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Walgreens donates food, supplies as new storms target Gulf, Southeast

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has sent truckloads of food, water and emergency supplies to Baton Rouge, La., to aid with continuing Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.

Among the necessities shipped to hard-hit residents: water, trail mix, granola bars and other snack items, along with infant formula and diapers. Walgreens reports it is also gathering supplies to place on standby for a swift response to new emergency requests across the nation’s southeast coast with the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna this weekend and Hurricane Ike next week.

“We’ll direct critical resources to communities in need,” said Walgreens director of community affairs John Gremer. “We’re on alert, and we’ll be ready to help wherever we can.”

The company notes there is still “tremendous need in many Baton Rouge communities,” which were among the hardest hit by Gustav. “Thousands remain without electricity, and food and water are still in high demand,” the company reports.

Another priority is getting any stores that were closed due to the storm back open quickly, according to the chain. As of Friday morning, Walgreens reported, “all but one of Walgreens’ 15 Baton Rouge stores are open. Across the Gulf Coast region, only nine remain closed down from 69 closed immediately following the storm.”

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Wal-Mart Stores monthly sales up 8.7 percent

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported that net sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 29 increased 8.7 percent to $30.7 billion from $28 billion for the same period last year. Total comparable-store sales for the month increased 3 percent (excluding fuel).

"We estimate U.S. comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, for the September five-week period to be between 2 percent and 3 percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Our value proposition and the underlying business remain strong."

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Soaring energy prices lead consumers to supercenters

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Consumers are balancing the need to save money on consumer packaged goods with the need to conserve gas, so they are turning to supercenters to make fewer and larger shopping trips, according to new research from Information Resources Inc. that the company released Thursday.

“Times & Trends: Channel Migration 2008,”reveals that supercenters were the only store type to achieve sales gains across six key grocery retail department areas during the last year, while traditional grocery retailers showed declines in four of six departments. Furthermore, supercenters exhibited gains with all income levels and with three high-potential market segments, including baby boomers, Hispanics and households with kids.

“Leaders throughout the retail spectrum know there is not one single answer to this retail challenge, and that securing the best information is the first step to developing an optimal new strategy,” stated IRI president, innovation and consulting, Thom Blischok.

Select findings for the IRI study include

* Facing unprecedented financial burdens as gas, energy and CPG costs skyrocket simultaneously, consumers have made dramatic changes in where and how they shop;

* consumers are balancing the need to save money on CPG products with the need to conserve gas, resulting in fewer, larger trips;

*cross-channel competition has intensified for self-care products, which are experiencing rapid demand increasesNdrug stores and supercenters have secured the largest gains, but channel shifts vary by category.

“With the economy not expected to rebound until at least the second quarter of 2009, there is ample time for consumers to become comfortable with their new shopping patterns, suggesting that these changes and the competitive ramifications could have some staying power,” Blischok added.

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