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Solid front-end sales help drive Shoppers Drug Mart Q4 sales boost

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart announced on Thursday a boost in fourth-quarter sales thanks to moderate sales growth in pharmacy and strong results at the front end.

Sales for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2011, totaled C$2.6 billion, up 4.3% compared with the year-ago period. Prescription sales rose 2.8% to C$1.8 billion. On a same-store basis, prescription sales rose 2.3%.

At the front end, sales were C$1.4 billion, up 5.5% compared with the year-ago period. The company noted that it experienced particularly strong sales gains in beauty, confection and convenient food items. Growth also was aided by marketing campaigns and promotions, strong seasonal programs and solid execution at the store level. On a same-store basis, front-store sales increased 4.4%.

Net earnings during the quarter were C$176 million, compared with C$169 million in the year-ago period. On a diluted basis, net earnings per share were 82 Canadian cents, compared with 78 Canadian cents in the year-ago period.

“Looking ahead, the strength of our brand, the quality of our assets and the power of our value proposition, together with the dedication and commitment of our associate-owners and their teams at the store level, have us well positioned to confront the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities in the rapidly evolving pharmacy marketplace,” stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart.

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NAFE names its ‘Top 50 Companies for Executive Women’

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Association for Female Executives on Wednesday released its list of the "Top 50 Companies for Executive Women."

General Mills, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble were all listed in the top 10 on that list. Other notable supplier and retail companies included Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardinal Health, Colgate-Palmolive, Eli Lilly, Kraft Foods, Merck and Walmart.

"The NAFE Top 50 Companies are major employers that are committed to hiring, retaining and promoting executive women," stated Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media and CEO of NAFE. "They represent a cross-section of companies that go way beyond lip service in helping succeed. Almost 7-out-of-10 companies require their managers to receive training on how to hire, advance or manage women. Manager accountability is the main ingredient for success."

According to NAFE, women represent 53% of the employees at these companies, on average. Women make up 23% of the board of directors at the NAFE Top 50, versus 16% across the boards of companies in the the Fortune 500. In addition, women make up 22% of the executive level at companies in the NAFE Top 50, versus 14% across Fortune 500 companies.

For an executive summary of the survey, click here.

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Lowe’s remedy for impulse sales

BY Mike Troy

Time is money for busy professionals and weekend warriors who frequent Lowe’s stores and can’t afford to put a project on hold because of an upset stomach, minor cut or allergy outbreak. To capitalize on this demand and drive impulse sales at checkout at this store in Tampa, Fla., across the street from CVS, the home improvement chain offers a convenient assortment of 13 popular health-and-wellness brands to treat common ailments so shoppers can avoid an extra stop at the drug store and get back to work.

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