Sabre: Travelers may not be alarmed by swine flu outbreak
SOUTHLAKE, Texas Business and leisure travelers are continuing to travel despite growing attention surrounding the H1N1 virus (swine flu), indicating that travelers are not reacting with as much alarm as media reports may indicate, Sabre Holdings stated Friday.
Travel volumes recorded at Sabre Holdings show that aside from the decline in travel to Mexico, business and leisure travel within the United States and to other parts of the world is currently holding steady, reflecting the same pragmatic perspective among travelers that President Barack Obama offered in his news conference on Wednesday.
Travel agencies show similar findings with their clients.
“The vast majority of our clients remain on the road,” stated Jane Batio, president of CorpTrav, a Chicago-based travel management company with more than $180 million in annual air bookings. “We’ve only cancelled six trips across our entire client base in the past week, and future bookings remain in sync with rebounding trends we’ve seen across the past two months.”
Drugstore.com delivers in three focus areas, CEO says
BELLEVUE, Wash. So far, so good. Drugstore.com on Thursday announced that it is delivering on three areas of focus in what has become an exceedingly challenging retail environment.
“I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve made substantial progresses in all [three] of these areas in the first quarter, posting one of our strongest quarters to date, despite facing a very tough economy,” Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman, told analysts Wednesday evening.
The three focal points for Drugstore.com included a focus on growing its over-the-counter and vision businesses at a faster rate than overall e-commerce; a focus on driving bottom-line improvements and a focus on incremental growth for the year.
So the scorecard so far —OTC revenue grew over 11%, well ahead of recent e-commerce industry trends, and the beauty business grew at an even faster pace, increasing 14%, despite a decline in the beauty industry.
Gross margins were at 28.2%, delivering adjusted EBITDA of $5.6 million to the bottom line, which is more than double the adjusted EBITDA the previous-year period.
“I believe our record performance in the first quarter offers evidence that we can continue to grow in a difficult economic environment, while also improving the strategic positioning of the company,” Lepore said, suggesting that the online retailer will be able to maintain its improved performance through the remainder of the year.
Looking forward, Drugstore.com plans to launch its Medco Health Solutions-branded OTC web site in the second quarter, with a notable ramp in the second half of the year. “We believe our partnership is on track and we are in active conversations with other potential partners,” Lepore said.
American Forces Press Service confirms swine flu case in Calif.
ARLINGTON, Va. The American Forces Press Service on Wednesday confirmed a swine flu case at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
A male Marine reported to a medical clinic on base over the weekend complaining of flu-like symptoms, the report read. Initial test results indicate the H1N1 virus, and the service is waiting for further results from testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Marine Corps Gen. James Conway said. The Marine and his roommate have both been quarantined.
“Our base commanders are all very much attentive to what’s taking place,” Conway said during a press briefing Wednesday. “The battalion surgeon, a very aggressive, young Navy lieutenant, has identified 37 other Marines that he has come in contact with, over the weekend, before he came in. Those people have also been, at this point, set aside. And they’re being watched and tested and given the Tamiflu, to prevent any further exposure to the disease, on their part.”
The 37 are not officially quarantined, but are not allowed in public places such as unit formations and dining facilities.
The southern-California base is about 200 miles from the Mexican border, but the Marine had not visited Mexico, Conway said.