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Rite Aid comps decrease amid earlier Easter, new generics

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales decreased 4% in April compared with April 2012 due to an earlier Easter and introductions of new generic drugs, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The numbers released Thursday included a 3.5% decrease in sales on the front end and a 4.2% decrease in pharmacy sales, but the pharmacy figure included a 4.54% negative effect due to new generics. Same-store prescription count decreased by 0.2%.

Total sales for the month were $1.902 billion, a 4.6% decrease over April 2012’s $1.993 billion.

Same-store sales for the eight-week period that ended Saturday decreased by 3%, including a 0.1% increase in front-end same-store sales and a 4.4% decrease in pharmacy same-store sales. Same-store prescription count increased by 0.1%.

Total store sales for that period were $3.841 billion, a 3.5% decrease over the same period last year, when sales were $3.982 billion.

 

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Jones Soda launches natural line in California market

BY Jason Owen

SEATTLE — Jones Soda Co., a beverage company known for its colorful sodas and customer-designed packaging, announced the launch of Natural Jones Soda.

The Natural Jones Soda product line is sweetened with a proprietary blend of natural sweeteners including pure cane sugar, organic agave syrup and stevia. Each 12-ounce glass bottle contains 30 calories, five grams of fiber and five grams of sugar and comes in four fruit flavors: Green Apple, Orange Mango, Cherry and Lemon Lime.

“Given growing demand for more healthful beverage options, we wanted to challenge ourselves to deliver an all-natural soda with less sugar and fewer calories than any other product available,” said Jennifer Cue, CEO, Jones Soda. “We are innovators and we listen to our consumers with whom we have a close, almost personal relationship. When they raised concerns to us about the use of high fructose corn syrup in our industry, we answered that call by being the first nationally distributed brand to completely reformulate our products with pure cane sugar. And now, as tastes and trends evolve, we are continuing to listen to our consumers by creating Natural Jones Soda, a new class of great tasting, lightly sweetened soda with no preservatives and no artificial colors.”

Initially, Natural Jones Soda will only be available in California, a market chosen specifically due its progressive and health-conscious demographic, the company noted. Natural Jones Soda will be sold in select Whole Foods stores in Northern California as well as most Albertsons stores in Southern California. Natural Jones Soda will be sold as a four-pack or as individual bottles. The average retail price for a four-pack is $5.49.


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Justice Department appeals district court ruling removing emergency contraceptive sales restrictions

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department late Wednesday reported it will appeal a recent judicial decision that would require removing any age restriction from the purchase of the Plan B emergency contraceptive, according to a report published in USA Today. The decision comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration approved Plan B One Step in females as young as 15 years old and removed merchandising restrictions that mandated the emergency contraceptive be sold from behind the pharmacy counter. 

The appeal and the subsequent request for an injunction does not have any bearing on the FDA decision, USA Today reported. 

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch appealed to the Second Circuit Court to suspend the April 5 district court ruling. District Judge Edward Korman of New York had given FDA until May 5 to lift all age and merchandising restrictions from the sale of Plan B. 


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