increased labor costs or difficulty retaining qualified employees, including as a result of market pressures, enhanced food safety procedures in our restaurants, or new regulatory requirements; risks related to our marketing and advertising strategies, which may not be successful and may expose us to liabilities; security risks associated with the acceptance of electronic payment cards or electronic storage and processing of confidential customer or employee information; risks relating to our expansion into new markets; the impact of federal, state or local government regulations relating to our employees, our restaurant design, or the sale of food or alcoholic beverages; risks associated with our Food With Integrity philosophy, including supply shortages and potential liabilities from advertising claims and other marketing activities related to Food With Integrity; risks relating to litigation, including possible governmental actions related to food-borne illness incidents, as well as class action litigation regarding employment laws, advertising claims or other matters; risks relating to our insurance coverage and self-insurance; our dependence on key personnel and uncertainties arising from recent changes in our leadership; risks regarding our ability to protect our brand and reputation; risks associated with our ability to effectively manage our growth; and other risk factors described from time to time in our SEC reports, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, all of which are available on the investor relations page of our website at ir.chipotle.com.

Contact:
Mark Alexee
303-605-1042
malexee@chipotle.com

Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

Kimco Realty Shows Strong Results For First Quarter 2017

NEW HYDE PARK, New York, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) today ( April 26, 2017) reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017.

First Quarter Highlights
 Net income available to the company’s common shareholders of $65.2 million, or $0.15 per diluted share;
 Signed 497 new leases, renewals and options, totaling 4.3 million square feet, representing the highest leasing volume of any quarter in the last ten years;
 Generated 10.9% growth in pro-rata rental-rate leasing spreads with new leases increasing 17.9% and renewals/options up 10.1%;
 Grew same-property net operating income (NOI) 2.2% over the same period in 2016;
 Acquired two operating properties for $43.1 million and a 90% ownership interest in a new mixeduse development project for $10.0 million, while disposing of eight shopping centers representing 948,000 square feet and one land parcel for a total of $113.2 million;
 Issued $400 million in new, unsecured notes due 2027 at a coupon of 3.80%; and
 Closed a new five-year $2.25 billion unsecured revolving credit facility with borrowings priced at LIBOR plus 87.5 basis points.

Financial Results

Net income available to the company’s common shareholders (Net Income) for the first quarter of 2017 was $65.2 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, compared to $129.2 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016. The decrease was primarily due to $68.9 million* of lower gains on the sales of operating properties, net of impairments, attributable to the sale or pending disposition of operating properties. Both gains on sales and operating property impairments are excluded from the calculation of Funds From Operations available to the company’s common shareholders (NAREIT FFO).

NAREIT FFO was $155.1 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $158.2 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016. NAREIT FFO for the first quarter of 2017 included $0.6 million of transactional charges (net of transactional income). This compares to $5.4 million of transactional income (net of transactional charges) in the first quarter of 2016.

FFO available to the company’s common shareholders as adjusted (FFO as adjusted), which excludes the effects of non-operating impairments as well as transactional income and charges, was $155.8 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $152.9 million, or $0.37 per diluted share during the same period in 2016.

A reconciliation of net income to NAREIT FFO, FFO as adjusted and same-property NOI is provided in the tables accompanying this press release.

Operating Results

 Reported pro-rata portfolio occupancy of 95.3% at the end of the first quarter;
 Signed 497 leases totaling 4.3 million square feet during the quarter including 347 renewals and options for 3.5 million square feet;
 Increased pro-rata leasing spreads by 10.9%, with rental rates for new leases up 17.9% and renewals/options growing 10.1%; and
 Improved same-property NOI 2.2%, which included a 10-basis-point benefit from redevelopment activity, compared to the same period in 2016.

