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Harris Teeter reports increase in Q1 sales

BY Allison Cerra

MATTHEWS, N.C. Regional grocery chain Harris Teeter reported that first-quarter sales rose 4.7% to $972.3 million.

Meanwhile, comparable-store sales were down 2.4%, mainly due to retail price deflation and changes in shopping habits as a result of the economic environment. Operating profit declined to $42.3 million, compared with $44.3 million in the same period last year.

During the first quarter 2010, the grocer opened six stores and closed one, and added that it would continue expansion of its existing markets, including the Washington, D.C. metro market area which incorporates northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, southern Maryland and coastal Delaware. Harris Teeter announced earlier this week it was opening two new stores in Raleigh, N.C., and Fairfax, Va. As of Dec. 27, 2009, Harris Teeter operated 194 stores.

“As customers face the ongoing challenges of the economy, our focus remains on driving customer shopping visits and loyalty,” said Thomas Dickson, chairman, president and CEO of Harris Teeter’s parent company, Ruddick Corp. “We continue to deliver quality, variety and value to each and every customer through further investing in our instore promotional activity and lower everyday prices.”

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URAC gears up for Best Practices Awards

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The nation’s leading healthcare accreditation and education organization has issued a call for entries for its 2010 Best Practices Awards in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection to find which companies are setting the standard in advancing the role of consumers as active participants in health care.

URAC’s Best Practices Awards recognize the achievements of healthcare companies that are actively pursuing practices to advance consumer empowerment and protection in an exceptional, measurable and reproducible way. Last year’s winners included such innovative companies as CVS Caremark, HealthPartners, Eliza Corp., Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, and Pro-Change Behavior Systems.

“At a time when everyone is looking for healthcare value, transparency, and accountability, the URAC Best Practices Awards give healthcare organizations an opportunity to showcase best practices and receive recognition for their commitment to engage consumers as partners,” said Alan Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. “We are delighted to honor those who are leading the health care industry through innovation and providing proven practices that advance patient safety and empower consumers.”

Awards will be given in two categories. The Consumer Decision-Making category recognizes practices that educate consumers about their healthcare needs while providing the information, tools, and resources necessary to promote empowerment. These could include health coaching, disease-specific education, or behavior change programs. The Consumer Health Improvement category honors practices that are related to quality improvement in patient safety such as drug therapy management, disease prevention, or care coordination.

The deadline for entries is March 15. To access the online submission form, visit www.urac.org/QualitySummit11/. For questions, e-mail education@urac.org or call 202-216-9010.

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Rite Aid reports drop in same-store sales

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday posted a 2.1% decline in same-store sales for the four weeks ended Jan. 23. Total drug store sales for the four-week period decreased 3.3% to $1.9 billion.

Both front-end same-store sales and pharmacy comparable sales were each down 2.1% for the period, while prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 1.1%.

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