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Reports: Instacart launches in Boston

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A company that helps people shop for groceries is expanding into another city after a successful run in two others, according to published reports.

TechCrunch reported that Instacart had launched in Boston. The company already operates in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago, and it plans to serve the entire Boston area in the next few months.

The company allows customers to use personal shoppers to buy groceries at stores like Whole Foods and Costco. It’s planning further expansions for 2014 and expects to be in 10 markets by the end of the year, according to TechCrunch.

 

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Costco reports profit of $425 million in first quarter 2014

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. had sales of $24.47 billion in first quarter 2014, the club retailer said.

The results, announced Wednesday, were an increase from the $23.20 billion reported in first quarter 2013 and produced a profit of $425 million, compared with the $416 profit last year.

Same-store sales for the quarter increased by 3%, including 3% in the United States and 1% in stores abroad.

While profits increased over the last quarter, the company’s earnings per share of 96 cents fell short of the $1.03 expected by analysts.

Guggenheim Securities analyst John Heinbockel gave Costco’s stock a "neutral" rating, noting that the results, while "disappointing," were not due to the health of the company itself, but rather factors such as a stronger U.S. dollar, decline in gross profits on gas and an unusual step-up in stock compensation expense. Additionally, the chain’s Canadian business was described as "robust," with an 8% increase in same-store sales.

Costco’s stock was at $118.35 per share on the NASDAQ in late-afternoon trading Wednesday, after opening at $118.10 and hitting a high of $120.30.

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Reports: New York Board of Health votes unanimously to require flu vaccination for children in day care, preschool

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — All children attending day care or preschool in New York must get a flu vaccine by the end of the year, according to published reports.

CBS News reported that the city’s Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday to require all children younger than 5 attending a day care or preschool to receive the vaccine before Dec. 31.

"Vaccinating children produces ‘herd immunity’ in the general population," a notice issued by the board earlier this year on a planned meeting about the proposed rule read. "This means that vaccinating children against influenza reduces the number of influenza infections in everyone else, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not."

The notice noted that despite promotion of influenza vaccination for children, coverage rates have risen slowly, with 61% of children aged 6 months through 5 years receiving the vaccine, compared with 56.7% in 2012.

"This still leaves nearly 4 out of every 10 young children unprotected," the notice read. "Furthermore, young children are at high risk of influenza-related complications and hospitalization, making this vulnerable group especially important to protect."

 

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