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At investor conference, Safeway outlines dividend plan

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Tuesday said that it expects to earn $1.60 to $1.80 per diluted share during the quarter, after the company’s board approved a $1.1 billion dividend from Canada to the United States.

The dividend, Safeway said during its 2011 investor conference, will be used to pay off $600 million of U.S. debt, and the company will use the remainder of the dividend for share repurchases.

The company also noted that the dividend is expected to reduce 2011 earnings per diluted share by 15 cents due to tax expense (22 cents per diluted share) and will be partially offset by share repurchases (6 cents per diluted share) and lower interest expense (1 cent per diluted share). The combined impact of the dividend and related share repurchases is expected to be accretive to earnings per diluted share in 2012 and beyond.

"We made tremendous progress in 2010. We achieved price parity in both the United States and Canada, continued to achieve significant cost reductions, launched new digital marketing initiatives and continued innovation in corporate brands," said Steve Burd, Safeway chairman, president and CEO. "With 85% of our store base remodeled into Lifestyle stores, we believe we have the freshest asset base in the supermarket industry. When you combine all this with our differentiated offering, we believe we are very well-positioned for future growth."

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Survey: St. Patrick’s Day will boost retail spending

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A popular Irish holiday may give retailers some luck.

Total spending on St. Patrick’s Day festivities is expected to hit $4.14 billion this year, with 52.4% of Americans intending to celebrate the Irish holiday — up 7.2% from last year — according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch. In the survey’s eight-year history, the number of consumers that reported plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is at an all-time high, NRF and BIGresearch noted.

The survey found that young adults ages 18 to 24 years will be the biggest group attending private parties this year (33.9%), while adults ages 25 to 34 years will spend the most ($41.30 per person).

“March is typically one of the slower months of the year in terms of consumer spending, but we expect this year’s celebration to provide a nice boost for companies who are in the business of promoting the holiday,” said Phil Rist, EVP strategic initiatives at BIGresearch.

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s.g says:
Mar-11-2011 11:22 pm

Cvs has nothing for st patricks day mostly easter stuff. Retail gets holidays all wrong I've gone into stores. An there 2-3 months into selling stuff b4 the holiday date. Cvs has easter stuff out an a small endcap of green that is freakin lame!

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Replenish arriving at select Whole Foods locations

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — An ultra-concentrated, multisurface cleaner in a reusable bottle system is being rolled out at select Whole Foods stores.

Replenish said its all-in-one bottle will be available next month in 33 of Whole Foods’ stores in the Midwest. The system, the company said, allows consumers to measure, mix with water, store and spray powerful cleaners using replaceable concentrate pods, instead of buying premixed cleaners.

Replenish is available in three scents: fresh lavender, sun lemon and green tea.

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