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‘Megamind’ brings on the laughs on Blu-ray, DVD

BY Allison Cerra

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — DreamWorks’ latest animated hit is coming to Blu-ray and DVD in a "mega" way.

"Megamind," which features the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt, provides viewers with a funny twist on a superhero tale. When villain Megamind (Ferrell) defeats Metro Man (Pitt) and takes over Metro City, he finds that his biggest problem is a new villain (Hill) that threatens to bring chaos to the town.

"Megamind" will be available in a double DVD pack and Blu-ray/DVD combo for $19.99 and $24.99, respectively, on Feb. 25. Also included in the packs is an exclusive feature with the original cast, called "Megamind: The Button of Doom," which provides more laughs and action as it follow’s Megamind and his sidekick Minion (played by David Cross) on their first day on the job as protectors of Metro City. Also included in the packs are commentary and other exclusive material.

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SC Johnson takes on shoe care

BY Allison Cerra

RACINE, Wis. — SC Johnson has inked a deal to acquire Sara Lee’s global shoe care business, which includes the iconic Kiwi brand.

SC Johnson’s portfolio of household products, which hosts such brands as Pledge and Windex, now will feature the Kiwi family of brands, including Sara Lee’s Bama International, which sells shoe accessories in specialty channels in Europe and Canada, and Kiwi Kleen, a line of household cleaning products sold mainly in Asia Pacific using the Kiwi branding.

The company expects to complete the acquisition by mid-2011.

"We’re thrilled that the addition of Kiwi to SC Johnson will enable us to offer families around the world yet another long-respected leading household brand," said SC Johnson chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson.

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Drug stores expected to close out 2010 on strong note

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Credit Suisse analysts on Monday projected strong front-end sales and improved pharmacy comparisons for December.

“Industry front-end sales growth will accelerate in December on easier comparisons and increased promotional activity,” Credit Suisse research analyst Edward Kelly noted. “Sales last year were negatively impacted by low levels of seasonal inventory (especially at Walgreens) and unusually soft flu activity after an early start to the season,” he added.

Conversely, many retailers have been reversing their SKU rationalization initiatives and early indicators suggest flu activity is on the rise. “The rollout of new promotional programs, like Walgreen’s Jingle Cash initiative, should also drive incremental front-end traffic,” Kelly wrote.

Comparisons in the pharmacy also will ease in December, Kelly suggested. Flu activity currently appears to be tracking in line to above last year based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Google Flu Trends. “We noted that comparisons in the pharmacy become significantly easier in the first half of 2011, and even a mild flu season in upcoming months should provide a tailwind to pharmacy comps,” Kelly surmised.

Kelly estimated that Rite Aid December comps will slip 0.3%, versus an average of -1.3% for the previous three months and consensus of -1%. Pharmacy comps should fall by only 1%, reflecting easier flu comparisons, while front-end same-store sales should increase by 1%. Rite Aid reports monthly sales on Jan. 4.

For Walgreens, which will post December sales on Jan. 5, Kelly projected a 3.5% comps increase, which falls in line with analysts’ consensus of 3.4%. “We project a 4.5% front-end comp, well above the 1.5% November gain and 3.1% decline last year,” Kelly wrote, noting that the company’s decision to pull back on holiday inventory penalized sales last year. Kelly expected a 3% gain in pharmacy, an estimate that includes a 1% combined benefit from increased flu activity and flu shots.

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