FINANCE

Walgreens, Rite Aid June same-store sales rise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield, Ill. – Same-store sales at both Walgreens and Rite Aid increased in June, compared to the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales grew 7.5% at Walgreens and 3.9% at Rite Aid.

Calendar day shifts helped boost same-store sales at Walgreens, while the introduction of new generic drugs had a negative impact. In addition, Walgreens had June sales of $6.28 billion, an increase of 8.9% from $5.77 billion for the same month in fiscal 2013.

Meanwhile, prescription count growth helped fuel same-store sales at Rite Aid, whose total drugstore sales for the four-week period increased 3.5% to $1.995 billion compared to $1.927 billion for the same period last year.

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FINANCE

Facebook buys video ad company LiveRail

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menlo Park, Calif. – Facebook has agreed to acquire LiveRail, an advertising technology company that helps companies serve better ads in the videos that appear on their websites and apps. LiveRail, founded in 2007, also provides marketers with access to premium video inventory and data to help decide where to show their ads.

In a press release, Facebook said that LiveRail’s video supply-side platform (SSP) “ultimately offers is a complete advertising solution for video publishers,” and that it is excited for the future of video advertising.

Facebook has been active with digital display ads, including recent forays into a mobile ad network and ads targeted by user browsing history. But although Facebook has done some video advertising in its news feeds, purchasing LiveRail demonstrates a much wider interest in video ads moving forward. Rival Google has been heavily involved in video advertising. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Report: Amazon faces FTC suit over kids’ in-app purchases

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly drafted a complaint against Amazon.com regarding what it says have been millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app purchases by children using Amazon devices. According to Reuters, the FTC wants to Amazon to make refunds of unauthorized child purchases of digital goods and services within existing apps downloaded by their parents, as well as compensate the FTC for court costs.

Amazon, which has been in negotiations with the FTC on the issue, changed its policies on how in-app purchases are processed in June 2014. The retailer has also said that its refund policy for in-app purchases is clear, but many consumers have complained that it is difficult and confusing. Apple settled a similar complaint with the FTC for $32.5 million in January 2014; Amazon says its policies already meet or exceed the policies Apple adopted as part of that settlement.

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