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A&P names new CEO, posts Q1 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. Supermarket chain A&P has appointed former OfficeMax executive Sam Martin as its new CEO, succeeding Ron Marshall, who has left the company after serving less than six months at the helm. The news came as the grocer reported a first-quarter net loss of $122 million and a 7.2% drop in same-store sales.

Martin, who has more than three decades of management experience in the food retail industry, joins A&P from OfficeMax, where he served as COO since 2007. Prior to OfficeMax, Martin was COO for Wild Oats Markets through the company’s acquisition by Whole Foods. His experience also includes senior management roles at ShopKo Stores and Fred Meyer.

With new leadership in place, the company is gearing up for a turnaround through a new operational and revenue-driven initiative. The four key elements of the turnaround plan are:

  • Improve the company’s customer value proposition through merchandising
  • Enhance the customer experience and drive clear brand identify
  • Lower structural and operating costs
  • Implement new financing initiatives to augment first quarter liquidity of $253 million

“I firmly believe that this turnaround will strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance. I have faced similar situations in my career and have successfully navigated through them. We will move quickly to implement this turnaround for the benefit of all our stakeholders,” stated Martin.

The company, which currently operates 429 stores and roughly 250 retail pharmacies, also is looking into capital raising opportunities, including incremental financing through its current bank facility, as well as pursuing sale-leaseback transactions and the sale of certain noncore assets.

For the first-quarter sales were $2.6 billion versus $2.8 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales dropped 7.2%. Net loss for the quarter totaled $122 million, or a loss of $4.83 per share, compared with a loss of $65 million, or $3.64 a share, in the year-ago period.

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Loblaw’s first small-model in-store pharmacy opens

BY Allison Cerra

BRAMPTON, Ontario Loblaw has opened its first small-model in-store pharmacy, offering the same amenities and convenience as a larger-size pharmacy, but in a compact area. The new pharmacy helps to fulfill the company’s vision to grow the number of pharmacies in its stores.

“Our goal is to provide convenience, quality and value to our customers. With this small model, we now have the ability to incorporate pharmacies into more of our stores, which will help complement our customers’ food shopping experience,” said Andrew Iacobucci, SVP drug business unit, Loblaw Cos. “Within this smaller footprint, we are pleased to be able to provide full pharmacy service with a highly trained and trusted pharmacy professional.”

The new small-scale pharmacy is approximately 400 sq. ft.

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Rite Aid gets into back-to-school groove

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is helping customers save on back-to-school shopping through special offers, online coupons and its member-only Wellness+ customer rewards and discounts program.

The 4,800-store chain said that it has created a back-to-school shopping spread inside its August Single Check Rebate guide, a four-page pullout available online and in stores that contains more than 40 commonly requested school supplies worth more than $140 in rebate checks. Additionally, Rite Aid is utilizing its Video Values program at RiteAid.com, allowing consumers to watch videos and earn coupons on select products, which will feature a dozen back-to-school coupons in August.

The drug store chain also said many back-to-school discounts in Rite Aid circulars are available with the Rite Aid Wellness+ card. The Wellness+ customer rewards program provides members with free health-and-wellness benefits, as well as shopping discounts.

Items on sale include composition notebooks, snacks and more.

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