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Publix teams up with Instacart on grocery delivery

BY Gina Acosta

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix is joining Costco, Whole Foods and other retailers in providing grocery delivery service through a partnership with Instacart.

Publix announced Wednesday that it would begin its Instacart service in select areas of Miami beginning July 12. Instacart is an e-commerce and delivery service that allows customers to place their grocery orders online and have their items delivered right to their doorsteps. Customers can place orders by visiting www.instacart.com/publix.

Instacart will receive, fulfill and deliver customers’ orders in the greater Miami area — servicing 37 ZIP codes from Hallandale Beach to South Miami. Customers can enter their ZIP code on the Instacart website to find out if the service is available where they live.

“We know this service is something our customers are interested in, and we’re excited to learn more as we move forward with this pilot,” said Kevin Murphy, Publix Senior Vice President of Retail Operations. “We chose Instacart because we believe the experience they provide aligns well with the needs of our company, associates and customers.”

Publix says it will work to better understand the opportunities this service provides the company’s customers and associates by starting with a pilot and evaluating the results prior to expanding the program.

"At Instacart, we want to connect our users with the highest caliber of retailers, and this collaboration with Publix exemplifies that commitment," said Apoorva Mehta, Founder and CEO of Instacart. "Publix and Instacart share a common mission – to get premier quality food into the hands of as many people as possible. We are excited to bring our seamless online shopping and delivery experience to Publix customers and look forward to a deepening of our relationship."

Items excluded from purchase at Publix through Instacart are alcohol, tobacco, gift cards, prescriptions and age-restricted items. Printed and digital coupons are not redeemable through Instacart at this time. All orders must be at least $10 and delivery fees may apply.

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 182,500 employees, with 2015 sales of $32.4 billion. Currently Publix has 1,118 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. 

Instacart's current retail partners include Target, Kroger, Petco and many others.

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CVS Pharmacy opens mobile pharmacy unit to serve W.V. flood victims

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Pharmacy announced Wednesday that the company has opened a mobile pharmacy in Elkview, W.V., in response to the flooding that devastated the area in late June.

The mobile pharmacy will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 am. – 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will be fully staffed to meet the community's pharmacy care needs.

The CVS Pharmacy store in Elkview has been inaccessible since June 23, when floodwaters destroyed a bridge that allowed customers and patients to access the Crossings Mall, where the store is located. It is one of several area pharmacies that are closed as a result of the flooding that devastated the area. Other CVS Pharmacy stores in the area, including locations in Charleston, Dunbar and Montgomery, are also open and ready to serve patients whose pharmacies were impacted by the severe flooding.

In addition to being able to pick up their prescription medications at the mobile pharmacy, customers can also receive recommended vaccines, such as Tdap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, as well as purchase a variety of over-the-counter medications. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health has reminded residents to check their immunization status to ensure they are protected against tetanus, particularly among first responders and community members who are exposed to flood waters during cleanup.

"CVS Pharmacy is committed to ensuring that West Virginia residents hit hard by the June flooding have continued access to critical pharmacy care services," stated Scott Wasikowski, area VP of CVS Pharmacy in West Virginia. "Whether they are dispensing medications or providing vaccinations, our Elkview pharmacy team is ready to help as the surrounding area begins to recover and rebuild."

In addition to opening the mobile pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy has provided thousands of dollars worth of infant care, personal hygiene and over-the-counter items to Direct Relief. These donated goods have been distributed to four area community health centers in and around Charleston, West Virginia.

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With Rite Aid deal on track, Walgreens Boots Alliance posts Q3 sales of $29.5 billion, up 2.4%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance on Wednesday reported an adjusted net earnings increase of 14.7% to $1.3 billion for its third quarter ended May 31. Net sales in the third quarter were $29.5 billion, an increase of 2.4% over the year-ago quarter, or 3.3% on a constant currency basis.

Walgreens Boots Alliance's Retail Pharmacy USA division had third quarter total sales of $21.2 billion, an increase of 3.7% over the year-ago quarter. Sales in comparable stores increased 3.9% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

“We delivered solid results in the quarter while continuing to make progress in several key areas, including our work to develop long-term strategic relationships and pursue partnership opportunities," stated Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice chairman and CEO. "I’m pleased to report that since the quarter end we achieved our goal set four years ago of at least $1 billion in combined net synergies in fiscal year 2016 related to the strategic combination with Alliance Boots. This provides us with a strong platform to further enhance operating performance, to meet the challenges of the current volatility in many of our markets and to better position our company for long-term success.”

Combined net synergies were $330 million in the fiscal 2016 third quarter and $947 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2016. In June, the company achieved its goal set in 2012 to reach at least $1 billion in combined net synergies in fiscal 2016 relating to the strategic combination with Alliance Boots. This excludes the synergy benefits related to the company’s strategic, long-term relationship with AmerisourceBergen, the benefits of refinancing the legacy Alliance Boots indebtedness at a lower cost and the proposed Rite Aid acquisition.

Adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance per diluted share for the quarter increased 15.7% to $1.18 compared to the same quarter a year ago. Fiscal 2016 third quarter earnings adjustments were a net increase to GAAP net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance of $185 million or 17 cents per diluted share.

Walgreens Boots Alliance GAAP operating cash flow totaled $2.1 billion in the third quarter, while the company generated free cash flow of $1.9 billion in the quarter.

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s proposed acquisition of Rite Aid Corporation, which was announced Oct. 27, 2015, is progressing as planned, the company stated. Walgreens Boots Alliance is continuing its integration planning and continues to expect the Rite Aid transaction to close in the second half of calendar 2016.

The company raised the lower end of its guidance for fiscal year 2016 by 10 cents per share and now anticipates adjusted net earnings per diluted share attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance of $4.45 to $4.55.

Pharmacy sales across Walgreens Boots Alliance's Retail Pharmacy USA division, which accounted for 67.4% of the division’s total sales in the quarter, increased 5.8% compared with the year-ago quarter, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 6%. The division filled 235 million prescriptions (including immunizations) adjusted to 30-day equivalents in the quarter, an increase of 3.9% over last year’s third quarter.

Prescriptions filled in comparable stores increased 4.5% compared with the same quarter last year, primarily due to continued growth in Medicare Part D volume. The division’s retail prescription market share on a 30-day adjusted basis in the third quarter increased approximately 30 basis points over the year-ago quarter to 19.6%, as reported by IMS Health.

Comparable retail sales increased 0.1% in the third quarter compared with the year-ago period, primarily due to higher sales in the health and wellness and photo categories, partially offset by declines in certain convenience categories. The division is focused on profitable sales growth in future quarters, in part through a new, differentiated beauty offering. The first phase of these updates is in progress, with a rollout to more than 1,800 stores by the end of calendar 2016.

Retail Pharmacy International had third quarter total sales of $3.2 billion, a decrease of 2.3% over the year-ago quarter due to currency translation, with total sales increasing by 3.4% on a constant currency basis.

Pharmaceutical Wholesale had third quarter total sales of $5.7 billion, an increase of 0.7% over the year-ago quarter. In April, the company sold Alliance Healthcare Russia to the Russian health and beauty retailer 36.6 in return for a 15% stake in the combined group. On a constant currency basis, excluding acquisitions and dispositions, comparable sales increased 6.3%. This was ahead of the company’s estimate of market growth weighted on the basis of country wholesale sales, and was particularly strong in a number of emerging markets, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported.

 

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