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Drugstore.com refocuses on faster-growing segments

BY Allison Cerra

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Drugstore.com posted a 23% increase in adjusted net sales during its fourth quarter ended Jan. 2.

Total sales for the quarter were $123.6 million. Drugstore.com also said that it served 533,000 new customers, excluding its strategic partnerships.

The company also report a narrowed loss of $663,000, or 1 cent per share, an improvement from the prior-year period, when Drugstore.com recorded a net loss of $1.6 million and a net loss per share of 2 cents per share.

Commenting on the results, Drugstore.com’s CEO and chairman, Dawn Lepore, said the company has refocused on its faster-growing over-the-counter and vision segments — which rose 24% and 14%, respectively — after selling its pharmacy business assets to BioScrip.

"During 2010, we made important strategic progress, achieving our targets for OTC and total beauty growth, and, even more importantly, laying the groundwork to deliver significant growth to both our top and bottom lines. I am confident that the improvements we have made to our site, the extensive testing we conducted on new product offerings, and the important investments we made this year position us for a strong 2011," Lepore said.

Looking ahead, Drugstore.com disclosed a net sales range of $123 million to $126 million.

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JCPenney implements Findmore smart fixture

BY Michael Johnsen

PLANO, Texas — JCPenney on Monday rolled out its “Findmore” smart fixture — a kiosk that bridges the gap between in-store and online shopping — to more than 120 select stores across the country. Additionally, in conjunction with the launch of its Modern Bride concept, JCPenney will begin rolling out a Findmore experience using the Apple iPad to 50 jewelry departments.

These new initiatives are expected to encourage store associates and customers to “find more” of what they’re looking for — whether using the in-store kiosk, an iPad, Jcp.com-enabled point-of-sale register or in-store marketing pieces.

“We’ve always seen the value of integrating the online and in-store shopping experience offering customers the opportunity to have access to a greater merchandise selection by offering access to online purchases in the stores,” stated Tom Nealon, group EVP of JCPenney. “Offering an in-store digital experience that drives additional sales is a true differentiator for JCPenney, and continues to build on our leadership in the digital space as we merge our online and in-store shopping experiences.”

The 42-in. touch screen Findmore smart fixture provides an interactive digital experience that serves as an anchor for the merchandise department. Using the kiosk users can:

  • View Jcp.com’s assortment of merchandise and sizes, colors, styles and items not available — or out of stock — in the store;

  • Experience the power of Jcp.com in-store, with strong, interactive, media-rich editorial content, such as Jcp.com’s Little Red Book experience, which highlights key seasonal women’s trends;

  • Check the availability of merchandise in-store or nearby stores;

  • E-mail images and information about an online item to themselves or a friend; and

  • Scan the barcode of an in-store item to learn more about the product’s features, additional colors and sizes available, and even washing instructions.

JCPenney also is bringing its Findmore strategy to the fine jewelry department with a smaller, hand held concept using the iPad. Fine jewelry associates will be able to use the iPad to showcase JCPenney’s full offering of jewelry collections for customers — highlighting a variety of styles, cuts, sizes and metal options — all available under the company’s new Modern Bride concept. Incorporating features from the Modern Bride experience on Jcp.com, the iPad app will include a notebook feature that allows users to add rings to a virtual notebook, where they can compare ring features side by side.

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HHS secretary announced $750 million investment in prevention, public health

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday announced a $750 million investment in prevention and public health, funded through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the new healthcare law.

“Prevention is something that can’t just happen in a doctor’s office,” Sebelius said. “If we are to address the big health issues of our time, from physical inactivity to poor nutrition to tobacco use, it needs to happen in local communities.”

Building on $500 million in investments last year, the new dollars are being earmarked to help prevent tobacco use, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer; increase immunizations; and empower local communities with tools and resources to fund their own health initiatives.

Specific initiatives include:

  • Community Prevention ($298 million): These funds will be used to help promote health and wellness in local communities;

  • Clinical Prevention ($182 million): These funds will help improve access to preventive care, including increasing awareness of the new prevention benefits provided under the new healthcare law. They also will help increase availability and use of immunizations, and help integrate behavioral health services into primary care settings, HHS stated;

  • Public Health Infrastructure ($137 million): Rhese funds will help state and local health departments meet today’s challenges, including investments in information technology and training for the public health workforce to enable detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and other health threats; and

  • Research and Tracking ($133 million), these funds will help collect data to monitor the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health of Americans and identify and disseminate evidence-based recommendations on important public health challenges.

For more information about the FY2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund investments, click here.

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