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Walgreens posts March sales of $6.4 billion, up 4.5%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday reported March sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 4.5% as compared with the same month in fiscal 2013.

With Easter falling on April 20 this year compared with March 31 last year, total front-end sales decreased 2.6% in March compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales decreased 3.4%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 4% while basket size increased 0.6%. Walgreens will report combined comparable store sales for March and April with its April sales results.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.1% in March and increased 4.2% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. March 2014 had one additional Monday and one fewer Friday compared with March 2013. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 90 basis points. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were negatively impacted by 30 basis points due to the lower incidence of flu in March 2014.  

March pharmacy sales increased by 8.9%. Comparable store pharmacy sales increased 8% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 7.1%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 160 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, and were negatively impacted by 40 basis points due to a lower incidence of flu. 

Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.7% of total sales for the month.

Sales in comparable stores increased by 3.5% in March. Calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 0.6%. Generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 100 basis points, while the lower incidence of flu negatively impacted total comparable sales by 20 basis points. 

Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales for the first seven months were $44.4 billion, an increase of 5.4%.

Walgreens opened 13 stores during March, including three relocations, acquired three and closed one.

 

 

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Tender creates a buzz around its new ‘spokesbug’ through social media

BY Michael Johnsen

LITTLETON, N.H. — Through a social media campaign coined the "National Bug Report," After Bite tracked the path of the Mystery Bug, increasing curiosity around this potential new stinging threat. On April 1, the bug was revealed as the brand’s new spokesbug, a character introduced to educate families on the good, bad and interesting world of insects, Tender announced. 

"As the leading insect bite treatment brand, we want to make the world of bugs fun for parents and children," stated Jason Cartwright, CEO of Tender. "Now revealed, our Mystery Bug will be the voice that educates and interests moms, dads and children on all things ‘buggy’ and provides expertise on making family outdoor adventures safe, comfortable and fun."

As the brand’s new spokesbug, the Mystery Bug will be used through marketing, social media and public relations as an educational voice and the "expert" on all things related to insects and insect bite treatment. The Mystery Bug will provide advice on staying safe and enjoying the outdoors; tips on insects and how to avoid them; fun statistics on bugs and their benefits to the world; advice on how to treat bites if stung; insect bite prevention and treatment.  

With the reveal of the campaign, the Mystery Bug will be seen in-store on displays. Through their Facebook channel, After Bite will host a "name the Mystery Bug" contest in April where one family will win an outdoor gear package for their next family camping trip, valued at over $3,000. Retail and online coupon promotions as well as in-store giveaways will also spread the Mystery Bug throughout the United States.

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Publix to promote Lock Your Meds campaign across Florida

BY Michael Johnsen

MIAMI — In an effort to prevent prescription drug abuse, and in collaboration with Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership, all 622 Publix pharmacy stores in Florida are promoting the Lock Your Meds campaign in April 2014, the supermarket chain announced Tuesday. 

The Lock Your Meds campaign educates people about the importance of securing their medication, taking regular inventory of it, properly disposing of unused or expired medications and spreading the word to family and friends about prescription drug abuse. Informed Families promotes the Lock Your Meds campaign every year in homes, schools and communities across the state of Florida.

To inform customers of the need to secure medication, each Publix Pharmacy store in Florida will feature a Lock Your Meds stand-up poster on the pharmacy counter, and a Lock Your Meds message printed on all pharmacy prescription receipts. The stores will also highlight Informed Families’ website, InformedFamilies.org/Meds, as a place to take a pledge to "Lock Your Meds." Those who take the pledge will be automatically entered to win one of five medicine safes (retail price $120), given away statewide. The website also provides tips and tools about securing medication, a home medicine inventory card for download and ways to get involved to help spread the message.  

"While many parents are concerned that their children will get involved with street drugs, the most accessible drugs are found in home medicine cabinets," stated Robin Sistrunk, manager of integrated care for Publix. "In supporting Informed Families and the Lock Your Meds campaign, we hope to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse, provide simple ways to prevent it and ultimately save lives." 

"Every day, 2,500 teens abuse prescription pain medications for the first time," commented Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership President & CEO Peggy Sapp. "It’s crucial that parents and caregivers are educated about prescription drug abuse, and we are very thankful to Publix, a wonderful corporate citizen, for partnering with Informed Families to deliver the prevention message."   

This is the second year that Publix Pharmacy has joined Informed Families to deliver the Lock Your Meds message to customers. In 2013, the campaign was promoted exclusively in Central Florida area Publix Pharmacy stores. 

The Lock Your Meds Campaign was developed by the National Family Partnership, in response to the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. Informed Families /The Florida Family Partnership is the Florida affiliate of the NFP.  

 

 

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