Safeway shares tumble after earnings report

Pleasanton-based Safeway's operating profit slumped amid fierce competition from other grocers last quarter, which caused the supermarket chain's shares to tumble 3.6 percent. The company's shares fell 58 cents to finish at $15.71.

The grocery chain's sales slipped 0.2 percent during the third quarter, which ended Sept. 8.

Including the effects of one-time gains, overall profit rose. The company posted gains from the sale of 17 Genuardi stores in the third quarter.

Pleasanton-based Safeway earned $157 million on sales of $10.05 billion; operating profit totaled $218.3 million.

Compared with the year-ago third quarter, profit rose 20.6 percent and operating profit fell 12.1 percent.

The decline in operating profits was due to one-time items that won't recur in the fourth quarter, Safeway said.

Same-store sales, excluding revenue from fuel sales, rose 0.1 percent. These sales are a closely watched barometer of the company's operations.

Thoratec appoints finance chief

Pleasanton-based Thoratec has appointed Taylor Harris chief financial officer, the heart device maker said Thursday.

Harris joined Thoratec in 2010 as senior director of investor relations and business development.

Before he joined Thoratec, Harris worked at JPMorgan Chase for more than a decade in several capacities, including a vice president and analyst in the medical device sector.

"Over the past few years, Taylor has effectively driven a broad range of initiatives at Thoratec, demonstrating strong leadership, business knowledge and strategic vision," CEO Gary Burbach said. "We are confident that Taylor will make increasingly valuable contributions to Thoratec in the CFO role, as we continue to grow our markets and expand our global business."

Chabot awards go to Clorox, Bechtel

Oakland-based Chabot Space & Science Center has named Clorox, Bechtel and others as "Champions of Science" for its annual Starlight Gala.

The awards are given to individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary and lasting impact in science education and who support the Chabot Science center.

-- Staff