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Survey ranks the best—and worst—states for business

BY Marianne Wilson

The Lone Star State is business-friendly — and then some.

For the 14th year running, Texas has claimed the top spot in Chief Executive’s 2018 “Best and Worst States for Business.” Rounding out the top five are Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Indiana.

At the other end of the spectrum is California, which has the dubious honor of being the worst state for business, coming in dead last in the ranking. Also at the bottom is New York (No. 49), Illinois (No. 48), New Jersey (No. 47), Connecticut (No. 46) and Massachusetts (No. 45).

The rankings reflect CEO perceptions of best and worst states based on a range of measures, including workforce, taxes and regulation, and living environment. For the complete ranking, click here.

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Wayfair’s loss widens in Q1

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite an increase in active shoppers and higher spending among repeat customers, Wayfair’s loss deepened during the first quarter of 2018.

For the quarter ended March 31, Wayfair reported a net loss of $107.8 million, compared to $56.5 million for the same period last year. This also equated to a loss per share of $0.91, compared to $0.46 in the first quarter of 2017.

The retailer’s net revenue soared to $1.4 billion, a 48% increase from $960.83 million a year ago. The company also had 11.8 million active customers in the quarter, a 33% increase over last year.

And their purchases were also on the rise. Orders per customer increased to 1.79 for the quarter from 1.73 last year. Repeat customers placed 3.8 million orders, an increase of 48.9% year-over-year. These customers were responsible for 64.3% of total orders for the quarter, compared to 60.4% in the first quarter of 2017.

Average order value was $236, compared to $223 for the same quarter last year.

“Our direct retail business continues to grow at a strong rate, both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair. “As our customers benefit from the investments we have been making across our business, [they] reward us with their loyalty and spending.”

 

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CVS Health earnings top Street on strong Rx growth

BY David Salazar

CVS Health on Wednesday reported solid earnings for its first quarter and affirmed its 2018 guidance as the close of its acquisition of Aetna comes into sight.

The company also released a 2018 earnings forecast that was higher than analysts expected. CVS Health predicts 2018 adjusted earnings of between $6.87 and $7.08 per share. Analysts had forecast, on average, earnings of $6.47 per share.

CVS Health reported a profit of $998 million in the first quarter, ended March 31, with adjusted earnings of $1.48 per share. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.41 a share.

Total net revenue rose 2.6% to $45.7 billion, in line with estimates. Same-store prescription volume growth in the company’s retail/long-term care segment grew 8.5% year-over-year, driving a 5.6% increase in segment revenues, which totaled $20.4 billion for the quarter. The company attributed script growth to partnerships with health plans and pharmacy benefits managers, inclusion in Medicare Part D plans and brand price inflation.

Same-store sales grew 5.8%. Pharmacy same-store sales increased 7.3% in the quarter. Front-end store same-store sales rose 1.6%, helped by the shift in the timing of Easter into the first quarter this year and a bad cold and flu season.

The company’s pharmacy services segment saw revenue increase 3.2% to $32.2 billion, which it largely attributed to increased pharmacy network and specialty claim volume, as well as brand inflation.

“We generated solid results in the quarter, benefiting from higher prescription volumes within our retail pharmacy business and a lower effective income tax rate,” said CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo. “At the same time, we continue to focus on long-term growth initiatives and to invest in process improvements and technology enhancements that will position us well to expand our reach in providing access to high-quality and more affordable care.”

CVS Health said it expects its Aetna acquisition to close in the second half of the year.

“Looking forward, the Aetna transaction will provide us the means to further lower health care costs for consumers and payers,” said Merlo. “In March, the transaction was approved by shareholders of both companies,” Merlo said. “We are moving forward on both the regulatory and integration planning fronts in support of a close in the second half of this year and a smooth, efficient integration of operations.”

Click here for expert analysis.

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