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March 19, 2012

A miniature version of the spike in stock market activity that followed speculation about the prospects of a Walgreens-Rite Aid merger happened on Drug Store News' website as a quick writeup about the potential deal became the most-read story on the site. But for all the buzz that Credit Suisse analyst Edward Kelly created with his report, a Walgreens-Rite Aid merger appears pretty unlikely on closer inspection.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — A miniature version of the spike in stock market activity that followed speculation about the prospects of a Walgreens-Rite Aid merger happened on Drug Store News' website as a quick writeup about the potential deal became the most-read story on the site.

(THE NEWS: Reports: WAG-RAD merger speculation drives RAD stock to four-year high. For the full story, click here)

March 14, 2012

Grocer A&P has emerged from bankruptcy as a privately held company.

MONTVALE, N.J. — Grocer A&P has emerged from bankruptcy as a privately held company.

As previously announced, Mount Kellett Capital Management, The Yucaipa Cos. and investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, have provided $490 million in debt and equity financing to sponsor A&P’s reorganization plan and complete its balance sheet restructuring. In addition, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse arranged a $645 million exit financing facility.

March 14, 2012

Shares of Rite Aid crossed the $2 mark Wednesday afternoon following analyst speculation about the prospects of a takeover by Walgreens, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — Shares of Rite Aid crossed the $2 mark Wednesday afternoon following analyst speculation about the prospects of a takeover by Walgreens, according to published reports.

February 3, 2012

The impact of the failed Express Scripts negotiations on Walgreens' sales has been significant to date, as evidenced by Walgreens' January sales release issued Friday.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The impact of the failed Express Scripts negotiations on Walgreens' sales has been significant to date, as evidenced by Walgreens' January sales release issued Friday.

Walgreens reported a sales decline of 2.3% for the month of January to $5.8 billion — the first month operating outside of the Express Scripts pharmacy network. A flu season that has yet to materialize also has had a significant impact on comparable sales figures.

Sales in comparable stores were down 4.6%, falling below analyst consensus of down 2.6%.

January 5, 2012

Walgreens on Thursday reported an approximate 150 basis-point negative impact on prescriptions filled based on prescription transfers, and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts, as the chain posted its first monthly earnings statement following the discontinuation of Walgreens' relationship with Express Scripts.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday reported an approximate 150 basis-point negative impact on prescriptions filled based on prescription transfers, and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts, as the chain posted its first monthly earnings statement following the discontinuation of Walgreens' relationship with Express Scripts. That represents an increase from a 110 basis-point impact in November, but falls short of the 200 basis-point impact projected by Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly earlier this week.

January 3, 2012

Retailers will report weak December front-end sales growth across the drug channel as continued inflation likely was offset by the slow start to the flu season and disappointing overall traffic and volume growth, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly suggested in a note published Tuesday.

NEW YORK — Retailers will report weak December front-end sales growth across the drug channel as continued inflation likely was offset by the slow start to the flu season and disappointing overall traffic and volume growth, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly suggested in a note published Tuesday.

"While drug stores have been fairly successful passing through product cost inflation at the shelf, our Nielsen Trend Tracker shows that volumes have decelerated in recent months given the weak consumer and normal price elasticity," he wrote.

December 1, 2011

Kroger posted its 32nd consecutive same-store sales gains as the grocer continues to grab market share due to a combination of a customer service initiative and value pricing.

CINCINNATI — Kroger posted its 32nd consecutive same-store sales gains as the grocer continues to grab market share due to a combination of a customer service initiative and value pricing.

October 13, 2011

Sales at Safeway are looking up thanks in large part to fuel gains, but the grocer's loyalty card program is expected to continue driving that sales momentum into next year as the company rolls out its Just for U digital marketing platform and explores health-and-wellness initiatives.

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Sales at Safeway are looking up thanks in large part to fuel gains, but the grocer's loyalty card program is expected to continue driving that sales momentum into next year as the company rolls out its Just for U digital marketing platform and explores health-and-wellness initiatives.

October 5, 2011

Walgreens on Wednesday reported September sales of $6 billion, an increase of 5.4%.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday reported September sales of $6 billion, an increase of 5.4%. Sales in comparable stores increased 3.1%. The effect of calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 10 basis points.

September 9, 2011

Trips are up, but baskets are down, Kroger reported Friday morning, along with positive second-quarter results. Gas sales also are up with the decline in fuel prices, which is an item Kroger continues to use as a stickiness factor with its loyalty card program.

CINCINNATI — Trips are up, but baskets are down, Kroger reported Friday morning, along with positive second-quarter results. Gas sales also are up with the decline in fuel prices, which is an item Kroger continues to use as a stickiness factor with its loyalty card program.

August 29, 2011

By the time sales figures for August are tallied, last week's Hurricane Irene may have flooded more than the East Coast seaboard; she may have flooded pharmacy registers, too.

NEW YORK — By the time sales figures for August are tallied, last week's Hurricane Irene may have flooded more than the East Coast seaboard; she may have flooded pharmacy registers, too.

August 19, 2011

Express Scripts is readying for a pharmacy network without Walgreens, according to an analyst report published Thursday.

NEW YORK — Express Scripts is readying for a pharmacy network without Walgreens, according to an analyst report published Thursday.

Credit Suisse analyst Edward Kelly reported that Express Scripts issued a letter to clients on Monday encouraging those clients to begin pushing prescriptions to alternative pharmacies. "While this is the next logical step in this very public negotiation, it supports our view that a near-term resolution is unlikely and suggests that the possibility of no deal (while still low) is increasing," Kelly wrote.

