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Walgreens reports surge in monthly sales

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens noted a 10.3% increase in sales for the month of September, compared with the year-ago period.

The drug store chain reported sales of approximately $5.35 billion for 2009. Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) increased 5.3%, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2%.

Walgreens also reported that September pharmacy sales increased 11.2%, while comparable-pharmacy sales increased 7%. Comparable pharmacy sales were positively impacted by 2.4 percentage points due to seasonal flu shots, and negatively impacted by 2.3 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.

Calendar year-to-date sales were $47.6 billion, an increase of 7.4% from $44.3 billion in 2008.

Walgreens fiscal year began Sept. 1, so fiscal year-to-date sales are the same as the month’s sales.

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CVS Caremark to distribute free seasonal flu-shot vouchers to the unemployed

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. In response to the current economic state, CVS Caremark announced it has begun to provide 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to the unemployed as part of its efforts to help keep Americans healthy this flu season. The initiative kicks off Thursday at The Work Place, a member of the Massachusetts Career One-Stop Initiative in Boston.

In more than 20 markets across the country, CVS Caremark will offer vouchers for free seasonal flu shots worth a total of $3 million. The vouchers will be distributed at participating One-Stop Career Centers and other select employment training agencies that offer career resources, training, and workforce information to job seekers, students, and businesses.

Beginning the week of Oct. 5, participating employment centers will offer free flu shot vouchers for distribution to their unemployed clients. The vouchers can be redeemed at CVS/pharmacy stores during a scheduled flu shot clinic or at MinuteClinic health centers located within select CVS/pharmacy stores during their regular hours of operation; no appointment necessary. Free flu shot vouchers will not be available at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic.

Participating employment centers are located in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“The unemployed are particularly vulnerable this flu season, as many lack health insurance or employer coverage for a flu shot. We are excited to get this program underway and to start providing protection for this group as early in the flu season as possible,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., chief medical officer for CVS Caremark.

More information on contacting the individual employment centers participating in the free flu voucher program can be found at www.cvs.com/flu.

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Walgreens opens 7,000th store in Brooklyn, N.Y.

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens is celebrating the grand opening Thursday of its 7,000th store.

Brooklyn, N.Y. state and local officials will welcome the retailer to another New York neighborhood during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Eastern time. The new store in the Gravesend neighborhood, near iconic Coney Island.

As part of the grand opening, the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is offering free health screenings to all adult attendees and flu shot vouchers to uninsured adults in the store’s parking lot today. The appearance by the customized, traveling health-screening bus is part of a nationwide tour of nine vehicles to deliver free health screenings across the country for early detection and prevention of diseases, as well as health education. Screenings test for total cholesterol level, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels and body mass index.

The Coney Island-themed grand opening will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony, food, music and entertainment. Guest speakers include Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz and other state and local officials. Walgreens also will donate $7,000 to Lenny’s Lighthouse, a Brooklyn charity that provides support to people with disabilities.

“For the last decade we have focused on finding the best corners in America to provide consumer goods and pharmacy and health and wellness services,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Today, more than 50% of the U.S. population lives within two miles of a Walgreens and close to 75% lives within five miles.”

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