Sunday, March 01, 2009

Shoppers Drug Mart's cure for the recession

From the Financial Post:
The sorry economy may be sending customers in to a Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. outlet these days for some Xanax and a box of tissue to dry their tears.

But after posting 19 consecutive quarters of profit in a backsliding retail sector, what's important to chief executive Jurgen Schreiber is the added booty customers continue to walk out with: a tube of lipstick here, a scented candle there, a treat from the new line of antioxidant chocolate and perhaps some Royale toilet paper, offered that week at a fire-sale price. Before they know it, that trip for a box of Kleenex has morphed into a $150 basket of items at the checkout counter.

"People spend 20 to 30 minutes in our stores looking around," Mr. Schreiber said in a recent interview at his Toronto headquarters, shortly after Canada's largest drug store chain posted a fourth-quarter earnings rise of 14.4% and sales that leapt 15% to $2.5-billion. That's against an economic backdrop that saw the biggest overall retail sales decline in December since the same month in 1991, when the goods and services tax was introduced. Sales fell 5.4% from November, while economists were projecting a decline of up to 3%. ...more

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