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A&P announces fiscal Q1 improvements

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P, which operates 446 stores under such banners as A&P, Pathmark and Waldbaum’s, announced on Friday improved results for the first quarter as it nears the completion of the Pathmark integration.

“The first quarter of 2008 clearly demonstrates our continuing progression in operating improvement with the achievement of our fourth straight quarter of comparable store sales of over 3 percent,” stated Eric Claus, president and chief executive officer. “Further, Pathmark is already achieving positive results with comparable store sales climbing above 3 percent for the first time in many years. The company is also well underway with the completion of the Pathmark integration, as many of the planned milestones have been achieved. As of the end of the first quarter, our annualized run-rate of synergies is approximately $100 million.”

Sales for the quarter totaled $2.9 billion compared with $1.7 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales rose 3.2 percent, which excludes sales for Pathmark stores acquired in December 2007. Same-store sales for Pathmark, measured during the same period, rose 3.1 percent.

Net income from continuing operations was $3.8 million, with a net loss per diluted share of 48 cents after adjusting for non-operating income related to fair value adjustments. This compares with income of $61.4 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

The company did not break out pharmacy sales results.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the company announced during the quarter an integral step in its transformation—the conversion of the majority of SuperFresh stores in the Philadelphia market to the recently premiered Price Impact format under the Pathmark Sav-A-Center banner and a number of SuperFresh locations retaining the Fresh format with significant upgrades.

Also during the quarter, the supermarket chain completed the remodel of A&P Fresh in Holmdel, N.J., to the updated Fresh format and began remodeling additional stores. The company also premiered its Price Impact format in the Irvington and Edison Pathmark stores.

“The remainder of fiscal 2008 will be focused on progressing the company further toward operating profitability by: moving forward our operating and aggressive merchandising strategies; maintaining cost control and reduction disciplines throughout the business. Integral to our drive to profitability is the continued and ongoing execution of capital improvement projects all geared for maximum return, and particularly weighted to value propositions,” stated Claus.

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Shoppers Drug Mart increases same-store 2Q sales by 4.6 percent

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart posted sales of $2.1 billion for the second quarter ended June 14, the company announced Wednesday.

On a same-store basis, excluding tobacco products, sales increased 4.6 percent during the quarter, representing a 6.4 percent lift in prescription same-store sales and 3 percent growth in front-end comparable sales (excluding tobacco). Tobacco is currently being phased out of its remaining stores in Western Canada, the company reported.

Overall, prescription sales increased 11.6 percent over the quarter, accounting for 47.9 percent of sales, while front-end store sales improved 7.4 percent.

During Shoppers’ second quarter, 22 drug stores were opened or acquired, nine of which were relocations, and two smaller drug stores were closed. At quarter-end, there were 1,171 stores in the system, comprised of 1,106 drug stores and 65 Shoppers Home Health Care stores. Drug store selling space was approximately 10.1 million square feet at the end of the second quarter, an increase of 13.9 percent compared to a year ago.

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Changes in shopping trends reflect high gas prices

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. Increasing gas prices aren’t just causing Americans to change vacation plans; they’re also causing them to change shopping plans, according to a report Nielsen released Thursday.

The report found that 63 percent of consumers have reduced their spending—an 18 percent increase over last year and a 14 percent increase from six months ago. At the same time, 78 percent are combining shopping trips, with 32 percent using coupons more often and 35 percent buying cheaper brands.

“With gas prices passing the $4 per gallon mark, consumers are altering their driving and spending habits at dramatic levels,” said Todd Hale, Nielsen’s senior vice president for consumer and shopper insights. “While discretionary spending is likely to be a challenge for most low- and middle-income shoppers, even affluent consumers are looking for ways to make their dollars go further.”

Oil prices were $135.25 per barrel in New York trading Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

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