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Rite Aid donates $44,500-plus in supplies for Gustav evacuees

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. To further assist evacuees of Hurricane Gustav, The Rite Aid Foundation is donating more than $44,500 worth of supplies including water, snacks, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products as requested by the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross to be distributed at shelters for evacuees, the Foundation announced Friday

“Throughout the Gulf Coast, widespread flooding and violent wind damage have created an urgent need for disaster support,” stated Jeff Towers, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. “Rite Aid generously responded to this need through in-kind and financial support to help the Red Cross provide food, shelter and counseling to Gulf Coast communities during this hurricane season.”

Earlier this week, The Rite Aid Foundation made a $75,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities affected by Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A relief team of Rite Aid associates, including store cashiers and pharmacists, have traveled from Tennessee and unaffected areas of Louisiana and Alabama to help stores that have been impacted and to help reopen additional stores.

“One of Rite Aid’s core values is to be caring neighbors in the communities we serve, and we are happy to work with the American Red Cross to help the evacuees of Hurricane Gustav,” commented Mike Seesholtz, Rite Aid regional vice president for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “Our associates have been amazing in their commitment to do whatever they can to help the victims of Hurricane Gustav.”

Residents displaced by the hurricane can visit any open Rite Aid for their prescriptions because the company’s satellite-linked computer network assures a complete customer prescription history at any Rite Aid store. Because of the state of emergency, Rite Aid pharmacies also can access prescription information for patients who do not normally get their prescriptions at Rite Aid.

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Wal-Mart Stores monthly sales up 8.7 percent

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported that net sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 29 increased 8.7 percent to $30.7 billion from $28 billion for the same period last year. Total comparable-store sales for the month increased 3 percent (excluding fuel).

"We estimate U.S. comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, for the September five-week period to be between 2 percent and 3 percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Our value proposition and the underlying business remain strong."

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Soaring energy prices lead consumers to supercenters

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Consumers are balancing the need to save money on consumer packaged goods with the need to conserve gas, so they are turning to supercenters to make fewer and larger shopping trips, according to new research from Information Resources Inc. that the company released Thursday.

“Times & Trends: Channel Migration 2008,”reveals that supercenters were the only store type to achieve sales gains across six key grocery retail department areas during the last year, while traditional grocery retailers showed declines in four of six departments. Furthermore, supercenters exhibited gains with all income levels and with three high-potential market segments, including baby boomers, Hispanics and households with kids.

“Leaders throughout the retail spectrum know there is not one single answer to this retail challenge, and that securing the best information is the first step to developing an optimal new strategy,” stated IRI president, innovation and consulting, Thom Blischok.

Select findings for the IRI study include

* Facing unprecedented financial burdens as gas, energy and CPG costs skyrocket simultaneously, consumers have made dramatic changes in where and how they shop;

* consumers are balancing the need to save money on CPG products with the need to conserve gas, resulting in fewer, larger trips;

*cross-channel competition has intensified for self-care products, which are experiencing rapid demand increasesNdrug stores and supercenters have secured the largest gains, but channel shifts vary by category.

“With the economy not expected to rebound until at least the second quarter of 2009, there is ample time for consumers to become comfortable with their new shopping patterns, suggesting that these changes and the competitive ramifications could have some staying power,” Blischok added.

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