retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Seattle Times reports that Costco has said that it "has been informed by federal attorneys that they believe the company has violated civil regulations about the handling of prescriptions for controlled substances.

"In a quarterly filing, the Issaquah warehouse club said it is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s offices in several districts on the matter. Costco had previously disclosed receiving subpoenas from the Drug Enforcement Administration and administrative inspection warrants concerning 'the company’s fulfillment of prescriptions related to controlled substances and related practices'."

What prompted the investigation, the story says, was the discovery by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that a "West Sacramento Costco … had been buying more hydrocodone, a prescription painkiller, than any other pharmacy in California."

Fortune reports that Rite Aid's Q3 financials were significantly better than expected, with profits that were double the same period a year ago. The reason, according to the story: "Rite Aid has been remodeling its stores from its older format into a wellness model that focuses on the pharmacy business. This includes a new product mix of wellness-centered items. To date, the company has revamped 33% of its stores nationwide. That’s helped boost same-store sales, which are up 5.4% year-over-year. Much of that growth can be attributed to its pharmacy business, which saw same-store sales rise 7.2% year-over-year."
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