Investment Activity
Acquisitions:

 Plaza Del Prado, a 142,000-square-foot, grocery-anchored shopping center located on the North Shore of Chicago’s affluent suburb of Glenview, Illinois, for $38.0 million. Situated on 14 acres, Plaza Del Prado is supported by a population of approximately 83,000 with an average household income of $126,000 within a three-mile radius. At the time of acquisition, the shopping center was 87.6% occupied, offering near-term lease up opportunities as well as future value creation potential from the development of an outparcel.

 An vacant 25,000-square-foot, in-line space at the company’s Columbia Crossing shopping center, located in Columbia, Maryland, for $5.1 million. This acquisition offers an attractive leaseup opportunity and increases the amount of square footage owned by Kimco to approximately 198,000 square feet.

 A 90% ownership interest in Lincoln Square, a fully entitled, mixed-use development project in the highly sought-after Center City district of Philadelphia for $10.0 million. The project, which recently commenced construction, will feature 322 residential units and 100,000 square feet of retail space (approximately 80% pre-leased) anchored by a 36,000-square-foot small-format Target, a 32,000-square-foot specialty grocer and a 16,000-square-foot PetSmart. Lincoln Square will be an approximately $160-million live, work, play urban, transit-oriented development located at Broad Street and Washington Avenue. The project, which is within walking distance to the heart of Center City and offers convenient subway and bus access, boasts excellent demographics, with a population of 111,500 and an average household income of approximately $90,000 within a one-mile radius.

Dispositions:

Sales for the first quarter totaled $113.2 million, including the disposition of eight shopping centers, totaling 948,000 square feet, and one land parcel. Kimco’s share of the sales price was $65.8 million

Capital Activities

During the first quarter of 2017, the company:  Issued $400 million of new, unsecured notes due 2027 at a coupon of 3.80% and repaid $250 million outstanding on an unsecured term loan that matured in January 2017, extending the company’s weighted average debt maturity profile to 8.9 years as of March 31, 2017; and  Closed on a new $2.25 billion unsecured revolving credit facility with an initial maturity of March 17, 2021 and two additional six-month extension options. The new credit facility replaced the company’s previous $1.75 billion unsecured credit facility. Borrowings under the new facility are priced at LIBOR plus 87.5 basis points.

Dividend Declarations

Kimco’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.27 per common share, payable on July 17, 2017, to shareholders of record on July 6, 2017 representing an ex-dividend date of July 3, 2017. The board of directors also declared quarterly dividends with respect to the company’s various series of cumulative redeemable preferred shares (Class I, Class J and Class K). All dividends on the preferred shares will be paid on July 17, 2017, to shareholders of record on July 5, 2017, with an exdividend date of June 30, 2017.

Conference Call and Supplemental Materials Kimco will hold its quarterly conference call on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The call will include a review of the company’s first quarter 2017 results as well as a discussion of the company’s strategy and expectations for the future. To participate, dial 1-888-317-6003 (Passcode: 1279218).

A replay will be available through July 27, 2017, by dialing 1-877-344-7529 (Passcode: 10101788). Access to the live call and replay will be available through the company’s website at investors.kimcorealty.com.

About Kimco

Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) headquartered in New Hyde Park, N.Y., that is one of North America’s largest publicly traded owners and operators of openair shopping centers. As of March 31, 2017, the company owned interests in 517 U.S. shopping centers comprising 84 million square feet of leasable space across 34 states and Puerto Rico. 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, disposition, development and redevelopment 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, 2016, 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. The company disclaims any intention or obligation to update the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT:

David F. Bujnicki
Senior Vice President
Investor Relations and Strategy
Kimco Realty Corp.
1-866-831-4297
dbujnicki@kimcorealty.com

Source: Kimco Realty Corp.

L Brands To Hold A Webcast For April 2017 Sales Results

COLUMBUS, Ohio, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — In conjunction with L Brands’ sales release, you are invited to listen to a pre-recorded broadcast of the April Sales report. The broadcast will be available on the Internet on Thursday, May 4 at 7:30 a.m. ET.

What:   L Brands April Sales Report

When:  7:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where:  http://www.LB.com

How:    Simply log on to the Web at the address above or dial 1-866-639-7583.

