FINANCE

Reports: CVS Caremark interested in buying drugstore chain in Brazil

BY Antoinette Alexander

New York — CVS Caremark is reportedly looking to expand outside of the United States by acquiring Onofre, the eighth-largest pharmacy chain in Brazil, according to published reports.

The Valor Economico newspaper reported that CVS Caremark plans to pay $313 million to acquire an 80% stake in Onofre and will also assume the company’s debt.

“We don’t comment on market rumors,” CVS Caremark spokesman Mike DeAngelis told Drug Store News.

According to reports, Onofre, which is controlled by the Arede family, is the eighth-largest drug store chain in Brazil in terms of revenues, posting gross revenue of BR1.2 billion in 2011. Onofre operates 44 stores in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo and Rio Grande do Sul states.

"According to IMS Health, Brazil’s market (as measured by manufacturers’ revenues) was $29.9 billion in 2011, and is projected to grow by 12% to 15% through 2016," Pembroke Consulting’s Adam Fein noted Friday morning in his blog Drug Channels.

CVS Caremark has stated that it plans to continue to increase the number of stores by 2% to 3% each year, taking share from rivals, but some industry observers have been particularly curious about the likelihood of international expansion, especially in light of Walgreens’ recent merger with Boots Alliance in the U.K.

“Management discussed its thoughts on international expansion at several of the investor meetings, saying that retail pharmacy would work in some places like South America where governments do not set pharmaceutical prices. They viewed the PBM model as much tougher to export,” stated Barclays Capital analyst Meredith Adler in a recent research note. “If CVS takes any steps to grow outside the U.S., however, it will move very slowly and carefully to mitigate the risks; organic growth or small acquisitions are the preferred approach.”

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Webinar: Keeping Up With the Consumer —2012 Black Friday Recap

BY Marianne Wilson

New York Chain Store Age will hold a webinar on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) that will examine email marketing trends for Black Friday 2012 and how marketers used email to promote store shopping and events during the holiday weekend.

The webinar, sponsored by Bronto, will also cover such topics as promotional trends and the influence of mobile and social. Find out what you will need to do early in next year’s holiday season to ensure success.

Click here for more information.

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Consumer confidence falls

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Consumer confidence declined more than expected in December, reaching a four-month low as Americans grew concerned about the possibility of higher taxes next year. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index decreased to 74.5 this month from 82.7 in November. Economists had projected a preliminary reading of 82 for December.

The metric of current conditions, which reflects consumers’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, eased to 89.9 from 90.7 the prior month.

The Michigan index of consumer expectations six months from now, which projects the direction of consumer spending, decreased to a one-year low of 64.6 from 77.6 in October. Americans were more pessimistic about the outlook for their finances, the economy and the labor market, the report said.

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