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Report: Kinney Drugs’ Rx discount program saves customers big bucks

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Residents in a northern New York county have saved more than $60,000 from a local retail pharmacy chain’s prescription medication discount program, according to published reports.

The Evening Times of Little Falls, N.Y., reported that residents of Herkimer County, N.Y., saved $63,066.35 thanks to Kinney Drugs’ ProAct division, which reduces prescription drug costs for patients with insufficient or no health insurance by way of discount drug cards.

A ProAct report from September showed that patients saved an average $20.93 from each claim, the newspaper reported.

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Duane Reade’s makeover gives retailer positive outlook in Q3

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Manhattan-based retailer Duane Reade’s turnaround initiatives appear to be gaining traction as the company narrowed its loss during the third quarter and posted an increase in same-store sales.

“We are pleased with the momentum of our business despite the impact of the challenging economy and reduced consumer spending. During the quarter, we continued to make solid progress with our business transformation plans and achieved several of our key goals, including the relaunch of our private-label household and value brands and the introduction of DR Delish, our new exclusive brand for food and beverages,” stated John Lederer, chairman and CEO. “Importantly, our customers remain enthusiastic about the positive changes that we are implementing across the business and our entire team remains fully committed to making our brand mantra ‘New York Living Made Easy’ a reality.”

Net retail store sales, which exclude pharmacy resale activity, increased 3.7% to $429.2 million from $414.1 million in the year-ago period. Total net sales increased 4.2% to $448.9 million. Total same-store sales increased 0.7% during the quarter, as front-end same-store sales decreased 2.7% and pharmacy same-store sales increased 5.3%.

The company attributed the decrease in front-end same-stores to reduced levels of consumer spending in light of the economy. The pharmacy same-store sales growth reflected an increase in the average number of prescriptions filled per store and the effects of branded drug inflation, which has increased the average sale per prescription, the company stated.

Net loss for the quarter narrowed to $10.7 million, compared with $22.3 million in the year-ago period. The reduced net loss is due to the improvement in operating loss and the $12.5 million gain on debt extinguishment, partially offset by a $6 million increase in interest expense.

“We remain cautiously optimistic about our prospects for growth as we look ahead to the end of the year and we remain on track to achieve our expectations for adjusted FIFO EBITDA. Further, we are delighted to have completed our debt refinancing in August and we are pleased that the transactions provided us with financial flexibility and access to long-term capital to move forward with the ongoing transformation of our business,” Lederer stated.

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Walgreens reports spike in October sales

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens reported Tuesday a 9.4% increase in October sales.

Sales for one of the nation’s top drug store chains were $5.65 billion, compared with $5.16 billion for the same month in 2008. Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) increased 4.9%, while comparable store front-end sales increased 4.7%.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales increased 9.3%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 5%. Additionally, prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 8.6% in October, including 2.4 percentage points due to seasonal flu shots and 1.3 percentage points due to more patients filling 90-day prescriptions. Pharmacy sales accounted for 66.3% of total sales for the month.

Walgreens opened 69 stores during October, including eight relocations.  As of Oct. 31, Walgreens operated 7,603 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,105 drugstores, 562 more than a year ago, including 66 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

Walgreens fiscal 2010 year-to-date sales for the first two months were approximately $11 billion.

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