There is no security passcode.

To access the broadcast, click on the April Sales webcast link on the homepage.  The call will also be archived on www.LB.com.

ABOUT L BRANDS:

L Brands, through Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel, is an international company.  The company operates 3,078 company-owned specialty stores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Greater China, and its brands are sold in more than 750 additional franchised locations worldwide.  The company’s products are also available online at www.VictoriasSecret.com, www.BathandBodyWorks.com, www.HenriBendel.com and www.LaSenza.com.;

Contact:

Tammy Roberts Myers
Vice President, Communications
614-415-7072

Amie Preston
Chief Investor Relations Officer
614-415-6704

Source: L Brands

Supervalu Finishes Fiscal 2017 With Momentum

  • Fourth quarter net earnings from continuing operations of $6 million; adjusted EBITDA of $124 million
  • Fourth quarter net earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.02; adjusted earnings per share of $0.13
  • Completion of Save-A-Lot sale in fourth quarter strengthened balance sheet
  • Agreement to acquire Unified Grocers announced in April 2017
  • Total outstanding debt and pension obligation reduced by $1.04 billion and $248 million, respectively, in fiscal 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE: SVU) today (Apr. 25, 2017) reported fourth quarter fiscal 2017 consolidated net sales of $2.91 billion and net earnings from continuing operations of $6 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, which included $32 million in after-tax charges and costs related to an asset impairment charge, unamortized financing cost charges and a pension settlement charge. When adjusted for these items, fourth quarter fiscal 2017 net earnings from continuing operations were $38 million, or $0.13 per diluted share.

Net earnings from continuing operations for last year’s fourth quarter were $30 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, which included $9 million in after-tax charges and costs related to debt refinancing charges and store closure charges and costs. When adjusted for these items, fourth quarter fiscal 2016 net earnings from continuing operations were $39 million, or $0.14 per diluted share.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, SUPERVALU completed the sale of its Save-A-Lot business. The results of operations, financial position and cash flows of the Save-A-Lot business are presented as discontinued operations for all periods, and SUPERVALU’s results from continuing operations no longer include the sales, operating earnings, net earnings, and adjusted EBITDA from Save-A-Lot. Certain costs previously charged to Save-A-Lot are included in SUPERVALU’s results from continuing operations and now relate to performing under the services agreement entered into with Save-A-Lot. For comparability purposes, management includes a pro forma adjustment to its adjusted EBITDA that reflects the fees SUPERVALU expects to recognize under the services agreement for the applicable periods prior to the sale. [See tables 1-6 for a reconciliation of GAAP and non-GAAP (adjusted) results appearing in this release.]

“We finished fiscal 2017 with momentum in our Wholesale business and an improved balance sheet resulting from the sale of Save-A-Lot,” said President and CEO Mark Gross. “I’m very excited about our agreement to acquire Unified Grocers as it brings together two great companies to create one of the nation’s leading grocery wholesale organizations. At the same time, we are working to fundamentally improve the shopping experience in our retail stores and with new leadership and renewed passion we are focused on changing our operating results. I remain optimistic for growth and believe strongly in the path our team is pursuing to achieve it.”

Fourth Quarter Results – Continuing Operations

Fourth quarter net sales were $2.91 billion compared to $2.89 billion last year, an increase of $16 million or 0.6 percent. Total net sales within the Wholesale segment increased 3.0 percent. Retail identical store sales were negative 5.8 percent. Fees earned under services agreements in the fourth quarter were $42 million compared to $44 million last year.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter was $435 million, or 15.0 percent of net sales. Last year’s fourth quarter gross profit was $431 million, or 14.9 percent of net sales. The gross profit rate increase compared to last year is primarily driven by higher gross margins and vendor allowances as well as lower inventory shrink costs.

