PHARMACY

Rite Aid reports increase in same-store sales; Brooks Eckerd stores sales turning positive

BY Jenna Duncan

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid Co. has announced its sales results for October, showing positive changes in same-stores sales and a sunny outlook for the newly acquired Brooks/Eckerd stores, the company said today.

For the month of October, same stores sales were up 2.9 percent compared to October 2007. Same stores sales, not including Brooks/Eckerd stores, were up 4.1 percent from the same period last year. Rite Aid said that front-end same-stores sales were up 4.3 percent and pharmacy same-store sales saw an increase of 4 percent (including a negative impact of 272 basis points due to introductions new generic drugs).

At Brooks/Eckerd stores, same store sales were steady, up 0.4 percent over October 2007. This showed a small recovery from a minimal decline of 1.2 percent decline for the month of September. Brooks/Eckerd’s front-end same store sales were up 6.9 percent.  Pharmacy saw a small decrease—down 1.6 percent compared to the previous year, but this was an improvement over September when a 2.9 percent decline was reported, Rite Aid said.

“We are pleased with our October sales, particularly considering the weak retail environment,” Mary Sammons, chief executive officer and chairman of Rite Aid said in a statement. “Core Rite Aid stores once again produced solid sales increases while the turnaround at the former Brooks Eckerd stores continued with same store sales turning positive for the first time since before the acquisition.”

Total drug store sales for October remained steady with a 0.5-percent increase to $1.997 billion, over $1.986 billion for October 2007. Prescription drug sales accounted for 68.2 percent of total drug store sales. Third party prescription drugs comprised 96.3 percent of pharmacy total sales.

More information on Rite Aid is available at www.RiteAid.com.

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McKesson reports earnings increase for Q2 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO McKesson Co. reported Wednesday that its earnings for second quarter 2008 which ended Sept. 30 totaled $26.6 billion, up 9 percent from $24.5 billion at the same time last year.

“We had a solid quarter, with a particularly strong performance from Distribution Solutions despite industry concerns about lower prescription trends,” John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer said in a statement. “In Technology Solutions, our second quarter operating profit was up 8 percent year-over-year, although we did begin to see some customers delay their purchasing decisions.”

Second-quarter diluted earnings were $1.17 per share, up 41 percent from 83 cents per diluted share last year. That total included 27 cents per share from a $76 million tax reserve release and five cents per share after sale of the 42 percent holdings of Verispan, the company reported. McKesson benefited from the sale of its specialty pharmacy business Distribution Solutions, a business within McKesson Specialty Care Solutions.

McKesson also said that its second-quarter earnings totals included $25 million in pre-tax share-based compensation expense, versus its pre-tax expense of $28 million one year ago.

The company said that projections for 2009 earnings were reported at $4.00 to $4.15 per diluted share.

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CVS completes tender for Longs Drugs acquisition

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has successfully completed the subsequent offering period of its tender offer for all of the outstanding common stock of Longs Drug Stores, and expects to effect the merger on or about Oct. 30.

The subsequent offering period for the tender offer expired at 6 p.m., New York City time, on Oct. 28. A total of approximately 28,317,338 shares of Longs were tendered in the initial and subsequent offering periods of the offer, representing approximately 78.07 percent of the outstanding shares.

CVS expects to effect, without a vote or meeting of Longs’ stockholders, a short-form merger on or about Oct. 30 to complete the Longs acquisition.

In the merger, each of the remaining outstanding shares (other than any shares owned by CVS or its subsidiaries) will be converted into the right to receive the same $71.50 in cash per share, without interest, that was paid in the tender offer.

Following the merger, Longs’ common stock will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

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