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Winn-Dixie reports Q4, fiscal-year results

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie closed out the year on a strong note Monday, reporting $7.4 billion in net sales, up 1.2%, for the fiscal year ended June 24, with identical-store sales from continuing operations up 1.2% compared with the prior fiscal year.

During a conference call Tuesday morning, Winn-Dixie chairman, president and CEO Peter Lynch told analysts that the chain’s remodel program, scheduled to be completed across the chain’s entire store base by fiscal year 2013, will be a key driver in the grocer’s success going forward, as will pharmacy.

“Script counts are up,” noted Lynch. “As far as pharmacy plays into our promotional activity, as I have said in the past, pharmacy is a key component to our strategy going forward,” he said. Primarily because pharmacy customers, no matter which channel from which they pick up their prescriptions, are sticky customers. “So we are always trying to make sure that we keep those customers and reach out to them for more business,” Lynch said.

And right now, that means better customer service than the pharmacy down the street. “We’ve done a lot of work in making sure that our pharmacists are really out there taking care of the customer,” he said. “The customer really needs that approach regarding pharmacy and I think we’re doing a much, much better job at it here at Winn-Dixie today.”

 

Lynch updated analysts around Winn-Dixie’s store remodeling program, which Winn-Dixie is tackling on a market-by-market basis. The grocer’s hometown market of Jacksonville, Fla., home to 51 stores across north Florida and south Georgia, was completed in mid-July. “We are currently on track to remodel half of our stores by the end of fiscal year 2010 and to complete substantially all of our stores by 2013,” Lynch said.

At the end of fiscal 2009, the company had completed 170 store remodels, 73 of which were still within their first year of operation. Of the 73 first-year store remodels, 47 are considered by the company to be offensive remodels. For fiscal 2009, those 47 stores had a 10.3% weighted average sales increase compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year, excluding the grand re-opening phase. The sales increase resulted from increases in transaction count and basket size of 5.6% and 4.5%, respectively.

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FDA investigates liver injury claims from weight-loss medication users

BY DSN STAFF

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced that it is reviewing adverse event reports of liver injury in patients taking the weight-loss drug orlistat, marketed as the prescription drug Xenical (Roche) and the over-the-counter medication Alli (GlaxoSmithKline).

Between 1999 and 2008, the FDA has received 32 reports of serious liver injury in patients taking orlistat. Of those cases, 27 reported hospitalization and six resulted in liver failure. Thirty of the adverse events occurred outside the United States. The most commonly reported adverse events included yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), weakness, and stomach pain.

The FDA is reviewing additional data submitted by orlistat manufacturers on suspected cases of liver injury, and the issue has been discussed at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Drug Safety Oversight Board.

“The issues here are complex, but FDA has benefited from the input of the board, including comments from representatives from three FDA Centers and several other Agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services,” stated Steven Osborne, executive director of the board.

The FDA’s analysis of these data is ongoing, and no definite association between liver injury and orlistat has been established at this time. Consumers taking Xenical should continue to take it as prescribed, and those using over-the-counter Alli should continue to use the product as directed.

The FDA urges both health care professionals and consumers to report suspected side effects from the use of orlistat to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

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Discount Drug Mart launches fleet of Kodak photo printing solutions throughout Ohio

BY Allison Cerra

MEDINA, Ohio Eastman Kodak Co. has signed an exclusive, multi-year contract with an Ohio-owned and operated regional drug chain.

Discount Drug Mart will deploy Kodak Picture Kiosk G4 Digital Stations and Kodak Adaptive Picture Exchange thermal dry lab systems into all 70 Discount Drug Mart stores throughout Ohio.

As part of the new contract, Discount Drug Mart will be upgrading its fleet of older Kodak consumer order stations to Kodak G4 Stations, which will allow Discount Drug Mart customers to take advantage of a wide range of premium photo creation products, including Kodak Picture Movie DVDs, Kodak Picture CDs, enlargements, collage prints, calendars, invitations and greeting cards. Discount Drug Mart will also be increasing the number of Kodak Picture Kiosks per store, allowing multiple customers to experience and create prints and premium products faster and more easily. The newer G4 model can create standard 4 x 6 prints up to 70% faster than older kiosk systems.

“Giving our customers an exceptional photo creation experience is an integral part of our mission, and we felt that Kodak, as the market leader, best delivered that experience,” said John Graycar, director photo operations at Discount Drug Mart. “Kodak is providing both an integrated suite of photo finishing solutions and the technical and business expertise needed to enable all our locations with one-stop access to award winning photo products and services.”

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