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Rite Aid to launch online OTC store powered by drugstore.com

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Rite Aid and drugstore.com on Thursday announced a restructured strategic relationship that includes the launch of a new Rite Aid online store for over-the counter products and expands on the two companies’ successful long-term relationship.

Under the terms of the agreement, a new Rite Aid online OTC store offering a wide selection of products, including Rite Aid brand items, will be powered by drugstore.com and marketed by Rite Aid to its customer base. Rite Aid’s new online store is expected to launch later this year.

As part of the new agreement, the LPU rights (prescriptions ordered online for pick up at a Rite Aid store) will be transferred to Rite Aid. In return, drugstore.com will receive a total of approximately $10 million in ten monthly installments from Rite Aid. Going forward, drugstore.com will receive marketing services revenue for marketing Rite Aid’s LPU offering on the drugstore.com site

“Rite Aid has been a strong partner for over nine years, and we are pleased that this new agreement will leverage drugstore.com’s leading health, beauty, and wellness ecommerce platform to benefit both companies,” stated Dawn Lepore, chief executive officer and chairman of drugstore.com, inc. “Rite Aid will develop marketing programs to drive traffic to the new site, and given the differing demographics, we expect these sales to be incremental to drugstore.com.”

“We are excited to partner with drugstore.com, which has the leadership position and expertise in online commerce to provide a very compelling offer to Rite Aid’s large and loyal customer base,” added Rob Easley, Rite Aid chief operating officer. “Having our own online OTC store and being able to market directly to those customers is an important next step in our digital strategy.”

“While the transfer of local pick-up to Rite Aid will have an impact on total revenue, it will significantly strengthen our overall growth rate and gross margins and is consistent with our strategy to focus on our higher growth, higher margin businesses,” Lepore said.

For the third quarter of 2008, drugstore.com is now targeting net sales in the range of $85 million to $90 million and a net loss in the range of $2.7 million to $3.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA guidance remains in the range of $3.5 million to $4.5 million. For 2008, the company is now targeting net sales in the range of $370 million to $380 million and a net loss in the range of $0.2 million to $4.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA remains in the range of $16 million to $20 million.

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Safeway raises $9.7 million for muscular dystrophy

BY Doug Desjardins

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway customers and employees helped the supermarket chain raise $9.7 million to help fight muscular dystrophy during an August fund-raiser.

Safeway raised the funds through donations made at checkout registers in 1,700 Safeway stores in the U.S. and Canada. A portion of proceeds from some products sold in stores was also donated. With the August funds, Safeway has raised nearly $42 million for muscular dystrophy with its month-long fundraisers.

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Walgreens offers consumers advice in case of evacuations

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has published a short list of suggestions for anyone in areas affected by potential hurricanes, such as Tropical Storm Gustav, which, at press time, was heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to turn into a hurricane.

While the advice was simple, it may make a big difference for prescription medication takers who have to be evacuated:

  1. Fill the medication only after arriving at a safe location.
  2. Carry the medication in a waterproof bag.
  3. Keep a written record of all prescriptions in an “important papers” file.

Walgreens emphasized in step 2 that all prescription bottles should be taken, even if empty. The information on the bottle label will help any pharmacist refill the medicine. Heat, humidity and sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of medicine, so Walgreens reminded consumers to protect it from extreme weather conditions.

The company also reminded consumers that Walgreens’ patients could register online at Walgreens.com and print out prescription information directly from their patient profile. Walgreens operates 6,356 drugstores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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