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Bud Light taps into cider trend with latest beverage

BY Ryan Chavis

NEW YORK — Anheuser-Busch, the company behind the line of Bud Light Lime Ritas, is adding the seasonal Apple-Ahhh-Rita variety to store shelves across the country. The line's permanent flavors — Straw-Ber-Rita, Mang-O-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita and Lime-A-Rita — have enjoyed enormous success. The company is counting on consumers' love of cider to help make Apple-Ahhh-Rita just as popular.

“As evidenced by the current cider trend, apple is an immensely popular flavor amongst consumers, even more so for the fall,” said Tyler Simpson, director of marketing for Bud Light extensions. “In addition to Lime-A-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita, Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita, we wanted to offer Ritas fans a special drink fitting for the season — similar to last year’s creation of the extremely successful Cran-Brrr-Rita for winter months. Apple-Ahhh-Rita is crisp and refreshing. It’s a Bud Light Lime margarita twist on a popular apple beverages that’s as simple as ‘pop, pour over ice and enjoy’.”

Apple-Ahhh-Rita's debut will be supported with an integrated advertising campaign called Fiesta Forever, according to Simpson. It will mark the brand's most significant marketing initiative since the launch of Lime-A-Rita in 2012.

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Former Vitamin Shoppe president, COO takes the reins at GNC

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC Holdings on Tuesday named Michael Archbold CEO and appointed him to the board, effective immediately. Stepping down from the CEO post is Joseph Fortunato, formerly chairman, president and CEO. Lead independent director, Michael Hines, has been elected non-executive chairman of the GNC board.
 
Archbold has more than 25 years of retail industry experience. He most recently served as CEO and CFO of Talbots, a retailer of women's apparel, where he successfully implemented a comprehensive strategy to enhance the customer experience resulting in significant improvement in the company's financial results. Prior to joining Talbots, he served in a variety of senior roles, including president and COO of nutritional product retailer Vitamin Shoppe, where he had oversight of customer initiatives, driving revenue growth and profitability. Archbold previously held senior leadership positions, including serving as CFO, at Saks Fifth Avenue and AutoZone. 
 
"The board is committed to delivering improved financial results and creating value for GNC shareholders and we are pleased that Mike has agreed to join GNC. He is a world-class executive with highly relevant retail experience and financial expertise, proven leadership skills and a track record of developing strong corporate cultures and delivering superior financial performance," Hines stated. "Joe Fortunato led GNC through a period of considerable growth, innovation and transformation. We thank him for his significant contributions to the Company and we wish him well in the future."
 
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Walgreens July sales climb 6.1% to $6.4 billion

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday reported July sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 6.1% compared to the same month in fiscal 2013.
 
Total front-end sales increased 1.4% in July compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales increased 1.1%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 2.6% while basket size increased 3.7%.
 
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 3.7% in July and increased 4.3% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. July 2014 had one additional Thursday and one fewer Monday compared with July 2013. These calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 60 basis points.
 
July pharmacy sales increased by 9.5%. Comparable store pharmacy sales increased 7.6% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 8.2%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 170 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 66.5% of total sales for the month.
 
Sales in comparable stores increased by 5.2% in July. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 40 basis points. Generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 110 basis points.
 
Calendar 2014 year-to-date sales for the first seven months were $44.5 billion, an increase of 5.9%.
 
Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales for the first 11 months were $70 billion, an increase of 6%.
 
Walgreens opened eight stores during July, including one relocation, and closed 30. Nearly all of the July store closings were part of the company’s previously announced efforts to optimize its asset base by closing a total of 76 drug stores.
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