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Report: Bi-Lo to shutter seven outlets

BY Allison Cerra

GREENVILLE, S.C. A regional supermarket chain announced it will be closing or selling seven of its stores, according to published reports.

Bi-Lo said its stores, located in Georgia and the Carolinas, said the closures are unrelated to the company’s bankruptcy-exit plan it filed in November. The closures will affect approximately 400 employees, but will be given the opportunity to transfer to nearby stores, Bi-Lo said.

In separate news, Bi-Lo announced it would expand its fuel savings program in Charlotte, N.C. The program, called Fuelperks, rewards customers 5 cents per gallon to new My Bi-Lo Bonus cards for every $50 they spends at the supermarket chain.

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CVS/pharmacy opens first store in Memphis

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy celebrated on Wednesday the grand opening of its first store in the city of Memphis, with more stores planned for the market over the next few years.

Shelby County Mayor Joseph Ford joined CVS officials for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We are pleased to be opening stores in Memphis and expanding our presence in the state of Tennessee,” stated Larry Merlo, president of CVS/pharmacy. “Our mission at CVS is to make pharmacy solutions effective and easy for our customers, so we look forward to providing high-quality and convenient pharmacy services at a great value to our new customers in Memphis.”

The new Memphis CVS/pharmacy is located at 9861 Highway 64. Additional locations on Winchester Rd. and Stage Rd. in Memphis will open later this year, and more stores are planned for the market over the next few years.

As part of the grand opening celebration, CVS/pharmacy announced that, since 2004, it has raised $16 million through its participation in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s annual Thanks and Giving holiday fundraising campaign to support the expansion of the hospital’s Rehabilitation Services Center. St. Jude will hold a ceremony to dedicate the CVS Caremark Rehabilitation Services Center following the CVS/pharmacy grand opening.

“This new facility plays a critical role in helping St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provide care that not only saves lives, but protects children’s quality of life during treatment for catastrophic diseases,” added Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. “Partners like CVS Caremark help ensure that every child who comes through our doors has hope for a brighter future.”

“The CVS Caremark Rehabilitation Services Center was made possible by our customers who support the Thanks and Giving campaign every year and by the dedicated work of our employees,” stated Merlo. “We are very proud that this new facility is helping St. Jude give children the support they need to reach their greatest potential.”

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Report: Costco management changes hint of future succession plan

BY Allison Cerra

ISSAQUAH, Wash. Following the promotion of its EVP merchandising to the roles of president and COO, rumors are circulating that wholesaler Costco may be making a succession plan fpr its CEO position.

Craig Jelinek, a 6-year veteran of Costco, was promoted Monday. Analysts are inquiring whether or not Jelinek’s appointment to president and COO are a way to dispel investors’ concerns over the future of the wholesaler, according to published reports.

Although Costco spokesman Richard Galanti told the Wall Street Journal that the “the [executive] changes are part of a long process” and that the move may indicate of more changes to come, he said CEO Sinegal won’t be retiring for several more years.

Costco currently operates 566 warehouses, including 413 in the United States and Puerto Rico and reported $16.92 billion in net sales for first quarter of fiscal 2010, an increase of 6% from the year-ago period.

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