FINANCE

Rite Aid reports first annual profit since 2007

BY Marianne Wilson

Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a $123.1 million profit for the fourth quarter and a $118.1 million profit for the fiscal year, compared with respective losses of $161.3 million and $368.6 million during the same period last year. It was the drugstore chain’s second-straight quarterly profit and first annual gain in six years, amid increases in prescription count and front-end end sales.

Revenue for the fourth quarter fell 9.7% to $6.5 billion compared with last year’s quarter, which had an additional week. Same store sales for the quarter decreased 2.0% over the prior-year period, with a 0.3% increase in the front end offset by a 3.1% decrease in the pharmacy. Pharmacy sales benefited from a 3.0% increase in the number of prescriptions filled in same stores.

For the 52-week fiscal year ended March 2, 2013, Rite Aid had revenues of $25.4 billion compared to $26.1 billion for the 53-week prior year. Revenues decreased by 2.8%, primarily driven by one less week in fiscal 2013 and the impact of lower cost generics on pharmacy sales.

During a conference call with investors, the chain said of its 4,623 stores, 797 feature its Wellness format, which feature specially trained staff members who walk the aisles of the stores with iPads and provide information on health and wellness products and pharmacy services, acting as a bridge between the front end and pharmacy.

Rite Aid plans to remodel 400 more stores in fiscal year 2014.

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Duane Reade launches mobile app

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Duane Reade has launched its first mobile application for iOS devices. The free app, available in the iTunes store, will facilitate and further enhance customer access to Duane Reade’s pharmacy services, photo printers, prescription refills, Balance Rewards offers, account information and in-store maps.

"The auspicious introduction of our Google Niantic Labs Ingress mobile gaming collaboration and now an unveiling of the Duane Reade branded retail mobile application, reinforces our commitment to be relevant on digital mediums where our customers are dedicating most of their time today,” stated Calvin Peters, online/PR Manager for Duane Reade. “Our mobile application framework is entirely based on the award-winning Walgreens mobile app and will prove essential to providing our on-the-go customers with efficient pharmacy, photo and loyalty reward tools right at the palm of their hand.”

As a part of the drug store chain’s effort to drive omni-channel engagement and loyalty, Duane Reade has significantly expanded its digital and social media initiatives to include comprehensive retail social amplification programs, which have played an integral role in procuring strategic consumer-generated media. These programs are a key factor in Duane Reade’s extensive Twitter community growth from 15,000 to more than 390,000 followers in 7 months.

The app is part of Duane Reade’s continued commitment to bolster customer experience and live by its New York Living Made Easy principles.

The app features several innovative tools that include:

  • Users who have upgraded to iOS6 can connect their Balance Rewards account to Passbook;

  • Select a preferred Duane Reade or Walgreens location and when the shopper near that store, Passbook will auto display their Balance Rewards card;

  • Refill by scan and/or refill reminders;

  • Choose pictures from an iPhone album or Facebook to print and pick up at a local Duane Reade or Walgreens — no log-in or account required;

  • Edit photos using filters and a variety of editing tools;

  • View in-store floor maps; and

  • Find the nearest Duane Reade or Walgreens and filter search results based on store type.

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FINANCE

Pier 1 Q4 profit down 46% without last year’s tax benefit

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Worth, Texas — Pier 1’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 46% compared with last year, when the chain recorded a large, one-time tax benefit.

The company earned $61.7 million in the three months that ended March 2, compared with $115.2 million in last year’s quarter. Revenue rose 16% to $551.6 million. Same-store sales climbed 7.9%.

For the full year, Pier 1 earned $129.4 million on $1.7 billion in revenue.

For its current fiscal year, the chain expects to open 30 stores.

“Now that our transformation to a multichannel retailer is well underway, the business is at an important inflection point,” said Cary H. Turner, senior EVP and CFO. “This year, we will be making prudent investments, including additional headcount, to support our growth.

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