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Hi-School eyes new opportunities.

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Hi-School Pharmacy Services' sales were up last year over 2008, "which we consider to be very positive in light of the financial climate we are currently in," says copresident and chief operating officer Jack Holt.

Pharmacy sales were very strong across the chain in 2009, he adds. And the retailer experienced better-than-expected same-store sales growth in the first quarter of 2010.

Hi-School, which will remodel one or two stores this fiscal year, remains committed to its core business of pharmacy but continues to look for other growth opportunities as they present themselves.

For example, the retailer will test ink cartridge refilling machines at four stores early this spring and plans to roll them out chainwide this year if they perform as expected.

Meanwhile, Hi-School is competing with discount generic drug programs through its preferred customer prescription discount card. Cardholders can get prescriptions for as little as $4.

In both the prescription and over-the-counter drug categories, Hi-School benefits from its relationship with Cardinal Health Inc., which was renewed in 2008.

In the front end the chain offers savings with the Premier Value line. As a member of the Chain Drug Consortium, Hi-School offers products under the Premier Value umbrella ranging from fabric softener to vitamins, and gel insoles to sinus treatments.

And with the retailer's Life-pics digital photography offering, customers can order photo prints online, pick them up at participating stores, share and organize photos, and create cards, calendars, photo books and more.

While the chain's sale of 11 stores to Walgreen Co. in 2004 created doubts about its future, Hi-School is still going strong. with stores ranging from apothecary-type clinic units to an outlet with 40,000 square feet in Silverton, Ore. There is also a managed care operation servicing 3,000 beds, as well as pharmacies in doctor's offices and two in grocery stores.

Among Hi-School's distinctions are units combining a pharmacy, a variety/craft/fabric store and a hardware store. Hi-School has some stores co-branded with Ace Hardware and others that share a banner with True Value.

The largest combination store, the Silverton outlet, devotes 19,000 square feet to Ace Hardware, 19,000 square feet to variety/craft/fabric goods and 2,000 square feet to a pharmacy, including a drive-up window.

Hi-School also operates its own warehouse, under the name PriceMart, in Portland, Ore. Open to retailers outside the chain, PriceMart primarily inventories seasonal products, promotional goods and private label items.

HI-SCHOOL PHARMACY SERVICES

* TOP EXECUTIVES

Winn Muffett, copresident and CEO

Jack Holt, copresident and COO

* HEADQUARTERS

916 West Evergreen Blvd.

Vancouver, Wash. 98660

Phone: (360) 693-5879

Web site: hi-schoolpharmacy.com

* INDUSTRY PARLE--34 in sales, 34 in stores

* Full-year results

Sales--$128.5 million *

Net earnings--N/A

Net margin--N/A

Comparable-store sales--N/A

* Number of drug stores--27

* Number of states operating--2

* Number of stores opened in 2009--0

* Number of stores planned for 2010--N/A

* Average sales per store--$4.76 million

* Average store size--15,000 sq. ft.

* Distribution--Warehouse

* Other businesses--Long-term care pharmacy

* CDR estimate.

N/A = Not available.

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Title Annotation:State of the Industry/The Chains
Comment:Hi-School eyes new opportunities.(State of the Industry/The Chains)
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Company overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 26, 2010
Words:505
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