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Safeway prepares to exit Philadelphia market

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Thursday announced the sale of 16 of its Genuardi’s stores in the greater Philadelphia area to Giant Food Stores, a division of Ahold USA. Safeway will continue to operate these stores until the transaction closes, and the company is working through an orderly transition for all of these stores.

In addition, Safeway plans to close three Genuardi’s stores and sell the remaining eight Genuardi’s stores, which it will continue to operate while it is working with potential buyers.

"We have made the decision to exit the greater Philadelphia market, including four stores in New Jersey, and focus our resources in those operating areas where we have a stronger presence," stated Steve Neibergall, president of Safeway’s eastern division. "We will be working with the purchasers to ease the transition for our store employees and making efforts to facilitate continued employment for as many of them as possible."

As for Giant, the company plans to convert the stores under the Giant Food banner.

"Giant is always looking for convenient locations to better serve our customers," Giant Food president Rick Herring said. "We are very excited to have the opportunity to expand our presence in greater Philadelphia and serve new customers."

The sale currently is expected to close within the first half of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

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RAD comps increase 3.6% in December

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales increased 3.6% in December 2011, compared with December 2010, the company said Thursday.

Front-end same-store sales increased by 0.7%, while pharmacy same-store sales increased by 5.2% and prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2%. Total store sales increased by 3.3% to $2.6 billion, compared with December 2010’s nearly $2.6 billion.

One factor that helped raise the numbers was a New Year’s holiday calendar shift, resulting in a 2.1% increase in same-store sales when the holiday period through Jan. 2 is included.

For the 44-week period ending Dec. 31, same-store sales increased by 1.8%, including a 0.8% increase in front-end same-store sales and a 2.3% increase in pharmacy same-store sales. Total store sales increased 1.4% to $21.5 billion, compared with $21.2 billion in 2010. Prescription sales accounted for 67.9% of total store sales.

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Paper Mate introduces InkJoy line

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — Paper Mate has globally launched a new line of writing instruments.

Looking to offer consumers advanced writing performance at an affordable price, InkJoy features ultra-low viscosity ink and proprietary ink delivery system to provide "an unparalleled, effortless writing experience," Paper Mate said. InkJoy is available in 100, 300 and 700 series: the 100 and 300 series are available in 10 bright, modern ink colors, while the 700 series is available in black, blue and red ink colors.

The launch of InkJoy will be supported by a global multifaceted marketing campaign, called "The World’s Most Stolen Pen," which includes 15- and 30-second television spots, social media promotions on Facebook and Twitter, and more.

"Paper Mate InkJoy will forever change consumers’ expectations of what a pen can deliver," Paper Mate global director of marketing Scott Crist said. "InkJoy writes and feels premium but is priced for mass audiences worldwide. Once you try InkJoy, you’ll feel the joy."

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