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Supervalu expands wholesale reach through Associated Grocers of Florida acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

 MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Wednesday announced its acquisition of Associated Grocers of Florida in a transaction valued at approximately $180 million.

"Associated Grocers represents a great opportunity for us to further expand our wholesale business into another important region," stated Mark Gross, president and CEO Supervalu. "Christopher Miller and his talented team have done outstanding work to build and support a dynamic and diverse retailer base. We're looking forward to welcoming the strengths and talents of the Associated Grocers team to Supervalu and working together so that, once the transaction is complete, we can bring the benefits of our combined scale and expertise to their customers to help them better compete in the evolving grocery industry."

This transaction, which was approved by each company's board of directors,  provides Supervalu with the ability to expand its operations into a new part of Florida as well as provides new opportunities to bring Supervalu's products and services to Associated Grocers' diverse customer base in South Florida, the Caribbean and other international markets. Additionally, as part of the pending transaction, Supervalu has reached a long-term supply agreement with Associated Grocers' largest customer that will go into effect upon the closing of the transaction.

During Associated Grocers' last fiscal year, which ended on July 29, 2017, Associated Grocers' revenues were approximately $650 million, estimated by Supervalu under its accounting policies.

In addition to announcing its proposed acquisition of Associated Grocers, Supervalu also reported second quarter fiscal 2018 consolidated net sales of $3.8 billion, an increase of $995 million or 35%. “We continue to make tremendous strides in driving our strategy, evidenced by another quarter of strong growth from our core wholesale business which now represents over 70% of net sales,” Gross said. “Additionally, our results now include the benefit of Unified Grocers, where I'm pleased that the transition is going well. We have a lot to be excited about as we turn our focus toward the back half of our fiscal year.”

Total net sales within the wholesale segment increased 58%. Retail identical store sales were negative 3.5%. Second quarter Retail net sales were $1 billion, a decrease of 1.1%.

Founded in 1945, Associated Grocers is a retailer-owned cooperative that distributes full lines of grocery and general merchandise to independent retailers, primarily in South Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Asia. Associated Grocers' customer base of conventional, specialty and ethnic stores includes an exciting mix of multi-cultural independent grocers that complements Supervalu's customer base.

The Associated Grocers transaction is currently expected to close by the end of calendar year 2017, subject to approval by Associated Grocers' shareholders and other customary closing conditions. Following completion of the merger, Associated Grocers will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Supervalu.

Faegre Baker Daniels and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton acted as Supervalu's legal counsel. RBC Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Associated Grocers of Florida and Akerman acted as Associated Grocers' legal counsel.

 

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Rite Aid unveils latest Medicare plan selection tool for open enrollment period

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — As the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period gets underway, from now through Dec. 7, 2017, Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide are providing senior customers with free resources to help select the right prescription drug plan or update their existing coverage for 2018.  

"Prescription medications play a critical role when it comes to living and staying well, so it's important that patients review their prescription drug plan each year and choose the one that best fits their individual needs," stated Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy.

"Using Rite Aid's Medicare Advisor tool, patients can compare the estimated annual costs of various plans, including monthly premiums, brand and generic co-pays and drugs covered, and as always, Rite Aid pharmacists are available to meet with customers to review their Medicare Advisor reports and answer questions," she added.

Patients and caregivers can use Rite Aid's dedicated Medicare Advisor comparison tool available at www.riteaid.com/medicareadvisor and in all Rite Aid pharmacies, to request the three lowest-cost prescription drug plans based on current prescriptions filled at Rite Aid.  

 

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Walgreens expands retail pharmacy, omnichannel technology teams

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that it will bring approximately 300 technology positions to its current downtown Chicago office in the Sullivan Center to establish a new technology center of excellence.

Walgreens is currently building out its space in the Sullivan Center to host the new center of excellence, which will host much of the company’s retail pharmacy technology team along with the digital, mobile and e-commerce technology teams that currently work there.

“We are excited to bring more technology jobs to the City of Chicago and establish a technology center of excellence that will focus on delivering state-of-the-art systems to our more than 8,000 drugstores nationwide,” stated Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens. “Chicago is where Walgreens began as a single drug store in 1901, and expanding our downtown presence will help us retain and attract the best talent to continue developing our digital and technology capabilities.”

Walgreens already employs more than 3,500 people in the City of Chicago, where it operates 136 drug stores.

“Chicago and Walgreens have a long and shared history of innovation and ingenuity,” Mayor Emanuel said. “That history makes Chicago the perfect city for Walgreens to locate 300 jobs and make an investment in its future.”

 

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