BEAUTY CARE

Drug channel November front-end sales will be comparable to last year

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — November front-end drug store sales are expected to be comparable to last year while prescriptions dispensed will be up in the low single-digit range, similar to October, reported Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse research analyst, in a note published Friday. 
 
"The front-end promotional and overall competitive environment was likely little changed in November, as staples retailers remain focused on value to drive traffic," he wrote. "Overall we believe volume trends continue to be impacted by the drug stores’ relatively high pricing and lack of product differentiation against an intense competitive environment."
 
Citing IMS Health, Kelly reported that the average script growth through the first two weeks of November was up 2.8%. Flu activity is comparable to last year, though the continued growth of flu shots at retail may provide a slight lift in comparable store sales, he said. 
 
Kelly projects that both Rite Aid and Walgreens — two chains that will report their November sales later this week — will realize total same-store sales increases of around 4%. 
 

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Mobile devices generated one-third of all online Black Friday sales

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — One-third of all Black Friday online revenue came from shoppers on mobile devices, up 48% over last year, reported Branding Brand on Saturday. As many as 90% of those shoppers were on Apple devices. 
 
According to Branding Brand's sample of 35 North American retailers running on its commerce platform, mobile devices (smartphone and tablets combined) produced a total of 2.2 million visits, 47,762 orders and $5.5 million in revenue on Black Friday. 
 
In addition, mobile devices generated 57% of all online visits, with 40% of shoppers using smartphones and 17% tablets. 
 
Compared to 2013, Branding Brand's Mobile Commerce Index found that the mobile market share of all online visits increased 24%; the mobile market share of all online orders increased 30%; and the mobile market share of all online revenue increased 48%.
 
Mobile shopping visits peaked at 10 a.m. EST, while mobile revenue surged at 11 a.m. EST. Louisiana, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa and South Dakota were the highest-converting states in the United States.
 

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Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales down slightly by 0.5%, ShopperTrak reports

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — ShopperTrak on Saturday reported that sales at brick-and-mortar retailers were relatively flat as compared to last year, down 0.5% over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday from the $12.4 billion tracked in 2013.
 
"We've seen an increase in Thanksgiving shopping over the past few years at the expense of Black Friday," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "More stores are opening, and earlier, which has caused a shift in shopping patterns. While Thanksgiving store visits increased 27.3%, Black Friday was down about 5.6%."
 
Martin noted that the two-day sales spree is not necessarily a good predictor of the rest of the holiday spending season. "In 2013, the Black Friday weekend produced a 1% gain, underperforming the 3.1% gain for the entire season," he said. 
 

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