Acquisitions, expansion and internal redirection are the strategies for growth outlined by top executives of six Washington corporations, who met with investors at a workshop Saturday.
Giant Food and Hechinger's will build new stores. Giant has 27 new supermarkets and 1 Pants Corrals planned for the next three years, Chairman Joseph Danzansky said. Hechinger's new warehouse complex, to be completed this spring, will service up to 40 units, President John Hechinger said.
The Washington Post Co. and Federal Real Estate Investment Trust plan acquisitions. The Post Co., with $50 million in cash, is looking for newspapers to buy, President Mark J. Meagher said. Federal REIT just acquired a Falls Church shopping center and is preparing to take over one in Louisiana, Samuel Gorlitz, managing trustee, said.
American Security Bank's strategy is to redirect its efforts toward retail marketing, and the growing southeastern United States market, explained President W. Jarvis Moody.
People's Drug Stores President Sheldon W. Fantle said his company will use all three avenues - building new stores, acquiring retail and other operations, and reorganizing internally.
The half-dozen executives discussed their plans with about 100 investors at a session set up by two local brokerage houses, Ferris & Co. and Sade & Co.
Fantle said People's Drug is "unique in respect to these companies that have been growing every year. We're in a turnaround situation."
After three years of flat sales, People's profits dropped to $414,000 in 1975, then bounced back the next year when the company merged with Lane Drug and grew to $4.5 million in 1977 as sales climbed to $366 million.
In five years, Fantle said, People's wants to be a $500 million a year business and to boost its pretax margins from 2 percent to 5 percent.
The direction of the People's operation is shown by the newest "minicombo," which incorporates a convenience food store, that opened in Falls Church.
Hechinger's is counting on continuing its 25 percent compound annual growth in sales and 24 percent compound annual gain in profits, said its president.
Four stores in Pennsylvania will open by summer, six sites are being sought in Baltimore, where Hechinger's opened its first last year, and "we're looking for targets of opportunity," Hechinger said.
Acknowledging "investors today are looking for dividends," he said the company may have to reassess its policy of reinvesting all profits.
He said Hechinger's is able to "make at least a small profit in the first year" after a new store is opened. Within five to six years, sales are better than $100 a foot for the 60,000 square foot stores. That's $6 million a year and "rivals the results of K mart or Sears Roebuck," the local retailer said.
Giant needs sales of $8 million to $10 million to make its supermarkets profitable, Danzansky told the workshop.
All the new stores will be built with computer-assisted checkouts that use optical scanners to ring up purchases.
American Security Bank will also stress retail operations, said Moody, predicting "retail banking will change the most in the months and years ahead."
Interest-bearing checking accounts are likely within two years, he said, but cautioned that consumers who are paid for the use of their money can expect to pay the banks for some services, like checking.
The Washington Post Co.'s earnings for the latest fiscal year "will approach the high end of the estimates," Meagher said, foreseeing approximately a 50 per cent gain except for extraordinary items.
He said the company's newspaper, magazine and broadcasting divisions expect "improved performance in 1978, although certainly not at the growth rate we've had in the past two years."