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Rite Aid comps increase 1.9% in September

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales increased last month despite being offset by slightly lower front-end same-store sales and new generic drug introductions, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

During the four-week period that ended Saturday, same-store sales increased 1.9% compared with September 2012. The increase included a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps and a 3.1% increase in pharmacy comps, offset by 1% due to new generics. Same-store prescription count increased by 0.9%.

Total sales for the month were $1.935 billion, compared with $1.899 billion last September.

For the year to date, comps decreased by 0.4%, including flat front-end comps and a 0.6% decrease in the pharmacy. Same-store prescription count increased by 0.1%. Total sales for the 30-week period were $14.449 billion, a 0.7% decrease from $14.545 billion during the same period last year.

 

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Walgreens, GoHealth partner on health insurance marketplace resource

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — With an ongoing need for consumer education and awareness to help people understand their health insurance options under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Walgreens and Chicago-based GoHealth on Thursday announced a nationwide initiative and collaboration to assist customers and help provide a resource for those considering the new health insurance marketplaces.   

Walgreens store personnel are directing individual customers who inquire to the GoHealth Marketplace, a resource where they can shop and compare health insurance plans, enroll and find other important tools and information. Consumers can access the GoHealth Marketplace online from www.walgreens.com/healthcarereform or via phone at (855) 487-6969.  

Walgreens also is providing informational brochures and other materials in stores.

“As an accessible, community healthcare provider serving more than 6 million people each day, Walgreens can help connect those customers who may be considering new health insurance options with resources and information,” said Brad Fluegel, Walgreens SVP and chief strategy officer. “Our goal is to help ensure people fully understand the marketplace, and working with GoHealth to provide personalized consultation from experts who can help them make informed decisions.”

Customers receive one-on-one support from licensed GoHealth advisors who can help guide them through the selection and enrollment process (over the phone or online). The GoHealth Marketplace offers all plans available on the federal and state marketplaces and can assist individuals regardless of income level or subsidy eligibility. 

“A partnership with Walgreens gives us an opportunity to reach a population that needs our help,” noted Clint Jones, CEO of GoHealth. “Educating and enabling consumers to enroll is core to our mission of helping individuals and families obtain the right health insurance coverage for their unique needs.”

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 51% of Americans say they don’t understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them or their family. Public confusion is especially prominent among the uninsured, as 62% say they don’t have enough information about the health law.

“We know people will have a lot of questions and many may feel overwhelmed,” Fluegel said. “This collaboration furthers our ongoing efforts to help those who may be entering the marketplace to be better prepared and make informed choices. GoHealth is an ideal partner for this program, and together we look forward to creating a seamless experience that simplifies the process and provides the information and support people need to get, stay and live well.” 

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Raley’s, Aisle50 partner in loyalty-technology program

BY Alaric DeArment

SACRAMENTO — Supermarket chain Raley’s is partnering with a web portal that offers discounts to members of the chain’s loyalty card program.

Aisle50 announced the partnership with the California-based chain, which will offer it at all its 120 Raley’s Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods locations. Aisle50 works by allowing customers to purchase items online and then pick them up in the store, receiving discounts using their loyalty cards.

"Being a keystone in the northern California market, one of the country’s most tech-savvy, Raley’s is looking to find the best technology and partners to enhance our customers’ lives," Raley’s director of CRM marketing and analytics Tom Hutchison said. "The content from Aisle50 and its direct tie into our rewards program will give Raley’s a unique offering within our markets for a set of consumers that demands it."

Aisle50 also has partnerships with North Carolina-based Lowes Foods, Pennsylvania-based Shop ‘n Save, New York-based D’Agostino and Oklahoma-based Homeland Stores.

"Our technology gives brands a way to convert consumers before they head to the store while also driving more trips and bigger baskets to our retailer partners," Aisle50 cofounder Christopher Steiner said. "We’re excited to get into California and in front of the great set of consumers that Raley’s serves."

 

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