FINANCE

Dress Barn 4Q Profit Down 9%

BY CSA STAFF

Suffern, N.Y. Dress Barn Inc. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit declined 9% as same-store sales dropped 2% amid a continued pullback in consumer spending.

Earnings for the quarter ended July 26 fell to $22.1 million, down from $33.6 million in the same quarter the previous year.

Dress Barn said revenue rose less than 1% to $382.3 million from $379.9 million in the same period last year.

Same-store sales fell 2% during the period, after rising 5% in the same period last year.

Same-store sales for Dressbarn stores dropped 5%, while same-store sales at the company’s maurices stores gained 4%.

For the year, earnings fell nearly 27% to $74.1 million down from $101.2 million in the prior year.

Same-store sales were down 3% while net sales rose slightly to $1.44 billion, up from $1.43 billion in the same period last year.

The full-year results reflect a challenging retail environment, president and CEO David R. Jaffe said in a statement. He said the company can’t avoid the slumping marketplace but it has improved its business model to be more responsive, including having more inventory controls to reduce exposure to markdowns.

For the year, Dressbarn stores’ same-store sales fell 7% while same-store sales at maurices rose 4%.

Jaffe said Dressbarn is seeing improvement due to marketing and reinforcing the store’s “value message.” He said that while the start of the back-to-school season at maurices has been softer than the company expected, it was well-positioned in the current retail environment.

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Safeway to offer flu vaccines

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway announced that is it offering flu vaccines in all their U.S stores. Now through February 2009, or while supplies last, flu vaccines will be administered at stores. Most stores will give vaccines on a walk-in basis at in-store pharmacies, while others will conduct scheduled flu vaccine clinics.

“The beginning of the flu season is the best time to get vaccinated to ensure you are covered throughout the entire season,” said Dave Fong, Safeway senior vp of Pharmacy. “Our stores and pharmacies have made it easy for everyone to protect themselves from the discomfort and inconvenience of the flu.”

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Walmart offers $9 diabetes management products

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that it is offering $9 ReliOn diabetes management products nationwide as part of its affordable pharmacy program. Available exclusively at Walmart, ReliOn $9 products include: ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Meter; ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Test Strips (20 ct); and the ReliOn A1c test (glycated hemoglobin hbA1c).

“This latest expansion of our health care offering comes from our commitment to help people affected by diabetes save money so they can live better,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, senior vp and Wal-Mart’s president of its health and wellness division. “We are pleased to introduce $9 ReliOn testing products that address some of the unique health care needs of diabetes patients. By providing affordable, quality solutions we hope to positively impact the lives of the millions already living with the disease.”

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