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Rite Aid sees rise in May same-store sales, updates 2015 fiscal year outlook

BY Antoinette Alexander

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid announced on Thursday a 3.5% boost in same-store sales for May, provided preliminary estimated financial results for the quarter ended May 31 and updated its outlook for 2015 fiscal year.

For the five weeks ended May 31, same-store sales increased 3.5% over the prior-year period. May front-end same store sales increased 0.5%. Pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 156 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 5.0%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2% over the prior-year period.

Total drug store sales for the five-week period increased 2.5% to $2.48 billion compared with $2.42 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales accounted for 68.0% of drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.4% of pharmacy sales.

Same-store sales for the 13-week period ended May 31 increased 3.1% over the prior-year period. Front-end same-store sales were flat compared with the prior-year period while pharmacy same-store sales increased 4.6%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 2.3% over the prior-year period.

Total drug store sales for the 13 weeks ended May 31 increased 2.6% with sales of $6.43 billion compared with $6.26 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales represented 68.4% of total drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.4% of pharmacy sales.

Although results for the quarter ended May 31 will not be released until June 19, the company expects adjusted EBITDA for the quarter to be between $275 million and $285 million, net income to be between $35 million and $45 million and income per diluted share to be 4 cents. Based on pharmacy margin trends, particularly in May, the company expects its results for adjusted EBITDA to trail the results for the previous year’s first quarter due primarily to higher-than-expected drug costs resulting from a delay in realizing the level of expected generic purchase price reductions and a greater-than-expected reduction in reimbursement rates.

Based on the expected results for the quarter ended May 31 and the generic purchase price reductions that are expected for the remainder of the year, the company is updating its fiscal 2015 guidance for adjusted EBITDA, net income and income per diluted share. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $1.28 billion and $1.35 billion. Net income for fiscal 2015 is expected to be between $298 million and $408 million or income per diluted share of 30 cents to 40 cents. In April, it had forecast earnings of $313 million to $423 million, or 31 cents to 42 cents per share. The company’s guidance for sales, same-store sales increases and capital expenditures remain unchanged.

 

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Walmart to roll out Savings Catcher nationwide

BY Antoinette Alexander

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Following a pilot in the spring, Walmart has announced plans to roll out its Savings Catcher, a receipt-comparison tool, nationwide later this summer.

Savings Catcher looks at other retailers’ ads and gives customers an eGift card for the difference if a competitor’s offering is lower than the price they paid at Walmart. The tool is designed to give shoppers added confidence when they shop by eliminating the need to visit multiple stores to find low prices.

At launch, Savings Catcher will compare approximately 80,000 grocery and consumables purchases. In the coming months, produce and general merchandise will also be added to the tool.

“Our customers are savvier than ever when it comes to finding the best deals — they are using technology to do their research and spending hours clipping coupons. We knew there had to be an easier way,” stated Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Walmart U.S. “Savings Catcher offers customers yet another reason to trust us when it comes to helping them save. It brings greater price transparency to the market and gives our customers confidence that they are finding some of the best deals available in retail.”

Originally available only on Walmart.com, Savings Catcher will, now, be available on Walmart’s mobile app and compares advertised prices from retailers such as Aldi, Harris-Teeter, Target, Walgreens and HEB.

How it works:

  • Go to Walmart.com/SavingsCatcher, or the Walmart app;
  • Enter the receipt number located near the bottom of a Walmart receipt;
  • Enter the date of the shopping trip;
  • Savings Catcher looks at the eligible items purchased at Walmart and then compares the price paid to the advertised prices in the weekly print ads of major local retailers;
  • If Savings Catcher finds an advertised price that is lower than what was paid for the same exact item at Walmart, customers will receive a Walmart eGift Card for the difference.

Nearly one million receipts have been processed using Savings Catcher since Walmart launched its pilot in seven markets this spring. The tool ranks first on the retailer’s list of concepts tested to date.

In the near future, Walmart plans to also offer customers eReceipts and the option to instantly load each of their purchases into the tool automatically finding the lowest price available in their area. Savings Catcher and eReceipts will work together and lead to further innovations like eCoupons and automated shopping lists, the retailer stated.

“We are going to win by integrating digital and physical. Savings Catcher and its expanding capabilities are just one example of that. We are well-positioned to innovate and lead in the tech space, and you’ll see more of this,” added Mac Naughton.

 

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Costco’s same-store sales up 6% in May

BY Antoinette Alexander

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco reported on Thursday net sales of $8.78 billion for the month of May, an increase of 8% from $8.13 billion during the similar four-week period last year.

In the United States, same-store sales increased 6%. Total company same-store sales also increased 6%.

For the 39 weeks ended June 1, the company reported net sales of $81.99 billion, an increase of 6% from $77.13 billion during the similar period last year.
 

 

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