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Drugstore chain Duane Reade testing iBeacon technology

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Duane Reade drugstore chain has launched an iBeacon pilot in several stores in the New York area. The test was announced by Tim McCauley, senior director of mobile commerce at Walgreens, parent company of Duane Reade, during a presentation at the Mcommerce Summit in New York City.

“In Duane Reade, we now have iBeacon in our Duane Reade app, and we have a ten-store pilot in this market going on right now,” said McCauley

The iBeacon technology pilot is part of an in-store mobile coupon initiative at Duane Reade that lets shoppers digitally clip coupons and redeem them via a bar code on a smartphone.

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Pharmacy sales boost CVS profit in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – Net income at CVS Caremark Corp. increased 18.3% to $1.1 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared with approximately $1 billion a year earlier. Pharmacy services and retail pharmacy segments both benefited from the impact of increased generic drugs dispensed and slower growth in expenses.

Net income was also positively impacted by rebate improvement in the pharmacy services segment and an increase in front store gross margins in the retail pharmacy segment. In addition, net revenues performed well, rising 6.3% to $32.69 billion from $30.75 billion. The increase was primarily driven by growth in CVS’ specialty pharmacy business, as well as drug cost inflation, new customers and new products.

Same-store sales grew 1.4%. CVS said same-store sales growth was slowed by a weaker-than-expected flu season and severe weather in much of the U.S.

“We once again posted a very strong quarter, with solid results across the enterprise,” said Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS. “I’m particularly pleased with the exceptional growth in the PBM, especially the growth of the specialty pharmacy business. Additionally, with the substantial amount of free cash we generated during the quarter, we remain confident in our ability to achieve our 2014 goals.”

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WinCo set to open Arizona DC

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boise, Idaho – WinCo Foods LLC will begin shipping from its newest distribution center in Phoenix, on May 14. The center, which includes more than 900,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space, will initially service 19 WinCo Foods stores located in Arizona, Southern Nevada and Southern California.

The facility will open with approximately 185 employees, most of whom have been hired from the greater Phoenix market. The 19 stores represent a little more than half of the facility’s capacity. When fully operational and at capacity the center should employ approximately 320 employees.

The center has approximately 500,000 sq. ft. of dry grocery space and more than 360,000 sq. ft. of perishable space, which is divided into several modules maintained at appropriate temperatures and humidity levels for frozen items, fresh produce, meat and dairy products. It also includes six large pressurized banana ripening rooms. The remainder of the center is comprised of offices and outbuildings. There is preplanned space at the site to expand by up to 50% in the future.

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