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Rite Aid comps increase 1.1% in August

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales got another boost in August, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The 4,604-store chain reported a 1.1% increase in same-store sales for the five-week period that ended Aug. 31, including a 1.7% decrease in front-end comps and a 2.5% increase in pharmacy comps, which included a 1.6% negative effect from the introduction of new generic drugs. Same-store prescription count decreased by 0.2%.

Total sales for the month were $2.425 billion, a 1.1% increase over $2.399 billion last year.

For the 13 weeks that ended Aug. 31, same-store sales increased by 1%, including a 0.3% decrease in front-end comps and a 1.7% increase in pharmacy comps. Total sales for the period were $6.25 billion, a 0.7% increase over $6.205 billion during the same period last year.

For the year to date, comps decreased by 0.8%, including flat front-end comps and a 1.1% decrease in pharmacy comps, as well as a 0.1% decrease in same-store prescription count. Total-store sales during the same period were $12.514 billion, a 1% decrease compared with $12.646 billion during the same period last year.


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Walgreens realizes 4.8% same-store sales gain in August

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday posted August sales of $6.2 billion, an increase of 5.6%. Sales in comparable stores increased by 4.8% in August. 

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.6% in August and increased 7.4% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. This year’s August had one additional Saturday and one fewer Wednesday compared with August 2012. These calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 180 basis points.  

August pharmacy sales increased by 6.4%, while comparable store pharmacy sales also increased 6.4% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 8.2%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 130 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. 

Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.3% of total sales for the month.

Total front-end sales increased 3.9% compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2.2%. "While promotions seem to be on the rise in an attempt to drive traffic, led by Walgreens, overall sales growth is still likely to be somewhat challenged by the weak consumer, competitive pressures … and the negative impact more aggressive pricing has on basket," remarked Credit Suisse analyst Ed Kelly in a note published last week. 

Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 1.5% while basket size increased 3.7%. 

Registrations for Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program, which launched in September 2012, totaled more than 83 million through August. 

Total sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, which ended Aug. 31, were $18 billion, up 5.1%. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 increased 4.5% with front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increasing 1.7%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 6.8% in the fourth quarter and comparable pharmacy sales increased 6.2%.

Year-to-date sales totaled $48.2 billion, an increase of 3.7%. Total sales for fiscal 2013 were $72.2 billion, up 0.8%.

Walgreens opened 14 stores during August, including two relocations.


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Pre-Seed calls for customer testimonials from couples trying to conceive

BY Michael Johnsen

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Pre-Seed wants to hear from "trying-to-conceive" couples that used its fertility-friendly lubricant, Lil’ Drug Store Products announced Tuesday. 

“So many couples have been trying to have a baby for months, then they search internet blogs and forums for tips on getting pregnant,” stated Doug Marquardt, Pre-Seed’s director of marketing. “That’s when many couples first hear about Pre-Seed from other TTC couples and discover that it really does make a difference.”

In return for written testimonials, photos or pregnancy announcements, Pre-Seed will send mothers a congratulatory Due in a Few pregnancy pin, a symbol of motherhood that combines a baby bow with a drop-down heart signifying a mother’s love. The pin is available in pink for girl, blue for boy and white for "it’s a surprise." “Due in a Few” supports the March of Dimes and its programs to help babies begin healthy lives.

According to the company, an estimated 11 million American couples are trying to have a baby each day. 


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