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99 Cents Only Stores names Andrew Giancamilli interim president and CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. – 99 Cents Only Stores announced Tuesday that Andrew Giancamilli, the chairman of the company’s board of directors, is assuming the role of interim president and CEO, replacing Stéphane Gonthier, who has resigned. A board member since 2012, Giancamilli was appointed as chairman on April 20, 2015 to help guide the company through its next phase of growth based on his extensive experience in leading several retail businesses.
 
“We would like to thank Stéphane for his service. He has been instrumental in leading 99 Cents Only Stores through a transformative period of dynamic change,” stated David Kaplan, a member of the board of directors and senior partner of Ares Management. “The board of directors is looking forward to having Andy on the team with our dedicated ‘99ers’ as we continue to expand our unique brand of extreme value.”
 
“In my role on the board over the past three years and more recently as chairman, I have gained a deep understanding of the drivers of the 99 Cents Only business and its distinctive and passionate corporate culture. I look forward to working with the members of the senior management team and the board to ensure a smooth transition,” Giancamilli said. “Our plan during this time is to continue business as usual while we work to execute on the company’s growth strategies as one of the leading extreme value retailers in the country.”
 
Giancamilli brings more than 30 years of experience in leading large retail businesses. He served for more than eight years as president and CEO of Katz Group Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of the Katz Group of Companies, operators of over 1,800 traditional drug stores in Canada. Prior to that, Giancamilli was with Canadian Tire Corporation, a Canadian retail conglomerate and was also president and COO at Kmart Corporation. He has also held senior leadership positions at Perry Drug Stores, a U.S.-based drug store chain, where he began his career in 1975.
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CVS Health Foundation, Easter Seals mark ‘World No Tobacco Day’ with new smoking cessation program

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — Easter Seals is marking May 31 as World No Tobacco Day by launching a national smoking cessation program to help veterans, people with disabilities and caregivers live healthier, tobacco-free lives. Funding for the new program is supported by a $400,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation.

The cessation program highlights the American Lung Association's online program, entitled Freedom from Smoking, which takes participants through modules containing tips and lessons on how to quit smoking.

"As we mark World No-Tobacco Day, we are proud to partner with Easter Seals, America's largest health charity, to launch this valuable program to help people quit smoking," stated Eileen Howard Boone, president, CVS Health Foundation.  "Our company's purpose is helping people on their path to better health and through this program we are able to extend that purpose to veterans, people with disabilities and caregivers.  We are pleased to bring together two best-in-class organizations like Easter Seals and the American Lung Association to support smoking cessation."

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and research indicates that veterans and people with disabilities have a higher incidence of smoking.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male veterans between the ages of 25 and 64 are more likely to smoke than non-veterans in the same age category, with 26% of veterans versus 22% of non-veterans being smokers. And, 23% of people with disabilities are smokers, compared with 17% of adults who report having no disabilities.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes, resulting in more than 480,000 deaths including 41,000 from exposure to secondhand smoke. 
 
"We are grateful for the opportunity to enhance the services Easter Seals provides to more than 1.8 million people with disabilities, veterans, caregivers and their families each year with this smoking cessation program through our partnership with CVS Health and its foundation," stated Easter Seals president and CEO Randy Rutta. 

The World Health Organization leads partners in marking World No Tobacco Day annually on May 31 to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
 

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Q1 U.S. sales flat but operations improving at Ahold

BY Michael Johnsen

ZAANDAM, The Netherlands – Ahold on Wednesday posted first quarter net sales of $7.6 billion (7 billion Euros) across its U.S. operations, representing an increase of 19.9% that was driven in part by a strong U.S. dollar. Ahold's U.S. operations actually generated 2.1% fewer net sales at constant exchange rates. 
 
"In the U.S., our sales were effected by falling gas prices. Gas prices were down 35% vs. last year, so overall our sales declined 2.1%," commented Jeff Carr, Ahold CFO. "However, when you exclude gas, sales grew by 0.4%," he said. "Our team in the U.S. continues to invest in intiaties to improve our customer proposition. And I'm pleased that for the third quarter running, we achieved volume marketshare gains. Also, we continue to see improvements in our price perception."
 
"In the U.S., we saw further benefits from our improved customer proposition, which we have continued to roll out to more stores during the quarter, resulting in an increased volume market share," offered Dick Boer, Ahold CEO. "Our business performance remains on track to deliver in line with full year expectations. We continue to execute our Reshaping Retail strategy, offering quality and value to our customers."
 
The adverse impact of the timing of Easter was partly offset by favorable weather conditions across the footprints of its Stop & Shop and Giant Carlisle banners – sales were up as a consequence of high snowfall levels during the quarter in those markets.
 
This quarter, the first wave of Ahold's program to improve its customer proposition was rolled out to another 183 stores, bringing the total to 704 stores, and the next waves are being deployed in all divisions. The results of the program continue to show positive sales trends across all market areas, with improved identical sales performance versus the previous quarter, adjusted for Easter. 
 
Ahold continues to focus on growing its own-brand penetration across the businesses, the company said. Thanks to double-digit growth of Ahold's Nature’s Promise natural and organic and Simply Enjoy premium brands, private-label penetration reached 37.7%. 
 
During the quarter, Ahold USA announced a restructuring of its support offices, which is to be completed by early summer 2015. 
 
 
 
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