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Winn-Dixie Continues on ‘Transformational’ Path

by Terrie Ellerbee/associate editor

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. continues on its path of “transformational remodels,” and the strategy is working, said Peter Lynch, president, CEO and chairman of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based supermarket chain. Sales at remodeled stores are up and they are helping build brand equity.

Net sales for the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year 2012 were $1.6 billion, an increase of $48.2 million or 3.1 percent vs. the same period a year ago.

Work on five stores has been completed. Lynch said 60 percent of the store base will get transformational remodels.

“Now that we have five under our belt, the amount of good press, word-of-mouth, has been unbelievable,” Lynch said. “I think it is starting to wake people up that Winn-Dixie is back on track. Good things are happening here.”

Plans for fiscal year 2012 are to revamp a total of 17 locations. Besides the five stores already completed, two stores will be ready for reopening in the first quarter and two more are to be completed in the second quarter. Construction is under way on the remaining stores, too, and they should have reopenings in the back half of the fiscal year.

Once remodeled, stores showcase expanded perishables departments, including a Farmers Market that extends to outside the front entrance. Chefs carve roast beef or brisket as customers peruse expanded prepared food offerings. Customers can nibble on samplings from larger cheese shops. Wine stewards help customers make decisions in the stores that now have a more “comfortable” atmosphere, Lynch said.

Meanwhile, stores deemed inappropriate for the transformational remodel because they are too small or in the wrong location may be “let go,” Lynch said.

“Now, if the store is marginal, we are looking for an alternative location as a replacement store,” he said.

Winn-Dixie reported an increase in sales in stores open at least a year of 3.3 percent in its first quarter of the new fiscal year 2012, and in the early weeks of the second quarter, Lynch said they have increased more than that.

Winn-Dixie shareholders approve ‘Say on Pay’

Winn-Dixie shareholders voted Nov. 9 to approve a “say on pay” measure regarding executive compensation. The vote is non-binding and advisory only.

Shareholders also favored reviewing executive compensation on an annual basis vs. every two or three years in another non-binding vote.

Also at the meeting, a representative of the U.S. Humane Society thanked the Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocery company for its progress regarding animal welfare in the supply chain.

 

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