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In U.S., Ahold 4Q sales down 2.1%

BY Michael Johnsen

ZAANDAM, The Netherlands — Ahold on Thursday announced consolidated net sales of €7.5 billion (U.S. $10.2 billion) for fourth quarter 2013, a decrease of 1.1% at constant exchange rates compared to fourth quarter 2012. 

 For the full year 2013, consolidated net sales were $44.3 billion, an increase of 2% at constant exchange rates compared to 2012. 

In the United States sales in the fourth quarter were down 2.1%, reflecting a contracting food market and the sales effect of Hurricane Sandy last year, the international grocer stated. 

"We continue to build our online business and opened another 31 pick-up points, bringing the total to 120 in the United States," Ahold stated. "Market share for the year was ahead of 2012 though down slightly in the fourth quarter due to the strong comparative period last year as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Supported by the ongoing progress on our cost reduction program, we expect underlying operating margin to be broadly in line with the performance during the year."

 

 

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2014 NACDS TSE exhibit space 90% sold out

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — With eight months until the doors open for the 2014 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, 90% of the Exhibit Hall already is sold out for the trade show and strategic exchange, NACDS has announced.

The 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo will take place Aug. 23 to 26 at the Boston Convention Center in Boston.

“The inaugural NACDS Total Store Expo really hit the mark with the value and high-caliber opportunities that the event provided for attendees,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “As we look ahead to this year’s event, you can already feel the energy building, which is reflected in the fact that exhibit space is 90% sold out — and it is only January.”

More than 5,000 attendees converged for the inaugural four-day trade show last August. And, according to NACDS, survey results from 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo attendees reveal that 92% planned to return for the 2014 trade show.

Registration has been open for those who attended last year’s event, allowing them a head start to solidify their meeting plans early. Registration for the 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo is now open industry wide.  

“The feedback from last year’s attendees demonstrated that the cross-industry approach to doing business in a new way was not only very successful but also necessary for the industry, which is ever-evolving,” Anderson said.  

The NACDS Total Store Expo enables business partners to work together creatively across departments and functions with an eye toward the entire store. 

During the 2013 event NACDS introduced NACDS-TV, which captured the inaugural event through interviews, highlights and features that offered new attendees a snapshot of the four-day, high-caliber trade show. In the coming months, the NACDS-TV coverage will build on the momentum from last year, including updates about what attendees can expect this year.  

 

 

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Walgreens’ Greg Wasson featured on ‘Mad Money’

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — "Mad Money"’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday evening interviewed Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson on what’s behind the drug store retailer’s skyrocketing shareholder value. 

"I was skeptical," Cramer said. "I didn’t realize that [Walgreens was] trying to become more than just a drug store company, and instead of just the $300 billion drug store market, [the company is] in the couple trillion dollar healthcare market because of the changes [Walgreens has] made," he said. "You’re changing the face of the way health care is given in this country."

"Health care is becoming much more coordinated among stakeholders," Wasson said. Walgreens has far surpassed a typical neighborhood drug store offering, Wasson explained. Pharmacists are providing more services like immunizations. Walgreens is co-locating nurse practitioners in stores to provide more acute and chronic care solutions. And Walgreens is partnering with health systems across the country to help mitigate healthcare costs and hospital readmissions.  

Walgreens also is building the world’s largest generic drug procurement system through its strategic initiatives with Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen, Wasson added. 

And yet, Walgreens is still delivering to its core drug store consumer with a revamped drug store offering. The chain has emphasized value through its private label program, with some 2,000 new SKUs having been introduced in the past year. And with its more than 8,200 store base, 63% of the American population lives within five miles of a Walgreens location. 

"Well, you created tremendous value," Cramer concluded. "You have a stock that’s doing much better than the S&P [500]," he said. "There are companies that amaze me. There are companies with a big vision, bigger than I ever thought about, and Walgreens is one of them."

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R.HAMMERLE says:
Jan-16-2014 10:51 am

Jim Cramer and other company analysts would not have said this about Walgreens a half dozen years ago, when CVS was passing Walgreens with several strategic initiatives. The credit for Walgreens' vision and turnaround needs to go to Greg Wasson and the thousands of community-based pharmacists who supported a new vision for the future of pharmacies and pharmacists. Ron Hammerle, CEO and Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida

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