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Shoppers Drug Mart gets personal with new app, digital Optimum card

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Retailers are increasingly elevating their game and looking to better connect with consumers via personalization and Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart is no exception.

The retailer has announced that it is beefing up its retail loyalty program, Shoppers Optimum, with My Optimum. My Rewards. — a new personalized digital experience. The new digital platform includes an enhanced Shoppers Drug Mart app and a digital Optimum card, making it easier than ever for Canadians to earn additional rewards on the products.

“Shoppers Optimum members love earning the best free rewards in retail and they will love loading their personalized offers directly to their new digital Optimum card even more,” stated Shelagh Stoneham, SVP, marketing, Shoppers Drug Mart. “We are creating a one-on-one relationship with our customers, with offers personalized to their shopping habits and sent straight to their smartphone.”

Optimum members will now receive personalized offers and points via their mobile device, email or the web, and can load them to their digital or plastic Optimum card. They can also scan their digital Optimum card directly from their smartphone to earn and redeem points.

The digital Optimum card is now available for Apple and Android devices by downloading the redesigned Shoppers Drug Mart mobile app.
 
The new Optimum digital platform delivers weekly load-to-card offers tailored to members' shopping preferences, including a personalized flyer picking the relevant promotions for each customer. Optimum members will receive offers on products they want and use, from cosmetics and skincare to vitamins and snacks, allowing them to earn rewards faster on everyday purchases along with special offers on new items.

Optimum members will now benefit from these new digital features:
•    New, personalized offers arriving every Saturday via email, web or directly to smartphone;
•    A personalized flyer, based on each customer's shopping preferences, selecting the most relevant products on promotion;
•    View and load offers from their mobile device or the new Optimum website;
•    Scan their digital Optimum card to earn or spend points at checkout;
•    Check Optimum points balances on the go;
•    Transfer Optimum points to a loved one's account;
•    Donate Optimum points to a favourite charity – including the Canadian Red Cross for the Nepal Region Earthquake Fund;
•    Browse store flyers and create shopping lists;
•    Manage prescriptions;
•    Find the nearest Shoppers/Pharmaprix store and check store hours or late night or 24-hour access to pharmacy services; and
•    Add their Optimum card to Passbook on iOS.

A few facts about Optimum:
•    Every 23 seconds a new member joins the Shoppers/Pharmaprix Optimum program;
•    Every second a product is redeemed for free with Shoppers Optimum points at a Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix store; and
•    386,507 lipsticks and 1,312,206 toothbrushes were redeemed for free using Optimum points in 2014.
 

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Fred’s grows Q1 sales by 2.1%, but targeting almost 20% growth for Q2

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Fred's Super Dollar pulled in $509 million in first-quarter sales for the period ended May 2, the discount pharmacy operator reported Thursday, representing growth of 2.1%. 
 
However, Fred's sales for the prior-year quarter included sales of $21.8 million from stores closed mainly in late 2014 pursuant to the company's reconfiguration plan. Excluding sales from closed locations in the prior year quarter, total sales increased 7% for the first quarter of fiscal 2015. 
 
Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 0.8% compared with a decrease of 1.9% in the first quarter last year.
 
"Our earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 were at the low end of the guidance we expressed in our year-end conference call in March, and we continued to see further strengthening in EBITDA, which for the first quarter was at the high end of guidance," stated Fred's CEO Jerry Shore. "We believe this trend in EBITDA demonstrates the meaningful change now underway at our company as we continue to focus on an updated, convenient and pharmacycentric Fred's."
 
With the recent acquisition of retail pharmacy Reeves-Sain and specialty pharmacy EntrustRx, the pharmacy buisness remains a central focus for Fred's, Shore said.
 
"This acquisition contributed to our top line growth in the pharmacy department for the first quarter, but we and the industry continue to experience slow reimbursements, reimbursement rate reductions associated with preferred Medicare Part D networks and inflation in generic drugs," he said. "Elsewhere in our stores, we have seen ongoing process improvements in our general merchandise departments, marketing, supply chain functionality and store operations, and, importantly, cross functional teamwork continues to build throughout our organization."
 
During the first quarter, Fred's opened three Xpress pharmacy locations and closed one full-service store. Fred's also acquired two specialty pharmacy locations.
 
For the second quarter of 2015, Fred's projects total sales to increase between 16% and 19% with comparable store sales growth ranging between 1% and 3%. 
 
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Costco sees slight lift in Q3 sales, net income

BY Antoinette Alexander

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco experienced a slight lift in sales during the third quarter as total comparable sales slipped 1%.

For the 12 weeks ended May 10, net sales increased 1%, to $25.52 billion, from $25.23 billion last year. Total same-store sales declined 1% as U.S. comparable sales inched up 1%.

Net income for the quarter was $516 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, compared with $473 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, last year.

Costco currently operates 673 warehouses, including 474 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 89 in Canada, 35 in Mexico, 26 in the United Kingdom, 20 in Japan, 11 in Korea, 10 in Taiwan, seven in Australia and one in Spain. The company plans to open up to an additional 15 new warehouses (including one relocation) prior to the end of its fiscal year on Aug. 30.
 

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