Magazine article Drug Topics

'Good' Results

Magazine article Drug Topics

'Good' Results

Article excerpt

The 1996 holiday season was less than magical for many retailers, but drug chains seem happy with their results. "Christmas went very well for us this year," said John Rudden, merchandising v.p. for Happy Harry's Discount Drugs. "If retailers in general were saying 'moderate,' we'd say our sales were 'good."'

Just how good, however, Happy Harry's wasn't saying yet. But Walgreens announced sales gains of 13.6% for December 1996 over the corresponding period in 1995. Sales in comparable stores rose 7.7%, and the company said it exceeded its sales goals for the season.

"It took almost through the season to be able to tell where we were," said Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin. The bulk of the chain's holiday sales came just before Christmas and during the run-up to the new year.

That wasn't an unusual pattern, said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, which interviews shoppers each Sunday during the holiday season. Sales were strong just after Thanksgiving, but the momentum slipped. Consumer spending finally rebounded in a frenzy of last-minute buying, but the season still left many retailers disappointed.

J.C. Penney, reporting weak sales, said its fourth-quarter earnings would be down. Dayton Hudson reported moderate increases at comparative stores, but only because sales were strong at its Target division.

Drug chains, on the other hand, seemed to have fared better. "It was an excellent holiday season for the company," said a spokesman for Arbor Drugs. …

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