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NACDS files legal brief to support pharmacy reminder calls, texts

BY David Salazar

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced this week that it had filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, opposing a Federal Communications Commission order restricting automated and pre-recorded calls and texts to cell phones — including pharmacy reminders aimed at boosting adherence. 
 
“As Americans increasingly rely on mobile technology, it makes sense that reminders to refill their prescription medications be made available on their cell phones to help keep them on track with their medication regimen, as well as receive other information to help them manage their health,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. 
 
In the brief, NACDS noted, “These prescription notifications rapidly and conveniently alert patients to important and time-sensitive information that is critical to the medically appropriate use of their prescribed medications.”
 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Litigation Center, among others, have filed other briefs regarding the FCC rules. 
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Dollar General sales up 7.3% in Q3, names CFO

BY Marianne Wilson

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General missed Wall Street projections for sales in its third quarter, but the chain came out on top again in its earnings. It also named a permanent CFO.

The discount chain on Thursday posted its fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings growth. It was the third consecutive quarter that Dollar General beat the Street's projection for earnings.

The retailer reported a better-than-expected profit of $253.3 million, or 86 cents a share,  for the quarter ended  October 30,  up from $236.3 million, or 78 cents a share, in the year-ago period.  Excluding special items, per-share earnings were 88 cents a share.

Net sales grew 7.3% to $5.07 billion, less than expected. Same-store sales rose 2.3%.  

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said the company will continue to implement cost control measures to boost its  bottom line.

"As we plan for 2016, we are adopting a zero-based budgeting process to reinforce our commitment as a low-cost operator," he stated.

The retailer narrowed its full-year earnings forecast, and said it now foresees full-year earnings in the range of $3.88 to $3.93 per share. Its prior outlook was for $3.85 to $3.95 per share.

In other news,  Dollar General named John Garratt as its permanent CFO, effective Dec. 2.  He has served as the chain’s interm CFO since June 2015,  and previously served as its senior VP of finance and strategy.

 Dollar General on Thursday also announced a $1 billion stock buyback, boosting its program to $1.2 billion total.

Dollar General operates 12,396 stores in 43 states as of Oct. 30.

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Comp-store sales slip 7.5% for Kmart Q3

BY DSN STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart parent-company Sears Holdings reported on Thursday that revenues for the company decreased $1.5 billion to $5.8 billion for the third quarter ended Oct. 31. At Kmart, comp-store sales were down 7.5% for the quarter, with overall Kmart sales of $2.2 billion for the period.

Strong categories with increased comp-store sales at Kmart included home appliances and mattresses, but any increases were offset by declines in the drug store, grocery and household, apparel and consumer electronics categories. Kmart's gross margin rate for the third quarter was up 40 basis points, with increases in drug store, toys, electronics and apparel — driven by less clearance and promotional activity, according to the company.

A significant portion of the decline in the third quarter was related to the company’s efforts to streamline operations and focus on its member-centric approach. Kmart ended the quarter with 952 stores, down from 1,050 stores in the same quarter last year. Sales to Shop Your Way members in Sears Full-line and Kmart stores accounted for 75% of eligible sales for the third quarter.

"We remain focused on restoring Sears Holdings to profitability by concentrating on our best stores, rewarding our best members and pursuing our best categories through innovative solutions to product and service offerings,” said Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. “Through deliberate strategic actions, notably with respect to our promotional design and marketing spend, we have made meaningful progress in our transformation and reported a fifth consecutive quarter of improved year-over-year results.  As expected, the results of these actions have led to comparable store sales declines despite an increase in profitability.”  

“At the same time, we recognize a lot of work remains and we have brought in a number of experienced leaders to drive our business forward with a plan to win as a member-centric integrated retailer,” he said. “As we head into the fourth quarter, we have intensified our focus on our product offerings and promotions in order to enhance member engagement and provide our members with the best experience possible throughout the holiday shopping season."

Net loss attributable to Sears Holdings' shareholders was $454 million for third quarter 2015, compared with a net loss of $548 million for the same period the prior year.

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