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Walgreens achieves record sales, Rx growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens announced on Tuesday record sales and earnings for the second quarter as it celebrated a milestone of filling 1-in-every-5 retail prescriptions for the first time in the company’s history.

Net earnings for the quarter were $739 million, or 80 cents per diluted share, compared with $669 million, or 68 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales during the quarter rose 8.9% to a record $18.5 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.1%, as front-end same-store sales rose 4.3%. Duane Reade stores are not included in the same-store sales results. Pharmacy same-store sales rose 3.9%.

The company filled 205 million prescriptions, an increase of 6.9% over last year’s second quarter. Prescription sales, which accounted for 62.9% of sales in the quarter, climbed 7.7%. The company exceeded by 3.1 percentage points the industrywide prescription growth rate, excluding Walgreens, during the same period, as reported by IMS Health. For the second quarter, Walgreens increased its retail prescription market share to 20.1%.

"We achieved a milestone during the quarter by filling 1-of-every-5 retail prescriptions for the first time in company history," stated Greg Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens. "Our front-end sales were led by great execution from our merchandising, marketing and operations team, resulting in a strong holiday season in December and a strong Valentine’s Day performance in February. A later onset to the cough-cold and flu season, compared with a year-ago also helped front-end comparable-store sales show solid increases for the quarter as both customer traffic and basket size increased."

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Target to sell deluxe edition of Jennifer Hudson’s sophomore album

BY Gail Hoffer

MINNEAPOLIS — Target’s deal with Lady Gaga may have fallen through, but that doesn’t mean the retailer has lost its ability to court the music industry.

Case in point, the company announced Monday that it is partnering with Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson for the exclusive, deluxe edition of her second studio album, "I Remember Me." The deluxe edition, including four additional new songs and bonus video material, will be available only at Target stores nationwide and on Target.com beginning March 22.

“Creating this album was an amazing, personal journey for me,” said Hudson. “It is especially meaningful to be able to share more of my music with my fans on the Target deluxe edition of ‘I Remember Me’.”

Target’s version of Hudson’s album includes the tracks “Where You At” (Dave Audé Remix); “The Star Spangled Banner” (live); “What You Think” and “Spotlight,” an Afroganic remix, as well as 25 minutes of bonus video footage that, according to Target, gives fans an inside look at Hudson’s album cover photo shoot, and behind-the-scenes footage of the making of "I Remember Me," including commentary from Hudson on her inspiration for the new album.

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NACDS appoints Jill McCormack director of state government affairs

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Monday that Jill McCormack joined its state government affairs team as a director of state government affairs.

McCormack previously worked as a government affairs associate for Malady & Wooten in Harrisburg, Pa., where she represented the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores. She also served as a member of the senior staff for the Democratic Leader in the Pennsylvania Senate.

In her new role at NACDS, McCormack will direct the organization’s pro-patient, pro-policy advocacy in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Specifically, she will collaborate with state associations and with NACDS member companies’ staff and advocate directly with state lawmakers and state agencies.

“We are pleased to welcome Jill to the NACDS state government affairs team,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “During this challenging time of shrinking state budgets, it is critical that pharmacy services are recognized as strategies to help reduce healthcare costs and improve patient
health by helping patients take their medications as prescribed, thus preventing more costly forms of care."

“Jill is tried and tested on healthcare issues, and has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of state government," Anderson continued. "Her experience will offer great value as she illustrates pharmacy as the face of neighborhood health care to state policy-makers.”

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