Wall Street: Hurricane Sandy may have whipped up front-end sales prior to coming ashore
NEW YORK — Hurricane Sandy may have shut down lower Manhattan for a few days, but research analyst Ed Kelly of Credit Suisse was bullish on how the storm system may have whipped up front-end sales for pharmacy operators.
"Front-end sales [are] likely to get a boost from Sandy," he wrote in a note published Wednesday. "While drug stores’ front-end sales are likely to continue to be pressured by channel shifting to value-oriented players and aggressive growth of small-box formats like dollar stores, we believe October sales should be better than recent trends," he suggested. "Hurricane Sandy likely provided a boost to sales, as consumers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic stocked up for this catastrophic event."
Pharmacy prescription sales should also be up, Kelly wrote, as summertime improvements should continue. "Script growth, as reported by IMS, was up a solid 2.7% for the latest four-week period ended Oct. 19, in line with the prior four-week period," Kelly noted.
Two prominent New York City retailers will report October sales in the coming week. Rite Aid is expected to report October sales Nov. 1 and Walgreens Nov. 5.
Clorox COO to retire; two SVPs to transition to EVP-COO roles
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Clorox Co. on Tuesday announced that COO Lawrence S. "Larry" Peiros, 57, will retire from the company effective April 1, 2013.
Peiros, who joined Clorox in 1980 as a summer intern, was appointed a member of the company’s executive committee in 1999 and then to the COO role in 2007. He also oversees the marketing, sales, research & development and product supply functions as well as Clorox’s Eco office.
"Larry’s influence and leadership have been profound," said chairman and CEO Don Knauss. "He strongly led our businesses and core functions, helping to grow sales and market share over a multiyear period. Throughout his 32 years, Larry has been selfless in driving the success of the business and the organization. We are indebted to him for his many contributions and wish him the very best."
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the company will move to a structure with two COOs. Benno Dorer, 48, currently SVP cleaning division & Canada, will be promoted to EVP and COO cleaning, international and corporate strategy. Dorer will have responsibility for the laundry, home care and international business units as well as take on responsibility for corporate strategy and growth.
George Roeth, 51, currently SVP specialty division, will be promoted to EVP and COO household and lifestyle. Roeth will have responsibility for the Charcoal, Glad, Litter, Food, Brita and Burt’s Bees business units. He will also have responsibility for the company’s core functions: marketing, sales, product supply and research & development.
As election looms, Americans are set to decide future of health reform
Is America really ready to turn back the clock on healthcare reform?
That question will be one of many confronting voters when they stand in the voting booth Nov. 6 and choose between President Obama — effectively endorsing his sweeping, if incomplete, overhaul of the nation’s vastly expensive and semi-dysfunctional health system — or his equally determined rival, Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has sworn he’ll begin working to kill the Obama-era health reforms on his first day in office if elected president.
There’s every reason to believe him. Despite the fact that Romney as governor once oversaw an expansion of healthcare coverage with his own Massachusetts health reform law in 2006 — and despite the similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare — the Republican candidate has become a fierce opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In so doing, “Romney has walked a tightrope on healthcare reform throughout the presidential campaign. He’s unwilling to shun his Massachusetts law but vows to repeal ‘Obamacare,’ which is largely based on the Bay State’s reforms of the health insurance market,” argued Jeffrey Young, who writes for the liberal-leaning Huffington Post.
Romney, for his part, attacks Obama’s signature health-reform overhaul as too expensive and too much of a government intrusion on patients, providers and insurers. “We didn’t raise taxes” to reform the system in the Bay State, he told moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate in Denver, and “we didn’t put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they can receive” while extending health benefits.
Romney has asserted repeatedly that he has a plan, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, to protect people with pre-existing conditions who might be unable to obtain health coverage by insurance companies, based on the Massachusetts model. But one of the candidate’s advisers indicated to Eric Fehrnstrom, a reporter for online news source Talking Points Memo, that guaranteed coverage would be left up to the states, rather than a federal mandate, if Obamacare is overturned.
The question is, are Americans familiar enough at this point with the basic provisions of Obamacare to decide on its fate in the polling place? And are they willing to give up on some elements of health reform they might already consider as beneficial or even critically important, like guaranteed coverage despite pre-existing conditions, a cap on out-of-pocket costs and extension of family coverage for their kids up to age 26?
That question has become more relevant as the administration continues its steady rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which is due for full implementation in 2014. According to one study from BusinessOne Technologies, a healthcare technology and data company, the ACA is already significantly boosting health insurance coverage, with 13 million more Americans gaining coverage between January 2011 and June 2012.
Researchers cite “healthcare-reform measures that are increasing access ahead of the planned 2014 rollout of the healthcare-reform law’s individual mandate,” according to Drug Store News’ Alaric DeArment. Among those measures: “coverage of dependent children and adults up to the age of 26 years, tax credits for small businesses and early Medicaid expansion in some states.”
Will Obamacare work as a long-term fix to the country’s increasingly unsustainable and costly health system, and to the problem of tens of millions of uninsured Americans? Or does Gov. Romney offer a better and more realistic solution? As always, we welcome your feedback.