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Rite Aid same-store sales down 3% in Q3

BY Alaric Dearment

Camp Hill, Pa. — As expected, Hurricane Sandy left its mark on Rite Aid’s monthly sales as the chain reported a decline in comps for November.

The company said the 3% decrease in same-store sales for the five-week period ended Saturday included a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps and a 4.2% decrease in pharmacy comps, while same-store prescription count increased 2.2% compared with the same time last year.

The company had anticipated a negative effect from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeast in October, killing dozens and leaving millions without power and forcing most retailers to temporarily close down their stores in the affected region. According to Rite Aid, the total effect of Sandy included a negative effect of 0.4% on front-end comps and 1.5% on same-store prescription count. Still, the company said last month that it did not expect Sandy to significantly affect its fiscal year 2013 sales overall.

Total drugstore sales for the month decreased by 2.3%, to $2.396 billion, from $2.452 billion in November 2011.

For the 13 weeks ended on Saturday, comps decreased by 1.5%, including a 1.1% increase in front-end comps and a 2.7% decrease in pharmacy comps. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.6%. For the year to date, comps increased by 0.3%, including a 1.7% increase in front-end comps, a 0.4% decrease in pharmacy comps and a 3.5% increase in same-store prescription count.

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Ethan Allen will use Demandware’s global commerce capabilities to grow online presence

BY Marianne Wilson

Burlington, Mass. — Demandware announced Ethan Allen Interiors will leverage the Demandware Commerce platform as the digital foundation of its global expansion strategy.

Ethan Allen recently launched its first site on the Demandware platform in Canada to coincide with the grand opening of its first Design Center in Montreal. Ethan Allen plans to re-launch its U.S. e-commerce site with Demandware in 2013 in addition to site launches in other countries, including Europe, to support its new design center in Brussels.

“We are focused on growing our global business by generating awareness for our brand including where we do not yet have brick and mortar locations.” said Farooq Kathwari, chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen. “Our expanded online presence, powered by Demandware, will help us reach more customers to raise awareness of the Ethan Allen brand, while also driving traffic into our international Design Centers. With Demandware, we can roll out sites quickly across the globe and deliver the high level of customer service for which Ethan Allen is known.”

Beyond the capabilities that enable global operations on a single instance, the new Ethan Allen sites will incorporate a number of features to enhance the shopping experience. Each country specific site will also provide local currency pricing and offer multiple language options for the customer.

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ShopperTrak: Foot traffic up 3.7% year-over-year for post-Thanksgiving week

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — A report on Wednesday from ShopperTrak showed that retail foot traffic increased 3.7% and sales increased 2.3% year-over-year for the week beginning Nov. 25, ending Dec. 1.

This represented a 28.8% decline in traffic and 22.4% decline in sales from the 2012 Black Friday shopping week.

According to ShopperTrak, this sharp decline in retail foot traffic and sales is typical of the week following Thanksgiving. Shoppers may visit stores for Black Friday promotions, but often stay at home the following week as they assess current budgets and create new shopping lists.

"The holiday season has just begun,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Black Friday shopping remains an American tradition — and consumers took advantage of promotions the entire week this year. Many usually scale back their in-store visits around this time in favor of online shopping for Cyber Monday deals. We expect consumers to return to stores in increasing numbers to complete their holiday shopping in the coming weeks."

With 20 more shopping days left before Christmas, shoppers have two full weeks and three weekends to make their lists and check them twice this holiday season. Some may wait for retailers to reduce prices prior to Christmas for last-minute deals. As a result, ShopperTrak predicts the week before Christmas — week of Dec. 16 — to be the largest retail sales week of the year.

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