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Despite sales drop, Rite Aid’s business will see ‘significant positive impact’

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday reported a revenue decline of 2.1% to $6.4 billion, for the first quarter ended May 29. The results reflect a move in the right direction, Rite Aid officials contended, and that momentum should build along with some of the initiatives Rite Aid currently is putting into play.

“During the quarter, we made excellent progress on our initiatives,” stated John Standley, Rite Aid president and COO, who officially took the reigns as the chain’s CEO Wednesday. “We nationally launched our new Wellness+ customer loyalty program, began immunization training that will more than triple the number of Rite Aid pharmacists able to provide vaccinations and introduced the first products in our revamped private-brand program into the stores,” he said. “We expect these sales initiatives, along with the continued rollout of our segmentation strategy, to have a significant positive impact on our business long term.”

“Our team continued to improve operational efficiency to help offset the challenging economic and competitive environment impacting sales and margin,” added Mary Sammons, Rite Aid chairman and CEO. “We increased adjusted EBITDA as a percent of sales, [and] at the same time improved customer satisfaction ratings on both the front end and in the pharmacy. Our liquidity position remained strong, which is critically important if the economy continues to be slow to recover.”

Same-store sales for the quarter decreased 1% over the prior year’s 13-week period, consisting of a 1.3% decrease in the front end and a 0.9% decrease in pharmacy. Pharmacy sales included an approximate 138 basis point negative impact from new generic introductions. The number of prescriptions filled in same stores decreased 1.7% over the prior-year period. Prescription sales accounted for 68.3% of total drug store sales and third-party prescription revenue was 96.3% of pharmacy sales.

In the first quarter, the company opened two new stores, relocated eight stores, remodeled one store and closed 15 stores. Stores in operation at the end of the first quarter totaled 4,767.

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New line of cards from American Greetings now feature iTunes download

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND There’s something new and musical in the greeting card aisle.

American Greetings has introduced greeting cards that feature a song download from iTunes, the company announced Tuesday. The complete line includes 36 cards, each with a code redeemable for a song download from iTunes. There also are eight gift card holders that can be used to send any iTunes gift card.

“From our research, we already knew that consumers loved the pairing of music and greeting cards, and we wanted to elevate the overall experience,” said Carol Miller, executive director of new product concepts at American Greetings. “By giving someone a card with a gift that empowers them to choose their own song, you make the connection even more personal and enjoyable, which is what sending a card is all about.”

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Targus develops screen protector for Apple iPad

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A maker of computer cases and accessories unveiled its latest innovation — a screen protector for the Apple iPad.

Targus’ new screen protector is designed to reduce fingerprints and smudges. With the added features of anti-glare treatment and specially formulated adhesive that prevents bubbles and peeling, it is the most comprehensive screen protector for your iPad available on the market, Targus said.

“Using microstructures in a film to resist fingerprints can trap oils and paper fibers over time causing the screen to appear cloudy,” stated Carolyn Perrier, VP accessories product management and marketing at Targus. “The improved Targus screen potector is engineered to not only resist fingerprints and scratches, but also the oils and fibers that can compromise clarity. This feature along with the anti-glare treatment and bubble free, easy to apply adhesive offers the most comprehensive screen protection available for the iPad on the market today.”

Targus screen protector for the Apple iPad is priced at an MSRP of $29.99.

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