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Indictments handed down in pharmacy theft scheme

BY Alaric DeArment

MIAMI Seven men from Florida and North Carolina have been charged in a multimillion-dollar scheme to transport goods stolen from Walgreens, CVS, Target and others in North Carolina, Texas and Ohio to Florida, where it was then repackaged and resold, according to the Miami Herald.

A federal grand jury in Ford Lauderdale, Fla., gave the indictment, which the United States attorney’s office opened last week.

The FBI estimates that retailers lose $30 billion a year to organized retail crime, while a National Retail Federation survey showed that 85 percent of retailers reported being victims over the last year.

Organized retail crime involves stealing large quantities of goods, ranging from over-the-counter medications to DVDs, and then reselling them online or at flea markets. They can pose a risk to consumers because the thieves may mishandle them, alter expiration dates or store them in unsanitary conditions. According to the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime, for example, authorities in Texas confiscated $1 million worth of stolen baby formula that was being stored in rodent-infested garages without temperature controls.

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CVS looks to donate more than 2,500 backpacks to needy schoolchildren

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy hopes to provide school supplies for 2,600 children in need in the Washington area, with the help of the local NBC affiliate.

The drug store chain announced Tuesday that it would sell backpacks filled with more than a dozen school supplies at its stores for $12.99 for customers to donate to the Backpacks 4 Kids program. The supplies are valued at more than $25.

The backpacks and school supplies collected through the program are given to pre-selected schools and non-profit organizations to distribute to children in need. Customers at CVS/pharmacy can also purchase school supplies for donation.

The backpacks are available at CVS/pharmacy stores in Washington and surrounding cities in Virginia and Maryland. Last year, the program donated 2,300 backpacks.

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Sammons’ speech to Rite Aid associates very positive

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE Rite Aid is looking up, Mary Sammons, Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer, told Rite Aid associates last week at the 2008 Rite Aid Management Conference and Supplier Exhibition. “The momentum is with us to have positive comp sales in all of our stores in Q3,” she said, noting that the Brooks/Eckerd assimilation was nearly complete. All systems conversions were completed in May; each of the six distribution centers is online; and Rite Aid’s planograms have been ceded into all former Brooks/Eckerd store fronts.

And to help fuel that momentum going forward, Rite Aid has generated hundreds of thousands of new prescriptions out of its “Fill Up and Fuel Up” program—in shich customers transferring prescriptions receive a $30 Rite Aid gift card and a chance to win a year’s worth of gas.

And to entice even more seniors to shop Rite Aid, the chain is continuing to promote its Living More senior loyalty card program and will introduce a new health and wellness program in September.

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