Senior advocacy group publicly requests ESI to settle Walgreens dispute
WASHINGTON — RetireSafe, a 400,000-supporter strong grassroots organization that advocates and educates on behalf of America’s seniors on issues regarding Social Security, Medicare, health and financial well-being, on Friday issued a press release urging Express Scripts to return to the negotiating table and come to an agreement with Walgreens.
"Walgreens is a valued community partner upon which seniors and their families rely," stated Thair Phillips, RetireSafe president. "As a representative of these Americans in communities across the country, we urge Express Scripts to put the health and safety of retired Americans first and to return swiftly to contract negotiations with Walgreens," he said. "The loss of these services is already proving to be detrimental to the health and safety of retired Americans."
In a letter to Express Scripts, the organization expressed the impact of Express Scripts’ decision not to cover prescriptions filled at Walgreens on its members.
"We are well aware that Walgreens provides services well beyond simply filling prescriptions. In fact, they offer 24-hour access, immunizations, walk-in healthcare centers and medication management programs," the letter stated. "Denying retired Americans access to these services is much more than a business decision — it is one that will directly affect the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of seniors. By denying access to these services, Express Scripts also assaults Americans’ ability to retire safely by chipping at health security, which is one of retirement’s major cornerstones."
RetireSafe is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots senior advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Oh, Canada! Target unveils first stores up north
MINNEAPOLIS — Target revealed Thursday the locations of the first 24 Canadian stores.
Target said the stores will open in March/early April 2013 and will be located in Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto, among others. Additional locations will be announced in the coming months.
As previously reported, Target purchased the leasehold interests of 189 sites currently operated by Zellers, and is slated to open 125 to 135 stores in Canada, the majority of which will open in 2013. Approximately $10 million to $11 million will be invested to remodel each facility, the retailer said.
“We are excited to announce the location of these first 24 Target stores in Ontario,” Target Canada president Tony Fisher said. “In addition to providing Canadian guests with an exceptional shopping experience, Target looks forward to continuing our strong reputation of being a good neighbor in the Canadian communities in which we will do business.”
Family Dollar seeks gold in California
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Momentum remains on the side of Family Dollar, as the company late Thursday reported another quarter of record sales and profits and the opening of 101 units, which included its first stores in California.
Family Dollar said earnings per share increased 17.2% to 68 cents, a penny better than analysts’ forecast, compared with 58 cents the prior-year first quarter, and same-store sales increased 4.1% on top of a prior-year gain of 6.9%. First-quarter sales increased 7.6% to a little more than $2.1 billion, and net income grew 8.1% to $80.4 million. The gross margin rate declined to 35.3% from 36%, thanks largely to ongoing strong sales in consumables categories. However, overall profitability didn’t suffer as Family Dollar’s lower gross margins were more than offset by a an even larger decline in expenses with selling, general and administrative costs dropping to 29% of sales, compared with 29.9% the prior year.
Family Dollar ended the quarter with roughly 7,100 stores and the potential to open many more, as its first units in California opened during the period. During the remainder of this year the company plans to open between 450 and 500 new stores while closing 80 to 100 stores and spending $550 million to $600 million to do so. In addition, the company renovated, relocated or expanded 262 stores in the quarter and built its 10th distribution center.
“We have tremendous opportunity to expand our market share further and improve our store productivity, and I am confident that our investments to better meet the needs of our customers will continue to position us to deliver strong financial returns for our shareholders,” said Howard Levine, Family Dollar’s chairman and CEO.
More immediately, the company’s outlook for the second quarter calls for a same-store sales increase around 5% and earnings per share in the range of $1.10 to $1.18, compared with 98 cents last year. For the full year, profits are expected in a range from $3.50 to $3.75, compared with $3.12 last year.