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CVS posts record Q4 numbers

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS posted on Thursday record revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter, bringing to a close a “milestone year for CVS Caremark” and setting the stage for “significant future growth,” according to Tom Ryan, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Solid revenue growth and improved gross margins in both the retail and PBM segments drove expanded operating margins and healthy earnings growth. We attained our goal of generating $2 billion in free cash flow, and launched a $5 billion share repurchase program, slated to be fully complete by the end of the first quarter of this year,” Ryan stated. “We also set the stage for significant future growth with the completion of our transformational merger. From this platform, we are creating a unique and differentiated position in the marketplace, which will enable us to reduce the costs and complexities of health care for payers and consumers, while improving health outcomes.”

Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 29, increased 95.3 percent to $815 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $417.2 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, in the comparable 2006 period. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter were 58 cents compared with 52 cents per share in the comparable 2006 period.

For the full year 2007, net earnings increased 92.6 percent to $2.6 billion, or $1.92 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $1.4 billion or $1.60 per diluted share in 2006. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the full year were $2.07, compared with $1.72 per share in the comparable 2006 period.

The company estimates merger and integration costs associated with the March 22, 2007 merger between CVS and Caremark Rx negatively impacted diluted earnings per share by approximately 1 cent and 5 cents for the fourth quarter and full year 2007, respectively.

Net revenues for the thirteen-week period increased $9.8 billion to $21.9 billion, up from $12.1 billion during the thirteen-week period ended Dec. 30, 2006. Same store sales rose 3.4 percent over the prior year period. Pharmacy same store sales rose 3.6 percent and were negatively impacted by approximately 450 basis points due to recent generic introductions, while front-end same store sales increased 2.9 percent.

For the full year, total revenue for the fifty-two week period ended Dec. 29, 2007, increased 74.2 percent to a record $76.3 billion, compared with $43.8 billion in 2006. Same-store sales in the CVS/pharmacy division increased 5.3 percent for the year, while pharmacy same store sales increased 5.2 percent and front-end same store sales increased 5.3 percent.

For the year, CVS Caremark opened 139 new retail pharmacy stores and one new specialty pharmacy store; closed 44 retail pharmacy stores, one mail service pharmacy and two specialty mail order pharmacies. In addition, the company relocated 136 retail pharmacy stores and one specialty pharmacy store. As of Dec. 29, the company operated 6,245 retail pharmacy stores, 56 specialty pharmacy stores, 20 specialty mail order pharmacies and nine mail order pharmacies in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

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Rose Displays introduces Butterfly Track sign-hanging system

BY Adam Kraemer

SALEM, Mass. Rose Displays unveiled its new Butterfly Track system for displaying graphics hung from the ceiling.

Consisting of upper tracks that secure flush against the ceiling and moveable cross-bars, Butterfly Track allows for maximum versatility in sign placement, as the cross-bars can be added or removed as desired. Visual display professionals can adapt the system to new promotions without being limited by the initial purchase configuration.

With its easy-to-use hangers, Butterfly Track enables graphics to be moved easily from left-to-right or front-to-back simply by altering the position of the hangers. Butterfly Track is ideal for window boxes where changing displays keep the look fresh, the company stated.

Butterfly Track works with Rose Displays’ Butterfly Clips and its soon-to-be-available Mighty Mite Anchors. It is compatible with the company’s full line of hanging accessories including Cable, Ball Chain and Hooks.

Stock finishes are clear anodized aluminum and Ceiling White aluminum. Custom colors are also available, though minimum run lengths apply. Interested customers can learn more by calling 800-631-9707 or visiting the website at www.rosedisplays.com.

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CheckUps to close 23 Wal-Mart in-store clinics

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Walk-in clinic operator CheckUps has confirmed that it has closed 23 clinics in Wal-Mart in four southern states, according to published reports.

The clinic operator, which last year added 20 clinics to the first three it acquired in Florida, was unable to pay its bills, according to the New York Times. The company, the paper claimed, was unable to pay its nurses and vendors, and owes over $100,000 to Medtracker Personnel, a Louisiana employment agency that supplied the clinics with nurses.

Wal-Mart began testing in-store health clinics in September 2005 as part of a push to offer less expensive health-care alternatives. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s chief executive, said last year that the chain could serve as landlord to as many as 2,000 clinics by 2014. “We are working to reopen the clinics as quickly as possible, whether or not they are operated by CheckUps,” Wal-Mart representative Deisha Galberth said.

To populate the space in its stores, Wal-Mart leases in-store space to outside non-emergency medical operators, such as CheckUps. The clinics provide basic preventive and such health services as cholesterol screenings and treatment for sore throats. Wal-Mart has leased space to about 80 clinics in stores across the country, including the CheckUps clinics now closed. They are all operated by independent firms, including 13 by RediClinics and two by hospital companies in Wisconsin and Florida.

“It was necessary to do a restructuring on relatively short notice,” CheckUps spokesman William Armstrong said of the closures. CheckUps operated clinics in Wal-Mart stores in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Wal-Mart said Monday that it was concerned about the impact on clinic customers. “It is obviously not a good thing that CheckUps has decided to close,” said Galberth. Wal-Mart had also reportedly been discussing making leasing deals with independent clinic operators that would be affiliated with local and regional hospitals, Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, told the Times.

For its part, CheckUps still holds the lease on the spaces and chief executive Jack Tawil is working with investors on plans for going forward. “They’re hopeful to continue in as many of the existing venues as they can,” Armstrong stated.

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