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Once again, Kroger emphasizes hunger awareness

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger has kicked off a two-week campaign that is expected to generate $5 million dollars in cash and food donations to assist 80 local food banks in communities where Kroger’s customers and associates live and work.

Kroger said that its annual Bringing Hope to the Table campaign, which runs through June 11, will assist food banks that are members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Since 2006, Kroger’s family of stores has generated contributions of $25 million in food and funds through the campaign.

"Our annual Bringing Hope to the Table campaign brings our customers, associates and vendors together to send resources to local food banks that help feed our hungry neighbors," said Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s group VP corporate affairs and Feeding America board member.

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Calendar day shifts aid May sales for Walgreens

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — May proved to be a good month for Walgreens, as the drug store chain posted a total sales jump of 7% to nearly $6.1 billion.

Walgreens reported that its total front-end sales experienced a 5.5% increase, while comparable front-end sales realized a 3.6% increase.

For its pharmacy business, Walgreens said sales rose 7.8%, while comparable-pharmacy sales increased 6.7%, accounting for 64.4% of total sales for the month. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 7.1%, which included patients that filled 90-day prescriptions in May. Calendar day shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 1.7 percentage points, as May 2011 had one additional Tuesday and one fewer Saturday, compared with May 2010.

Customer traffic in comparable stores for May increased 1.6%, while basket size increased 2%, Walgreens said.

Walgreens also reported May sales in overall comparable stores increased 5.6% for the chain, which were impacted positively by 1.1 percentage points due to the calendar day shifts.

Duane Reade stores are not included in any comparable-store results.

In related news, Walgreens said it has completed its acquisition of Drugstore.com, a deal that is valued at approximately $409 million. The deal, which was announced in late March, better positions Walgreens to offer customers a broad range of services by extending its multichannel initiatives.

“We welcome Drugstore.com’s leaders and employees to the Walgreens family,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said. "Drugstore.com complements Walgreens’ center of gravity — our 7,700 drug stores — by extending many of our own multichannel initiatives that have been driving our growth. This acquisition also provides us a unique opportunity to access more than 3 million savvy, online loyal customers and move even closer to our existing customers through relationships with new vendors and partners, adding approximately 60,000 products to our already strong online offering."

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Shaw’s Mass. stores recognized for recycling efforts

BY Gail Hoffer

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Shaw’s Supermarkets announced that its Massachusetts stores have received supermarket recycling program certification from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

“Shaw’s is committed to leading the way on environmental sustainability, and we continue to work diligently to expand the comprehensive recycling programs at all of our stores,” Shaw’s president Mike Stigers said. “While receiving this certification from the MassDEP is testament to our commitment, it also encourages us to work even harder toward keeping waste out of our landfills. At Shaw’s, we recognize that by helping our environment and the communities we serve, we can improve the overall success of our business.”

The SRPC program was established through a partnership between the MassDEP and the Massachusetts Food Association to encourage supermarkets to recycle and reuse organics and other materials. With the certification, all waste loads from Shaw’s Massachusetts supermarkets now are exempt from routine comprehensive inspections at solid waste disposal and transfer facilities for the presence of recyclables that are banned from disposal at Massachusetts’ disposal facilities.

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