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‘Consistent demand’ drives Drugstore.com sales

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Wednesday reported a 20% increase in net sales for the first quarter ended April 4, reaching $118.3 million on strong over-the-counter and Beauty.com sales.

“Consistent demand for everyday health and beauty products, contributions from our partnerships and a strong performance by our overall beauty business helped drive strong growth in our OTC segment,” stated Dawn Lepore, drugstore.com CEO and chairman. “With this revenue growth, we were able to leverage our scale, resulting in a 110 basis point improvement in our gross margins. Additionally, SkinStore.com, which we acquired in mid-February, is performing well, contributing $5.5 million in revenues to the quarter.”

OTC net sales grew 29% to $93 million, including Beauty.com growth of 28%, and total beauty growth, including SkinStore.com of 48%. Average net sales per order totaled $67. Average net sales per order for OTC increased nearly 3% year-over-year to $59 while vision and mail-order pharmacy each increased 5% to $121 and $158, respectively. Net sales from repeat customers represented 76% of net sales.

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Publix supports flood, tornado relief

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA In line with many other retailers in southern United States, Publix has established a program to offer customers a way to assist those affected by the devastating floods and tornados in Alabama and Tennessee.

Customers may donate at the register to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at Publix stores throughout Tennessee and most of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The customer donation program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.

In related efforts, Nashville-area Publix stores will be collecting nonperishable items for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Nashville. The food bags will be distributed to shelters servicing the impacted communities. The company also is coordinating efforts with Feed the Children for a donation of approximately $25,000 in shelf-stable items.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, homes and personal belongings as a result of this disaster,” said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix. “We would also like to take a moment to recognize our associates who are working hard everyday to make sure that their Publix is open and able to provide the products and services our customers need and want.”

Currently, all Publix locations are open and serving their surrounding communities.

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Social media placed into action by Wegmans

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. As a potential example of how retailers will communicate directly with customers in the future, Wegmans recently tapped into its online services. Upon hearing customer concerns about the effect of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on seafood at its stores, Wegmans turned to social media to spread the word.

By posting a video link on Twitter, it enabled its customers to meet Carl Salamone, VP seafood and hear about how the spill does (or does not) impact the seafood at its stores.

For a look at the video, click here: http://yfrog.com/2gseafoodgulfz.

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