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Charity part of local approach

BY DSN STAFF

In politics, “everything is local,” and that’s a motto Supervalu follows with its philanthropic ventures. The chain prides itself on fine-tuning its stores and merchandise to the communities it serves, and takes that approach to charitable giving. It supports dozens of charities with millions in donations each year, and those efforts have grown considerably since its 2006 purchase of Albertsons.

Last year, Supervalu donated more than $75 million to charities across the country, targeting a wide array of issues, including hunger, education, heart disease and orphaned children.

It’s no surprise that Supervalu is most active in its home state of Minnesota. One of its pet projects there is the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign in the Twin Cities that brings attention to heart disease, which kills more than 480,000 women each year. Supervalu and its pharmacies take a lead role in the effort to raise funds that support local cardiovascular research programs and encourage women to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.

And Supervalu has stepped up its efforts to support “Go Red for Women” this year. It already has pledged $50,000 to the cause, and executive vice president and chief financial officer Pamela Knous is chairing the 2007 to 2008 fundraising campaign. “‘Go Red for Women’ celebrates the energy, passion and power women have to band together and wipe out heart disease,” Knous said.

Like most food retailers, Supervalu takes an active role in addressing hunger-relief efforts. All Supervalu outlets across the country donate to Second Harvest, the country’s leading huger-relief organization, and donated nearly 8 million pounds of product last year toward its programs.

Supervalu also supports the Food for All campaign, and several company executives serve on the nonprofit group’s board of directors. During the holidays each year, stores across Supervalu banners participate in a Holiday Hunger initiative to raise money for needy families. Stores place donation coupons at checkout stands with pre-set donations ranging from $1 to $5, and the coupon is added to the final total of a shopper’s bill. Proceeds go to various local charities that support soup kitchens and food banks.

Food for All president Denis Zegar said Supervalu is an ideal partner for the organization because of its widespread presence in dozens of markets across the country that reach more communities than most retailers. “There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to providing hunger relief, and we’re proud to partner with Supervalu to fight hunger and generate awareness on such a localized level,” Zegar said.

Supervalu launched a new fundraising effort in May designed to support adoption services for needy kids. The first “Chip-In” initiative raised more than $19,000 in personal contributions from employees and $66,000 overall for several different organizations.

They include The Children’s Home Society and Family Services in Minneapolis; the Special Needs Adoptive Parent Services in Boise, Idaho (Boise is the former corporate home of Albertsons); and Children’s Service Society in Salt Lake City. Supervalu senior vice president Paul Singer, who is the father of three adopted children, is in charge of the campaign this year.

And each February, Supervalu gets involved in fundraising efforts to recognize Black History Month. This year, the retailer teamed up with Coca-Cola to raise more than $95,000 that was donated to several nonprofit, African-American organizations. Groups that received funds this year include the Portland African-American Health Coalition, the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP and Educating Young Minds in Los Angeles, one of its new markets served by its Albertsons stores.

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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