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Walgreens to buy BioScrip’s specialty, mail-order operations for $225 million

BY Staff Writer

Deerfield, Ill. — BioScrip Inc. said it will sell certain assets of its community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty and mail service pharmacy businesses to Walgreens for about $225 million.

The deal includes about $170 million in cash at closing and retention by BioScrip of associated accounts receivable and working capital liabilities of about $55 million.

Walgreens said the acquisition fits its strategy to advance community pharmacy and bring additional specialty pharmacy products and services closer to patients. The acquisition will also help grow Walgreens centralized specialty and mail service pharmacy operations.

“Together, BioScrip’s clinically focused community specialty pharmacies and access to additional limited distribution drug therapies, and Walgreens existing nationwide network of retail and health system pharmacies create a strong network of support for our core drugstore business to provide specialty pharmacy solutions to our patients,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Many of our patients will benefit from expanded access to new and limited distribution drugs for chronic conditions such as HIV, cancer and organ transplant.

BioScrip said it could receive up to an additional $60 million based on events related directly or indirectly to Walgreen’s retention of the businesses. BioScrip had said early last year that it was looking at strategic options to reduce rising costs, and went through a series of management changes.

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Limited leads apparel sector in January

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — The nation’s apparel retailers reported mixed results for January as shoppers remain cautious about spending in the uncertain economy.

“It was as tough month as retailers battled holiday hangover, lack of incentive to shop and mild winter that killed outerwear clearance," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics Inc., in a Reuters report.

As the first month of the year, January accounts for only 20% November-January sales, and 7% of annual sales, according to RetailMetrics.

Limited Brands continued to outperform, reporting a 9% gain in same-store sales in January that was well above the 2.7% that analysts expected. The chain’s total sales climbed 2.6% to $774.5 million. Limited said it now expects fourth quarter earnings to be at the high end of its prior guidance.

Gap Inc. said its same-store sales fell 4%, which was better than estimates for a 5.1% decline. Total sales fell 1.2% to $833 million. Gap CEO Glenn Murphy said he was pleased by the company’s performance in a “clearance-based” month focused on unloading leftover holiday inventory.

“As we transition to a new year, our teams are focused on making the necessary steps to improve our business performance in 2012,” Murphy said.

In other same-store results for January:

  • Zumiez Inc. said its sales rose 10.8%, well above expectations.

  • The Buckle reported a 7.4%, just below estimates for 7.5%. Total sales grew 10.9% to $50.3 million.

  • Cato Corp.’s sales fell 6%, but the company issued slightly higher guidance for the coming quarter. CEO John Cato said in a statement that sales at the end of the month were hurt "by the timing of tax refunds," but he didn’t offer further explanation.

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Limited shines in January

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The nation’s apparel retailers reported mixed results for January as shoppers remain cautious about spending in the uncertain economy.

“It was as tough month as retailers battled holiday hangover, lack of incentive to shop and mild winter that killed outerwear clearance," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics Inc., in a Reuters report.

As the first month of the year, January accounts for only 20% November-January sales, and 7% of annual sales, according to RetailMetrics.

Limited Brands continued to outperform, reporting a 9% gain in same-store sales in January that was well above the 2.7% that analysts expected. The chain’s total sales climbed 2.6% to $774.5 million. Limited said it now expects fourth quarter earnings to be at the high end of its prior guidance.

Gap Inc. said its same-store sales fell 4%, which was better than estimates for a 5.1% decline. Total sales fell 1.2% to $833 million. Gap CEO Glenn Murphy said he was pleased by the company’s performance in a “clearance-based” month focused on unloading leftover holiday inventory.

“As we transition to a new year, our teams are focused on making the necessary steps to improve our business performance in 2012,” Murphy said.

In other same-store results for January:

  • Zumiez Inc. said its sales rose 10.8%, well above expectations.
  • The Buckle reported a 7.4%, just below estimates for 7.5%. Total sales grew 10.9% to $50.3 million.
  • Cato Corp.’s sales fell 6%, but the company issued slightly higher guidance for the coming quarter. CEO John Cato said in a statement that sales at the end of the month were hurt "by the timing of tax refunds," but he didn’t offer further explanation.

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