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Nordstrom Q3 profit up 15%; to open six pop-up shops

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Nordstrom reported third-quarter net earnings of $146 million, up 15% from $127 million for the same quarter last year. Its results were slightly below analysts’ expectations.

The company said that its third quarter same-store sales, which reflected a timing shift that moved a week of the company’s important Anniversary Sale event into August this year, increased 10.7%. Top-performing merchandise categories included men’s shoes, men’s apparel and kids’ apparel.

Combined second and third quarter same-store sales, which removes the impact of the Anniversary Sale shift, increased 7.3% compared with the same period in fiscal 2011. Net sales in the third quarter were $2.71 billion, an increase of 13.8%, compared with net sales of $2.38 billion during the same period in fiscal 2011.

The retailer said that Nordstrom Rack, which opened thirteen stores during the first nine months of the year, continued to demonstrate strong sales growth in the third quarter with increases in net sales of 16.3% and same-store sales of 8.1%.

In other news, Nordstrom will open six pop-up shops in February featuring merchandise from up-and-coming designers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The temporary shops will feature 10 designers who are finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which awards $300,000 every year to the winner and is intended to nurture young design talent, the report said.

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On solid 3Q, Kraft promises more innovation for key brands

BY CSA STAFF

NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft Foods Group reported that new product sales, increased advertising investment and improved productivity have contributed to profit gains for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

During the company’s third-quarter investors call, Kraft CEO Tony Vernon emphasized strong performances from Kraft’s cheese business, with nine consecutive quarters of growth; its cold cut business; and brands that have benefited from innovation and stepped-up marketing, like Lunchables, Velveeta and Kool-Aid. Several other brands — including Maxwell House, Planters and Jell-O — aren’t performing so well, and are about to undergo significant overhauls, the company announced.

"Jell-O must be revitalized, and we must do it in the face of yogurt’s explosive growth. And Planters needs significantly more work to re-establish category leadership and profitable growth," Vernon said.

Much of Kraft’s future success will depend on the company’s ability to re-energize antiquated brand names like Stove Top, Cool Whip and Shake ‘N Bake — or sell them off.

Sales for the quarter were up 3% to $4.6 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations of $4.55 billion. This is the company’s first quarter reporting earnings as a standalone company; Kraft Foods Group is now the fourth-largest food and beverage company in North America, behind PepsiCo, Nestle and Coca-Cola.

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Walmart to sell hypertension drugs for 1 cent

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Members of a prescription drug program offered by Humana to Medicare beneficiaries will soon be able to obtain hypertension drugs from Walmart for a penny.

That’s right: $0.01.

Walmart and Humana said that starting in 2013, members of the Humana-Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan would have access to 10 drugs for high blood pressure for 1 cent each when filled at a Walmart or Sam’s Club store. The companies said the price meant members would pay that much for them through all phases of their benefit, regardless of whether they have met their deductibles or are in the coverage gap.

"We are committed to making pharmaceuticals more affordable so our customers can ultimately live healthier lives," Walmart health and wellness division president John Agwunobi said. "The Humana-Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan will help eliminate out-of-pocket costs for high blood pressure treatments so more patients can follow the regimen prescribed by their physicians."

The drugs offered under the program are lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide, metoprolol tartrate, atenolol, lisinopril-hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide, enalapril maleate, benazepril, nadolol and captopril.

"A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that close to 70% of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older have hypertension," Humana Pharmacy Solutions president William Fleming said, citing a CDC National Center for Health Statistics study released in May. "This statistic underscores the importance of offering affordable, high-quality prescription drugs to baby boomers and other beneficiaries as part of the Humana-Walmart Preferred Rx Plan."

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