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Hallmark offers self-recorded musical cards in time for Mother’s Day

BY Drew Buono

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark has unveiled its latest innovation for its greeting cards. The company now offers cards that allow the user to record messages into a card, which will then be followed by music.

Recordable Cards with Music allow the sender to record up to 10 seconds of a personal message, which is then immediately followed by a pre-recorded song clip. The message and music play whenever the card is opened. The company is launching the new cards to coincide with Mother’s Day, the third busiest business day for the company.

“Card senders are always looking for ways to tell loved ones how much they care. New Recordable Cards With Music let senders use their own voices to tell their moms exactly how they feel,” said Andre du Broc, editorial director at Hallmark. “There is nothing else like it in the greeting card industry.”

Hallmark offers 15 Recordable Cards With Music in the Mother’s Day greeting card line. For more about new Recordable Cards With Music, and to view and hear a demonstration, visit www.Hallmark.com/addyourvoice.

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Supervalu celebrates Earth Day

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu, in honor of Earth Day, has launched a new associate volunteer program—Volunteers in Action—and participating in month-long Earth Day community and in-store events.

“As one of the largest retail grocery companies in the United States, Supervalu is committed to preserving and protecting our environment,” said John Domino, Supervalu vp of facilities, energy, environmental and engineering. “We are proud to honor our pledge as environmental stewards, not only through our month-long Earth Day events and activities, but every day through our business operating practices and community relations efforts.”

Supervalu’s activities include a weeklong partnership with the Will Steger Foundation that includes educating children on global warming, distributing reusable bags in Boise and clean-ups in Southern California.

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Safeway net income up in Q1

BY DSN STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway reported net income of $193.4 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2008 compared to net income of $174.4 million 39 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.

The company reported that total sales increased 7.3 percent to $10 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to $9.3 billion in the first quarter of 2007. According to the company, the sales growth was due to contributions from Lifestyle stores, an increase in the Canadian dollar exchange rate and higher fuel sales drove this increase. Identical-store sales increased 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Excluding fuel, identical-store sales increased 2.9 percent. Easter holiday sales occurred in the first quarter of this year compared to the second quarter of last year. When adjusted for the estimated impact of the Easter holiday shift, non-fuel, identical-store sales increased 2 percent.

“We are pleased with our earnings performance in the first quarter of 2008,” said Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our earnings per share grew by 13 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007. Part of this growth was due to the shift in the Easter holiday. In addition, our efforts to reduce and control costs contributed to operating margin improvement. At the same time, we invested in lower prices to improve our competitiveness and enhance our consumer offering. We remain confident in our ability to deliver earnings per share growth in the 13-18 percent range for this 53-week year.”

Safeway confirmed guidance for 2008 of $2.25 to $2.35 diluted earnings per share and free cash flow of $500 million to $700 million. Safeway revised guidance for identical-store sales growth, excluding fuel, from a range of 3 percent to 3.2 percent to a range of 2 percent to 2.3 percent.

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