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Dollar General raises guidance after strong Q3

BY DSN STAFF

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General reported that its third-quarter net income was $128 million, or a diluted earnings per share of 37 cents.

Excluding a net loss of $8 million ($5 million after income taxes) relating to the early repayment of certain long-term obligations, net income for the 2010 third quarter was $133 million, or a diluted EPS of 39 cents, a 76% increase over net income of $76 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

The boost prompted the company to raise its full-year adjusted earnings per share guidance to the range of $1.78 to $1.81, Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO said.

Net sales for the quarter increased 10.1% to $3.22 billion in third quarter 2010, compared with $2.93 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased 4.2% in the 2010 quarter and 9.2% in the 2009 quarter, with customer traffic and average transaction amounts contributing to the same-store sales increases in both periods.

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Prochieve cuts premature birth risk

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — An investigational drug made by Watson Pharmaceuticals and Columbia Labs reduced the risk of premature birth, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial.

The two companies announced results Monday of a phase-3 trial of Prochieve (progesterone), a vaginal gel, saying that it produced a significant reduction in the number of preterm births. The trial was conducted under a collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“The primary result of this trial shows that vaginal progesterone reduces the rate of spontaneous preterm birth,” chief of the NICHD’s perinatology research branch Roberto Romero said. “Preterm birth is a serious public health problem, affecting 10% to 12% of all pregnancies in the United States and costing approximately $26 billion per year.”

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Giant-Landover president to exit at end of year

BY Jim Frederick

LANDOVER, Md. — Two-and-a-half years after joining the company, Robin Michel is leaving as president of the Giant-Landover division of Ahold USA to pursue other opportunities, the company confirmed Monday.

Michel will depart at the end of the month, according to Ahold USA spokesperson Sara Neumann. She will be replaced on a temporary basis as operations chief by Don Sussman, EVP supply chain at Ahold, while the company conducts a search for a successor.

Michel, a veteran of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarket, joined Giant in June 2008 as EVP and general manager. Her appointment as the Maryland-based supermarket chain’s top manager was part of a major overhaul in management and operational structure at both Giant and its Braintree, Mass.-based parent company, a division of the Dutch-based Ahold retail conglomerate.

As part of that realignment, Ahold USA broke its two U.S. divisions into four parts — consisting of Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop Metro New York, Giant-Landover and Giant-Carlisle — to make them more nimble and responsive to local market conditions. In line with that change, Carl Schlicker, who formerly oversaw the Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division under the old corporate structure, was named CEO of the four U.S. operations of Ahold USA Retail.

Schlicker praised Michel for leading a renewal at Giant-Landover, which operates 180 supermarkets and food-drug combo stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.“Since joining the company in 2008, Robin has played an integral part in revitalizing the Giant Landover business through several ambitious initiatives including the implementation of the Value Improvement Program [VIP] and Project Refresh to renovate 100 aging stores across the chain,“ said Schlicker. “We wish her the very best in the future and thank her for her dedication to our customers and our business.”

The renewal effort is ongoing at Giant-Landover.

“Giant plans 26 new and remodeled or expanded stores during the next 12 months,” the company reported on its website, “with much larger produce departments and salad bars,” as well as gourmet meat shops, expanded delis, more natural and organic foods, pharmacies, Staples office supplies and “entertainment centers featuring books, magazines and DVDs.”

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