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Hot list: Ten grocery retailers to watch in 2010

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Planet Retail has issued its first-ever list of grocery retailers to watch in North America.

The report, “10 to Watch in North America Grocery Retail, 2010,” features both national and regional companies that London-based Planet Retail believes are poised for growth — either as a result of acquisition, organic growth, or the potential to be a successful new format.

The companies to watch are:

1. Ahold USA, Quincy, Mass.2. Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y.3. Delhaize, Salisbury, N.C.4. WinCo, Boise, Idaho5. Dollar General, Goodlettsville, Tenn.6. Aldi, Batavia, Ill.7. Save-A-Lot, St. Louis8. Tops Markets, Williamsville, N.Y.9. H-E-B Grocery Co., San Antonio10. The Market by Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.

According to the Planet Retail report, regional grocers will lead the way in organic expansion opportunities in 2010 while the national players focus on remodeling existing stores. It also sees further grocery store consolidation on a regional scale as local players strengthen their positions.

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Shoppers Drug Mart sees growth in Q1

BY Allison Cerra

TORONTO One of Canada’s largest drug store chains reported a 5.7% increase in its first-quarter sales.

First-quarter sales increased to C $2.32 billion ($2.31 billion), compared with the same period last year. Shoppers also saw a 3.1% rise in same-store sales, and a 5.1% spike in front-end sales, totaling nearly C $1.17 billion ($1.16 billion).

Meanwhile, first-quarter net earnings rose 8.2% to $116 million or 53 cents per share (diluted) from $107 million or 49 cents per share (diluted) a year ago. Shoppers said this result was driven by top line growth, improved purchasing synergies and a continued emphasis on cost reduction, productivity and efficiency.

Commenting on the quarter, Jurgen Schreiber, president and CEO stated, “We are pleased with our first quarter results, especially in light of the fact that we experienced a weaker cough, cold and flu season compared to a year ago.  In these challenging times for community pharmacy, particularly in the Province of Ontario, I am extremely proud of our Associate-owners and their teams as they work through this difficult period without ever losing sight of what matters most – the health and well-being of our valued patients and customers.”

During the quarter, 27 drug stores were opened or acquired, 11 of which were relocations, and one smaller drug store was closed. At quarter-end, Shoppers Drug Mart owned 1,303 stores, comprised of 1,234 drug stores (1,183 Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix stores and 51 Shoppers Simply Pharmacy/Pharmaprix Simplement Sante stores), 63 Shoppers Home Health Care stores and six Murale stores.

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FDA approves Dendreon’s Provenge

BY Allison Cerra

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new biotech drug for prostate cancer made by Seattle-based biotech company Dendreon, the agency said Thursday.

The FDA approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T), a therapy that treats advanced prostate cancer by stimulating the patient’s own immune system. Each dose is manufactured by obtaining a patient’s immune cells from the blood using a process called leukapheresis. The cells are then exposed to a protein found in most prostate cancers and then returned to the patient’s body. The treatment is given in a three-dose schedule at two-week intervals.

“The availability of Provenge provides a new treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently have limited effective therapies available,” FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research acting director Karen Midthun said.

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