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Whole Foods senior purchasing exec to retire

BY DSN STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas — Michael Besancon, senior global VP purchasing, distribution and communications for Whole Foods, will retire from the company after more than 17 years of service.

"Having worked in our line of business from soup to nuts, Michael is absolutely one of the most knowledgeable natural and organic foods pioneers," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. "He has been an outstanding leader at Whole Foods, and has earned well-deserved respect throughout our company and the industry. We will truly miss his wisdom and compassion."

At Whole Foods, Besancon served as regional VP purchasing and as regional president the company’s Southern Pacific region and as regional president for the Mid-Atlantic region. He led the company’s Green Mission task force, guiding the purchase of an unprecedented 100% electricity offset of wind renewable energy credits starting in 2006.

Prior to joining Whole Foods, Besancon was the co-owner of Follow Your Heart, a natural grocery store in Los Angeles and was VP at Nature’s Best Distributors.

"It’s been an honor to be part of the Whole Foods family for all of these years growing from 30 stores when I started in 1994 to more than 300 today," said Besancon. "I’m proud to have worked with so many dedicated, passionate leaders and team members who bring the very best natural and organic products to the marketplace while believing in the greater purpose of making the world a better place through their work. I’m thankful for the amazing journey."

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Solid front-end sales help drive Shoppers Drug Mart Q4 sales boost

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart announced on Thursday a boost in fourth-quarter sales thanks to moderate sales growth in pharmacy and strong results at the front end.

Sales for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2011, totaled C$2.6 billion, up 4.3% compared with the year-ago period. Prescription sales rose 2.8% to C$1.8 billion. On a same-store basis, prescription sales rose 2.3%.

At the front end, sales were C$1.4 billion, up 5.5% compared with the year-ago period. The company noted that it experienced particularly strong sales gains in beauty, confection and convenient food items. Growth also was aided by marketing campaigns and promotions, strong seasonal programs and solid execution at the store level. On a same-store basis, front-store sales increased 4.4%.

Net earnings during the quarter were C$176 million, compared with C$169 million in the year-ago period. On a diluted basis, net earnings per share were 82 Canadian cents, compared with 78 Canadian cents in the year-ago period.

“Looking ahead, the strength of our brand, the quality of our assets and the power of our value proposition, together with the dedication and commitment of our associate-owners and their teams at the store level, have us well positioned to confront the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities in the rapidly evolving pharmacy marketplace,” stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart.

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NAFE names its ‘Top 50 Companies for Executive Women’

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Association for Female Executives on Wednesday released its list of the "Top 50 Companies for Executive Women."

General Mills, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble were all listed in the top 10 on that list. Other notable supplier and retail companies included Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardinal Health, Colgate-Palmolive, Eli Lilly, Kraft Foods, Merck and Walmart.

"The NAFE Top 50 Companies are major employers that are committed to hiring, retaining and promoting executive women," stated Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media and CEO of NAFE. "They represent a cross-section of companies that go way beyond lip service in helping succeed. Almost 7-out-of-10 companies require their managers to receive training on how to hire, advance or manage women. Manager accountability is the main ingredient for success."

According to NAFE, women represent 53% of the employees at these companies, on average. Women make up 23% of the board of directors at the NAFE Top 50, versus 16% across the boards of companies in the the Fortune 500. In addition, women make up 22% of the executive level at companies in the NAFE Top 50, versus 14% across Fortune 500 companies.

For an executive summary of the survey, click here.

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