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Eddie Lampert sells 7% of stake in Sears Holdings

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Sears Holdings chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert has pared down his stake in the retailing company, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

A Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed that Lampert reduced his stake in Sears Holdings to 48.4%, from a 55.4% stake reported in March. That leaves him with about 51.6 million shares in the company, whose stock was valued at $50.38 per share Wednesday morning on the NASDAQ, down from its opening price of $52.62.

Bloomberg reported that Lampert had given up majority control due to investors pulling money from the company after its string of 27 quarterly sales declines.

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Walgreens same-store sales up 3.2% for November with $6.1 billion in sales

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday reported November sales of $6.1 billion, an increase of 4.1% for the same month in fiscal 2013.

Total front-end sales increased 3.2%, while comparable store front-end sales increased 1.9%. Customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.8% and basket size increased 1.1%.

The company said that a meaningful increase versus prior quarters in promotional investment contributed to the improvement in traffic and comparable store front-end sales for November and throughout the quarter.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 1.4% in November and increased 3.7% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. This year’s November had one additional Saturday and one fewer Thursday compared with November 2012. These calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 230 basis points.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were positively impacted by 40 basis points due to more flu shots versus last year but were negatively impacted by 70 basis points due to the slowest start to the flu season in six years, Walgreens reported. Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date were more than 6.1 million versus nearly 4.6 million last year.

November pharmacy sales increased by 4.7%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 4% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 6.3%. 

Sales in comparable stores increased by 3.2% in November. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 150 basis points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 60 basis points.

Total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2014, which ended Nov. 30, were $18.4 billion, up 6%. Comparable store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 increased 5.5%, while front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increased 2.2%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 5.6% in the first quarter and comparable pharmacy sales increased 7.5%.

Walgreens opened 22 stores during November, including nine relocations, acquired a net total of 55 stores and closed one.

 

 

 

 

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Exchange employee recipient of DoD Outstanding Employee with a Disability Award for 2013

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — Army and Air Force Exchange Service Associate Tony Garcia received the Department of Defense Outstanding Employee with a Disability Award for 2013 at the Exchange headquarters Nov. 15, the Exchange announced Tuesday.  

The award highlights the accomplishments and abilities of employees with disabilities who have made significant contributions to their organization’s mission.

Garcia, a custodial Associate at the Fort Knox, Ky., Exchange Main store, was one of 19 DoD employees worldwide selected to receive the honor this year.

Initially hired as a custodial team member five years ago, Garcia is known for his initiative and going above and beyond supporting customers, the Exchange reported. “Service has become one of Garcia’s strengths and he knows many shoppers by name,” Mary Smith, Fort Knox Express store manager said. "Tony supports customers with disabilities by assisting them with motorized shopping carts.

In addition to his DoD award, Garcia received Exchange leadership coins from the Director/CEO Tom Shull, Deputy Director Maj. Gen. Joseph Ward, COO Michael Howard and senior enlisted advisor Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson.

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