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Q&A: Raising breast cancer awareness

BY DSN STAFF

With October representing National Breast Cancer Awareness month, Lansinoh has coupled its Nurture Note e-mail list with a fundraising event that helps raise awareness around breast-feeding and its potential to reduce breast cancer risk. Drug Store News caught up with Lansinoh’s Gina Ciagne, director of breast-feeding relations and outreach.

Drug Store News: What is the breast-feeding market at mass? Is that number growing as awareness around health benefits increases?

Gina Ciagne: The U.S. breast-feeding rates have been increasing steadily since 1999, when the initiation rate was just 68.3 percent. Today, with 4 million births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the initiation rates are 72 percent, dropping to 39 percent at six months and 20 percent at 12 months. There are more and more activities that surround breast-feeding to help educate and encourage moms to breast-feed today. The National Ad Campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services, local- and state-level campaigns and support measures certainly help to spread the message about breast-feeding.

DrSN: Is there a greater degree of opportunity among ethnic consumers?

Ciagne: According to the CDC, Hispanic rates of breast-feeding surpass Caucasian rates at initiation. Rates at six months and 12 months are nearly the same. Current Hispanic rates are 79 percent for breast-feeding, compared with 75 percent for Caucasian.

DrSN: What is the overall dollar market?

Ciagne: According to Information Resources Inc. data for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 12, the food, drug and mass (not including Wal-Mart) market for all products and suppliers was $80.9 million, up 20.2 percent.

DrSN: Outside of the benefits for baby, what are the advantages to mom with regard to breast-feeding?

Ciagne: There are huge benefits for moms who breast-feed, including a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes. … In August, National breast-feeding Month, Lansinoh announced the start of our “Latch on to a Good Cause” fund-raiser. This program runs through Oct.31. For any mom who signs up for Nurture Notes [an e-mail program managed by Lansinoh that sends words of encouragement and breast-feeding tips], Lansinoh will donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We hope to increase awareness of the link between breast-feeding and the reduction in the incidence of breast cancer for moms.

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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