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Costco building third central fill center in Sacramento

BY Doug Desjardins

ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco reported a 4 percent increase in year-to-date sales and said it’s building a new central fill center—its third—in Sacramento, Calif.

Costco is partnering with McKesson Corp. on the fill center that’s due to open in December. Earlier this year, Costco announced that it was building its second central fill in the Southern California city of Corona that’s due to open in late 2008.

Together, the two fill centers will fill online orders and serve stores in California, Las Vegas, Arizona and Northern Nevada. “We felt that California was too big a state to put on the back of one fill center,” explained Vic Curtis, Costco’s VP of pharmacy. The Corona fill center, which is being run in conjunction with AmeriSource Bergen, will serve California warehouses as far north as Bakersfield, said Curtis.

Costco also reported a 4 percent increase in total pharmacy sales of $1.95 billion for the first nine months of its fiscal year, with a nearly even split between prescriptions and OTC. Prescription sales increased 2 percent while OTC sales rose 6 percent year-to-date.

Curtis said Costco’s prescription business is feeling the effects of popular drugs going generic and a lack of new ones to replace them.

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Hallmark announces layoff of 335 workers

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Hallmark Cards will lay off 335 workers in the U.S. and Canada between now and March 2009, the company announced Wednesday.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company is consolidating its greeting-card manufacturing, though will keep other areas of the business intact. It has already laid off 195 workers at its manufacturing plant in Toronto. It will gradually lay off 80 more workers from its plant in Siloam Springs, Ark., and 60 workers at its plant in Bloomington, Ind., starting later this year.

It will then move equipment to plants in Topeka and Lawrence, Kan., and also outsource some manufacturing to Asia and Mexico.

The company experienced high growth rates and $4.4 billion in revenue worldwide in 2007.

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Wal-Mart May sales up 9.8 percent

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported that total company sales for May increased 9.8 percent to $31 billion from $28 billion for the same period last year. Total U.S. comparable-store sales for the month (excluding fuel) increased 3.9 percent.

Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer said the company estimated June U.S. comps (excluding fuel) to increase between 2 percent and 4 percent. “This guidance represents both the underlying strength of our existing U.S. businesses and the potential benefit from the stimulus checks.”

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