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Longs posts increase in year-on-year sales

BY Drew Buono

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. Longs Drugs has released its reported preliminary total retail drug store sales for the four-week and seventeen-week periods ended May 29, 2008.

The company reported preliminary sales of $374 million for the four-week period, up 0.2 percent from the year-ago period. For the 17-week period, total sales reached $1.6 billion, up 2.3 percent from a year ago.

Longs estimated that preliminary May pharmacy same-store sales fell by 2.6 percent in May, as a result of recent generic introductions being substituted for higher-priced brand name drugs. In addition, a reduction in cold, flu, and allergy prescriptions, primarily due to the impact of the switch of the prescription allergy medicine Zyrtec to over-the-counter status furthered the decrease.

The company also estimated that preliminary May same-store sales, which include non-pharmacy items, fell 1.4 percent in the four weeks ended May 29.

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Hallmark announces layoff of 335 workers

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Hallmark Cards will lay off 335 workers in the U.S. and Canada between now and March 2009, the company announced Wednesday.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company is consolidating its greeting-card manufacturing, though will keep other areas of the business intact. It has already laid off 195 workers at its manufacturing plant in Toronto. It will gradually lay off 80 more workers from its plant in Siloam Springs, Ark., and 60 workers at its plant in Bloomington, Ind., starting later this year.

It will then move equipment to plants in Topeka and Lawrence, Kan., and also outsource some manufacturing to Asia and Mexico.

The company experienced high growth rates and $4.4 billion in revenue worldwide in 2007.

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Wal-Mart May sales up 9.8 percent

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported that total company sales for May increased 9.8 percent to $31 billion from $28 billion for the same period last year. Total U.S. comparable-store sales for the month (excluding fuel) increased 3.9 percent.

Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer said the company estimated June U.S. comps (excluding fuel) to increase between 2 percent and 4 percent. “This guidance represents both the underlying strength of our existing U.S. businesses and the potential benefit from the stimulus checks.”

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