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Walgreens announces growth in Q3 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has reported a 2 percent increase in net earnings [diluted] to $572 million and an increase in earnings per share to 58 cents in the third quarter 2008. All earning figures herein are diluted.

The company said that it saw a 9.6 percent increase in total sales and that “front-end comparable store sales” were also up by 4.6 percent in the first nine months of the year. Third-quarter net earnings climbed 4.2 percent to $1.71 billion, or $1.72 per share, weighing against last year’s $1.64 billion ($1.63 per share).

The company said that its previous year’s earnings at nine-months had benefited from a lower last-in, first-out cost flow assumption rate and tax benefits. Walgreens is currently working on opening 138 new drugstores companywide.

“In a challenging economy, we continued investing in our future with a relentless focus on cost control,” Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Rein, told the media. “We posted solid results while going up against a nearly 20 percent earnings increase in the year-ago quarter and a more robust economic environment. At a time when Americans are searching for value and convenience, we’re one of the retailers they’re turning to.”

Walgreens said that for the quarter ended May 31, earnings rose 2 percent to $572 million compared with the year-ago $561 million. Walgreens said that it received a $16.1 million LIFO provision in this year’s quarter, compared with a credit of $3.5 million in last year’s third quarter. The company also reported that last year’s quarter had included a $13.5 million credit, after resolution of a multiyear state tax issue.

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Michaelson to leave FreshDirect for Supervalu

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK FreshDirect has announced that chief executive officer Steve Michaelson will leave the company to join Supervalu as chief marketing officer.

He previously worked for Weis Markets, where he began working in 2002.

His replacement will be Richard Braddock, who became chairman of the Internet grocery company in 2004. He had previously worked at Citibank and Priceline.com. “I chose to increase my involvement with the company because I love the business and I think it has great growth potential,” Braddock told Crain’s New York. “Over the past years I’ve developed a deep respect for the FreshDirect team and am looking forward to helping unlock the potential of this company.”

Based in Long Island City, N.Y., FreshDirect delivers groceries around the New York area. It is a private company. Supervalu has headquarters in Minneapolis.

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CVS Caremark employees to take part in Easter Seals events

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. This year, thousands of CVS Caremark associates nationwide are expected to participate in Easter Seals Walk With Me events as part of the CVS Caremark All Kids Can program.

Since 2006, the company and its private foundation have contributed more than $4 million to Easter Seals, including CVS Caremark All Kids Can Fund gifts to support Easter Seals autism services, and a commitment to Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago’s Therapeutic Day School and Center for Autism Research, scheduled to open this fall. In addition, each year CVS Caremark has been a sponsor for Easter Seals Walk With Me events and employee teams have shown their support through Walk With Me pledges and local Easter Seals fundraisers.

On Saturday, hundreds of CVS Caremark employees in Providence, R.I., will converge at Roger Williams Park Zoo to raise money for local children with disabilities. Walkers in Saturday’s event will include about 350 CVS Caremark employees and their families, who expect to raise more than $75,000 to expand Easter Seals’ early intervention services in the state.

Since 2006, some 7,000 employees have raised more than $1 million through walks for local Easter Seals affiliates.

“In Rhode Island, 14 percent of children under 18 have a disability, and nationally, 9.2 percent of American families with children have at least one child with disability,” stated Eileen Howard Dunn, senior vice president of corporate communications and community relations at CVS Caremark. “CVS Caremark is committed to improving the lives of children with disabilities through our All Kids Can program. We are very proud that so many of our employees are helping us support Easter Seals in expanding its extraordinary services to even more children.”

Inspiring employees during Saturday’s walk is a local girl named Lily May, who was born with disabilities, but who has succeeded far beyond through Easter Seals’ early intervention services.

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