Target to stop reporting monthly sales
MINNEAPOLIS — Same-store sales at Target increased 2.1% during September, in line with expectations for a low single-digit increase, and the company said it would discontinue reporting monthly results in 2013.
The 2.1% gain was driven almost entirely by growth in average transaction sizes and came on top of a challenging prior year comparison as September 2011 comps advanced 5.3%. As for the elimination of monthly sales reporting, the decision is consistent with retail industry trends and Target, along with Costco, are two of the last remaining major retailers who maintained the practice this year.
"This decision is based on discussions with many of our investors and is consistent with the practice of the vast majority of our retail peers," Target EVP and CFO John Mulligan said. "We believe aligning our sales guidance and reporting with disclosure of our quarterly financial results will create a longer-term focus and provide greater understanding of our sales results in the context of our overall financial performance."
Target said total retail sales for the five week reporting period ended Sept. 29 increased 2.6% to a little more than $6 billion from a little more than $5.9 billion the prior year.
"Target’s comparable-store sales performance in September was in line with our guidance for the month," said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. "We’re pleased with our sales results through the first two months of the quarter and believe we remain on-track to attain our third-quarter sales and profit goals."
Same-store sales during the August reporting period increased 4.2%. Comps for the current month are expected to increase in the low single digits.
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MinuteClinic opens first clinics in Cincinnati, Dayton
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has opened three walk-in clinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores in the Cincinnati and Dayton metropolitan areas.
Three more clinics, two in the Cincinnati area and one in Dayton, are expected to open over the next four months with additional locations in both markets anticipated in 2013.
MinuteClinic launched its first retail medical clinics in Ohio in 2006 and now has 33 walk-in clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton markets.
Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, believes MinuteClinic can help alleviate the severe primary care shortage that is expected to worsen over the coming decade in Ohio.
"We believe MinuteClinic can be part of the solution to help broaden access to high quality, convenient and affordable healthcare services in Southwest Ohio and elsewhere in the state," Sussman stated.
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Rite Aid opens ‘next generation’ Wellness store, reports September sales
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid unveiled what it called its "next generation" Wellness store as the chain reported a decrease in same-store sales Thursday.
The store, in Lemoyne, Pa., is less than a mile from the 4,639-store chain’s Camp Hill, Pa., headquarters. A ribbon-cutting Thursday morning marked the store’s grand opening.
"We know our customers’ health and wellness needs are always changing," Rite Aid COO Ken Martindale said. "As such, it’s important that we change with them and are able to evolve and innovate across all areas of our operations. Here in Lemoyne, we’ve taken our successful Wellness store format to the next level, which we think will help us continue to be the pharmacy of choice when it comes to health and wellness information, products and services."
Rite Aid said customers would immediately notice the new look of the store, with its wood-grain paneling on the outside that the company said would add a warm and welcoming feel as they approach it. The paneling also lists features like the GNC department, 24-hour pharmacy and drive-through services.
Inside, new features include a Diabetic Diagnostic Center, a one-stop shop for diabetics and their caregivers; a Vision Center, an easy-to-use kiosk that allows customers to conveniently order glasses and contact lenses and try on new frames; an expanded Men’s Grooming section that allows customers to use a an iPad to sample a new look; a nail bar that showcases various top brands and the latest colors; a hair-care aisle with hands-on displays where customers can see and feel items before purchase; and a grab-and-go cooler with milk, eggs and other items.
Overall, the store features a softer layout designed to make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, with new signage and decor that includes ceiling rings clearly designating each section; lighting fixtures and brand headers across the beauty department; and a relaxing, warm color palette with wood tones and softer lighting.
Along with Wellness Ambassadors, the pharmacy department features an "eye-catching" look that emphasizes the "wellness" theme of the chain’s marketing, as well as a wooden path that leads directly to it. The company has cleared the department of all merchandise to create a more open and welcoming environment. Nearby are the GNC section and a newly designated smoking cessation department.
For the month of September, the chain’s comps decreased by 0.7% compared with September 2011, including a 2.8% increase in front-end same-store sales and a 2.3% decrease in pharmacy same-store sales, heavily affected by new introductions of generic drugs. Same-store prescription count increased by 4.4%.
Total store sales for the month decreased 1.5% to about $1.9 billion, from $1.93 billion in September 2011.
Over the past 30 weeks, comps have increased by 0.9% over the same period in 2011. This included a 2.1% increase in front-end same-store sales and a 0.4% increase in pharmacy same-store sales. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.6%.
Total sales for the 30-week period increased by 0.2% to $14.54 billion, compared with $14.51 billion during the first 30 weeks of 2011.
Calling the results "better than expected," Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel wrote that the decline in overall comps was lower than his 0.9% estimate, while front-end comps rose more than his 2.5% estimate and pharmacy comps declined less than his 2.5% estimate. Heinbockel also expected the windfall from the now-ended Walgreens-Express Scripts impasse to last for several more months. He also expected the maturation of the Wellness+ loyalty card program to drive "above-trend" growth in EBITDA for another few quarters. "Better-than-expected September sales reinforce our thesis," Heinbockel wrote.
Sounds like a fresh approach to the stereotypical pharmacy. It`s about time as I believe the clinical white decor is predictable and will not set your store aside from all the others.