FINANCE

Costco Q3 profit falls 29%

BY CSA STAFF

Issaquah, Wash. Costco Wholesale Corp. reported Thursday that its third-quarter profit dropped 29%, citing impacts from a lawsuit settlement charge and lower sales during the period.

The retailer earned $209.6 million for the period ended May 10, down from $295.1 million a year earlier.

Costco said its quarterly results were partly hurt by a $34 million charge related to a lawsuit settlement involving its membership renewal policy as well as the stronger dollar.

Increased employee benefits costs also weighed on its quarterly performance, the company said, along with the ongoing cutback in discretionary spending.

Revenue dropped 5% to $15.81 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $16.16 billion.

Same-store sales slipped 7% for the quarter, with U.S. same-store sales off 5% and international same-store sales down 12%.

Costco said it remains focused on providing low-priced offerings to shoppers and that its long-term focus will pay off as the economy recovers. On Wednesday the retailer unveiled a pilot program to accept food stamps at two New York stores as part of its response to shoppers’ economic woes.

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Rite Aid, The Skin Cancer Foundation educate consumers on proper skin care

BY CSA STAFF

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is partnering with The Skin Cancer Foundation to help educate consumers on the importance of smart skin care practices. Visitors to nearly 4,900 Rite Aid stores nationwide and online at www.riteaid.com can pick up a free 12-page guide with information from The Skin Cancer Foundation on how to prevent skin cancer by offering tips on wearing sunscreen and proper sunglasses.

Online at www.riteaid.com/health/skin/ visitors will find an interactive body map to track skin changes on a regular basis, a section about the differences between harmless spots and unusual growths that need immediate medical attention, and the facts about UVA/UVB protection.

Rite Aid also is participating for the second year in the The Skin Cancer Foundation’s “Road to Healthy Skin Tour” presented by Aveeno and Rite Aid, making 80 stops across the country — many of them local Rite Aid stores — to provide early detection services to thousands of people. At each stop, local board-certified dermatologists will conduct free full-body skin cancer screenings on a 38-ft. customized RV in one of two private rooms. Educational materials that explain how to perform monthly skin checks at home and the proper ways to protect the skin from the sun on a daily basis also are provided, along with sunscreen samples, coupons and other useful information.

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Barnes & Noble launches blog to help parents encourage reading

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Barnes & Noble announced the debut of the Letter Blocks blog on Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com). Letter Blocks (www.bn.com/letterblocks) offers advice and family-friendly recommendations, enlightening and heart-warming stories about young readers and insights from some of today’s top writers.

Through August, Letter Blocks will focus on summer reading for kids, with guest blogs from authors and reading-minded celebrities. The Letter Blocks summer reading series is an extension of Barnes & Noble’s 2009 Summer Reading Program, which promotes reading outside the classroom and rewards children for reading during the summer months. Celebrity guest bloggers will contribute narratives covering a wide range of topics, including memories about the first books they read, important reading milestones, their favorite children’s books and how they influenced them and how they get their own children to read.

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