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Duane Reade to open first Express store in Manhattan

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Duane Reade, which is driving strong front end sales through its bolstered in-store convenience offering, is now taking convenience to a new level with the opening of a new convenience store format in Manhattan.

The retailer is testing the new concept, dubbed Duane Reade Express, at 52nd and Broadway. It is expected to open within the next week.

The 3,000-square-foot store will consist of a condensed store format specifically designed to meet the front-end convenience needs of shoppers, explained Rick Dreiling, chairman, president and chief executive officer, during its third quarter conference call with analysts. It will carry a limited assortment of its most frequently purchased items in convenience, general merchandise, and health and beauty.

The new concept will not have a pharmacy but it will have a pharmacy kiosk enabling shoppers to request prescriptions they can pick up at a nearby Duane Reade or have delivered to their home or office.

“We are excited about this test concept and believe it will provide an improved level of convenience and will be a natural complement to our larger, full service stores,” said Dreiling.

In addition, Duane Reade expects to open three additional DR Walk-in Medical Care clinics by the end of the year. Through its partnership with Consumer Health Services, Duane Reade currently has four such physician-staffed clinics in operation.

Recently, the company expanded the serving offering at its Diabetes Resource Center, a training and educational facility that debuted earlier this year, to include monthly support groups and additional class schedules. Now, the retailer is planning to open its second center in Brooklyn by the end of the year. In addition to diabetes, the new center will address obesity and hypertension.

“This service expansion is indicative of our ongoing commitment to improving the health and wellness of New Yorkers and the many communities that Duane Reade serves,” said Dreiling.

The news came as Duane Reade posted record front-end same-store sales thanks in part to strong sales across most major merchandise categories, including convenience foods and beauty, and solid performance of its Dollar Rewards customer loyalty program.

Total sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 29 totaled $408.8 million, up 6 percent from last year’s $385.7 million. Total same-store sales increased 7.8 percent. Front-end same-store sales rose by a record 9.9 percent on top of a 5.7 percent increase in the prior year. Pharmacy same-store sales rose 5.3 percent.

Net loss for the quarter totaled $22.1 million, compared with a net loss of $18.7 million in the year-ago period. This current year’s quarter includes $4.1 million of other expenses, including $2.7 million of close store costs and $1 million of costs incurred in connection with the company’s former chief executive officer.

During the quarter, Duane Reade opened four new stores and closed seven. At the end of the quarter, the company operated 241 stores compared with 249 stores in the previous year.

In addition, the company confirmed its full year adjusted FIFO EBITDA expected range of $76 million to $80 million. Citing the success of its turnaround plan as well as solid growth in same-store sales for the first three quarters of 2007, the retailer boosted the expected range of its full year total same-store stores increase to 7.5 percent to 8 percent.

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Sam’s Club, Aquafina program exceeds students’ plastic recycling goals

BY Allison Cerra

STAMFORD, Conn. Students across the U.S. took the phrase “renew, reuse, recycle” to a new and different level by participating in Students for Recycling, a national school-based plastic (PET) recycling program that turns plastic bottles into backpacks for kids.

The two-month long program, part of the Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup, asked students across the country to collect plastic bottles from Mar. 1 to May 31 of this year, to divert plastic from the country’s waste stream. Although the goal of the program was to collect 45 million bottles, the goal was exceeded as students collected 70.6 million.

In collaboration with Aquafina and Sam’s Club, Keep America Beautiful, dubbed the nation’s largest community improvement program, encouraged students across the country to participate Backpacks made from recycled PET will be donated to students who are making a difference in their communities.

“Students for Recycling has been a fun way to raise awareness for an important cause while allowing us to give back to the communities who are dedicated to making a difference,” said Mario Palomino, senior national account manager, Pepsi-Cola North America, makers of Aquafina.

Sam’s Club and Aquafina worked with Keep America Beautiful to build awareness of the program with in-store signage that featured a message about recycling. Keep America Beautiful affiliates worked with their local Sam’s Club to conduct the program, and event sponsor Waste Management weighed, transported and recycled the bottles.

Additionally, Sam’s Club awarded $50,000 total in the form of $1,000 Sam’s Club Gift Cards to each of the 50 top-collecting schools.

“The Students for Recycling program with Sam’s Club and Aquafina is testament to the collective power of Keep America Beautiful volunteers,” said Keep America Beautiful president G. Raymond Empson. “By providing backpacks made out of recycled PET, our sponsors provided a ‘teachable moment’ for students, demonstrating how recycled raw materials are turned into new and useful products.”

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RediClinic announces management, structure changes

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON RediClinic announced a series of management changes Wednesday, combining the RediClinic and RediClinic Services units of RediClinic LLC under a single management structure.

“It is an exciting time for RediClinic as we prepare for a period of rapid growth,” stated Web Golinkin, RediClinic chief executive officer and president of the Convenient Care Association. “These management and organizational changes provide us with the leadership and structure we need to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges ahead.”

Jack Koehn, formerly chief operating officer of the RediClinic division, has been named president of RediClinic LLC, and Eric Fournet was promoted from chief financial officer to chief financial and administrative officer. Both Koehn and Fournet will report to Golinkin.

In other changes, Rick Van Pelt, who previously served as vice president of operations for the RediClinic division, was promoted to chief operating officer, reporting to Koehn.

In addition, Carolyn Galloway has joined RediClinic as its chief medical officer, responsible for all clinical affairs, and Lori Knowles has joined as vice president of human resources.

Galloway comes to RediClinic from AIG Travel Assist, where she served as chief medical officer. Prior to that, she was medical director of the Memorial Hermann Hospital Emergency Department.

Prior to joining RediClinic, Knowles served as the director of human resources at Park Plaza Medical Center and also at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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