Selling and administrative expenses in the fourth quarter were $400 million and included a $41 million asset impairment charge and a $1 million pension settlement charge. When adjusted for these items, selling and administrative expenses were $358 million, or 12.3 percent of net sales. Selling and administrative expenses in last year’s fourth quarter were $356 million and included $6 million of store closure charges and costs. When adjusted for these items, last year’s selling and administrative expenses were $350 million, or 12.1 percent of net sales. The increase in the adjusted selling and administrative expenses rate compared to last year was primarily driven by higher employee costs, partially offset by lower pension expense.

Net interest expense for the fourth quarter was $40 million which included $12 million in unamortized financing cost charges. When adjusted for this item, net interest expense was $28 million. Last year’s fourth quarter net interest expense was $47 million which included $10 million in debt refinancing costs and unamortized financing cost charges. When adjusted for these items, last year’s fourth quarter interest expense was $37 million. The decrease in adjusted net interest expense was primarily driven by lower outstanding debt balances associated with the use of proceeds from the sale of Save-A-Lot.

Income tax benefit was $9 million for the fourth quarter compared to $0 million in last year’s fourth quarter. The fourth quarter of both years included discrete items that impacted the effective tax rate.

Wholesale

Fourth quarter Wholesale net sales were $1.79 billion, compared to $1.74 billion last year, an increase of 3.0 percent. The net sales increase is primarily due to sales to new customers and increased sales from new stores operated by existing customers, partially offset by stores from the prior year no longer being supplied by the Company.

Wholesale operating earnings in the fourth quarter were $64 million, or 3.6 percent of net sales. Last year’s Wholesale operating earnings in the fourth quarter were $50 million, or 2.9 percent of net sales. The increase in Wholesale operating earnings was driven by higher gross margins and vendor allowances.

Retail

Fourth quarter Retail net sales were $1.07 billion, compared to $1.11 billion last year, a decrease of 3.2 percent. The net sales decrease reflects negative identical store sales of 5.8 percent, partially offset by sales from acquired and new stores.

Retail operating loss in the fourth quarter was $27 million and included a $41 million asset impairment charge. When adjusted for this item, Retail operating earnings were $14 million, or 1.3 percent of net sales. Last year’s Retail operating earnings in the fourth quarter were $30 million, or 2.7 percent of net sales. The decrease in Retail operating earnings, as adjusted, was driven by the impact of lower sales and higher employee costs partially due to acquired and new stores.

Corporate

Fourth quarter fees earned under services agreements were $42 million compared to $44 million last year.

Net Corporate operating loss in the fourth quarter was $2 million and included $1 million of costs related to a pension settlement charge. When adjusted for this item, net Corporate operating loss was $1 million. Last year’s fourth quarter net Corporate operating loss was $5 million and included $6 million in store closure charges and costs. When adjusted for this item, last year’s net Corporate operating income was $1 million. The decrease in net Corporate operating earnings, as adjusted, was primarily driven by higher employee costs, partially offset by lower pension expense.

Discontinued Operations

Fiscal 2017 included a $577 million after-tax gain on the sale of Save-A-Lot, recorded in Income from discontinued operations, net of tax.

Cash Flows – Continuing Operations

Fiscal 2017 net cash flows provided by operating activities of continuing operations were $308 million, compared to $245 million last year, primarily reflecting lower levels of cash utilized toward operating assets and liabilities. Fiscal 2017 net cash flows used in investing activities of continuing operations were $198 million, compared to $187 million last year, primarily reflecting an increase in capital spending. Fiscal 2017 net cash flows used in financing activities of continuing operations were $1,106 million, compared to $192 million last year, primarily reflecting the required debt prepayments as part of the Save-A-Lot sale.

Conference Call ­­­

A conference call to review the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2017 results is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. central time today. The call will be webcast live at www.supervaluinvestors.com (click on microphone icon). A replay of the call will be archived at www.supervaluinvestors.com. To access the website replay, go to the “Investors” link and click on “Presentations and Webcasts.”

About SUPERVALU INC.

SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. with annual sales of approximately $12 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of 2,363 stores including 1,902 stores operated by wholesale customers serviced primarily by the Company’s food distribution business and 217 traditional retail grocery stores operated under five retail banners in six geographic regions (store counts as of February 25, 2017). Headquartered in Minnesota, SUPERVALU has approximately 29,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit www.supervalu.com.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENTS RELEVANT TO FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF “SAFE HARBOR” PROVISIONS OF THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995. Except for the historical and factual information, the matters set forth in this news release and related conference call, particularly those pertaining to SUPERVALU’s expectations, guidance, or future operating results, and other statements identified by words such as “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “plans,” “intends,” “outlook” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including competition, ability to execute operations and initiatives, ability to realize benefits from acquisitions and dispositions, ability to grow sales, reliance on the wholesale customers’ performance, failure to perform services, wind down of the Company’s relationships with Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s, Inc., ability to maintain or increase margins or identical store sales, restrictive covenants from indebtedness, labor relations issues, escalating costs of providing employee benefits, intrusions to and disruption of information technology systems, changes in military business, adequacy of insurance, asset impairment charges, fluctuations in our common stock price, impact of economic conditions, commodity pricing, severe weather, disruption to supply chain and distribution network, governmental regulation, food and drug safety issues, legal proceedings, pharmacy reimbursement and health care financing, intellectual property protection, and other risk factors relating to our business or industry as detailed from time to time in SUPERVALU’s reports filed with the SEC. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release. Unless legally required, SUPERVALU undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Investor Contact:
Steve Bloomquist
952-828-4144
steve.j.bloomquist@supervalu.com

Media Contact:
Jeff Swanson
952-903-1645
jeffrey.s.swanson@supervalu.com

Source: SUPERVALU INC.

Rite Aid Releases Results for Full Year and Fiscal 2017 Fourth Quarter

  • Fourth Quarter Net Loss Per Diluted Share of $0.02, Compared to the Prior Year Net Income Per Diluted Share of $0.06; Full Year
  • Net Income Per Diluted Share of $0.00, Compared to the Prior Year of $0.16
  • Fourth Quarter Adjusted Net Loss Per Diluted Share of $0.00, Compared to the Prior Year Adjusted Net Income Per Diluted Share of $0.07;
  • Full Year Adjusted Net Income Per Diluted Share of $0.06, Compared to the Prior Year of $0.24
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $264.3 Million for the Fourth Quarter, Compared to the Prior Year Adjusted EBITDA of $383.0 Million;
  • Full Year Adjusted EBITDA of $1,137.1 Million, Compared to the Prior Year of $1,402.3 Million

CAMP HILL, Pa, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) today (Apr. 25, 2017) reported operating results for its fourteen week fourth quarter and fifty-three week fiscal year ended March 4, 2017.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported revenues of $8.5 billion, net loss of $21.1 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, Adjusted net loss of $3.2 million, or $0.00 per diluted share and Adjusted EBITDA of $264.3 million, or 3.1 percent of revenues. For the full year, the company reported revenues of $32.8 billion, net income of $4.1 million, or $0.00 per diluted share, Adjusted net income of $66.8 million or $0.06 per diluted share and Adjusted EBITDA of $1,137.1 million, or 3.5 percent of revenues. The fiscal 2017 fourth quarter and full year results benefited from the extra week in fiscal 2017.

Commenting on Rite Aid’s fourth-quarter and full-year results, Chairman and CEO John Standley said: “We remain confident that the completion of our proposed merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance is in the best interest of Rite Aid shareholders, customers and associates. However, despite our team’s continued focus on growing our business, the extended duration of the merger process is having a negative impact on our results. In addition, we continue to face reimbursement rate challenges that we have been unable to offset with drug cost reductions. As we remain actively engaged in discussions with the Federal Trade Commission to gain regulatory approval for the merger, we are also taking steps to review our ongoing strategy, reduce costs and make necessary changes to our business to improve our performance going forward.”

