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Meijer president departs for sporting goods company

BY Mike Troy

KATY, Texas — Academy Sports and Outdoors named former Meijer president James Kevin Symancyk to the role of president and CEO in a move that suggests the retailers private equity owners could be eyeing a public stock offering.
 
Symancyk, 43, will assume his new responsibilities on Nov. 2 when current president and CEO Rodney Faldyn steps down after 10 years with the operator of more than 200 large format, full line sporting goods stores. Symancyk joined Meijer in 2006 in a senior merchandising role and advanced quickly to become executive vice president of merchandising and marketing and then chief operating officer. He was named president in Feb. 2013. Prior to Meijer, Symancyk spent 12 years with Sam’s Club in a variety of merchandising positions.
 
"The future for Academy Sports and Outdoors is truly limitless, and I'm eager to ensure we continue offering customers convenience, a broad selection of quality products and exceptional customer service as we strive to remain the low price leader in our category,” Symacyk said. “I'm looking forward to getting to know our associates and vendors as we collaborate to become the national, regionally relevant, locally merchandised, sporting goods, outdoor and lifestyle retail store of choice."
 
Symancyck succeeds Rodney Faldyn who joined Academy in 2006 as CFO and was named president the following year. He was elevated to the role of CEO in August 2011 when the family controlled company was acquired by affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. It is possible that Symancyk will oversee the company’s initial public offering, as KKR looks to cash in on its four-year-old investment. 
 
"Academy Sports and Outdoors has had a tremendous growth trajectory during the time of our ownership. We are grateful to Rodney (Faldyn) for his innumerable contributions and leadership," Nate Taylor, Academy’s chairman of the board of managers and KKR’s head of retail for the Americas, said “J.K. (Symancyk) is an exceptional retail strategist with a strong business and financial acumen and proven track record of success. We believe that he will strengthen an already talented management team and enhance a corporate infrastructure that is well positioned for the future.”
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September same-store sales up 1.5% at Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid on Thursday reported a same-store sales increase of 1.5% for the four weeks ended Sept. 26. September front-end same-store sales decreased 0.1% and pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 234 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 2.2%.
 
Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 0.7% over the prior-year period.
 
Total drug store sales for the four-week period increased 1.8% to $2.1 billion. Prescription sales accounted for 70.1% of drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.8% of pharmacy sales.
 
Same store sales for the 30-week period ended Sept. 26 increased 2.3% over the prior-year period. Front-end same-store sales increased 0.4% while pharmacy same-store sales increased 3.2%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 0.7% over the prior-year period.
 
Total drug store sales for the 30-week period increased 2.3% with sales of $15.3 billion. Prescription sales represented 69.3% of total drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.8% of pharmacy sales.
 
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Walgreens kiosks to offer Western Union services

BY Gina Acosta

Walgreens has teamed up with Western Union on an initiative that may generate the drugstore chain a lot more traffic and sales.

The nation’s largest drugstore chain has launched Western Union Bill Payment services via digital self-service kiosks, allowing customers to make payments to 15,000 billers across the United States and beyond.

Customers can access Western Union services via Walgreens self-service kiosks where they can pay bills and also use existing Western Union international and domestic money transfer services. The kiosks are located in more than 7,800 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and are the same kiosks where photo and BalanceTM Financial services are offered.

"Offering a fuller menu of financial services supports our drive to provide customers with ultimate convenience,” said Jay Bernstein, Walgreens manager of financial services. “With Western Union’s expanded offerings, customers can now visit our store to quickly pay an eligible utility bill or more easily transfer funds to a college student out-of-state or a relative overseas.”

Western Union service offerings via Walgreens allow customers to independently stage their transactions, and fund money transfers and bill payments via cash or pin-based debit, initiated at the self-service kiosk using a photo touchscreen and finalized at the register. The services are available at Walgreens stores between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time.

Western Union’s cross-border platform is a combination of a physical and digital network servicing 16,000 corridors across 200 countries and territories. Across its brands the company has over 500,000 retail agent locations around the world and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks, and including the capability to send money to millions of bank accounts.

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