Rite Aid disseminates CHIP info in partnership with Pa.
HARRISBURG, Pa. —Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell last month chose Rite Aid to be the conduit for information on the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program—Rite Aid stores throughout south central Pennsylvania hosted registration booths to help raise awareness around the program—which recently was expanded to cover all uninsured children and teens, even those from middle-income or well-todo families.
As part of the program, all Rite Aid Pennsylvania pharmacists received training on the CHIP program in order to field questions from consumers. CHIP and Rite Aid pamphlets alerted consumers to the handful of registration booths in Rite Aid stores throughout central Pennsylvania. Rite Aid locations throughout the rest of the state distributed educational pamphlets on CHIP.
“Through Cover All Kids, CHIP now is available to thousands of uninsured children whose parents may have earned too much to qualify for coverage under the old guidelines,” Rendell stated in a release announcing the new program.
The registration booths were set up approximately one week prior to President Bush’s veto of a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded the federal portion of the CHIP program, and has placed the future of that federally and state jointly funded program into potential jeopardy. “It is our belief that [Pennsylvania’s] CHIP is well-positioned to continue to provide coverage to all uninsured children who are not eligible for Medicaid, even those at higher income levels,” stated Melissa Fox, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. “Because we have been good financial stewards of both state and federal dollars, there is enough money [in] our budget to cover kids through May 2008,” she said. “If something does not happen quickly, we may need to re-look at out long-range planning.”
Under the new Pennsylvania guidelines, some families qualify for free CHIP coverage, while others may receive coverage at a low cost based on family income. CHIP enrollment increased to 164,485 in September, up more than 11 percent since September 2006. More than 4,200 children who are now in CHIP would not have previously been eligible.
Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales
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.
Target to open another 61 stores nationwide
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.