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Fred’s reports sales increase for September

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Discount druggist Fred’s Inc. on Thursday posted a sales increase of 4% to $166.6 million for the five weeks ended Oct. 3. Comparable store-sales for the month increased 3.3%, versus an increase of 1.1% in the same period last year.

“September sales were strong, bringing third quarter-to-date sales back in line with our forecast,” stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO. “General merchandise performed well as additional promotional activity drove positive traffic [and] pharmacy department sales also were above plan as we continued to see strong gains in script counts and experienced an early onset of the flu season.”

Fred’s total sales for the year-to-date period decreased 1% to $1.2 billion. Excluding stores closed, total sales from ongoing stores increased 2% in the first eight months of 2009 versus the prior-year period. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.9% compared with 3.1% in the same period last year.

At the end of September, Fred’s store development team was able to open the company’s first upgraded prototype. Fred’s also opened two pharmacies and closed nine stores during the month.

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Weis Markets adds two directors to pharmacy operations, food services

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets on Monday named Dennis Yoney to director of pharmacy operations and Geoffrey Wexler as director of food service and deli.

As director of pharmacy operations, Yoney will oversee day-to-day pharmacy operations and the execution of the company’s strategic initiatives across its 119 pharmacies. He reports to Jeff Maltese, Weis Markets VP pharmacy. Yoney has worked in pharmacy field operations at the regional level for Rite Aid, government affairs for Brooks/Eckerd and as a district manager for Eckerd.

Yoney is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy.

Wexler will assume oversight of the pricing, procurement and promotion for the company’s deli and food service programs and will report to Harry Giglio, Weis Markets VP perishables.

Prior to joining Weis Markets, Wexler was with Publix Supermarkets where he helped oversee all aspects of the company’s prepared food program. During his career, Wexler also worked for Sodexho Corporate Services, NexStore Marketplace and eatZi’s Market and Bakery.

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Stater Bros. announces completion of distribution center

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. Stater Bros. planned an enthusiastic welcome for the final group of Stater Bros. employees to move into its state-of-the-art corporate offices and Norton Distribution Center in San Bernardino, Calif.

On Oct. 5, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the opening of the new 155,000-sq.-ft. Stater Bros. support services building. Over 500 Stater Bros. employees from throughout the company were present to celebrate this long-awaited event.

The new support services building houses the company’s bakery division as well as the advertising, construction, maintenance, purchasing, store systems and real estate departments. The relocation to the new Stater Bros. corporate offices and Norton Distribution Center has spanned over a two-year period, and these employees are the last to make the move to their new home.

The Stater Bros. Norton Distribution Center is the largest under-one-roof distribution center in America’s supermarket industry, the company said.

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