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Rite Aid’s comps grow in July

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales increased by 1.9% in July, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

During the four-week period ended July 23, comp sales jumped 3.1% on the front end and 1.4% in the pharmacy, including a 151 basis point reduction resulting from introduction of new generic drugs. Prescription counts decreased by 0.4%. Total sales during the four-week period were about $1.92 billion, a 1.6% increase over July 2010.

For the year so far, comp sales increased 1.2% over the first 21 weeks of 2010, including a 0.9% increase on the front end and a 1.3% increase in the pharmacy. Total sales were $10.21 billion, a 0.5% increase over the same period in 2010, when sales were $10.2 billion. As of July 23, the company operated 4,702 stores.

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Start with Sharpie shows off new products, packaging, website

BY Allison Cerra

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Sharpie has put its brand in the spotlight with its Start with Sharpie back-to-school campaign, a multichannel effort that includes a new product lineup and website makeover.

As part of its campaign, Sharpie will debut print and digital ads and an upcoming YouTube platform. Additionally, Sharpie will run interactive digital display and video ads on other websites, including Alloy, AOL, MTV and Hulu.

For its packaging, which has undergone the first major redesign in more than a decade, Sharpie said that its new look shifts away from a mostly black to white color footprint, a larger and angled Sharpie logo and more.

On the new product front, Sharpie is slated to roll out three all-new marquee products as part of the Start with Sharpie campaign:

  • Gel Highlighter: This year’s back-to-school must-have features gel stick technology that prevents smearing, bleed-through and drying out — and makes highlighting fun with its smooth gel formulation;

  • Stained by Sharpie: A bold, colorful line of Sharpie markers specifically developed for performance on most fabric surfaces; and

  • Sharpie 80’s Glam: Vibrant, limited-edition permanent markers perfect for creating hip, colorful masterpieces. The collection turns back time with five new colors, chosen by Sharpie’s Facebook fans, including Argyle Green, Leg Warmer Orange, Jellie Pink, Banana Clip Yellow and Valley Girl Violet.

Sharpie also is adding new color selections to such other brand favorites as the Sharpie Mini (magenta, Valley Girl Violet, turquoise), Sharpie Pen fine tip (turquoise, coral, clover, hot pink) and Sharpie Liquid Pencil (new barrel colors include turquoise, orange, lime and purple). Currently, the Sharpie family includes 34 varieties, nine tip sizes and up to 30 assorted colors.

Another part of Sharpie’s back-to-school campaign is a redesigned, socially optimized website. Sharpie.com now features a new more user-friendly community experience where fans can create their own unique profile, upload and share their Sharpie projects, easily navigate the full product portfolio via an interactive color wheel, view how-to videos and Sharpie fan galleries, and engage with Sharpie on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Sharpie blog.

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O-I expands relationship with Nestlé Waters

BY Allison Cerra

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois announced its acquisition of a single-furnace glass container plant in France.

O-I, which announced its intent to acquire the VDL Co. plant in Vergeze, France, last November, said that purchasing the plant was the result of the company’s strategic relationship with Nestlé Waters — the plant is located near Nestlé Waters’ Perrier bottling facility, and has a longstanding supply relationship with Nestlé Waters.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, O-I will become the leading supplier of glass bottles for the Perrier brand, as well as Nestlé Waters’ other water brands worldwide.

"As a result of this deeper strategic relationship with Nestlé Waters, O-I has the opportunity to support some of the preeminent brands in the water segment and reinforce glass’ position in this important category," O-I Europe president Jose Lorente said.

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