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Rite Aid comps increase 0.4% in August

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid posted a 0.4% increase in same-store sales for the month of August, the retail pharmacy operator said Wednesday.

The increase included a 2.4% increase in front-end comps and a 0.6% decrease in pharmacy comps. Total store sales for the five-week period that ended Saturday were roughly $2.41 billion, a 0.4% decrease from last year’s $2.414 billion. Same-store prescription count increased by 4.5%.

"RAD’s August comps were stronger than expected, both in pharmacy and at the frontend, which we believe bodes well for Q2 EBITDA," Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel wrote in response to the results, noting that pharmacy comps exceeded Guggenheim’s forecast by 140 basis points, while front-end comps exceeded its forecast by 2%.

For the 13 weeks that ended Saturday, comps were flat, compared with the same period last year, including a 1.4% increase in front-end comps and a 0.7% decrease in pharmacy comps. Total store sales decreased 0.7%, to $6.21 billion, compared with $6.25 billion last year. Same-store prescription count increased by 4%.

For the 26-week period ended Saturday, comps increased by 1.2%, including a 2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.8% increase in pharmacy comps. Total store sales increased by 0.5%, to $12.646 billion, compared with $12.581 billion last year. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.5%.

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Tecate Michelada makes U.S. debut

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Heineken USA has launched its Tecate Michelada beverage in the United States.

Tecate Michelada follows the same traditional brewing process of Tecate to the master brewer’s exact specifications, the company said. The beer then is carefully blended with the taste of lime, spices and a hint of chili pepper to create a bold flavored beer mix with a deep golden color. Tecate Michelada can be enjoyed cold, straight from the can or poured over ice, into a traditional goblet-style glass with a salted rim.

"Beer mixes are growing in popularity among Mexican consumers in the U.S. and have shown sustainable growth over the past three years," Tecate VP marketing Felix Palau said. "This new product line is perfect for consumers that feel like having a beer that has a little something extra and is ready to be enjoyed on the spot."

Tecate Michelada will be available at retail throughout the western and central regions of the United States in 16-oz., single-serve cans for adults ages 21 years and older beginning this month.

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FDA approves new drug for rare leukemia

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating a rare blood and marrow cancer that affects older adults, the agency said Tuesday.

The FDA announced the approval of Pfizer’s Bosulif (bosutinib) for chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML. According to the FDA, about 5,430 men and women will be diagnosed with CML this year.

The drug is designed for patients with chronic, accelerated or blast-phase Philadelphia chromosome-positive CML, who can’t tolerate other therapies or for whom those therapies don’t work.


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