Bloomberg: Novartis, Merck mulling $5B swap
NEW YORK — Novartis AG is reportedly in talks with Merck to swap its animal health and vaccines businesses for Merck’s OTC business, which includes the Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy medicine brands, according to a Bloomberg report.
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the two drugmakers could each trade about $5 billion in assets. The deal, however, hasn’t been finalized, and Novartis may choose another option.
The swap would make strategic sense for the companie,s as Merck’s OTC business would complement such Novartis consumer items as Lamisil anti-fungal treatment and Triaminic cold medicine. Sources told Bloomberg that Novartis would rather trade the veterinary unit and invest in an area in which it is already a leader.
Costco’s sales, comps increase in December
ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Costco Wholesale Corp.’s sales increased by 6% in the month of December and the first few days of January compared with December 2012, the club retailer said Thursday.
The Issaquah, Wash.-based company reported sales of $11.53 billion during the five weeks that ended Sunday, compared with $10.87 billion during the same period last year. Comps increased by 5% at the company’s U.S. stores.
For the 18 weeks that ended Sunday, sales were $38.33 billion, a 6% increase over the $36.26 billion in sales the company had the year before. Comps in the United States increased by 4%.
Q1 sales up, comps down at Family Dollar as dollar store chain announces two management changes
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar reported sales of $2.5 billion in first quarter 2014, a 3.2% increase over the same period last year, the dollar store chain said Thursday.
For the 13-week quarter that ended Nov. 30, the chain said sales were strongest in refrigerated and frozen food, health aids and tobacco. Same-store sales during the quarter decreased by 2.8% due to fewer customer transactions and a slight decrease in average customer transaction value.
"Today, we reported sales and earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 ghat were in-line with our previously provided guidance," chairman and CEO Howard Levine said. "As expected, comparable store sales were pressured, as we anniversaried strong consumable sales growth last year. In addition, our core customers continued to face economic uncertainties, and the promotional environment intensified."
Profit for the quarter was $78 million, compared with $80.3 million in first quarter 2013. The chain opened 126 new stores, closed one and renovated, relocated or expanded 179, for a total store count of 8,041. The company expects its second quarter 2014 comps to experience a decline in the low-single-digit range.
In addition, the company announced two major management changes Thursday, including the departure of president and COO Mike Bloom and the promotion of Jason Reiser to EVP and chief merchandising officer.