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Fred’s reports increase in Q3 sales

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Discounter Fred’s on Thursday posted sales of $422.7 million for its third quarter ended Oct. 31, up 1%.

Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 1%, compared with a 1.4% increase in the third quarter last year.

“We experienced a solid sales performance in our pharmacy department during October, highlighted by strong script growth as our Prescription Plus program continues to gain momentum,” stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO. “In the general merchandise departments, sales for the month were below our projected range. For the quarter, overall comparable store sales ended at the midrange,” he said.

“Throughout the quarter, the key states where we are located have experienced unemployment of more than 10% – higher than the national average – resulting in customers who are both frugal and cautious,” Efird continued. “With competitive promotional activity accelerating, we adjusted our approach to maintaining market share by adding increased advertising and price promotions during the quarter. While it brought increased unit volume, total sales were below the required level to offset the added markdowns and advertising expense.”

During October, Fred’s opened four express pharmacy locations. For the third quarter, the company opened one store, eight pharmacies and closed nine stores.

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P&G honors suppliers with awards event

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble hosted its annual supplier awards event Tuesday recognizing the company’s top performing suppliers.

“P&G’s growth strategy is to touch and improve more consumers’ lives in more parts of the world more completely,” said Bob McDonald, P&G’s president and CEO, while speaking to suppliers attending the company’s annual supplier awards dinner.  “This strategy is inspired by P&G’s Purpose and it can only be executed in partnership with our suppliers. We are all focused on touching and improving lives, which requires us – together — to innovate, to streamline and improve the supply chain, to simplify the way we work, and to create sustainable solutions that improve lives today and for generations to come.”

Among P&G’s 80,000 suppliers, seven suppliers were the 2009 recipients “Supplier of the Year” award, including The Cly-Del Manufacturing Co., Jones Lang LaSalle and Novozymes, all of which received their second consecutive year of distinction. These companies achieved this recognition by consistently scoring the highest in broad based quantitative and qualitative evaluations by P&G employees throughout the supply chain, P&G said.

“From market changing innovation to supply chain excellence, our supplier partners are foundational for building a stronger future,” said Rick Hughes, VP global purchases. “P&G is at our best when we have fostered relationships with our external business partners that enable collaboration in achieving our mutual goals, addressing challenges, and delivering ongoing innovation.”

In addition to the select few “Supplier of the Year” awards, 55 companies performed consistently at high levels within P&G’s internal supplier performance management system and earned the “Corporate Supplier Excellence Award.” Recipients included Ernst & Young and Hewlett-Packard.

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous contributions and commitments that our external business partners make to help us achieve our strategies and goals, as well as extend similar appreciation to the thousands of suppliers across the world that were not award recipients but still work very hard to help P&G touch and improve more consumer lives more completely,” said McDonald.

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Walgreens combats H1N1 in Salt Lake City with vaccine rollout

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens is gearing up to offer H1N1 vaccines to Salt Lake City area residents, the drug store chain announced Wednesday.

Walgreens said it will administer vaccinations at 18 pharmacy locations in Salt Lake County beginning Nov. 5. Walgreens is working closely with public  health officials and the Salt Lake Valley Health Department to serve as a distribution partner for the H1N1 vaccine, and to also serve as a community resource for information on H1N1 immunization.

Vaccinations are available to Salt Lake County residents who fall within the priority groups as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These priority groups are: 

  • Pregnant women
  • Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
  • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
  • People six months to 24 years of age
  • Persons ages 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza

Vaccinations will be offered to priority groups between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Walgreens pharmacists in Utah are able to provide immunizations to those ages 13 years and older.

Walgreens also may offer H1N1 vaccinations at other Salt Lake City area stores as additional supply becomes available, the company said.

“This flu season, Walgreens has truly demonstrated its role as a go-to, trusted resource for flu prevention and healthcare services in Utah and nationwide,” said Walgreens Utah market VP Rob Hasty. “We’re here to help. And we?re proud to partner with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department by providing convenient, affordable access to H1N1 vaccinations, furthering our commitment to helping individuals and their  families stay well this flu season.”

The cost for the administration of the H1N1 injectable vaccine is $18. Vaccinations may be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Consumers are encouraged to check with their insurance provider for coverage details.

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