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Jean Coutu posts Q1 revenue increase

BY Michael Johnsen

LONGUEUIL, Quebec The Jean Coutu Group on Tuesday posted revenues of US$563.6 million for the first quarter fiscal 2009 ended May 31, representing an increase of 4.7 percent. The Canadian pharmacy operator recorded a loss of US$19.8 million for the period. However, the company’s Canadian franchise network retail same-store sales were up 4.2 percent, with pharmacy same-store sales gaining 6.6 percent and front-end comparable sales increasing 0.3 percent. Total sales were up 5.1 percent.

“Our first-quarter Canadian network performance was satisfactory given current market conditions,” stated Francois Coutu, Jean Coutu president and chief executive officer. “We pursued our growth objective and continued to invest in the PJC drugstore network, completing several store openings, acquisitions and other projects. The company is well on its way to achieving significant growth in network selling square footage in fiscal 2009.”

Jean Coutu’s share of Rite Aid’s results amounted to a loss of $52.4 million, the company reported, accounting for its 29.8 percent equity interest in Rite Aid as of May 31.

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Paperless coupons growing in popularity

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO Almost 3,000 grocery stores in the United States could offer paperless coupons by the end of the year, according to a Chicago-based company that offers the service to retailers.

Unicous Marketing announced Tuesday that it foresees 2,800 stores using its EZ-PIC paperless, in-store coupons by the end of 2008. More than 1,000 already do, including BI-LO, Big Y, Food City and Kings.

Stores can advertise EZ-PIC coupons on their shelves and consumers then electronically redeem them in the check-out line.

“As retailers and manufacturers understand the effectiveness of EZ-PIC, our store base and product selection continues to grow,” said John Thompson, Unicous’ vice president of operations.

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Zigerelli to join Duckwall-ALCO as presdient and ceo

BY Antoinette Alexander

ABILENE, Kan. Duckwall-ALCO Stores, a regional retailer that operates 250 stores across 22 states, has tapped former CVS executive Larry Zigerelli as president and chief executive officer.

Zigerelli had served as president of Meijer for seven months before resigning in late 2005. He had joined Meijer in 2002 as senior vice president of marketing and advertising after about three years at CVS Corp. and 18 years at Proctor & Gamble. While at CVS, Zigerelli headed up merchandising.

In addition to assuming his new role at Duckwall-ALCO, Zigerelli made an investment in a private placement of 10,000 company shares at the July 1, 2008 closing price. The company has granted Zigerelli options to purchase 110,000 shares of common stock at the July 1 closing price, including options under the company’s 2003 Incentive Stock Option Plan to purchase 100,000 shares, which is the maximum number of options that may be granted to an individual under the plan in any calendar year. The balance of 10,000 options was granted to Zigerelli outside of the plan.

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