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Costco surpasses analyst estimates in earnings

BY Marianne Wilson

Costco earned $640 million, $1.45 a share, in the quarter ended November 26, compared with $545 million, or $1.24 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.33 a share.

Net sales rose 13.3% to $31.12 billion, better than analysts expected. Total same-store sales 10.5%.

Costco’s comparable E-commerce sales jumped 43.5%. The increase comes as the retailer has been investing to grow its digital capabilities, including a partnership with delivery service firm Instacart to offer two-day and same-day delivery.

Costco currently operates 746 warehouses, including 518 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 98 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, nine in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France. Costco also operates e-commerce websites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.

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Walgreens heralds return of Red Nose Day

BY Michael Johnsen

Red Nose Day, the national fundraising campaign to end child poverty, will return to NBC with a night of special primetime programming on Thursday, May 24, 2018, Walgreens announced Wednesday.

“It is truly rewarding to see the meaningful impact made by the support of our customers and our Walgreens team members to help end child poverty as part of Red Nose Day,” commented Alex Gourlay, Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO and president of Walgreens.  “We’re proud to return as a campaign partner and the exclusive retail provider of Red Noses.  Each year this company-wide effort brings people together from thousands of communities around the country for a meaningful cause.”

“We’re excited to continue our work with Red Nose Day and further support this important cause,” added Lee Andrews, vice president corporate affairs at Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. “This partnership has not only given us the opportunity to positively impact communities everywhere through leveraging our M&M’S brand, but it has created an incredible way for Associates to come together to make a real difference – and have fun doing it.”

Leading up to the star-studded night of programming, celebrations for Red Nose Day engage millions of Americans across the country. The campaign’s iconic “Red Noses” will once again be available exclusively at Walgreens stores around the country. In addition to the support of the official retail and broadcast partners, the charity is proud to once again be working with national partners Mars Wrigley Confectionery with M&M’S and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to change the lives of millions of children, one nose at a time.

Since its launch in 2015, Walgreens has sold 30 million of the campaign’s iconic Red Noses. Money raised through the Red Nose Day campaign has supported programs in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and 34 countries internationally. It has helped to fund numerous programs to ensure that children in need are safe, healthy and educated, which includes providing more than 32 million meals for hungry American children.

Red Nose Day is run by the nonprofit Comic Relief USA, which harnesses the power of entertainment to drive positive change.

“People across the country have really taken to the idea of making it fun to make a difference. In three short years we’ve hit such an incredible milestone — raising over $100 million to help end child poverty, impacting over 8 million children,” stated Janet Scardino, CEO of Comic Relief USA. “We’re so grateful for the continued support from millions of everyday Americans, hundreds of talent and our outstanding partners. We can’t wait to see the good we can do together in 2018.”

“We continue to be inspired by the generosity of Americans, celebrities and corporate partners who have rallied behind this amazing cause for three years and have helped to raise more than $100 million for kids in need at home and abroad,” added Paul Telegdy president, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment. “We look forward to creating another great night of programming to keep the momentum going and make a difference in the lives of children who need it the most.”

Red Nose Day’s 2017 campaign raised more than $40 million. People wanting to get in on the fun for 2018 and hold Red Nose Day fundraisers at school, work or in their communities can find out more information at rednoseday.org.

Red Nose Day was created by Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning writer-director Richard Curtis, (“Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill”) and leverages the power of entertainment to bring the nation together to have fun and make a difference for children in need — here in America and around the world. It has raised over $1 billion globally since its launch in the U.K. in 1988.

Over the last three years, more than 450 celebrities and influencers have lent their support to the Red Nose Day campaign in the U.S., including Jack Black, Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, Paul Rudd, Ed Sheeran, Blake Shelton, Coldplay, Connie Britton, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kobe Bryant, Bryan Cranston, Ellen DeGeneres, Zac Efron, Will Ferrell, Chris Hardwick, Ryan Gosling, Anna Kendrick, Keira Knightley, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Seth Meyers, Julianne Moore, Tracy Morgan, Casey Neistat, Gwyneth Paltrow, Seth Rogen, Michelle Rodriguez and Reese Witherspoon.

Full campaign details, including further information on programming, participating talent, and events nationwide will be announced at a later date.

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Target to acquire Shipt, providing same-day delivery service

BY Gisselle Gaitan

Minneapolis-based Target has announced it has come to an agreement to acquire Shipt, a digital same-day delivery platform for $550 million in cash. The retailer will leverage its network of store’s and Shipt’s technological platform to quickly and efficiently bring same-day delivery to consumers across the country.

The retailer will offer same-day delivery on groceries, essentials, home, electronics and other products. Approximately half of the stores will provide the service by early 2018, remaining stores in major markets will see the service roll out before the 2018 holiday season.

“We laid out an ambitious strategic agenda in early 2017, which included a focus on giving our guests a number of convenient ways to shop with Target, whether it’s ordering online and picking up in one of our stores, driving up to pick up an order, or taking advantage of services like our new Restock program. With Shipt’s network of local shoppers and their current market penetration, we will move from days to hours, dramatically accelerating our ability to bring affordable same-day delivery to guests across the country,” John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Target said. “By the 2018 holiday season, we will be servicing every major market across the country with same-day delivery, and Shipt’s service-oriented approach aligns well with Target’s commitment to delivering an exceptional shopping experience for our guests.”

Founded in Birmingham, Ala., in 2014, Shipt is a membership-based grocery marketplace and same-day delivery platform. The company leverages a network of over 20,000 personal shoppers to fulfill orders at various retailers to provide delivery within hours in more than 72 markets. As part of the acquisition, Shipt will be a wholly owned Target subsidiary that will continue to run its business independently.

“We are very excited to partner with Target, one of the most loved retailers in the country with a reputation for supporting local communities. Partnering with Target and the national scale they provide allows Shipt to further accelerate our growth, bringing our service to more people, in more markets across the country,” Bill Smith, Shipt’s founder and CEO said. “We’ll continue growing our marketplace and membership base, working with a variety of retailers to drive scale and efficiencies. We look forward to introducing Target guests to the convenience of our same-day delivery services, with the level of personal attention only Shipt can provide.”

This news comes just on the heels of Walmart and Amazon announcing that they will be expanding upon their already established delivery services.

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