OPERATIONS

CVS donates drug collection units to police departments nationwide

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy announced that it is teaming with The Partnership at Drugfree.org to create a community donation program that presents drug collection units to police departments across the country.

Through the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program, local police departments can apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances.

Up to 1,000 receptacles will be awarded to police departments through an application process that will launch on May 1 at cvs.com/safercommunities. CVS/pharmacy and The Partnership at Drugfree.org will obtain the drug collection units from MedReturn.

"As part of our on-going commitment to combat prescription drug abuse, we have participated in events for many years with law enforcement to help safely dispose of expired, unused or unwanted medication," said Josh Flum, senior VP of Retail Pharmacy at CVS Caremark. "Through this donation program, CVS/pharmacy and The Partnership at Drugfree.org will now provide our communities with a permanent drug disposal solution at their local police departments."

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Extreme weather was no match for Tractor Supply

BY CSA STAFF

Sales of animal- and pet-related merchandise and winter seasonal items helped push up sales at Tractor Supply Co. in the first quarter ended March 29.

Net sales increased 9% in the quarter to $1.18 billion, up from $1.09 billion in the same quarter last year. Comparable-store sales increased 2.2%.

Net income for the quarter increased 10.9% to $48.8 million, up from $44 million

Greg Sandfort, president and CEO, said the first-quarter results demonstrated an ability to perform during tough weather conditions.

"Despite the late arrival of spring, our comparable-store transaction count increased a strong 4.4%, and we continued to gain market share by offering our customers a one-stop shop for their everyday basic needs," said Sandfort. "Our teams continue to work diligently to adjust timing of shipments, depth of inventory and marketing cadence by region to ensure we are well-positioned to capitalize on the spring selling season as temperatures normalize."

Selling, general and administrative expenses, including depreciation and amortization, increased to 26.8% of sales compared with 26.1% of sales in the prior year’s first quarter. The increase as a percent of sales was primarily attributable to higher occupancy and store-level costs directly related to the extreme cold weather for items, such as utilities, snow removal and building repair, as well as increased distribution center costs.

The company opened 32 new stores in the first quarter, including its 1,300th in Bullhead City, Ariz.

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Safeway sees uptick in sales in first quarter

BY CSA STAFF

Safeway posted sales of $8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2014, representing an increase of 1%. The slight uptick in sales was primarily attributed to an identical-store sales (excluding fuel) increase of 1.8%, partly offset by lower fuel sales in 2014.

The identical-store sales (excluding fuel) increase of 1.8% consists of a 1% increase in price per item and a 0.8% increase in volume. Safeway’s share of sales in all outlet channels increased slightly, and sales to its most loyal households improved during the quarter.

"We are working diligently to close the merger with Albertsons by the fourth quarter," stated Robert Edwards, Safeway president & CEO. "While sales met plan in the first quarter, income was slightly below plan, in part as a result of inflation in produce, meat and pharmacy that was not fully passed along for competitive reasons. In the second quarter of 2014, identical-stores sales are currently running well above 2%, and we expect to pass along most of the inflation we are experiencing. In addition, the direct and indirect cost initiatives we are implementing are expected to improve profitability in the second half of 2014."

Safeway continues to drive sales momentum through its center of store remodels, as well as merchandising premium, Hispanic and Asian products to meet local demographic needs, Edwards reported. "In addition, our sales of organic and natural products continue to grow at a rapid pace, with our private label brands O Organics and Open Nature growing approximately two times faster than the rest of the market."

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