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Costco’s April net sales rise by 5%

BY Brian Berk

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale reported net sales during April came in at $9.42 billion, an increase of 5% compared to the $8.98 billion it earned in the same month in 2016. The company noted it also had one fewer sales day due to the timing of Easter, which likely affected net and comparable sales by 1.5% to 2%.

For the month of April, categorized as the four-week period ended April 30, Costco’s U.S. sales were by far its strongest, with comparable-store sales rising 4% year over year. When excluding the impacts of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, Costco’s U.S. comparable-store sales rose 3%.

Conversely, Canadian comparable-store sales declined 1% in April, but when backing out gasolines price and foreign exchange impacts, they would have increased by 3%.

Costco currently operates 729 warehouses, including 508 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 95 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, eight in Australia and two in Spain.

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Air Wick intros new Freshmatic look, Pure reduced water formula

BY David Salazar

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Reckitt Benckiser’s Air Wick brand is bringing two new products in time for spring cleaning. The brand introduced a new look for its Freshmatic automatic spray device, as well as Air Wick Pure, an aerosol formula that it says can deliver nine times more fragrances with less water than its traditional 8-oz. aerosols.

The Freshmatic device can deliver times bursts of fragrance, and the new design features twist and lock mechanism to make refills easier, as well as an angled refill nozzle for a spray angle that creates a wider area of dispersion, the brand said. And Air Wick said the new Pure scents were aimed at removing the problem of wet residue.

"We know how important freshness and fragrance are for consumers, but our research shows consumers are looking for innovation," Air Wick marketing director Stuart Witherby said. "That first whiff of a favorite scent is an experience consumers are looking to replicate every time a fragrance is released, which is why the new Freshmatic automatic spray device was born — to prevent fragrance fatigue. When it comes to the formula of scented sprays, we uncovered consumers worry about the droplets left behind on surfaces. This is why we developed Air Wick Pure, which provides an exceptional fragrance experience with less wet residue."

Air Wick Pure is available in four fragrances, Ocean Breeze, Purple Lavender, Sunset Cotton and Tropical Flowers, all of which except lavender are available in auto spray. The fragrances sell for $4.88 at most retailers, and the Freshmatic comes as a starter set with a fragrance insert for $8, with refills retailing for $4.88.

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CVS’ MinuteClinic head named CEO at Grenada university

BY Brian Berk

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada — MinuteClinic president and CVS Health EVP clinical services and associate chief medical officer Dr. Andrew Sussman has a new gig. St. George’s University on Wednesday named Sussman its new CEO.

“For 40 years, St. George’s University has transformed promising students into outstanding doctors committed to addressing the healthcare needs of people all over the world, especially those in underserved communities,” said Sussman. “I look forward to working with the entire St. George’s University team to continue to fulfill this important and inspiring mission.”

Sussman will lead all executive functions of the university, with a particular focus on expanding educational opportunities, programs, and support for students; forging clinical partnerships with hospital systems; and increasing the university’s reach internationally. Dr. G. Richard Olds will continue in his role as president of St. George’s University, and report to Dr. Sussman.

Prior to being EVP clinical services  at CVS, Sussman led the development and growth of CVS Health’s MinuteClinic, the largest walk-in clinic provider in the United States, with more than 1,100 locations. Under his leadership, CVS MinuteClinic established collaborative affiliations with more than 75 major hospital systems across the United States.

Before joining CVS Health, Sussman was EVP and COO at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the major teaching affiliate of UMass Medical School.

Sussman is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University Questrom School of Business. He is a board-certified internist and primary care physician.

“We are thrilled to have Andy join St. George’s University as CEO,” said Charles Modica, founder and chancellor of the University. “His record of leadership and achievement in health care is remarkable, and I know that he’ll position the university for sustained excellence over our next 40 years.”

St. George’s University draws students and faculty from 140 countries to the island of Grenada, in the West Indies, to its programs in medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, science, social science, information technology, and business. St. George’s is affiliated with educational institutions worldwide, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

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