OPERATIONS

Walgreens launches online search tool to connect customers and pharmacist

BY Staff Writer

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens launched a new online tool called “Find Your Pharmacist,” that allows customers to select a pharmacist by matching their health care needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists.

While location historically has been a leading factor for selecting a pharmacy or pharmacist for prescription needs, new research by Walgreens shows clinical training and areas of expertise are also among respondents’ main reasons for selecting a pharmacy or pharmacist. In fact, nearly 70% of respondents would consider a different location or pharmacist if the pharmacist was trained in specific areas that suit their needs.

The search tool also provides a map and the opportunity to meet the store pharmacy team. Mobile users can also access the tool on-the-go through any web-enabled mobile device.

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FINANCE

Coach Q3 profit rises on 17% sales increase

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Coach Inc. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, benefiting from strong sales and improved margins. The company also announced that its board of directors has voted to increase its cash dividend by 33%.

Net income for the third quarter ended on March 31 was a better-than-expected $225 million compared with $186 million a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 16.6% to $1.11 billion, just above analysts’ expectations. Same-store sales in the United States rose 6.7%.

In China, sales jumped 60% and were on pace to hit at least $300 million this year.

Coach also said it is eliminating coupons at its factory outlet stores.

“Leveraging the underlying strength of our North American business we implemented a significant shift in our pricing strategy in factory stores during the quarter, as we eliminated in-store couponing across our network. Our new ‘no math’ pricing structure provides us with greater marketing flexibility, enabling us to balance productivity gains and margin improvement,” said Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief CEO, Coach.

The company said it will buy back its retail business in Malaysia this July, and Korea in 2013, from local partners. That follows similar moves by the chain in Taiwan this year and Singapore last year.

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News

RadioShack focuses on future after lackluster Q1

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — RadioShack’s sales and earnings fell in the first quarter, as the company struggles to deliver an effective mix or products and services to its customers.

The company reported that total net sales and operating revenues from continuing operations for the 2012 first quarter decreased 0.9% to $1.01 billion, compared with $1.02 billion for the 2011 first quarter. The decrease in total net sales and operating revenues for the 2012 first quarter was driven by a $61.6 million decrease in sales from U.S. RadioShack company-operated stores, the company said. This decrease was partially offset by a $52.5 million increase in other sales, reflecting an additional 610 Target Mobile centers in operation at March 31, compared with March 31, 2011. Comparable-store sales for company-operated stores and Target Mobile centers decreased 4.2% during the 2012 first quarter, which was primarily attributable to a decline in Sprint postpaid wireless sales, as well as decreased sales of prepaid wireless handsets, laptops and home entertainment accessories. This decrease was partially offset by higher postpaid wireless sales of AT&T, as well as sales of tablet devices, tablet accessories, headphones, and a net increase in sales at U.S. RadioShack company-operated stores of Verizon Wireless postpaid sales compared with T-Mobile postpaid sales in the 2011 first quarter.

Net loss for the 2012 first quarter totaled $8 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $35.1 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, for the 2011 first quarter.

Jim Gooch, president and CEO of RadioShack Corp., said, "As we anticipated, the first quarter was extremely challenging. While our results were disappointing, we are working quickly to drive top line growth and expand margins. We were pleased to see progress from initiatives we began implementing last year, particularly in our highest gross margin signature platform. We believe these initiatives contributed to monthly sequential improvement in Company performance throughout the quarter that has continued into April."

Gooch continued, "Moreover, we are acting decisively to improve our marketing, with a sharpened mobility message that heightens awareness of our broad mobile offerings, a changed media mix, and a new lead creative agency. We are continuing to capitalize on our successes in expanding product assortments in the signature product platform. And, we are pursuing incremental growth through targeted international ventures and relationships that build on our strengths."

In order to improve sales and profits, the company said it is focused on an ongoing shift to mobility, maximizing profits in its signature platform and pursuing growth opportunities.

Gooch concluded, "As we look to the remainder of 2012, we realize we have a lot of work to do, and we are focused on initiatives that are aligned with the areas of our business where we see the greatest opportunity. Specifically, we are building consumer awareness of our broader and more compelling mobility platform, regaining relevance and continued momentum within our signature business, and pursuing select incremental growth opportunities as we continue our disciplined approach to cash management and work to return value to our shareholders."

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