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Walgreen Q1 profit falls 4.5%, misses Street

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreen Co. reported Wednesday that profit for the quarter ended Nov. 30 dropped 4.5% to $554 million, compared with $580 million in the year-ago period. The drugstore operator cited a slow flu season and the decision to leave Express Scripts pharmacy network among the reasons for the performance dip.

Revenue for the quarter climbed 4.7% to $18.16 billion – a chain sales record – but missed Wall Street’s forecasted $18.24 billion in revenue. Total same-store sales rose 2.5%; front-end comps increased 2.4%.

Walgreens said it has made no progress in its negotiations with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, and the Jan. 1 severance date continues to loom. If Walgreens stops doing business with Express Scripts on Jan. 1, it stands to lose billions of dollars in annual sales.

During the quarter, the company opened or acquired 71 new drugstores (a net gain of 51 after relocations and closings), compared with a net gain of 89 a year earlier.

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AEO expands in the Middle East

BY CSA STAFF

PITTSBURGH — With the opening of stores in the new international markets of Morocco, Jordan and Egypt, as well as expansion plans in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, American Eagle Outfitters is establishing quite a presence in the Middle East.

American Eagle Outfitters opened in Jordan on Nov. 30 in Taj Mall. Morocco’s store opened in Casablanca at Morocco Mall on Dec. 1. The Egypt store is located in Cairo’s City Stars Mall, and opened on Dec. 10. The company also opened its third store in Saudi Arabia, and has plans for a second store in Lebanon in early 2012. The leading lifestyle brand, with a fleet of more than 1,000 stores worldwide, currently operates in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE through its franchise partner, M.H. Alshaya.

“American Eagle Outfitters’ ongoing international expansion is evidence of the success and positive customer response, as well as the expertise of our valued partner, M.H. Alshaya,” said Simon Nankervis, VP global business development for American Eagle Outfitters Inc. “We are continuously delighted by consumers’ excitement and passion for the American Eagle Outfitters brand as we pursue our international expansion strategy around the globe. We look forward to announcing new stores and additional countries in the coming months.”

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Stater Bros. donates $26K to Toys for Tots

BY CSA STAFF

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A regional supermarket chain and its charitable arm once again has donated funds to the United States Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.

Stater Bros., along with Stater Bros. Charities, earlier this month presented a $26,000 check to the program, which will be used to purchase toys that will be distributed to community-based organizations in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

"The Stater Bros. ‘family’ believes in giving back to the communities we serve," Stater Bros. chairman and CEO Jack Brown said. "We are very proud to help make the holiday wishes of so many children come true this year."

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