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Wendy’s leader tapped to serve as Delhaize America president, CEO

BY Allison Cerra

BRUSSELS — Delhaize’s U.S. division has a new leader.

The supermarket conglomerate announced that Roland Smith will serve as Delhaize America’s president and CEO, as well as EVP of the Delhaize Group, effective Oct. 15. Smith is replacing Ronald Hodge, who will be retiring from his post this year. Hodge will serve in an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

"After more than 30 years at Delhaize, I have decided that the time is right for me to retire," Hodge said. "I am proud to have been part of this great company and to have played a role in the acquisition of Hannaford by Delhaize Group and the creation of Delhaize America. While the macroeconomic environment remains tough for our industry, our repositioning work is well under way and I am confident that my colleagues will continue to build on that momentum in the future. I look forward to working with Roland and the rest of the Delhaize team to ensure a seamless transition."

Smith joins Delhaize America from fast food chain Wendy’s, where he served as president and CEO. Prior to that, Smith served as president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group.

"We are delighted that Roland will become the next CEO of Delhaize America and look forward to welcoming him to our company," Delhaize Group president and CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers said. "He is a seasoned leader with a proven track record of managing large consumer businesses, reenergizing brands and driving top and bottom-line growth. We are confident his background and experience will serve to strengthen and accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business in the U.S."

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Late BTS rush boosts Fred’s Aug. sales up 2.8% to $140 million

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday posted $139.9 million in sales, up 2.8%, for the four weeks ended Aug. 25. Comparable-store sales for the month decreased 2.8%, versus an increase of 1.6% in the same period last year.

"Although comparable-store sales for August were slow, an increase in late back-to-school sales put us ahead of our recently issued guidance for the month," Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. "In addition, our pharmacy department’s performance remained strong, primarily due to ongoing script growth and generic drug introductions, together with our aggressive pursuit of new pharmacy acquisitions."

Fred’s recently announced several initiatives in an effort to increase foot traffic, including additional direct mailers and the expansion of the company’s SmartCard loyalty program. Fred’s also expanded assortments across home, hardware and automotive departments.

Fred’s total sales for the year-to-date period increased 3% to $1.1 billion. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.8% versus an increase of 0.6% over the same period last year.

During the month, Fred’s opened three new stores and five new pharmacies.

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Q3 off to good start at Target

BY Mike Troy

MINNEAPOLIS — A 4.2% increase in August same-store sales at Target was at the high end of the company’s forecast range.

The solid showing during August was noteworthy because it came on top of a prior-year increase of 4.1% and was attributable primarily to an increase in average transaction size. According to Target, about three-fourths of the increase was due to growth in ticket with increase shopper traffic accounting for the remainder of the comp increase.

"Sales were stronger in the second half of the month, as guests responded to Target’s broad assortment and compelling value for their back-to-school and back-to-college shopping," said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

As in prior months, comps were strongest in food which experienced a high single-digit increase, and in health and beauty, which experienced a mid single-digit increase. August comparable-store sales in apparel increased in line with the company average while the home and hardlines areas experienced a low single-digit increase.

The company said sales strength was broad-based with every region of the country reporting an increase and described its month end inventories as being in very good condition.

The modestly better than expected sales performance during August wasn’t enough to cause the company to elevate expectations for September. Comps for the coming month are forecast to increase in the low single digits.

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