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Q4 proves to be a challenge for A&P

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. Grocer A&P, which operates 429 stores, posted a dip in fourth-quarter sales and a wider net loss; however, executives are optimistic as they take steps to revive the business.

Sales for the 12-week quarter ended Feb. 27 were $2 billion, compared with $2.3 billion in last year’s 13-week fourth quarter. Same-store sales decreased 4.8%.

Net loss for the quarter was $171.4 million, or a drop of $5.07 per diluted share, compared with a decrease in the year-ago period of $112.1 million, or down $4.83 per diluted share.

“The past year was certainly a challenge, as the economy continued its sluggish pace. The good news is that we have identified several critical issues within our organization that will lead us back to market prominence. We are committing our undivided attention to clarifying our brand identify in our principal banners, completing the integration of the Pathmark acquisition and maximizing supply chain cost improvement opportunities,” stated Ron Marshall, president and CEO of A&P.

He added that, “The fixes in our company are attainable and the initiatives are in place today to provide us the path forward. Concurrent to transforming the culture of our company, we are gaining ground in better understand our customers, developing the skills critical for our success, making prudent reinvestments in our business and reducing costs through a process of continuous improvement. Our sole mission is to make The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. great again.”

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Publix supports flood, tornado relief

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA In line with many other retailers in southern United States, Publix has established a program to offer customers a way to assist those affected by the devastating floods and tornados in Alabama and Tennessee.

Customers may donate at the register to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at Publix stores throughout Tennessee and most of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The customer donation program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.

In related efforts, Nashville-area Publix stores will be collecting nonperishable items for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Nashville. The food bags will be distributed to shelters servicing the impacted communities. The company also is coordinating efforts with Feed the Children for a donation of approximately $25,000 in shelf-stable items.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, homes and personal belongings as a result of this disaster,” said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix. “We would also like to take a moment to recognize our associates who are working hard everyday to make sure that their Publix is open and able to provide the products and services our customers need and want.”

Currently, all Publix locations are open and serving their surrounding communities.

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Social media placed into action by Wegmans

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. As a potential example of how retailers will communicate directly with customers in the future, Wegmans recently tapped into its online services. Upon hearing customer concerns about the effect of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on seafood at its stores, Wegmans turned to social media to spread the word.

By posting a video link on Twitter, it enabled its customers to meet Carl Salamone, VP seafood and hear about how the spill does (or does not) impact the seafood at its stores.

For a look at the video, click here: http://yfrog.com/2gseafoodgulfz.

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