Fourth Quarter Summary

Revenues for the quarter were $8.5 billion compared to revenues of $8.3 billion in the prior year’s fourth quarter, an increase of $271.2 million or 3.3 percent. Retail Pharmacy Segment revenues were $7.1 billion and increased 4.3 percent compared to the prior year period primarily as a result of the extra week in the fourth quarter, partially offset by a decrease in same store sales. Revenues in the company’s Pharmacy Services Segment were $1.5 billion and decreased 1.3 percent compared to the prior year period.

Same store sales for the quarter decreased 3.0 percent over the prior year, consisting of a 4.3 percent decrease in pharmacy sales and a 0.3 percent decrease in front-end sales. Pharmacy sales included an approximate 246 basis point negative impact from new generic introductions. The number of prescriptions filled in same stores, adjusted to 30-day equivalents, decreased 0.3 percent over the prior year period. Prescription sales accounted for 67.1 percent of total drugstore sales, and third party prescription revenue was 98.4 percent of pharmacy sales.

Net loss was $21.1 million or $0.02 per diluted share compared to last year’s fourth quarter net income of $65.6 million or $0.06 per diluted share. The decline in operating results is due primarily to a decline in Adjusted EBITDA, partially offset by a higher LIFO credit.

Adjusted EBITDA (which is reconciled to net income in the attached tables) was $264.3 million or 3.1 percent of revenues for the fourth quarter compared to $383.0 million or 4.6 percent of revenues for the same period last year. The decline in Adjusted EBITDA is due to a decrease of $129.1 million in the Retail Pharmacy Segment, resulting primarily from lower pharmacy gross profit, which decreased because of lower reimbursement rates and script count, partially offset by good cost control and the benefit from the extra week in the quarter. The decline in Retail Pharmacy Segment Adjusted EBITDA was partially offset by an increase of $10.4 million of Pharmacy Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA, as a result of higher gross profit in the segment.

In the fourth quarter, the company opened 2 stores, relocated 5 stores, remodeled 89 stores and expanded 2 stores, bringing the total number of wellness stores chainwide to 2,418. The company closed 13 stores, resulting in a total store count of 4,536 at the end of the fourth quarter. The company also opened 7 clinics in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 99.

Full Year Results

For the fiscal year ended March 4, 2017, Rite Aid had revenues of $32.8 billion compared to revenues of $30.7 billion in the prior year, an increase of $2.1 billion or 6.9 percent. Retail Pharmacy Segment revenues were $26.8 billion which were flat compared to the prior year primarily as a result of the extra week this year, offset by a decrease in same store sales. Revenues in the company’s Pharmacy Services Segment, which was acquired on June 24, 2015, were $6.4 billion.

Same store sales for the year decreased 2.2 percent consisting of a 3.2 percent decrease in pharmacy sales and a 0.2 percent increase in front end sales. Pharmacy sales included an approximate 182 basis point negative impact from new generic introductions. The number of prescriptions filled in same stores, adjusted to 30-day equivalents, increased 0.1 percent over the prior year period. Prescription sales accounted for 68.3 percent of total drugstore sales, and third party prescription revenue was 98.2 percent of pharmacy sales.

Net income for fiscal 2017 was $4.1 million or $0.00 per diluted share compared to last year’s net income of $165.5 million or $0.16 per diluted share. The decline in operating results is due primarily to a decline in Adjusted EBITDA and an increase in Pharmacy Services Segment amortization expense, partially offset by lower income tax expense, a $33.2 million loss on debt retirement in the prior year and lower interest expense.

Adjusted EBITDA was $1,137.1 million or 3.5 percent of revenues for the year compared to $1,402.3 million or 4.6 percent of revenues for last year. The decline in Adjusted EBITDA is due to a decrease of $352.1 million in the Retail Pharmacy Segment, resulting from lower pharmacy gross profit due to lower reimbursement rates and script count. The decline in Retail Pharmacy Segment Adjusted EBITDA was partially offset by an increase of $86.9 million of Pharmacy Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA. This increase was due to strong operating results in the current year and the fact that the prior year’s Pharmacy Services Segment results do not reflect a full year’s ownership of EnvisionRx.

