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Walgreens net earnings soar

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. – Walgreen Co. reported a healthy 68% surge in net earnings during the first quarter of fiscal 2014 to $695 million from $413 million in the same period a year earlier.

Net sales rose about 6%, to $18.3 billion from $17.3 billion, while same-store sales grew 5.4%.
A dramatic increase in equity earnings from Alliance Boots, with which Walgreens launched a strategic partnership in October 2012, helped drive the company’s net earnings growth. Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said that generic drugs and promotions negatively affected the company’s margins during the quarter.

“Given the continued soft economy, we were generally satisfied with our top-line growth where we increased both traffic and sales for the quarter as well as our pharmacy market share,” Wasson said. “However, the year-over-year negative impact related to generics, including the significant shift in the generic wave from a peak a year ago to a trough this quarter as well as our strategic decision to make meaningful promotional investments in our daily living business, affected our margins for the quarter. That said, by continuing our strong focus on managing our expenses, we were able to continue growing gross profit dollars faster than costs during the quarter.”

As of Nov. 30, 2013, Walgreens operated 8,681 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company has 8,200 drug stores nationwide including Duane Reade stores, 142 more than a year ago.

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FINANCE

Finish Line swings to Q3 profit, beats Street

BY Dan Berthiaume

Indianapolis — Finish Line reported net earnings of $1.59 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2014, a return to profitability after reporting a net loss of $809,000 in the same period of the prior fiscal year.

Consolidated net sales were $364.5 million, up about 23% from $296.6 million and ahead of the $353 million projected by Wall Street.

Same-store sales grew 7.1%, helping to produce the retailer’s successful results. For fiscal year 2014, Finish Line now expects same-store sales to increase approximately 3%-4% compared to its previous expectation for a low single digit increase.

“We are very pleased with the top and bottom line performance we delivered in the third quarter,” said chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon. “Our commitment to developing a premier omni-channel platform is strengthening both our customer relationships and our brand partnerships while also reinforcing our market leadership position. We are continually adapting and refining our strategies in this rapidly evolving retail landscape to ensure we meet the needs of today’s empowered consumer. Finish Line is on the right strategic course and is well-positioned to deliver on our near and longer term goals.”

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Oracle exec joins 1010data

BY CSA STAFF

Big data discovery and data sharing firm 1010data, Inc., named former Oracle exec Richard Michalec as its AVP of retail strategy and strategic accounts.

Michalec previously served as global vp for retail industries at Oracle where he spent 14 years and led efforts between the companys field sales teams and global customers. In his new role at 1010data, Michalec’s expertise in developing strategic solutions for leading retail brands will be central to his responsibilities as will executing the company’s vision of data-driven retailing and enhanced collaboration between retailers and their suppliers.

“1010data is excited to welcome such a highly respected and renowned retail expert as Michalec to its team,” said Sandy Steier, CEO of 1010data. “Richard understands how technology can propel retailers to increased success and greater customer loyalty. Richard’s experience working with companies such as Nordstrom, Walmart, Starbucks, and Gap will prove invaluable to the company as we work to help retailers realize the benefits cloud-based Big Data analytics offer up and down the retail value chain.”

Michalec’s tenure at Oracle coincided with the company’s push across the retail industry landscape. He was directly involved in helping Oracle expand its software portfolio and strategically target market segments as the company became the retail industry’s largest software vendor. In addition to his executive roles at Oracle, Michalec spent 16 years at Unisys Corporation, where he held a number of high-level positions in sales, pre-sales, marketing, product management, and business development.

“I am proud to be helping to drive the adoption of 1010data’s capabilities and innovations that were first created for Wall Street and are now available for Main Street,” Michalec said. “1010data has incredible technology and world-class data scientists. Their innovative uses of both external and internal datasets are delivering the solutions and insights that are so badly needed by today’s consumer industries. I am excited to be a part of a proven offering in the industry that is my passion.”

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