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Shoppers Drug Mart reports continued sales, net earnings growth

BY Allison Cerra

TORONTO A Toronto-based pharmacy chain reported continued growth in sales and net earnings for its second quarter.

Shoppers Drug Mart said Thursday that its for its second quarter ended June 19, sales increased 5% to $2.3 million (CAD $2.4 million), compared with the year-ago period. Similarly, same-store sales rose 2.7%,

Prescription sales increased 5.1% in the second quarter to $1.13 billion (CAD $1.166 billion) and accounted for 48.5% of the company’s sales. On a same-store basis, prescription sales increased 3.5%. Consistent with trends in recent years, prescription sales growth was driven primarily by strong growth in the number of prescriptions filled, while increased generic utilization continued to have a deflationary impact on sales growth in the category. In the second quarter 2010, generics represented 54.4% of prescriptions dispensed, compared with 52.7% of prescriptions dispensed in the second quarter 2009.

Additionally, front-end store sales increased 4.8% in the second quarter to $1.19 billion (CAD $1.23 billion), with the company continuing to experience sales gains in its core categories. On a same-store basis, front store sales increased 2%.

Shoppers Drug Mart also disclosed that its second-quarter net earnings increased 6.2% to $139.8 million (CAD $145 million) from $131.2 million (CAD $136 million) a year ago. This result was achieved prior to the impact of any proposed and/or announced provincial drug system reform initiatives, some of which came into effect on July 1, Shoppers said.

Meanwhile, the chain also increased its 2010 fiscal year guidance, stating that its diluted earnings per share would be between $2.57 (CAD $2.66) and $2.62 (CAD $2.72).

During the second quarter, 21 drug stores were opened, 13 of which were relocations, and three smaller drug stores were closed.  The company also added one Murale luxury beauty store to its network during the quarter. At quarter-end, there were 1,309 stores in the system, comprised of 1,239 drug stores (1,180 Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix stores and 59 Shoppers Simply Pharmacy/Pharmaprix Simplement Sante stores), 63 Shoppers Home Health Care stores and seven Murale stores.

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Loblaw’s first small-model in-store pharmacy opens

BY Allison Cerra

BRAMPTON, Ontario Loblaw has opened its first small-model in-store pharmacy, offering the same amenities and convenience as a larger-size pharmacy, but in a compact area. The new pharmacy helps to fulfill the company’s vision to grow the number of pharmacies in its stores.

“Our goal is to provide convenience, quality and value to our customers. With this small model, we now have the ability to incorporate pharmacies into more of our stores, which will help complement our customers’ food shopping experience,” said Andrew Iacobucci, SVP drug business unit, Loblaw Cos. “Within this smaller footprint, we are pleased to be able to provide full pharmacy service with a highly trained and trusted pharmacy professional.”

The new small-scale pharmacy is approximately 400 sq. ft.

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Rite Aid gets into back-to-school groove

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is helping customers save on back-to-school shopping through special offers, online coupons and its member-only Wellness+ customer rewards and discounts program.

The 4,800-store chain said that it has created a back-to-school shopping spread inside its August Single Check Rebate guide, a four-page pullout available online and in stores that contains more than 40 commonly requested school supplies worth more than $140 in rebate checks. Additionally, Rite Aid is utilizing its Video Values program at RiteAid.com, allowing consumers to watch videos and earn coupons on select products, which will feature a dozen back-to-school coupons in August.

The drug store chain also said many back-to-school discounts in Rite Aid circulars are available with the Rite Aid Wellness+ card. The Wellness+ customer rewards program provides members with free health-and-wellness benefits, as well as shopping discounts.

Items on sale include composition notebooks, snacks and more.

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