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Harris Teeter extends VIC program with e-coupons

BY Allison Cerra

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Building on its valued customer program, Harris Teeter is offering shoppers a way to link coupons to the program’s card.

Harris Teeter’s e-VIC program now gives customers the opportunity to link valuable manufacturer coupons directly to their VIC card. When e-VIC members receive their e-VIC e-mail, they can browse the list of e-VIC coupons any time, and link the coupons by clicking the “Save it” icon on any of the displayed coupons.

The retailer said it frequently will add coupons to the initiative, allowing customers to save every time they shop.

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Harvard Drug CEO retires, AmerisourceBergen executive steps in

BY Allison Cerra

DETROIT — A leading wholesale distributor of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals announced the retirement of its CEO.

Harvard Drug said that Randolph "Randy" Friedman will retire after leading the business for 23 years. Terrance Haas, an industry veteran who most recently served as AmerisourceBergen president and board member of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association will be Harvard Drug’s new chief executive.

“We are thrilled to bring on Terry Haas as Harvard Drug’s new CEO,” Friedman said. “I am proud to have led Harvard Drug’s growth for the last 23 years and I am confident that our customers will continue to receive the same high-quality service that they have come to expect. With an industry veteran like Terry, Harvard Drug is well positioned to continue its strong growth and broaden its value to consumers of healthcare services across the country. I look forward to supporting Terry and the team in ensuring a smooth transition.”

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Rain dampens discounter’s holiday performance

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — Third-quarter sales growth was hard to come by at 99 Cents Only as the extreme value retailer’s heavy concentration of stores in Southern California were negatively affected by unseasonably strong rains that hit the region prior to Christmas.

Total company sales for the period ended Dec. 25 increased 1.7% to $365 million while same store sales declined 0.7%. Company CEO Eric Schiffer said the comp decline in same-store sales was due to a reduction in the average number of transactions throughout the quarter that was exacerbated by heavy rains in the company’s major Southern California markets the final week before Christmas and an early freeze and adverse weather conditions led to reduced availability of product from produce suppliers.

Aside from the weak sales performance, Schiffer indicated the company made progress on several operational initiatives.

"We are pleased with our holiday assortment as well as the sales gains in our re-merchandised party section. Although we are still in the early stages of implementation of our new store systems, which will continue for the next two years, we are satisfied with our progress to date, and our system support and reliability showed material improvement," Schiffer said. "Of paramount importance is our ability to manage our costs against the fluctuations in our same-store sales, as demonstrated by our management team in the third quarter."

The company is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Feb. 2 and indicated it expects earnings per share to be between 37 cents and 38 cents, compared with 35 cents the prior year. At the end of the third quarter, 99 Cents Only operated 280 stores, consisting of 208 stores in California, 34 in Texas, 26 in Arizona and 12 in Nevada.

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