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Kinney Drugs promotes Burgess, hires former Duckwall-Alco SVP

BY Alaric DeArment

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. Kinney Drugs has promoted 31-year veteran Michael Burgess to VP financial planning and treasury services, the retail pharmacy chain said Friday.

Kinney, which operates stores in central and northern New York state and Vermont, also hired Jim Spencer as director of retail operations.

Burgess will be responsible for the oversight of the corporate budget and capital spending that will direct financial and budgeting practices, managing corporate cash functions, treasury and accounting activity while continuing to provide strategic analysis and management of insurance and financial risk management programs.

Spencer will be responsible for front-end store operations. He has worked in the retail industry for 20 years, working for Walmart and, most recently, Duckwall-Alco Stores, where he was SVP operations.

“Mike and Jim’s industry experience will complement our mission of providing the highest quality pharmacy, health and retail services to the communities we serve,” Kinney president and COO Bridget-ann Hart said. “We will continue to benefit from Mike’s expertise while welcoming Jim’s retail proficiencies to the Kinney family.”

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Kroger reports rise in Q1 sales

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI One of the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailers reported a rise in its first-quarter sales, compared with the same period last year.

Kroger said that total sales, including fuel, jumped 8.7% to $24.8 billion in first quarter 2010, compared with $22.8 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel sales, total sales increased 3.1% in the first quarter, which ended May 22, over the same period last year. Conversely, first-quarter same-store sales increased 2.4%.

Meanwhile, net earnings dropped to $373.7 million, or 58 cents per diluted share, from $435.1 million, or 66 cents per diluted share.

The company confirmed its fiscal guidance and said it continues to expect identical-supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 2% to 3% for the year. Net earnings are expected to range from $1.60 to $1.80 per diluted share for the year. Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon said that Kroger continued its “customer first” strategy and will “continue to build momentum and grow market share.”

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Study: Celebrex less likely to cause GI issues than other NSAIDs

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Arthritis patients at risk of harmful gastrointestinal side effects due to use of a class of pain relievers fared better when taking a drug made by Pfizer than when taking two other drugs, according to results of a study released Thursday.

Pfizer said the “CONDOR” study showed that arthritis patients prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs — a class that includes the common pain reliever ibuprofen — showed lower incidence of gastrointestinal side effects when taking Celebrex (celecoxib) than those taking omeprazole plus diclofenac. Results of the study were published online in medical journal The Lancet.

NSAIDs are among the most widely prescribed drugs for arthritis, but their use often is associated with such gastrointestinal side effects as ulcers, perforations and hemorrhage.

“Physicians are aware of the potential for damage to the upper GI tract with NSAID use, however a growing body of evidence suggests that NSAID-induced GI toxicity also extends to the lower GI tract,” said Francis Chan, lead study investigator and medical professor at Hong Kong’s Chinese University.

The study, conducted on more than 4,400 patients in 32 countries, was conducted to evaluate NSAID-related gastrointestinal side effects by examining the upper and lower GI tract. It is the first large-scale, double-blind, randomized study to assess two common treatment strategies for arthritis patients at increased gastrointestinal risk, Pfizer said.

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