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Back-to-school, Irene aid Target’s August sales

BY Mike Troy

MINNEAPOLIS — The first month of Target’s third quarter is off to a solid start as the company reported a 4.1% same-store sales increase squarely in the middle of guidance that called for a low to mid single-digit gain.

The increase was driven primarily by growth in average transaction size with a lesser contribution coming from an increase in comparable-store transactions. The 4.1% increase comes on top of a prior year increase of 1.8%. The company said every region of the country experienced a healthy increase in comparable-store sales, but there was a noticeable sales acceleration in the eastern United States late in the month in advance of Hurricane Irene. Target estimated the acceleration added about a half percentage point to August comps and forecast that September comps likely would be negatively affected by a similar amount. Even so, the company maintained the monthly forecast that has been in place for most of the year, which calls for a comp increase in the range of low to mid-single digits.

“August comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations, reflecting solid results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories,” Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. “While the pace of the economic recovery is uneven and uncertain, we are confident in our ability to execute on our strategy, to offer the right balance of extraordinary value, convenience, newness and differentiation and to remain our guests’ preferred shopping destination.”

As has been the case with prior monthly and quarterly sales reports, Target said August comparable-store sales in grocery increased in the mid to upper teens, while health care, beauty and household essentials increased in the mid single-digit range. Another area of increase was apparel, which was up slightly led by double-digit increases in the intimate, hosiery and performance segments. The company said same-store sales in hardline categories declined in the low single-digit range, and home categories declined slightly.

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PTCB executive director, CEO steps down

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Melissa Murer Corrigan, executive director and CEO of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, is leaving the organization in late November, PTCB’s board of governors announced Thursday.

Associate executive director William Schimmel will serve as interim executive director, PTCB said, adding that it will initiate a search for a new leader. Murer Corrigan is leaving PTCB to serve as ACT’s workforce development division as VP development. ACT is an independent nonprofit organization that provides a broad array of assessment, research, information and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development, according to ACT’s website.

The PTCB was formed in 1994 under Murer Corrigan’s leadership and has certified more than 400,000 pharmacy technicians nationwide.

"On behalf of the PTCB board of governors, I congratulate Melissa on her new position," PTCB board of governors chairman Thomas Menighan said. "As the organization transitions, we remain confident in the high stakes and high volume PTCB Certification Program and its role to support pharmacists in advancing patient safety."

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Jewel-Osco brings back hunger relief campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ITASCA, Ill. — Jewel-Osco is looking to support Hunger Action Month by once again launching a campaign that will benefit multiple food banks in Illinois and Indiana.

The Give a Little, Feed a Lot campaign will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, the Midwest Food Bank, the River Bend Foodbank and dozens of local pantries. During the campaign, customers can make monetary donations at store registers, as well as food contributions in specially marked bins. All donations will benefit the food banks and local pantries, the Supervalu banner said.

Last year, the Give a Little, Feed a Lot campaign raised more than $2 million in combined food and cash donations.

“Hunger relief is a top corporate social responsibility issue for our company,” Jewel-Osco president Brian Huff said. “So ‘Give a Little, Feed a Lot’ is a great opportunity for us to work with our food bank partners and others in the community, to help people in need in this challenging economy.”

In related news, Cub Foods, a Supervalu banner based in Minnesota, said it also would launch the Give a Little, Feed a Lot campaign to benefit Minnesota food pantries.

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