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Rite Aid expected to make biggest recovery in 2011

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Rite Aid stock is expected to make the biggest stock-price recovery in 2011, according to a poll of TheStreet readers.

According to the poll, published Thursday morning on TheStreet.com, 28.2% of voters believe the drug store will experience the largest rally of the most depressed stocks of 2010. This in spite of the fact that Rite Aid earlier this week restated year-end projections following an underperforming quarter.

In its third quarter, Rite Aid reported a loss of $79.1 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a loss of $83.9 million, or 10 cents, in the same period last year.

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J.WILSON says:
Apr-14-2011 01:35 pm

We're rooting for RAD to make their recovery, just how do they plan to retire the crushing $6bil debt? That seems to be the biggest challenge they face. Any comments????

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ComScore reports 12% increase in holiday retail e-commerce spending

BY Michael Johnsen

RESTON, Va. — ComScore on Wednesday tabulated $28.4 billion in holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 49 days of the November/December 2010 holiday season. That marks a 12% increase versus the year-ago period.

The most recent week (ended Dec. 19) reached $5.5 billion in spending, an increase of 14% versus the corresponding week last year. The final shopping weekend before Christmas reached $900 million in retail e-commerce spending, representing a strong 17% growth rate versus last year.

"Spending growth has remained strong right through the final shopping weekend of the holiday season," stated ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "The growth rate of 17% witnessed during the final weekend capped off the heaviest online spending week of all time at $5.5 billion,” he noted. “Although there are still nearly two weeks remaining before the end of the year, holiday spending is inching very close to the total for the entire 2009 holiday season, a sign of just how much the online retail landscape has improved in the past year."

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Pa. supermarkets receive lump of coal for the holidays as wine kiosks go off-line

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board just delivered a rather large lump of coal to those 30-some-odd supermarkets carrying these wine kiosks, especially as retail wine sales for 2010 appear to be on a significant upswing since Thanksgiving.

(THE NEWS: Pa. supermarket wine kiosks taken off-line. For the full story, click here)

The kiosks always had been considered a token gesture to color the PLCB as a more “consumer-friendly” monopoly. But times they are a-changin’.

Because this may be the last holiday season the PLCB can monopolize wine sales in the Keystone State, where the only place a Pennsylvanian can purchase a bottle of holiday wine, if not at one of those kiosks, is at a state-run wine and liquor store.

The state is considering privatizing its state-run liquor monopoly in an attempt to address its own fiscal woes, and governor-elect Tom Corbett is rumored to be heavily in favor of such a change. According to published reports, Pennsylvania could bring in nearly $2 billion by privatizing wine and liquor sales.

And that kind of privatization couldn’t be coming at a better time, at least for those companies that would consider owning and operating a Pennsylvania wine and liquor shop. Off-premises sales of domestic table wine through Nov. 28 rose 6% above the same four-week period last year, and continued on a trajectory to finish 2010 higher than any year since 2006, reported Wines and Vines, a business publication that tracks the wine industry. Citing SymphonyIRI Group data, sales in the four weeks totaled $395 million across chain food and drug stores, Wines and Vines reported.

On an entirely separate note, that pickup in wine sales, and a more significant jump in sales of $20-plus bottles, could be a telltale sign that the economy is on the mend.

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