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‘Hotlanta’ remains Red-Nose focused in Walgreens challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

Atlanta has maintained its position at the top of Walgreens’ Every One Counts Hometown Challenge rankings, the Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy operator announced Wednesday, in the weeks leading up to this month’s Red Nose Day.

However, Walgreens’ own headquarter market is making a push to overtake Atlanta as Chicago climbed into fourth place of the top 10 “Red Rally Markets,” or those markets identified by Walgreens as integral to helping rally their respective communities around ending childhood poverty.

Following Red Nose Day, which takes place May 24 with a special night of programming on NBC, Walgreens will announce the winner of the challenge with a formal proclamation to the victorious city. The winning city will be designated as “Red Nose Day Hometown Hero” for the next 12 months.

For the week of April 30, Atlanta remained on top followed by Miami, Washington, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, the New York metro area and Houston.

The weekly rankings are compiled using store-level data for combined Red Nose Day sales (Red Noses and Red Nose Day related merchandise) across Walgreens store locations in designated Red Rally markets. Data for the progress report is analyzed at a geographic market level to measure total store performance of Red Nose Day sales.

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Weis Markets posts Q1 same-store sales increase of 1.5%

BY Michael Johnsen

Weis Markets on Tuesday reported sales increases of 2.8% to $876.1 million for the 13 weeks ended march 31. Comparable store sales, adjusted for the holiday shift, increased 1.5%.

“Our operating income was positively impacted by store improvements in overall efficiency levels, particularly with inventory management, which resulted in an improved store gross profit rate and our 16th consecutive quarter of comparable store sales increases,” Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets’ chairman and CEO, said. “Our operating income also benefited from store labor efficiencies, in which multiple winter weather events were a contributing factor, and improvements to some of our key marketing and advertising programs. We look to build on our momentum in the coming months.”

The company’s first quarter sales benefited from the holiday shift since the Easter sales week occurred in the last week of the first quarter while the slow post-Easter sales week occurred in the second quarter. In 2017, both the Easter and post-Easter weeks fell in the second quarter.

During the period the company’s net income increased 36.8% to $16.2million while first quarter earnings per share increased 36.4% to $0.60 compared to $0.44 in 2017.

Operating out of Sunbury, Pa., Weis Markets’ first quarter operating income increased 12.8% to $22.8 million.

At the annual shareholder’s meeting on April 26, 2018, the company also announced a $101 million growth plan for the construction of two new stores, 20 remodels, four pharmacies and one fuel center. The first new store opened in Nottingham, Md. on April 12.

The company has also expanded and upgraded its Weis 2 Go online ordering service with curbside pick-up. It recently introduced this service in 25 additional stores and currently offers it in 79 locations.

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McKesson ideaShare expected to host more than 1,500 operators

BY Michael Johnsen

McKesson ideaShare 2018 is expecting more than 1,500 independent pharmacies to come together in July at The Venetian in Las Vegas to take advantage of more than 35 continuing education courses and more than 60 workshops and hands-on demonstrations.

“Building on the success of last year’s conference, the No. 1 priority this year is to provide even more networking opportunities to connect customers with industry experts and peers,” Chris Dimos, president, Retail Solutions, McKesson Corporation, said. “McKesson ideaShare will also feature more than 100 educational sessions – with more than one-third led by pharmacists and pharmacy owners – offering attendees best practices to put into action for immediate results.”

McKesson ideaShare 2018 will showcase how to implement and manage new possible revenue streams for independent operators, such as immunization programs, front-end solutions and specialty programs. In addition, attendees will receive training to grow their patient base, providers and services that help grow their business.

Attendees also are offered a 3% rebate on all McKesson OneStop Generics purchases, up to $20,000, from August 2018 through December 2018. For attendees who register before May 29, that rebate period is extended through January 2019, the San Francisco-based wholesaler reported.

Key networking events this year include the “Lunch and Learn: Getting the Most from Health Mart Atlas” and the second annual Women in Pharmacy – Own It event, featuring Mary LoVerde, “Moving Forward Together Changes the Future for All.” LoVerde is an expert on the practice of work-life balance and offers practical ideas on how to stay connected to what’s really important.

On July 10, former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, will present his ideas for creating a culture of innovation during the Health Mart Annual Meeting. Rauch will share how to create a self-sustaining culture of innovation that embraces failure and consistently pushes the envelope.

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