The Jean Coutu Group reports loss for Q3 2008
LONGUEUIL, Quebec The Jean Coutu Group on Thursday reported a net loss of $333 million for the third quarter ended Nov. 29, primarily due to a preliminary provision of $298.4 million related to its investment in Rite Aid, the company released in a statement today.
“As a result of the deterioration of the economic environment in the United States, combined with the severity of the decline in the trading value of Rite Aid common shares for an extended period, the company anticipates performing, during the fourth quarter, a comprehensive analysis related to its investment in Rite Aid,” the Canadian drug store said.
“As required by accounting standards, [the Jean Coutu Group] has recorded in the third quarter a preliminary provision against the carrying value of its investment in Rite Aid following the decline in the trading value of its common share for an extended period,” stated Francois Coutu, president and chief executive officer of Jean Coutu. “Rite Aid’s recently published financial results indicate however an increase of its adjusted EBITDA as well as improved cost controls,” he said. “Our Canadian network performance during the third quarter was satisfactory. We pursued our growth objective and continued to invest in the PJC drugstore network. We are on our way to achieving significant growth in network selling square footage in fiscal 2009 and increase our leadership in our markets.”
In addition to the preliminary provision, Jean Coutu recorded a loss of $61.6 million as part of its share of Rite Aid’s loss during the third quarter of fiscal 2009.
During the third quarter, the company’s Canadian franchise network showed a 5 percent increase in total retail sales compared with last year’s comparable period. Network retail sales were up 3.2 percent, pharmacy sales gained 4.5 percent and front-end sales increased 1.6 percent year-over-year in terms of comparable stores. Retail sales for the period amounted to $709 million.
General Mills donates to charity and advertises through NBC’s ‘Biggest Loser’
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. Major food manufacturer General Mills is backing NBC’s hit show “Biggest Loser” with its first-ever advertising slot for the show’s seventh season, which started Tuesday night. The spot will be viewed by approximately 8.6 million viewers, and fall 2008 showed a 2% rise in adult viewers ages 18 to 49, a demographic that advertisers often like to target. Nine other marketers from the show’s December season will also be advertising.
General Mills is also sponsoring a “Pound for Pound Challenge” in which the Cheerios and Progresso soup maker will be contributing 10 cents to Feeding America for every pound of weight loss pledged at biggestloser.com.
“This is our first integrated partnership of this kind,” said John Haugen, General Mills’ vice president of health and wellness. “We’re looking for a positive impact on all of our brands.”
Though popular (“Biggest Loser” averaged 8.9 million viewers last January), the show will be rivaling Fox’s incredibly successful “American Idol,” which begins next week and also airs Tuesday nights. Idol can bring in an audience of up to 25 million.
Adventrx faces further workforce cuts
SAN DIEGO After laying off 55 percent of its workforce, Adventrx is planning further reductions in its employees to extend its remaining cash reserves, the company announced Monday.
The company said that in the end, it will have 14 employees. It has also reduced and delayed spending on third-party consulting and vendor services, including contract manufacturing.
The remaining employees will evaluate options for the future and continue the company?s study of the drug candidate ANX-514 (docetaxel emulsion) and submitting an approval application for the candidate ANX-530 (vinorelbine emulsion).
“It’s never easy to let go employees, particularly those who have been with the company for many years and who have made contributions to the company,” Adventrx board chairman Jack Lief said in a statement.