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Hurricane Irene, inflation to drive August comps

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — By the time sales figures for August are tallied, last week’s Hurricane Irene may have flooded more than the East Coast seaboard; she may have flooded pharmacy registers, too.

"Inflation and Irene likely drove strong front-end comps in August," Credit Suisse equity analyst Edward Kelly wrote in a note published Monday. "Our most recent monthly Nielsen Trend Tracker for the four-week period ended Aug. 6 … shows that industry sales remain strong, driven by accelerating price inflation as drug stores pass through vendor price increases and positive volume growth," he suggested. "East Coast drug stores also likely experienced heavy traffic in preparation for Hurricane Irene."

According to Credit Suisse estimates, any sales push driven by hurricane preparation would benefit Rite Aid the most with an estimated 35% of its store base in those areas impacted by Hurricane Irene, followed by CVS (25%) and Walgreens (15%).

Credit Suisse projected Rite Aid June front-end same-store sales to be up as much as 3.5% and Walgreens up 5%. Rite Aid and Walgreens report August sales on Sept. 1 and Sept. 6, respectively.

 

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OPI, Serena Williams launch Glam Slam! U.S. nail lacquers

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOS ANGELES — Tennis champion Serena Williams joined OPI co-founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann at a New York City event on Aug. 25 to officially launch the final series of nail lacquers in her Glam Slam! by OPI promotion, which kicked off earlier this year.

The colors included in the Glam Slam! U.S. limited-edition duo-pack are a shimmering red named Love is a Racket and a glittering bronze titled Pros & Bronze.

"It has been so wonderful to work with Serena. She has a fierce passion for nails and knows how to make a fashion statement both on and off the court," stated Weiss-Fischmann. "Serena helped us to create tones that exemplify her personality and style. Packed with shimmer and highly pigmented, all 11 shades, including three Shatter hues, have been hugely successful."

The Glam Slam! promotion kicked off in January, with the global premiere of OPI’s Black Shatter coat. New shades have been launched throughout the year in conjunction with Grand Slam tournament dates, beginning with Glam Slam! Australia and followed by France, England and now the United States. During a guest appearance on “Oprah” in late 2010, Williams revealed her love for nails and unofficially announced her partnership with OPI, with each audience member receiving an OPI manicure to showcase on-screen.

Glam Slam! lacquers currently are available at professional salons nationwide.

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Pfizer, BMS drug more effective than warfarin in AF patients

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A drug made by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb undergoing late-stage clinical trials was more effective than the generic drug warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to study results released Sunday.

The phase-3 "ARISTOTLE" trial of Eliquis (apixaban) showed that the drug reduced the risk of stroke and systemic embolism by 21%, major bleeding by 31% and death by 11% in AF patients. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted at 1,034 centers in 39 countries and enrolled 18,201 patients.

"The risk for stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation is a major public health concern in an aging population," Duke University Medical Center professor of medicine and lead study investigator Christopher Granger said. "We are therefore encouraged by the outcome of the ARISTOTLE trial, which showed that apixaban, as compared with warfarin, significantly reduced the risk of stroke or systemic embolism, major bleeding and mortality."

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