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RAD’s latest initiative may help drive growth

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The program to offer certain generic drugs virtually for free to Medicare Part D beneficiaries is one of Rite Aid’s many new ways to attract more customers and thus grow its sales and profits, especially in the pharmacy.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid partners with Envision Insurance Co. to offer Medicare Part D Rx drug plan. For the full story, click here)

So far, the retailer’s plethora of new programs appears to be working. On Thursday, the company announced that its comps for October had increased by 2.9%, while total sales increased by 2.8% to nearly $2 billion. Much of the increase in same-store sales was in the pharmacy, which saw a 3.6% increase, including a 160-basis point offset resulting from new generic drug introductions; front-end comps were up 1.3%.

Analyst John Heinbockel of financial services firm Guggenheim Partners said Thursday that the combination of the generic wave and the comp boost from the Wellness+ loyalty card program and store remodels would drive accelerated growth in late 2011 and early 2012 in EBITDA.

For that reason, generic drugs offered for no deductible or co-pay present an effective means of bringing customers up to the pharmacy counter and getting them to shop in the front end as well.

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Third, fourth volumes of ‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ debut on DVD

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Two volumes of an animated series based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers has arrived on Disney DVD.

Walt Disney Studios has launched "The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Vo1. 3: Iron Man Unleashed" and "The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Vo1. 4: Thor’s Last Stand" on DVD. In each episode, the Avengers defend Earth from such threats as dangerous super villains, time-travelling conquerors, alien invaders and mythical beasts.

Both volumes are available on single-disc DVDs for a suggested retail price of $19.99 each.

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‘Winnie the Pooh’ arrives on Blu-ray, DVD

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — An all-new animated feature film starring the beloved characters of Hundred Acre Wood has arrived on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and digital download.

“Winnie the Pooh” brings back to life the charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes and characters, including Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore, Walt Disney Studios said. Additionally, the Blu-ray combo pack features exclusive animated shorts, a sing-along viewing option, an informative behind-the-scenes featurette and deleted scenes with director commentary.

"Winnie the Pooh" will be available in the following formats:

  • Three-disc Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy) for the suggested retail price of $44.99;

  • Two-disc Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray and DVD) for the suggested retail price of $39.99;

  • Single-disc DVD for the suggested retail price of $29.99;

  • High-definition digital DVD for the suggested retail price of $39.99; and

  • Standard-definition digital DVD for the suggested retail price of $29.99.

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