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Anticipating lower costs, Wegmans announces extensive price cuts

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Wegmans on Thursday announced price cuts on hundreds of products in anticipation of lower costs of goods in the future.

 “We are lowering hundreds of prices in anticipation of our costs dropping in the future, and we intend to bring more prices down as soon as we can,” stated  Danny Wegman, chief executive officer, and Colleen Wegman, president, in a letter to employees. “These are uncertain times. We know our employees and customers are very concerned, and so are we. During difficult times like these, it’s OK with us if we make a little less money. And, as always, we are committed to offering the lowest price in the market on the items most important to families. We hope these savings will help you enjoy your time with family even more this holiday season.”

Wegmans explained that in spite of presently falling gasoline prices and declining wholesale prices for corn, wheat and soybeans, food prices have not come down anywhere because manufacturers and producers, including Wegmans, had locked into contracts when costs were much higher and concerns that costs would rise even higher. “Though the lower costs we expect in 2009 haven’t arrived yet, we think it’s necessary to lower prices now,” stated Jo Natale, director of media relations. “As a family-owned business, we can accept leaner profits in order to put employees’ and customers’ needs first.”

 Natale declined to disclose the impact on Wegmans’ bottom line, but said that based on anticipated sales of these products, the total value of price cuts to consumers would amount to $12 million on an annualized basis.  For an average consumer shopping for a family, the savings could amount to as much as $40 to $60 a month.

Items reduced in price can be found in such departments as bakery, meat, produce, deli and grocery, with many of the items targeted for price cuts being Wegmans private label.  “We can be more aggressive with reductions because we have better access to detailed information on the factors that determine costs for those items,” Natale said.  “These products are already the best value in their respective category, and customers are choosing them more often as a way to save money.”

Over the next week, Wegmans will begin to highlight the price cuts with signage in stores.  

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Officials gather to respond to growing concerns over organized retail crime

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWARK , Calif. More than 200 law enforcement, government officials and retail loss prevention professionals gathered here last week for the Northern California Organized Retail Crime Conference to tackle critical issues like organized retail crime, as well as provide a forum for concerned professionals to come together to support each other and discuss proposed legislation to combat the existing and ever-growing threat of ORC.

At the top of the attendees’ varied list of concerns was ORC’s impact on consumers during a turbulent economy. “We learned today that approximately 25 million workers, or 1 in 5 people, in our nation’s work force is related to the retail economy,” stated Dan Reynolds, vice president of sales for USS Corp., which hosted the event. “One aspect of this issue that consumers do not fully understand is that the cost of stolen items or the financial loss to retailers is not the only loss. When criminals steal in large quantities, which is the reality of organized retail crime, we lose sales tax dollars that could be used for law enforcement, schools, parks and roads,” he said.

In 2007, total dollars lost in California due to evaporated sales tax dollars was estimated to be $242 million.

The keynote speaker was California Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who has promised to re-introduce legislation that would impose more stringent penalties on those convicted of ORC theft. “This is a lot more serious than just shoplifting because of the organization and sophistication,” he said.

“Our legislative efforts need to start by redefining ORC as more than mere shoplifting,” Reynolds said. “Given the fact that we are in a harsh economy and that paychecks are smaller and smaller, we need to work with the legislature to protect our citizens.”

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Warner Home Video releases ‘Any Given Sunday’ on Blu-Ray

BY Mike Duff

BURBANK, Calif. The Oliver Stone-directed “Any Given Sunday” director’s cut makes its Blu-Ray High-definition debut Jan. 27, with the Warner Home Video release timing set to coincide with the Super Bowl. Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, James Woods, Ann-Margret, Dick Butkus, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and Charlton Heston, the director’s cut includes commentary by Stone and Foxx, HBO’s “Making Of ‘Any Given Sunday’ First Look,” a gag reel and 14 deleted or extended scenes, along with a Jamie Foxx audition tape.

Suggested retail price is $28.99, and order due date is Dec. 23.

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