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Survey: Retail clinic visits on the rise among U.S. adults

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The number of adults who are familiar with retail clinics and have used them has increased in recent years, according to a recent study by Kalorama Information, a publisher of healthcare market research.

The online survey was conducted among 2,000 U.S. adults and found that 21.3% of those surveyed have visited a retail clinic. The survey result is a significant increase over polls from six years ago, which showed that less than 10% of U.S. adults had used a clinic within a retail setting. Kalorama attributes the result to the growth of health clinics at top retail chains, growth in clinic traffic and the “bunching” of clinics in certain cities. There are currently more than 1,300 retail clinics in the United States.

The finding was made in its complete market research survey on retail clinics, "Retail Clinics 2012: Growth of Stores, Consumer Opinion Surveys, Winning Competitors, Supplier Sales of Products to Clinics, Clinic Sales Forecasts and Trends."

Kalorama noted that customers have responded well to the appointment-free service, improved hours compared with the average physician office and lower costs. A shortage of primary care physicians, rising concerns about access and costs, and now a health reform plan are all expected to send new patients to clinics. But Kalorama stated that there is still competition from primary care physicians, urgent care centers and other entities.

While the concept survived the recession and opposition from medical associations and state legislatures, Kalorama noted that there is still work to be done.

The most important development in the persistence of the retail clinic concept, according to Kalorama, is that major drug stores embraced clinics and the two largest drugstore chains in the United States —CVS Caremark and Walgreens — are competing to offer healthcare services as part of their retail strategy. The report also noted the “bunching” of retail clinics in certain cities identified for key demographics, increasing the likelihood that residents of these cities will visit a retail clinic.

"In places like Atlanta, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Chicago, there is greater competition and awareness of retail clinics because companies have made investments there," stated Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "In other cities, respondents right now will say that they have not been to a clinic because there isn’t one close to them."

 

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Allergy symptoms and pain are what consumers suffer from most often

BY DSN STAFF

Among those health conditions treated with OTCs, AccentHealth viewers reported that allergies, sinus/nasal congestion and pain — including back, muscle and menstrual — to be the most commonly suffered chronic conditions. And cold symptoms and headaches were the most commonly suffered acute conditions, according to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers that was conducted in September.

As many as 95% reported that either themselves or someone in their household had a cold, 92% suffered from a cough or sore throat, and 91% experienced a headache. The top conditions suffered chronically by respondents included sinus/nasal congestion (90%), muscle ache/pain (87%) and allergy (87%).

To see more Patient Views, click here.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

 

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

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Kroger 3Q earnings don’t disappoint as food retailer posts 36th consecutive same-store sales growth

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger remained one of the few outperforming supermarket operators Thursday morning as the grocer exceeded analyst consensus adjusted earnings per diluted share by 3 cents with 46 cents per share. Actual reported net earnings were even higher — 60 cents per share — as Kroger benefitted from a settlement with Visa and MasterCard and from a reduction in the company’s obligation to fund the UFCW consolidated pension fund created in January. 

Kroger shares were up 3.4% to $25.90 in late morning trading. 

Looking out over the coming holiday and into 2013, the news surrounding the fiscal cliff does hang as a potential pall over future sales executives noted, but generally the economy has been slowly improving among upper-income customers, as evidenced by the "slow, gradual improvement" in identical-store sales. 

For the third quarter ended Nov. 3, Kroger posted same-store sales growth of 3.2%, not including fuel sales, marking the company’s 36th consecutive quarter of positive identical supermarket sales. 

Credit Suisse analyst Ed Kelly predicted that Kroger would be able to maintain identical store sales increases of 3.5% through 2013 in a research note published Wednesday. "Improved volume growth should offset less inflation and the generic wave," he suggested. "Management’s comments on Q4 trends will also be important, although IDs seem poised to reaccelerate in 2013, given the return of inflation and diminishing generic impact."

"The economy is slowly improving, but value customers are still struggling," David Dillon, Kroger chairman and CEO told analysts Thursday morning. "Overall consumer confidence is up, but it remains fragile," he said, pointing to the increased attention the media has currently placed around the "fiscal cliff." 

Among Kroger’s loyalty card household base, units per trip has been climbing, too. That’s an indicator that on one hand, Kroger is satisfying more shopper needs — and on the other hand, that consumers are increasing their supermarket budgets. 

Total sales, including fuel, increased 5.9% to $21.8 billion. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.7%.

Kroger’s strong financial position has allowed the company to return more than $1.7 billion to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends over the last four quarters. During the third quarter, Kroger repurchased 14.5 million common shares for a total investment of $333 million, the company reported. 

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