McKesson employees donate time to assemble 25,000 Comfort Kits for cancer patients
SAN FRANCISCO — As part of McKesson’s 14th annual Community Days, the company’s all-employee volunteer week, an estimated 16,000 McKesson employees from more than 150 sites across the country will come together to create 25,000 Comfort Kits for the McKesson Foundation’s new charity initiative, Giving Comfort, the wholesaler announced Monday.
“Each year millions of people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer, and nearly one quarter of those patients will exhaust all of their savings to cover treatment costs,” stated Carrie Varoquiers, president, McKesson Foundation and VP, corporate citizenship. “McKesson created Giving Comfort because we saw the need to provide comfort to those undergoing chemotherapy treatment. We work with hospitals, care facilities and service organizations across the nation to ensure that the kits get to patients who need it, at a time when they need it the most.”
The kits are provided to low-income patients through various distribution network partners, which include hospital social workers, independent oncologists, patient navigators, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and other service providers. Each Kit is filled with a soft blanket, toiletries, a warm cap, journal and other essential items to help patients as they receive treatment.
The McKesson Foundation is focused on providing funding to cancer research through its Mobilizing for Health grant program. Specifically, through Mobilizing for Health, the Foundation funds research projects focused on mobile phone-based interventions for low-income patients, with a priority interest in early detection and cancer management.
Survey: Chief marketing officers project 3.7% increase in holiday comp sales
CHICAGO — According to a recent BDO USA survey, chief marketing officers at leading U.S. retailers expect a 3.7% increase in holiday comparable store sales, marking the survey’s most optimistic forecast since 2007, when CMOs projected a 5% increase in comparable store sales.
The majority of chief marketing officers (62%) expect consumer electronics will be the strongest selling category in 2012. The continued confidence in consumer electronics sales is likely fueled by similar expectations from 62% of CMOs that the category will see the most discounts and promotions during the holiday season. Price-matching programs at Target and Best Buy suggest that retailers will be battling with both online and brick-and-mortar retailers for these purchases.
“While we haven’t returned to pre-recession levels of optimism, retailers are gearing up for what looks to be a promising holiday season,” stated Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Product Practice at BDO USA. “Still, consumers have more choices than ever, and retailers are looking to avoid showrooming by curating a mix of exclusive and top-selling products to get consumers in their door or on their site.”
Total holiday sales are projected to increase by 4.7%, reflecting slightly more optimism than the 4.1% projection released by the National Retail Federation in October.
Despite the optimism for consumer spending, most CMOs (61%) expect holiday season inventory purchases will stay at about the same levels as last year. CMOs forecast a 1% increase in inventory levels, which is consistent with the projections cited in BDO’s September survey of CFOs. On average, CMOs expect SKUs to increase 1.2% during the holidays, meaning shoppers may see slightly more variety on the shelves this year.
Unemployment has been identified as the greatest threat to those holiday sales lifts, BDO reported, with more than half of CMOs identifying that as a significant concern.
These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The telephone survey was conducted in September and October of 2012.
Walgreens posts 2.1% drop in October sales, signs more than 28 million to Balance Rewards program
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday posted October sales of $6 billion, a drop of 2.1% as compared to October 2011. However, in only six weeks on the market, the chain’s Balance Rewards loyalty program signed more than 28 million customers through Oct. 31.
The results include the brunt of the impact from Hurricane Sandy — at the peak of the storm, approximately 750 of 1,400 stores in the impacted area were closed, Walgreens reported. Nearly all of those locations have since reopened.
Total front-end sales fell 1.5% compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales decreased 2.9% through Oct. 31. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 5.2%, while basket size increased 2.3%.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased by 1.8% in October. Pharmacy sales decreased 2.6%, while comparable store pharmacy sales decreased 7.5%. Total same-store sales were down 5.9%.
Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were nearly 3.6 million versus approximately 4 million last year.
Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.8% of total sales for the month.