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H-E-B lowering prices in Houston markets

BY Alaric DeArment

HOUSTON Texas grocery chain H-E-B is lowering prices on thousands of items in a program launched Tuesday.

The “Big Savings Start Here” program will affect the chain’s 43 stores in the Houston area. The chain has headquarters in San Antonio.

The chain also offers discounts such as “My H-E-B Rx Rewards” and “Meal Deals.”

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Longs reports another profitable quarter

BY Doug Desjardins

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. Longs Drug reported an 80 percent increase in earnings of $23.5 million for its first quarter ended May 1 with revenues from its RX America PBM continuing to lead the way.

For the quarter, the 516-store chain reported an 8.5 percent increase in total revenue of $1.41 billion with retail drug sales rising 2.9 percent to $1.22 billion. Same-store sales increased 1 percent with pharmacy sales jumping 0.5 percent and front-end sales rising 1.5 percent.

By far the biggest increase was in pharmacy benefit services, which rose 67 percent to $187.3 million compared to $112 million during the same period last year. Prescription drug plan revenues generated $167 million while pharmacy benefit management revenue rose 25 percent to $20.2 million.

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Ban on plastic bags takes effect in San Francisco

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Shoppers at San Francisco drug stores will no longer hear clerks ask if they prefer paper or plastic.

The city’s law against plastic bags was extended to drug stores Tuesday. The law is meant to reduce litter and conserve the oil from which the bags are made.

Other cities in the U.S. have followed passed similar laws, as have cities in other countries, such as Paris.

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