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Rite Aid Improves POS to Aid Visually-Impaired

BY CSA STAFF

Camp Hill, Pa. Rite Aid announced Thursday that it has begun an initiative to aid customers with visual impairments and other disabilities. Changes are being implemented at the company Web site as well as in stores.

The retailer’s Web site has been enhanced to facilitate ease of use and to comply with guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. The guidelines are intended to benefit blind computer users who rely on a screen reader or magnification technology and who use a keyboard rather than a mouse.

Additionally, the company is installing new POS equipment with tactile keypads that are designed to protect the privacy and security of shoppers who may have difficulty entering PIN numbers on the traditional flat screen.

In related news released on Thursday, Rite Aid announced April same-store sales increased 0.5% over the year-ago period. Total sales for the month, which included the Brooks Eckerd stores acquired in June 2007, were $2.003 billion, up 46.9% over April 2007, when sales were $1.363 billion.

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Home Depot announces store closings, fewer openings in fiscal year

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA The Home Depot today announced that it plans to close 15 underperforming stores and said that it will no longer pursue the opening of approximately 50 U.S. stores.

However, the company reiterated its intention to open 55 new stores, which include 36 U.S. stores.

The 15 stores that will close represent less than 1% of the company’s store portfolio, but will impact approximately 1,300 associates. The company stated it will provide store managers and assistant store managers with positions elsewhere in the organization and will work to place the remainder of associates in comparable positions at other stores.

“Closing a store is always a difficult decision because it affects both our people and our communities,” said chairman and ceo Frank Blake. “But, as with our decision to slow future store growth, this is the right decision and will bring long-term benefits to our associates and to our shareholders. … By building fewer stores, in the best locations, and making sure our existing stores are profitable, our company will be in a much stronger competitive position.”

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CVS/Caremark posts record first quarter results

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark Corp. today announced its first quarter results, which were boosted by the addition of Caremark’s pharmacy benefits business as well as an early Easter holiday.

For the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008, the company posted net revenues of $21.3 billion, an increase of $8.1 billion from last year’s $13.2 billion. Same-store sales in the CVS/pharmacy division rose 3.9% over the prior year, benefitting from an earlier Easter that helped shift more holiday sales into March.

Net earnings for the quarter increased 83.1% to $748.5 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, compared to $408.9 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in the prior year period.

“I’m very pleased with our results for the quarter, ” stated chairman, president and ceo Tom Ryan. “We delivered strong revenue and margin growth across our businesses that led to earnings at the high end of our expectations.”

During the quarter, the company opened 41 new retail pharmacy stores and closed 19 stores, two mail-order pharmacies and one specialty mail-order pharmacy. It also relocated 53 retail pharmacy stores and one specialty store.

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