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Walmart expands conservation program

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that its Acres for America program is conserving an additional 300 acres of land to protect and restore wildlife habitats in the heart of several U.S. cities.

In 2011, Walmart expanded its Acres for America investments to include urban conservation projects in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The awards announced this week will support additional projects in Bridgeport, Conn.; Chicago; Portland, Ore.; San Diego and Washington, D.C.; and involve community volunteers in enhancing habitat quality in the wetland by restoring native vegetation, which will benefit fish and bird populations in the Tualatin River system.

"Walmart is proud to help protect and restore important natural habitats in communities that we serve," said Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart VP realty supplier management and compliance. "The Acres for America program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development as it directly links our land use to land preservation. Our urban restoration projects often times involve volunteers, including our customers and associates, and provide a way for people to connect with and enjoy nature right in their backyard."

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Ingles Markets sees growth in Q2, first half of fiscal 2012

BY Allison Cerra

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Net sales for Ingles Markets experienced a spike during the second quarter and first half of fiscal year 2012, the retailer reported Monday.

For the second quarter ended March 24, Ingles Markets said net sales rose $11.3 million to $881.7 million, compared with the year-ago period, while net income dropped from $7.7 million in second quarter 2011 to $6.5 million in second quarter 2012. Excluding gasoline sales, comparable-store sales at Ingles Markets during the quarter decreased 0.1%, compared with the second quarter of the prior fiscal year.

For the first six months of fiscal 2012, net sales rose $56.8 million to $1.8 billion and net income increased 11.3% to $17.1 million, compared with the first six months of fiscal 2011. Excluding gasoline sales, where retail prices were significantly higher than the first half of fiscal year 2011, grocery segment comparable store sales increased 1.6%.

Commenting on the results, Ingles Markets CEO Robert Ingle II said the company remains "committed to providing value" to its customers and will continue to invest in improvements. He also said the company is slated to open a new distribution center next quarter, which will provide the chain with long-term benefits.

"We are pleased with our sales growth in the second quarter especially since last year’s second quarter included a lot of inclement weather that resulted in higher sales for the prior year," Ingle said. "Our grocery margins were stable compared with last year; however, our profitability was affected by lower gasoline margins compared with last year."

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Case versus ESI-Medco merger is still alive

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — If you have a glass-half-full perspective, then the court’s ruling to deny the proposed preliminary injunction to the Express Scripts-Medco marriage means none of this is over. The case still stands. However, the court has deferred the decision on the plaintiffs’ motion seeking a permanent injunction until after the court decides on ESI’s motion to dismiss the case altogether. That may mean a decision on that motion could come sooner than later, considering the plaintiffs requested an expedited discovery schedule with the first motion.

(THE NEWS: Report: Preliminary injunction to block ESI-Medco merger denied. For the full story, click here)

If you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you’re really hoping the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh doesn’t chug the rest of that Kool-Aid. Because a dismissal of the case places the ESI-Medco merger one step closer to permanently consummating the pharmacy benefit manager merger. Should NACDS, NCPA and the nine individual pharmacies choose to appeal a dismissal, then the case would go across state to Philadelphia, where it would be heard by the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

In Philadelphia, at least, DrugStoreNews.com reader Kwconverse may have a posted question answered: "What ever happened to the laws our founding fathers set forth years ago? Have we become such a greedy society that it no longer matters what is best for the people that are insured, but what [matters is what] is best for the company?"

To weigh in on the conversation, click here.

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