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Grabbing ‘ahold’ of Rx with ‘Giant’ initiatives

BY DSN STAFF

The economic recession saw a number of supermarket pharmacies run into financial difficulty.

Ukrop’s, based in Richmond, Va., had some problems of its own, though not necessarily because of the recession. The chain lost its top place in the Richmond market to Food Lion, owned by Belgium’s Delhaize Group, primarily due to its long-standing practices of closing on Sundays and keeping alcohol off its shelves—policies imposed by its deeply religious owners, the Ukrop family. Rather than compromise their beliefs and change the stores’ policies, the Ukrops decided instead to sell the chain.

AHOLD

Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands2009 sales: $22.9 billion*% change vs. 2008: 5%No. of stores: 561No. of stores with Rx: 548Avg. store size: 55,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $2.12 billion% of sales from Rx: 9.3%Sales per store: $40.8 million* U.S. stores onlySource: Drug Store News

The company that bought 25 Ukrop’s stores in Richmond and Williamsburg, Va., for $140 million, has thrived. Giant Stores of Carlisle, Pa., owned by Royal Ahold, operates 177 stores in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland under the Giant and Martin’s Food Markets banners, and plans to change the Ukrop’s stores to the Martin’s banner starting in April. Royal Ahold also operates Giant of Landover, Md.—which has stores in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia—and Stop & Shop, based in Quincy, Mass., which operates in New England, New York and New Jersey.

Ahold’s U.S. stores had 2009 sales of $23 billion, including $17.9 billion at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover, and $5 billion at Giant-Carlisle. Despite its smaller size, Giant-Carlisle has expanded rapidly over the past year. In addition to the Ukrop’s acquisition, it has opened nine new supermarkets in Pennsylvania, six of which include pharmacies, including a Martin’s store opened at the beginning of March in Altoona. In October, Giant-Carlisle opened a “state-of-the-industry” 97,700-sq.-ft. store in Susquehanna Township with a full-service pharmacy that included information on healthy living, drugs, disease and diet, and a drive-through pharmacy.

Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover haven’t expanded as much, though Giant-Landover spent 2009 renovating nine stores with such features as digital deli kiosks and prepared foods, and opened a new store in Timonium, Md., in June. Both banners have offered a number of pharmacy initiatives, including $15 H1N1 flu vaccinations, $10 seasonal flu vaccinations and the continuation of a program to offer free antibiotics to patients. Meanwhile, the Giant-Carlisle store in Hazleton, Pa., announced in April 2009 that it would offer Merck’s shingles vaccine Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) to people ages 60 and older.

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Schnucks’ O’Brien to serve on Department of Agriculture advisory committee

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS An executive from Schnuck Markets will serve on an advisory committee of the Department of Agriculture, Schnucks said this week.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Schnucks VP produce and floral Mike O’Brien would be one of 25 people appointed to a two-year term on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. O’Brien is also vice chairman of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

“I am honred to represent Schnuck Markets and the retail produce industry as a member of this committee,” O’Brien said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and to make a difference for families across the nation.”

The committee, originally chartered in 2001, advises the secretary of agriculture on industry issues related to fruits and vegetables.

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Gilead commences phase 3 trial for single-tablet HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Gilead Sciences has started a late-stage clinical trial of an investigational 4-in-1 treatment for HIV, the drug maker said.

Gilead announced the initiation of a phase 3 trial of its “Quad” HIV drug, a single-tablet treatment that combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The study will compare the Quad regimen with the standard of care among adults with HIV-1 who have not taken antiretroviral treatments. The company is also investigating cobicistat as a standalone boosting agent for antiretroviral drugs.

“We are pleased to announce that the Quad phase 3 clinical program is underway,” Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. “Efficacy and safety results from the phase 2 study suggest that the Quad may represent an important new option for patients with HIV.”

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