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Rite Aid comps grow 0.5% in July

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a 0.5% increase in same-store sales for July, including a 1.2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.5%.

Total drug store sales for the month decreased 0.1% to nearly $1.9 billion, compared with July 2011.

Same-store sales for the 21-week period ended July 28 increased 1.5%, including a 2% increase in front-end comps and a 1.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2%. Total drug store sales for the 21-week period increased 0.8%, to about $10.25 billion, compared with about $10.2 billion during the same period in 2011.

The growth in front-end comps beat analyst expectations; Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel had predicted 0.5% growth.

Heinbockel also called concerns that Walgreens would recapture much of its lost business following its settlement with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts "overdone" and also called pharmacy "the best of both worlds, from a profit perspective."

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Safeway encourages customers to support MDA’s ‘Make a Muscle, Make a Difference’ program

BY Allison Cerra

TUCSON, Ariz., and PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway has commenced its annual fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Running through Sept. 3, the nationwide campaign gives customers the opportunity to contribute funds to MDA’s "Make a Muscle, Make a Difference" program. Along with Safeway, Vons, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Dominick’s and Carrs stores also will participate. Through its longstanding partnership, Safeway has raised more than $68.7 million for the MDA.

"We are honored to be partners with MDA and support its life-saving research," said Larree Renda, Safeway EVP and chair of the Safeway Foundation. "Our customers’ contributions have helped many people with muscle disease who today, are living longer, stronger and healthier lives."

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Wisk Deep Clean taps Rulon Gardner as ‘sweat ambassador’

BY Allison Cerra

WILTON, Conn. — Wisk Deep Clean has tapped its first-ever "sweat ambassador," the laundry brand said.

Rulon Gardner, a U.S. gold and bronze medal Greco-Roman wrestler and NBC television analyst, will allow share his wisdom and philosophy of years both on and off the wrestling mat, from winning a match to removing body oils and sweat from his clothes, Wisk said.

"We are pleased to appoint Rulon our first official sweat ambassador. His desire and drive for top performance on and off the mat make him a perfect fit for Wisk Deep Clean," said Lora Van Velsor, director of marketing at Wisk. "We are also proud to be the brand of choice for many years for his mother, Virginia, who raised Rulon and his eight brothers and sisters on a farm and has done endless loads of laundry."

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