News

Rite Aid’s pharmacy, Rx sales rise

BY CSA STAFF

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Overall same-store sales at Rite Aid decreased during March while pharmacy and prescription sales increased, the pharmacy retailer said Thursday.

Compared with last year, front-end same-store sales decreased by 1.8% during the four-week period that ended March 26, which the 4,711-store chain attributed to Easter falling on a later date this year, April 24, than last year, when it occurred on April 4.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales increased by 0.8%. This included a slight negative effect from the availability of new generics. Prescriptions increased by 0.6%.

Total drug store sales decreased by 0.9%, to about $1.95 billion, compared with $1.97 billion in March 2010. Prescription sales accounted for 69.4% of sales, while third-party prescription sales accounted for 96.5% of pharmacy sales.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Wal-Mart details China plans

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores plans to expand its presence in the smaller cities of China, Ed Chan, CEO and president of the company’s China operations, said today at an investor meeting by video conference, Bloomberg reported.

The discounter may also buy more land to build stores in China, which it predicted will be the world’s largest grocery market by 2014, according to the report. Wal-Mart is building its seventh Sam’s Club outlet in the northeastern port city of Dalian, on the first plot of land it bought in the country.

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FINANCE

H&M profit falls 30%

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Hennes & Mauritz AB Thursday reported that its net profit in the first quarter fell 30% from a year earlier on “significantly higher” cotton prices, higher transportation costs and a stronger Swedish krona. The chain said profit in the quarter ended Feb. 28 fell to 2.62 billion Swedish kronor ($414 million).

The gross margin slipped to 57.8% in the quarter from 61.9% a year ago, with H&M noting "significantly higher" cotton prices, less spare capacity and higher transportation costs along with a negative U.S. dollar effect.

The company said it plans to open 97 stores and close eight during the second quarter of the year. China, the United Kingdom and the United States are expected to be the biggest expansion markets for H&M in 2011.

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