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Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club to donate $1 million to Salvation Army

BY Allison Cerra

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates will be kicking off the holiday season by supporting The Salvation Army.

Nationwide, the company said, its associates will participate in “Bells Ringing Across America”, a half-hour event, dedicated to raising money for the foundation by ringing the bells and inviting customers to support the annual campaign.

Wal-Mart chief executive officer Lee Scott will ring the Red Kettle bell alongside The Salvation Army’s National Commander Israel Gaither and Kellogg Company President and chief executive officer David Mackay at the Wal-Mart store in Battle Creek, Mich.

During “Bells Ringing Across America,” Scott will present a check for $1 million from the Wal-Mart Foundation to The Salvation Army to further exhibit the company’s support of the Red Kettle campaign. Additionally, Rayovac Batteries will launch its “Keep it Ringing” cross-country bell-ringing program benefiting The Salvation Army from Battle Creek on Nov. 27, and will present $250,000 to the organization.

Last year, The Salvation Army collected a record $30 million in front of Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations, the most raised by any partner.

Funds donated by customers helped The Salvation Army to serve 35 million people by providing basic social services such as food, shelter, clothing and financial assistance.

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Target sees disappointing Q3 sales

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS Target has released its third quarter results for the period ended Nov. 3, 2007. The net earnings were $483 million compared to the third quarter of 2006, which saw earnings of $506 million.

Total revenues in the third quarter increased 9.3 percent to $14.8 billion from $13.6 billion in 2006, reflecting a 3.7 percent increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores and credit card operations. The contribution from the company’s credit card operations to the third-quarter earnings before taxes was $157 million, an increase of $23 million, or 17.1 percent, from the same period in 2006.

“Our third-quarter earnings were disappointing due to soft sales in our higher margin categories, leading to lower-than-expected gross margin in our core retail operations,” said Bob Ulrich, chairman and chief executive officer. “However, we have not observed any meaningful change in the intensity of the competitive environment and continue to believe that we are well-positioned to operate in a variety of sales environments going forward.”

The company also announced that its board of directors has authorized a new $10 billion share repurchase program, replacing the previous authorization.

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Kroger to build DC on former brownfield site

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI Cincinnati-based Kroger has signed a $207 million lease for a 552,000 square-foot warehouse and distribution center in Paramount, Calif., the Cincinnati Busines Courier reported this week.

Two Kroger divisions, Ralphs and Food 4 Less, will use the location, a former brownfield site, as a hub to serve more than 360 locations in California. The center is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2008.

Kroger operates more than 2,400 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states.

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