Tesco Fresh & Easy rolling out 250 new products
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Tesco Fresh & Easy is adding more than 250 products to the chain’s already large private label offering as it fine tunes stores during a 90-day break on expansion that began in early April. New products include more fresh prepared meals, juices and meats.
One new product already in stores is the Mixed Grill Pack, which retails for $9.99 and contains four sausages, four beef patties, four chicken thighs and four drumsticks. Other products are due to arrive in stores over the next two months. The chain also plans to add brighter signs and other new merchandising elements in its next store opening on July 2 in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Fresh & Easy chief executive officer Tim Mason said in a statement that the chain is adding new products in response to feedback from customers. “We continue to listen to our customers and look for ways to make their shopping trip even better.”
Tesco currently has 61 stores in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix and expects to have up to 200 by 2009.
Walgreens donates $50,000 to Hawaiian pharmacy school
HILO, Hawaii Following the November 2007 opening of its first store in Hawaii, Walgreens presented the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s new College of Pharmacy with an oversized check for $50,000 Saturday.
Walgreens opened its first store on Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu and plans to add 25 to 30 more stores throughout the state.
Walgreens’ gift, presented without restrictions, will fund activities in the college, which is Hawaii’s first accredited pharmacy program. The first class of 90 students began last August and is expected to finish in 2011. The second class, also of 90 students, will begin this August, and the college hopes to enroll 350 students over the next four years.
Wal-Mart produces record sales in weak economy
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart’s first-quarter financial results topped analysts’ estimates by a narrow margin, but shares of the company were trading lower Tuesday morning as executives expressed concern about the economic environment.
Total company sales for the quarter ended April 30 increased 10.2 to $94.1 billion and net income increase 6.9 percent to slightly more than $3 billion. Earnings per share of $0.76 exceeded analysts’ estimates by a penny and increased 11.7 percent from $0.68 per share during the comparable period the prior year.
President and chief executive officer Lee Scott attributed the company’s performance to broad based strength across its U.S., international and Sam’s Club business segments combined with a low price image that resonates with consumers during periods of economic weakness.
“We continue to deliver against the business model that Sam Walton started, selling branded merchandise for less,” Scott said. “Our business is even more relevant to our customers today given the current economic pressures.”
That was particularly true in the U.S. where store division president and chief executive officer Eduardo Castro-Wright said customer traffic increased for the first time in several years and customer service scores are at an all time high. He added that the company’s U.S. grocery, health and wellness and entertainment businesses remained strong and the corner has been turned in the apparel business where a return to basic items selling for less than $10 has been well received by consumers.
Sales at the stores division increased 6.6 percent to $59 billion while operating income increase 9.6 percent to $4.4 billion and same store sales, excluding the impact of fuel prices, increased 2.7 percent.
Once again, Wal-Mart’s fastest growing division was international where sales surged 22 percent to nearly $24 billion and operating income increased 15.6 percent to slightly more than $1 billion.
Sam’s Club had a solid quarter, but growth in membership income was less than planned. Sales increased 7.6 percent to $11.1 billion and operating income increased 4.3 percent to $386 million.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, chief financial officer Tom Schoewe said Wal-Mart is well positioned in the current economic environment but given the unclear impact government rebate checks will have on sales the forecast for second quarter same store sales is in a range of flat to 2 percent and earnings per share should fall between $0.78 and $0.81.