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Target reports April sales results

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target reported that its net retail sales for the four weeks ended May 2, 2009 were approximately $4.45 million, an increase of 4.5% from $4.25 million for the four weeks ended May 3, 2008.

On this same basis, April comparable-store sales increased 0.3%.

“April sales results were in line with our guidance for the month,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO Target Corp. “For the first quarter overall, retail segment financial performance was significantly better than expected, and the credit card segment performed in line with our prior guidance. As a result, we expect first quarter earnings per share results to be well above the current median First Call estimate of 52 cents.”

Year-to-date sales are approximately $14.36 million.

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Ryan gives CVS shareholders plenty to be happy about; tips off new specialty pharmacy pilot

BY Drug Store News Team

WOONSOCKET, R.I.

Going great and getting better all the time. That was more or less the message CVS Caremark chairman, president and CEO Tom Ryan had for investors gathered here Wednesday morning for the company’s annual shareholders meeting — a company that has seen revenue growth of 2x to 2.5x and profit growth of 5x in each of the 45 years it has been in operation, Ryan noted.

Indeed, with net revenues of $1 billion in 1985, $5 billion by 1995, and more than $87 billion in 2008, the chain has experienced exponential growth during that period. Not the least of this has been its 2007 acquisition of Caremark, which helped the company achieve a most enviable position as the nation debates myriad healthcare reform possibilities.

With the No. 1 position in stores — some 7,000 —and total scripts filled — more than 729 million vs. No. 2 Walgreens’ 617 scripts, according to Ryan; the second biggest PBM in America with more than 3,300 clients, which added $9 billion in incremental new business last year; the No. 1 position in specialty pharmacy — CVS generated an industry-leading $10 billion-plus in specialty pharmacy sales last year — and more than 500 retail clinics, the company has “more touch points around pharmaceutical health care than any other company in the industry,” Ryan proudly noted.

In addition, Ryan noted that the company is conducting a pilot of a specialty pharmacy program in the state of Florida that would enable customers to pick up specialty pharmacy prescriptions in any CVS store in the state.

While the results thus far have been impressive, Ryan is confident that company’s current growth strategy is the right one going forward. Roughly 75% of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a CVS store, Ryan said; almost two-thirds of the country lives within two miles. And while it operates the most stores in the industry, the company “has no goal to be in every state,” Ryan said, noting that the ultimate objective is to operate in markets and states that have the population density to allow us to operate profitably”, versus filling in every state in the map, underscoring a key difference between itself and its No. 1 competitor, Walgreens. Several months ago, Walgreens announced that it will slow down store growth considerably, among other key initiatives.

Ryan also noted that he believes that the company’s current growth trajectory, which has averaged about 300 new and relocated stores a year in each of the past six years, remains the right pace for CVS. In addition, the size and layout of the stores, which continue to rank among the most productive in the industry — CVS is either No. 1 or 2 in eight of the nation’s top 10 metro markets, he said — has also proven to be a winning combination. 

CFO Dave Rickard provided a more in-depth look at the company’s financial performance, which continued to outpace both its peers in retail and health care, as well as the S&P, in 2008 and into the first quarter 2009.

CVS Caremark on Tuesday reported earnings for the most recent period, with net sales up almost 10% to $23.4 billion, including $13.5 billion on the retail side of its business, and almost $11.5 billion on the pharmacy services (PBM) side of the business. (See Tuesday’s report on Drug Store News site).

One other measure Rickard provided cut right to the heart of it all for CVS shareholders; according to Barron’s, CVS Caremark is ranked one of just 10 companies to own over the next 10 years.

While many intangibles still exist, Ryan spoke confidently about the company’s future, which stands to gain considerably, he believes, by any changes in country’s healthcare system. Whichever way the healthcare reform goes, Ryan explained, CVS is in position to influence the debate.

“It remains to be seen how it will all shake out,” he said, “it will be a positive for our business.”

In the meantime, business as usual remains pretty good for a company that in its 45-year-history has risen to No. 19 in the United States, No. 80 in the world and No. 1 in Woonsocket.

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CVS Caremark releases second annual CSR report

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark released its 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility report Wednesday, titled “Improving Outcomes.”

The company’s second annual CSR report includes new and updated information about CVS Caremark’s environmental, social and economic performance during 2008.

“Our publication of this report highlights our ongoing commitment to make a positive contribution in the lives of our customers, shareholders, employees, and those in our local communities,” said Tom Ryan, CVS Caremark Chairman and CEO. “During our second year of reporting we made significant progress, especially on environmental management tracking initiatives. Our focus is on improving outcomes. It’s an attitude we bring to every aspect of our business and our commitment to CSR is no different. We look forward to updating our stakeholders in the future as we improve our own CSR outcomes.”

The comprehensive report covers a wide range of topics, including the company’s approach to accessible and affordable health care, the environment, customer privacy, workplace engagement and corporate governance. The report also highlights notable accomplishments the company has made since last year’s report, including assessing the company’s carbon footprint.

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