retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that Walgreens plans to close 200 of its US stores, which it says represents about three percent of its US fleet; the move comes as the company also plans to close stores in the UK. All of the closures are aimed at saving “$1.5 billion in annual expenses by fiscal 2022,” the story says.

“As previously announced, we are undertaking a transformational cost management program to accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business, enable investments in key areas and to become a more efficient enterprise,” the company said in a statement.

USA Today reports that Sears plans to close 21 of its eponymous stores and five Kmart units, all by late October. Liquidation sales are expected to begin this month.

The story notes that “in February, former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert struck a last-minute deal to buy Sears assets out of bankruptcy and keep about 400 stores open under a new entity, Transform Holdco. In Tuesday's statement, the company calls itself TransformCo.”

• Food Lion announced yesterday that it is rolling out a new program chain-wide, giving customers with a Healthy Savings card discounts on fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, yogurts and other items.

The announcement says that “Healthy Savings is a high-engagement, national health & wellness program helping health insurers, employers, government entities and nonprofits make healthier foods more affordable … Partnering with over 14,000 brands and stores, Healthy Savings allows members to save over $50 weekly on healthier foods without having to clip, print or download coupons.”

• Published reports say that UK retailer Tesco plans to open its 10th Jack’s store tomorrow, expanding the presence of a discount format that it hoped would compete effectively against German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which have been eating away at traditional retailers’ market shares.

The effectiveness of the Jack’s format has not been universally celebrated, however, and Tesco has not detailed its long-term plans for the format.

• The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Publix Super Markets reported Q2 sales of $9.3 billion “up nearly 7 percent over the same three-month period in 2018 … Net earnings in the second quarter were up more than 7 percent year-over-year — $661.1 million versus $616.2 million in 2018.”

Same-store sales were up almost 5 percent.
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