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August a respectable sales month for Walgreens

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreen Co. continued its march through record sales territory in August, with companywide revenues rising 10.3 percent over the same month last year, to $4.62 billion.

Comparable-store sales also showed healthy gains, rising 6.5 percent in the final month of fiscal 2007. Pharmacy sales closely tracked those increases, rising 9.9 percent overall and 6.5 percent on a comp-store basis. Total prescriptions dispensed at stores open more than a year rose 3.4 percent, and pharmacy sales accounted for 66.4 percent of Walgreens’ total sales for the month.

Despite the gains, the nation’s most profitable drug chain acknowledged the drag that lower-cost generic drugs have put on the top line. “Comparable-pharmacy sales,” Walgreens reported today, “were negatively impacted by 4.2 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.”

Less clear, but no less real, was the impact that rival Wal-Mart Stores has had on Walgreens and other drug chain pharmacy operations with that company’s ongoing $4 generic drug discount promotion.

Calendar year-to-date sales at Walgreens are up 12.2 percent to $35.94 billion, with total sales for fiscal 2007 up 13.4 percent to $53.76 billion. For the fiscal year, Walgreens is reporting a comp-store sales increase of 8.1 percent. Walgreens finished the year with 5,992 units.

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Duane Reade supports Race for the Cure

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Manhattan-based pharmacy retailer Duane Reade is supporting the 2007 Komen New York City Race for the Cure by handing out limited edition pink Duane Reade bags starting on Tuesday.

Duane Reade chairman, president and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling and Komen Greater NYC executive director Donna Lawrence officially unveiled the pink bag at a press event Monday morning at the Duane Reade located at Broadway and 50th Street.

Customers will receive their Duane Reade purchases in the limited edition bag through Sept. 9, the date of the 2007 Komen New York City Race for the Cure in Central Park.

The initiative is in conjunction with the “City in Pink” event whereby 19 structures throughout the city will be illuminated during the week-long celebration.

According to Lawrence, this year’s race is expected to be the most successful in its history—surpassing the record-setting $4.2 million raised in 2006. Monies raised from the race will be used to fund education, screening and treatment programs for underserved women in the Greater New York City metro area, as well as national and local research for the cures.

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. In 2007 alone, there will be more than 200,000 people diagnosed, and more than 40,000 will die.

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Medicine Shoppe plans to expand into Middle East

BY Drew Buono

ST. LOUIS Medicine Shoppe International is moving into its seventh country this month. The company is planning on opening five pharmacies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The move to the Middle East was made possible by a new agreement with the Al Zahrawi Group, which will manage all the operations, including future growth in the region.

“The Medicine Shoppe brand and retail pharmacy model have been very successful in India and other Asian markets, so the Middle East market is a natural next step for expansion,” said Bruce Burnett, international vice president, for Medicine Shoppe International.

The first two stores will open this month, followed by the other three later this year. Medicine Shoppe pharmacies are also located in the United States, China, Canada, India, Indonesia, and Japan.

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