For the year, the company relocated 24 stores, acquired 3 stores, remodeled 348 stores, expanded 2 stores, opened 12 stores, and closed 40 stores. The company also opened 21 clinics during the fiscal year.

Rite Aid Merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance

As announced on January 30, 2017, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (“WBA”) and Rite Aid entered into an amendment to the original merger agreement dated as of October 27, 2015. Under the terms of the amendment, WBA and Rite Aid agreed to reduce the price for each share of Rite Aid common stock to be paid by WBA. In addition, WBA will be required to divest up to 1,200 Rite Aid stores and certain additional related assets if required to obtain regulatory approval. The exact per share merger consideration will be determined based on the number of retail stores that WBA agrees to divest in connection with the parties’ efforts to obtain the required regulatory approvals for the merger, with the price set at $7.00 per share if 1,000 retail stores or fewer retail stores are required to be divested and at $6.50 per share if 1,200 retail stores are required to be divested (or more, if WBA agrees to sell more).

Additionally, WBA and Rite Aid agreed to extend the end date to July 31, 2017. While WBA and Rite Aid continue to be actively engaged in discussions with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the transaction and are working toward a close of the merger by July 31, 2017, there can be no assurance that the requisite regulatory approvals will be obtained, or that the merger will be completed within the time period contemplated by the merger agreement on the current terms, if at all. The transaction is subject to approval by the holders of Rite Aid’s common stock, the expiration or termination of applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and other customary closing conditions.

Rite Aid is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with 4,536 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through Rite Aid’s website at www.riteaid.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this release that are not historical and statements regarding the expected timing of the closing of the proposed merger with WBA, the closing of the proposed sale of stores and assets to Fred’s and the ability of the parties to complete such transactions considering the various closing conditions and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the expected timing of the closing of the merger with WBA and sale of stores and assets to Fred’s; the ability of the parties to complete the transactions considering the various closing conditions; the outcome of legal and regulatory matters, including with respect to the outcome of discussions with the Federal Trade Commission and otherwise in connection with the pending acquisition of Rite Aid by WBA; the number of stores divested in connection with such pending acquisition and the terms, timing and likelihood of consummation of such transactions; the expected benefits of the transaction such as improved operations, enhanced revenues and cash flow, growth potential, market profile and financial strength; the competitive ability and position of WBA following completion of the proposed transaction; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” and “will” and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking  statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, our high level of indebtedness and our ability to make interest and principal payments on our debt and satisfy the other covenants contained in our debt agreements; general economic, industry, market, competitive, regulatory and political conditions; our ability to improve the operating performance of our stores in accordance with our long term strategy; the impact of private and public third-party payers continued reduction in prescription drug reimbursements and efforts to encourage mail order; our ability to manage expenses and our investments in working capital; outcomes of legal and regulatory matters; changes in legislation or regulations, including healthcare reform; our ability to achieve the benefits of our efforts to reduce the costs of our generic and other drugs; risks related to the proposed transactions, including the possibility that the transactions may not close, including because one or more closing conditions to the transactions, including certain regulatory approvals, may not be satisfied or waived, on a timely basis or otherwise, including that a governmental entity may prohibit, delay or refuse to grant approval for the consummation of the transactions, or may require conditions, limitations or restrictions in connection with such approvals, including the risk that the Federal Trade Commission may not approve the transaction despite the changes the  parties to the merger agreement, as amended, and the asset purchase agreement, are willing to make, or that the required approval of the amended merger agreement by the stockholders of Rite Aid may not be obtained; the risk that stockholders may receive the bottom of the price range for the per share merger consideration;  the risk that the merger agreement may be terminated in certain circumstances that require Rite Aid to pay WBA a termination fee of $325 million; the risk that the parties to the asset purchase agreement, dated as of December 19, 2016, by and among Rite Aid, WBA, Fred’s, Inc. and AFAE, LLC may not receive regulatory approval or be able to complete the transactions contemplated thereby considering the various closing conditions; the risk that there may be a material adverse change of Rite Aid or the stores proposed to be sold to Fred’s, or the business of Rite Aid or the stores proposed to be sold to Fred’s may suffer as a result of uncertainty surrounding the transactions; risks related to the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the proposed transactions; risks associated with the financing of the proposed transactions; disruption from the proposed transactions making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the continuing effect of the merger, including the effect of the announcement of the merger agreement amendment, on Rite Aid’s business relationships (including, without limitation, customers and suppliers), operating results and business generally; risks related to diverting management’s or employees’ attention from ongoing business operations; the risk that Rite Aid’s stock price may decline significantly if the merger is not completed; significant transaction costs; unknown liabilities; the risk of litigation and/or regulatory actions related to the proposed transactions; potential changes to our strategy in the event the proposed transactions do not close, which may include delaying or reducing capital or other expenditures, selling assets or other operations, attempting to restructure or refinance our debt, or seeking additional capital, and other business effects. These and other risks, assumptions and uncertainties are more fully described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, in the preliminary proxy statement, as it may be amended, that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 3, 2017 in connection with the proposed merger, and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you are encouraged to read. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. Additionally, there can be no assurance that the requisite regulatory approvals for the proposed merger and proposed sale of stores and assets to Fred’s will be obtained, or that the proposed transactions will be completed within the required time period or at all, or that the expected benefits of the proposed transactions will be realized. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Rite Aid expressly disclaims any current intention to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the distribution of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

