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99 Cents Only sees Q1 sales, earnings boost

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — 99 Cents Only Stores reported that sales for the first quarter increased by 4.6% to $336.6 million and same-store sales increased 2.7%. Consolidated net income increased by $7.3 million to $16.8 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, versus $9.5 million in the prior year, or 14 cents per diluted share.

Eric Schiffer, CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, stated, "For our second quarter of fiscal 2011, ending on Sept. 25, which is typically our most challenging quarter due to seasonal factors, we expect low single digit same-store sales and are targeting a 20% improvement in pre-tax profit margin compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2010. In addition to the seasonal factors that cause the September quarter to be less profitable than the June quarter, we expect higher freight costs versus last year’s second quarter and furthermore, we are investing in a store level merchandise ordering system, and will incur training and learning costs as we complete the roll out of phase one of this system to our stores this quarter.

"For fiscal 2011 we expect positive same-store sales in the low single digits and plan to open approximately 5% more stores in our existing markets, primarily in the second half of the year. "

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Drugstore.com’s revenues rise with help of OTC sales

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com experienced a net sales increase of more than 27%, reaching $113.1 million, for the second quarter ended July 4, the online health-and-beauty-aids retailer announced Tuesday.

“In a softer consumer spending environment, we were pleased to deliver 27% year-over-year revenue growth and strong gross margins of 30.4%,” stated Dawn Lepore, CEO and chairman of Drugstore.com.  “Revenue growth was driven by OTC sales up 35%, including solid contributions from our recent acquisition, Salu, which added over $11.5 million. During the quarter, we generated new customer growth of 34%, offering further evidence that we are a clear leader in one of the least penetrated markets in ecommerce.”

For the third quarter 2010, the company is targeting net sales in the range of $107 million to $111 million.

For fiscal year 2010, which compares a 52-week year with a 53-week year, the company expects OTC revenue growth between 24% and 28%, inclusive of $16 million to $20 million from partnerships, and vision revenue growth in the low single digits.

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Faith Hill named Tide Loads of Hope ambassador

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Tide named five-time Grammy Award winner Faith Hill as the new ambassador for its Tide Loads of Hope program.

For nearly five years, Tide Loads of Hope has offered free laundry services to communities in the wake of major disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike, the California wildfires and more.

“Since we launched Tide Loads of Hope, we’ve been inspired by the spirit of the communities we’ve touched. As we approach the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we continue our promise to bring back the comfort of clean clothes to those in need,” said Suzanne Watson, Tide associate marketing director. “It is the same sense of compassion that inspires Faith Hill’s charitable spirit so we could not be more thrilled that Faith Hill has chosen Tide Loads of Hope as a cause worthy of her involvement.”

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