August 3, 2011

Walgreens on Wednesday reported July sales of $5.82 billion, an increase of 4.7%.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday reported July sales of $5.82 billion, an increase of 4.7%.

July 26, 2011

Financial services firm Credit Suisse tabulated total basket increases of 2.7% year over year and 1% month over month for retail.

NEW YORK — Financial services firm Credit Suisse tabulated total basket increases of 2.7% year over year and 1% month over month for retail.

“Our monthly pricing survey in Dallas and Chicago showed that all retailers raised prices on a year-over-year and month-over-month basis with the exception of Jewel [a Supervalu banner operating in Chicago],” Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly wrote in a note published Monday.

July 6, 2011

Walgreens’ stock was trading up 30 cents to $43.03 on the New York Stock Exchange mid-morning on Wednesday thanks to favorable same-store sales growth of 4.8% for the month of June versus an analyst consensus estimate of 2.8%.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens’ stock was trading up 30 cents to $43.03 on the New York Stock Exchange mid-morning on Wednesday thanks to favorable same-store sales growth of 4.8% for the month of June versus an analyst consensus estimate of 2.8%.

June 22, 2011

After Walgreens made its contract dispute with Express Scripts public on Tuesday morning, the pharmacy benefit manager stated it is open to continued negotiations with Walgreens.

ST. LOUIS — After Walgreens made its contract dispute with Express Scripts public on Tuesday morning, the pharmacy benefit manager stated it is open to continued negotiations with Walgreens.

May 11, 2011

Credit Suisse on Wednesday initiated coverage of General Nutrition Centers, the specialty retailer of supplement and nutritional products and partner with Rite Aid in a store-within-a-store program across more than 1,000 drug store locations.

NEW YORK — Credit Suisse on Wednesday initiated coverage of General Nutrition Centers, the specialty retailer of supplement and nutritional products and partner with Rite Aid in a store-within-a-store program across more than 1,000 drug store locations.

April 15, 2011

Drug stores may be best positioned to navigate any headwinds whipped up by rising fuel costs and may even benefit from them, a Credit Suisse analysis published Friday found.

NEW YORK — Drug stores may be best positioned to navigate any headwinds whipped up by rising fuel costs and may even benefit from them, a Credit Suisse analysis published Friday found.

April 14, 2011

Supervalu on Thursday reported better-than-expected results with an earnings per share of 44 cents, which was 10 cents above analyst consensus of 34 cents.

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Thursday reported better-than-expected results with an earnings per share of 44 cents, which was 10 cents above analyst consensus of 34 cents.

“A lower-than-expected tax rate and LIFO charge helped by about 4 cents; the company still cleanly beat consensus,” noted Credit Suisse director equity research Ed Kelly. “It’s obvious that the company pulled back on the unsuccessful promotions initiated last quarter.”

April 1, 2011

GNC Thursday evening announced its initial public offering of 22.5 million shares of its Class A common stock at an opening price of $16 per share.

PITTSBURGH — GNC Thursday evening announced its initial public offering of 22.5 million shares of its Class A common stock at an opening price of $16 per share.

Of the shares offered, 16 million are being issued and sold by GNC and 6.5 million shares are being sold by selling stockholders.

In addition, selling stockholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3.4 million shares. That offering is expected to close on April 6.

March 21, 2011

Following the recent sale of Walgreens' pharmacy benefit management business, Credit Suisse analysts said they are interested in the executive team's updated thinking on their healthcare strategy and plans for the $550 million in proceeds.

NEW YORK — Following the recent sale of Walgreens' pharmacy benefit management business, Credit Suisse analysts said they are interested in the executive team's updated thinking on their healthcare strategy and plans for the $550 million in proceeds.

March 3, 2011

Walgreens on Thursday posted sales growth of 8.7% to $18.5 billion for its second quarter ended Feb. 28.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday posted sales growth of 8.7% to $18.5 billion for its second quarter ended Feb. 28.

Comparable-store sales were up 4%, with a 4% increase across front-end same-store sales. Prescriptions filled grew by 4.5%; quarterly same-store pharmacy sales were not provided.

February 28, 2011

The flu may drive consumers to bed, but drug store sales are expected to benefit from an increase in flu activity, according to a Credit Suisse research note.

NEW YORK — The flu may drive consumers to bed, but drug store sales are expected to benefit from an increase in flu activity, according to a Credit Suisse research note.

Credit Suisse research analyst Edward Kelly on Monday noted that as Walgreens and Rite Aid would report their monthly sales on March 3, comparable pharmacy sales would be driven by increased flu activity.

February 10, 2011

This year’s upcoming $29 billion wave of margin-friendly generic pharmaceuticals will be as big a growth catalyst for supermarket pharmacies as it will be for their pureplay drug store cousins, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly stated in a note published Thursday.

NEW YORK — This year’s upcoming $29 billion wave of margin-friendly generic pharmaceuticals will be as big a growth catalyst for supermarket pharmacies as it will be for their pureplay drug store cousins, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly stated in a note published Thursday.

Conservative projection models place the generic impact at 3% to 5% accretive to 2012 earnings, he reported, given that the channel fills between 10% and 15% of all retail prescriptions.

January 4, 2011

Rite Aid brought the New Year in with a bang, recording monthly same-store sales increases across both the front end and back bench for the first time in almost two years.

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid brought the New Year in with a bang, recording monthly same-store sales increases across both the front end and back bench for the first time in almost two years.