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Hurricane helps Rite Aid monthly sales

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid got a boost in its monthly same-store sales from Hurricane Sandy, the company said Thursday.

Announcing its October sales results, the retail pharmacy chain said same-store sales decreased by 1.1%. Front-end comps increased by 1.5%, while pharmacy comps decreased by 2.3%, including a negative effect of 971 basis points from new generic introductions; same-store prescription count increased by 4.7%.

Of the increase in front-end comps 1.1% came from pre-store sales associated with Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, but temporary store closures are expected to have a negative effect on November sales, the company said. Meanwhile, 0.2% of the increase in same-store script count was also from Hurricane Sandy. The company had 188 stores closed or operating with no power Wednesday night, compared with 790 during the height of the storm on Monday night.

The results are in line with predictions made by some analysts. Credit Suisse analyst Ed Kelly wrote in a note Wednesday that front-end sales for retail pharmacies would likely see an increase due to people stocking up on items ahead of the storm. “While drug stores’ front-end sales are likely to continue to be pressured by channel shifting to value-oriented players and aggressive growth of small-box formats like dollar stores, we believe October sales should be better than recent trends,” Kelly wrote. “Hurricane Sandy likely provided a boost to sales, as consumers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic stocked up for this catastrophic event.”

Total drugstore sales for the four-week period decreased by 1.8% to $1.918 billion, compared with $1.954 billion in October 2011.

For the year to date, comps increased by 0.7%, including a 2.1% increase in front-end comps and a 0.1% increase in pharmacy comps. Total sales for the 34-week period were flat over the year before, at $16.463, compared with $16.467 during the same period last year.

The Rite Aid Foundation, the company’s charitable arm, donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross Wednesday to assist with storm relief efforts. 

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Walgreens launches new biannual magazine showcasing private label, Balance Rewards deals

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday announced the launch of Happy And Healthy, Your Guide To Living Well With Walgreens, a biannual magazine that debuts Nov 4. The premiere edition is holiday-themed and includes entertaining and gift ideas; the cover features Taylor Swift. The glossy 28-page magazine will be available in English and Spanish, and there will be a similar version for Duane Reade customers.

“We are thrilled to bring Happy and Healthy magazine to our customers,” stated Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. “Walgreens is constantly innovating, and Happy and Healthy is a great way to keep our customers informed of our latest private-brand offerings.” 

The magazine delivers such content as healthy living tips, relevant offers and Balance Rewards loyalty program promotions to its readers. It also provides a unique way to highlight Walgreens’ private brands. Each issue is divided into three sections: Health and Wellness, Food and Beverage, and Beauty.

Happy And Healthy, Your Guide To Living Well With Walgreens will be inserted into millions of Sunday newspapers and also be available in stores nationwide. An electronic version of the publication can be viewed online at Walgreens.com, and the total circulation is expected to be approximately 65 million.

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Publix third-quarter sales up 4.4%

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix on Thursday announced a 4.4% increase in third-quarter sales to $6.7 billion. Same-store sales were up 2.5%. 

“Although the economy continues to be weak, I’m pleased with the improvement in our operating results and stock price,” stated Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “I congratulate our associates for continuing to deliver exceptional customer service.”

Net earnings for the third quarter were $368.4 million, an increase of 18.1%. Earnings per share for the third quarter increased to $0.47 for 2012, up from $0.40 per share in 2011. 

Publix’s sales for the first nine months of 2012 were $20.5 billion, a 3.9 percent increase from last year’s $19.7 billion. Comparable-store sales for the first nine months of 2012 increased 2.6 percent. 

Effective Nov. 1, 2012, Publix’s stock price increased from $22.00 per share to $22.50 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded, and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors. 

 

 

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