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Kroger chief executive officer named “Kansan of the Year”

BY DSN STAFF

HUTCHINSON, Kan. Kroger chairman and chief executive officer David Dillon was honored by the Kansas Society of Washington, D.C. as “Kansan of the Year” for the role he and his company play in supporting communities where its customers and associates live and work.

Dillon, who was born and raised in Hutchinson, has served in a variety of leadership roles during his career and was named chief executive officer of Kroger in 2003. He is a past chair of both Leadership Hutchinson and Leadership Kansas.

“Dave’s leadership in corporate citizenship has followed him throughout his career, benefiting not just Kansas communities but neighborhoods across the country where Kroger’s family of stores touch lives every day,” said Jon Hixson, president of The Kansas Society.

Hixson added that Dillon was honored for his companies work in helping Greensburg, Kan. rebuild after it was hit by a tornado. In addition, Dillons and Kwik Shop partnered with customers, local media outlets, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to raise over $500,000 to support Greensburg families as the community rebuilds.

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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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