In connection with the proposed strategic combination with WBA, as amended, Rite Aid prepared a preliminary proxy statement on Schedule 14A that has been filed with the SEC on March 3, 2017. The preliminary proxy statement is not yet final and will be amended. Following the filing of the definitive proxy statement with the SEC, Rite Aid will mail the definitive proxy statement and a proxy card to each stockholder entitled to vote at the special meeting relating to the proposed merger. INVESTORS ARE URGED TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE BECAUSE IT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Investors may obtain the proxy statement, as well as other filings containing information about Rite Aid, free of charge, from the SEC’s Web site (www.sec.gov). Investors may also obtain Rite Aid’s SEC filings in connection with the transaction, free of charge, from Rite Aid’s Web site (www.RiteAid.com) under the link “Investor Relations” and then under the tab “SEC Filings,” or by directing a request to Rite Aid, Byron Purcell, Attention: Senior Director, Treasury Services & Investor Relations.

Participants in the Merger Solicitation

The directors, executive officers and employees of Rite Aid and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the transaction. Information regarding Rite Aid’s directors and executive officers is available in its definitive proxy statement for its 2016 annual meeting of stockholders filed with the SEC on May 13, 2016. This document can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above. Other information regarding the interests of the participants in the proxy solicitation is set forth in the preliminary proxy statement, as it may be amended, that has been filed with the SEC on March 3, 2017. This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The company separately reports financial results on the basis of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Net Income per diluted share, and Adjusted EBITDA, which are non-GAAP financial measures. See the attached tables for a reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Net Income per diluted share and Adjusted EBITDA to net income, and net income per diluted share, which are the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Net Income per diluted share exclude amortization of EnvisionRx intangible assets, merger and acquisition-related costs, loss on debt retirements and LIFO adjustments. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income excluding the impact of income taxes, interest expense, depreciation and amortization, LIFO adjustments, charges or credits for facility closing and impairment, inventory write-downs related to store closings, debt retirements and other items (including stock-based compensation expense, merger and acquisition-related costs, severance and costs related to distribution center closures, gain or loss on sale of assets and revenue deferrals related to our customer loyalty program).

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

Media:
Susan Henderson
717-730-7766

Source: Rite Aid