DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Largest U.S. hockey retailer launches store rebranding

BY Marianne Wilson

Pure Hockey is converting its various store banners to its namesake brand.

The company, which owns the Pure Hockey, Total Hockey, and HockeyGiant brands, will begin rebranding all of its retail stores as Pure Hockey. Pure Hockey acquired HockeyGiant in September 2015 and acquired Total Hockey in August 2016, giving the company a total of 53 retail locations across the United States, along with four e-commerce sites specializing in hockey, goalie, and lacrosse equipment.

"Converting our retail stores to Pure Hockey allows us to start standardizing the customer experience across all of our stores, and better leverage our national scale in areas including distribution, buying and allocation, and advertising to provide maximum value to our loyal customers," said David Nectow, president and co-owner of Pure Hockey. "We're working hard to make the transition from Total Hockey and HockeyGiant to Pure Hockey stores as seamless as possible for customers to minimize any disruption to the in-store experience."

Pure Hockey also announced a four-day "Grand Re-Opening" event, running from Thursday 9/14 through Sunday 9/17. The event will celebrate the start of the rebranding process and the launch of the new "Pure Rewards" loyalty program, and will also feature raffles, giveaways, and prizes across all retail locations.

Pure Hockey is headquartered outside of Boston, and was founded in 2002 by David Nectow and Sal Tiano through the purchase of one hockey retail store in Massachusetts. It has since expanded organically and through strategic acquisitions, and now operates four ecommerce sites and 54 stores in 18 states across the U.S.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

CVS Pharmacy to launch customized health-and-wellness vending machines

BY David Salazar

CVS Pharmacy is rolling out a convenient way for consumers on the go to easily buy necessities.

The drugstore chain on Thursday introduced automated vending machines that will be located in travel hubs and other places and contain such items as over-the-counter health products, better-for-you snacks and popular personal care products. The machines will also be used to showcase products from the company’s exclusive store brands while meeting customers at well-trafficked areas.

“Our new CVS Pharmacy vending machine program allows us to extend that convenience beyond our brick-and-mortar locations to offer customers on-the-go essentials in the locations where they often need them most, like airports, hotels and other transportation hubs," stated CVS Pharmacy senior VP front store business and chief merchant Judy Sansone

By the end of October, 25 CVS Pharmacy vending machines will pop up throughout New England and New York at such targeted areas as airports, including New York City’s LaGuardia Airport; public transit stations such as Boston’s South Station Bus Terminal; office parks and college campuses. Each vending machine will be customized by location and contain more than 70 products — many of which are sourced from CVS Pharmacy’s exclusive store brands, including CVS Health, Beauty 360, Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem abound.

In addition to the initial 25 machines, the retailer said it is considering more than 50 more across the country on college campuses, corporate offices, hotels and other transportation hubs.

"These new vending machines allow us to make our innovative CVS Brand products available to customers outside of our store locations for the very first time," CVS Health VP store brands and quality assurance Cia Tucci said. "The CVS Pharmacy vending machines will be located in places where we can bring our customers smart solutions and convenient access to the products they trust when they are on-the-go."

The vending machines will accept all major debit and credit cards and feature a 22-in. multi-touch screen, high-resolution images with product information and a QR code reader to allow for scanning of barcodes and promotional codes. They also will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing those in wheelchairs to fully access the touchscreen and its functionality.

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FINANCE

Value retailer posts strong Q2 sales

BY Marianne Wilson

99 Cents Only Stores reduced its loss in the second quarter amid increased operational efficiencies and surging sales.

The retailer reported a net loss of $33.6 million for the quarter ended July 28, compared to net loss of $35.1 million in the year-ago period. Net sales increased 8.9% to $540.5 million.

99 Cents Only Stores' reported second quarter gross margin of 28.8%, which was up 40 basis points year-over-year, driven primarily by a focus on reducing shrink and managing scrap, along with increased efficiency in its logistics network. On a year-to-date basis, the retailer's adjusted EBITDA of $26.4 million is up 42.3% compared to the same period a year ago.

"The second quarter offers further evidence of the progress we have continued to make in executing our turnaround plan," said Geoffrey Covert, president and CEO. "Our focused strategy of improving the company's operating performance is yielding encouraging results."

Same-store sales were up 9.0%, with a 4.7% increase in transaction count and a 4.1% increase in the average ticket. The increase in same-store sales was primarily driven by higher sales from seasonal, general merchandise and consumable categories, in part due to higher sales of above $1 products, better product assortment and improved store execution, according to the company.

"Sales from grocery and fresh offerings also increased, driven by better product availability, improved product assortment, as well as continued improvements in store in-stock levels," the company stated.

As of the end of the quarter, 99 Cents Only Stores operated 390 stores.

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