retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "a billion-dollar forecasting error in Walgreen Co.'s Medicare-related business has cost the jobs of two top executives and alarmed big investors.

"At an April board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon forecast $8.5 billion in fiscal 2016 pharmacy-unit earnings, based partly on contracts to sell drugs under Medicare. Last month, directors got a shock. Mr. Miquelon suddenly cut that forecast by $1.1 billion." The problem was that "Walgreen hadn't factored in, among other things, a spike in the price of some generic drugs that it sells as part of annual contracts."

The result: "In early August, the CFO of the nation's largest drugstore chain was gone. Walgreen said several days earlier that its pharmacy chief, Kermit Crawford, would retire at year-end."

The ability to count is really important when you hire a CFO. Write that down.


Reuters reports that PetSmart Inc. is exploring a possible sale of the company and other strategic alternatives. According to the story, "PetSmart said its board determined that it will explore alternatives to maximize value for shareholders, including a possible sale, following 'many constructive conversations' with a wide range of shareholders over the last several months."


• The Associated Press reports that "a unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.

"The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway."
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