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Rite Aid announces 1 percent sales increase

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid Thursday morning reported a same-store sales increase of 1 percent for the five weeks ended Sept. 1. (Same-store sales do not presently include the recently acquired Brooks and Eckerd stores.) Pharmacy same-store sales increased 1.5 percent, which included an approximate 405 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, and front-end same-store sales were flat.

Total drug store sales for the five-week period increased 52.9 percent to $2.5 billion (which does include Brooks and Eckerd sales) compared with $1.6 billion for the same period last year.

Prescription revenue accounted for 68.2 percent of drug store sales, and third-party prescription revenue represented approximately 95.9 percent of pharmacy sales.

Second-Quarter Sales 

Same-store sales for the 13-week quarter ended Sept. 1 increased 1.1 percent over the prior year quarter, with a 1.4 percent lift in pharmacy same-store sales and a 0.6 percent increase in front-end same-store sales.

Total drug store sales for the quarter increased 54.1 percent to $6.6 billion from $4.3 billion in last year’s second quarter.

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Walgreens to ease expansion pace in fiscal ‘08

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Throttling back slightly on its torrid national store-development program, Walgreen Co. revealed today it would open “only” 550 new stores in the fiscal year that began Aug. 31, for a net gain of 475 net new stores after relocations and closings.

That still represents by far the most aggressive internally driven, “ground-up” store expansion program in all of chain pharmacy—and an actual rise in the number of newly constructed stores over the number built this past year. But barring any acquisitions in fiscal 2008, it also marks a modest pullback from the breakneck expansion pace Walgreens kept in fiscal 2007, when the chain opened 615 new stores, including 115 acquisitions, for an increase after relocations and closings of 531 stores.

Even without any new acquisitions, however, Walgreens still is on target to exceed its long-stated goal of operating 7,000 drug stores coast-to-coast by 2010. At the close of fiscal 2007 on Aug. 31, the company operated 5,992 drug stores, including 96 home care division locations, eight specialty pharmacies and three mail-service facilities in 48 states and Puerto Rico, versus 5,461 a year ago.

“Franchisees of Option Care Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens, are not included in Walgreens’ store count,” the company reported. The aggressive store-opening schedule continued right through the end of the fiscal year. Walgreens opened 101 stores during August, including 13 relocations. It also closed one store and acquired 54 stores, all but one of which were through its previously announced acquisition of Option Care Inc.

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Publix CEO retires, will become chairman of board

BY Allison Cerra

LAKELAND, Fla. Publix Super Markets chief executive officer Charlie Jenkins Jr. announced his retirement today.

Jenkins, who has been an employee of Publix for nearly 40 years, and chief executive officer for 6 years, will continue to be an active member of the Publix board of directors, and has agreed to accept the role of chairman of the board. Howard Jenkins, Publix Super Markets’ current chairman of the board, will become chairman of the executive committee. Both will take their new positions on March 30, 2008.

“The board of directors is pleased that Charlie has agreed to accept this position, and we look forward to working with him to continue the success of Publix,” Jenkins said.

Publix Super Markets, a privately owned and operated grocery chain with more than 900 stores in the southern United States, will undergo additional corporate changes upon Charlie Jenkins’ retirement. Publix president Ed Crenshaw will become chief executive officer. Todd Jones, senior vice president of product business development, will replace Crenshaw as president.

“We are pleased to have leaders with the experience of Ed and Todd who are ready to take the next steps in their careers,” said Jenkins. “I’m confident they will be successful in continuing Publix’s success.”

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