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Express in fast lane as net income rises 7%; to launch outlet business

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio — Express Inc. reported a profitable second quarter of fiscal 2013, with year-over-year increases in net income, net sales and same-store sales. Net income rose 7% to $16.8 million, in line with Wall Street expectations, from $15.9 million. The retailer raised its full-year guidance and also announced plans to launch its outlet business in the second quarter of next year.

Net sales for the quarter increased a better-than-expected 7% to $486.2 million, from $454.9 million.

Same-store sales increased 6%, following a 1% hike in the second quarter if last year. This includes e-commerce sales, which increased 27% to $59.9 million. In last year’s second quarter, e-commerce sales grew 24% to $47.2 million.

"We delivered a very solid second quarter,” said Michael Weiss, chairman and CEO of Express. “Financial highlights include high single digit sales growth, comparable sales that represent a return to mid-single digit growth and earnings per share that came near the upper end of our guidance. As we move into the second half of the year, we are confident in our product and marketing strategies, and believe we are well positioned for the fall and holiday seasons."

For the full fiscal year, Express is projecting a year-over-year improvement in same-store sales but a slight decline in net income compared to fiscal 2012.

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Walgreens enters partnership to expand healthcare services

BY CSA STAFF

Walgreens has entered into a partnership with Orlando Health, a comprehensive nonprofit healthcare organization based in Orlando, Fla., to provide coordinated and expanded healthcare services to its customers.

"In today’s healthcare landscape, these types of innovative coordinated care programs are vitally important to help ensure patients have access to the quality care they need," stated Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP health and wellness services and solutions. "With our expansive retail footprint, diverse portfolio of healthcare assets and proven success in collaborating with others in the medical community, Walgreens is uniquely positioned to bridge critical gaps in care and improve patient outcomes, furthering our mission to help patients get, stay and live well."

The collaboration and services offered will foster greater access to care with Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens offering evening and weekend hours, convenient locations and online appointment scheduling; better coordination of care for Orlando Health patients with Healthcare Clinic providers for acute, chronic and preventive services; direct communication between Orlando Health physicians and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners to facilitate care coordination and sharing of patient information; and increasing patient awareness regarding Orlando Health services, as well as information and awareness of Healthcare Clinic services, including routine screening, monitoring, immunizations, and clinic locations and hours.

Walgreens and Orlando Health also are exploring opportunities to share electronic medical records, with the goal of developing read-only access to real-time patient medical information. This level of coordination also could include creating online or call center appointment scheduling technology to further increase patient access to services.

"A key tenet of our mission is to improve the health of the individuals in the communities we serve, and by utilizing new approaches, such as this relationship with Walgreens, we’ll be able to better reach and treat the patients of Central Florida," said Wayne Jenkins, president of Orlando Health Physician Partners. "This relationship represents the type of collaborative strategies that we view as essential in the emerging healthcare environment. We’re confident that by working together, our two organizations can help ensure that patients are receiving the best care, in the best locations, as well as a truly seamless care experience."

Orlando Health has six wholly-owned hospitals and two partnership hospitals throughout Central Florida, a skilled nursing facility, Physician Associates, one of the largest multi-specialty physician practices in central Florida, consisting of more than 90 physicians in more than 20 locations, along with more than 2,500 affiliated physicians. The clinical collaboration includes 13 Healthcare Clinic locations at select Walgreens in nearby cities, including Orlando, Kissimmee, Apopka, Winter Springs, Clermont, Lake Buena Vista, Lake Mary, Winter Park and Windermere, Fla.

"Orlando Health is an established healthcare leader in Central Florida, and its integrated approach to improving the community’s health is a great strategic fit for Walgreens and our mission," Kang said.

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Plum Organics CEO joins Zarbee’s Naturals board

BY CSA STAFF

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Zarbee’s Naturals has elected Neil Grimmer, co-founder and CEO of Plum Organics, to the company’s board of directors.

“Neil is a mastermind when it comes to developing ideas, products and brands, and we are thrilled that he is joining Zarbee’s board of directors,” stated Zak Zarbock, founder of Zarbee’s Naturals.

Grimmer currently serves as CEO of Plum Organics, where he has led the launch of more than 100 new products, making Plum Organics — acquired by Campbell Soup Company earlier this year — one of the fastest-growing organic baby and kids food brand in the United States.

A recent winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Grimmer pioneered the first-to-market eco-pouch that has revolutionized the baby and kids food category.

“Neil will be a valuable addition to our board. He brings extraordinary experience that aligns perfectly with our mission at Zarbee’s,” said Bryce Johnson, CEO of Zarbee’s Naturals. “His innovative thinking will be a great contribution to our future growth.”

Grimmer will have opportunity to weigh in on Zarbee’s new product introductions right from the start. This year, Zarbee’s plans to introduce a number of new products, including Zarbee’s Children’s Sleep, Zarbee’s Seasonal Relief, a new Baby Cough Syrup and Children’s Cough for Mucus, the company noted.

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