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Stop & Shop donated more than $22 million in 2011

BY Allison Cerra

New York — Stop & Shop announced that its New England and New York Metro divisions and its customers were able to give back more than $22 million in 2011 into the hundreds of communities in which they operate.

The supermarket chain said 2011 was a benchmark year of commitment to alleviating hunger, supporting health and wellness initiatives with emphasis on healthy kids, as well as developing partnerships to support local communities. These accomplishments were achieved through partnerships with Feeding America, the American Red Cross, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and more, as well as such campaigns as Triple Winner, the chain’s Food for Friends campaign and more.

"Stop & Shop is thankful to have customers, associates, and partners who care about making a difference in the communities we serve," Stop & Shop New England division president Mark McGowan said. "The need is great everywhere — from providing meals to those who are going hungry or ensuring our kids grow to be healthy, productive adults. With the power of all of us coming together, we were able to make a real impact and truly help change lives last year. Stop & Shop cannot thank everyone enough for their unending generosity."

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Walgreens’ overall sales up 1.5% for the month of February

BY Michael Johnsen

Deerfield, Ill. — Higher front-end sales for the month of February helped counter-balance lost revenue from Express Scripts prescriptions, Walgreeens reported Monday. Overall, the drug store chain reported a 1.5% sales increase to $5.9 billion.

Shares of Walgreens were up slightly by 8 cents to $32.77 in early morning trading.

This year’s total February sales benefited from one extra day because of leap year, the company noted. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 9.5% in February (comp sales do not include that extra day). In addition to Express Scripts, lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable store prescriptions filled by 1.2 percentage points.

February pharmacy sales decreased 1.4%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales decreased 8.6%. Comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 2.2 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, by 2.4 percentage points due to lower incidence of cough, cold and flu and by 10.6 percentage points due to no longer being part of the Express Scripts network.

Additionally, the negative impact on comparable-store prescriptions filled, due to no longer being part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network, was 10.7 percentage points. Prescriptions processed by Express Scripts comprised 12.6% of Walgreens prescriptions in February 2011.

Pharmacy sales accounted for 61.6% of total sales for the month.

Total front-end sales increased 6.9% compared with the same month in 2011, while comparable-store front-end sales increased 2%. Customer traffic in comparable stores was down 0.2% while basket size was up 2.2%.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were 5.5 million versus 6.3 million last year.

Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 were $18.6 billion, up 0.7% from the same period a year ago.

Fiscal 2012 year-to-date sales for the first six months were $36.8 billion, up 2.6%. Calendar year-to-date sales were $11.6 billion, a decrease of 0.6%.

Walgreens opened 10 stores during February, including one relocation, and acquired one store.

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Sears Canada stores closing in three major cities

BY CSA STAFF

TORONTO — Sears Canada is closing three downtown stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. The move follows an announcement last month by Sears Holdings, the majority owner of Sears Canada, that it will raise about $770 million by spinning off parts of its business and selling prime real estate.

“While we had no plans to close stores, the transaction for these three specific locations provides an attractive financial benefit for the company which strategically allows us to drive growth in areas which can be most beneficial,” said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. We are investing in a refresh of our stores and piloting new formats which will provide Canadians exciting ways to access Sears products and services.”

Sears Canada plans to close locations at the Vancouver Pacific Centre, the Calgary Chinook Centre and the Ottawa Rideau Centre by Oct. 31, 2012. It will return the locations to developer Cadillac Fairview Corp Ltd for C$170 million. The transaction is expected to close on or around April 20.

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