Drugstore.com's Increased Sales Provide Little Relief

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Drugstore.com needs a doctor.


The online pharmacy announced a fourth-quarter 2000 loss yesterday and projected more losses in 2001 as it prepared to bid farewell to its chief financial officer David Rostov and 125 other employees.


Despite experiencing fourth-quarter sales of $36.2 million, up $18.5 million from the same period in 1999, Drugstore.com, Bellevue, WA, posted a loss of $43.5 million for the last three months of 2000.


According to company officials, Drugstore.com had $130 million cash at the end of 2000 and will have enough money to survive until it attains break-even cash flow, which it expects to reach in 2004. The company has set its sales targets at $135 million to $145 million for 2001, but still expects to lose $83 million to $88 million for the year.


On Jan. 19, the company reported the upcoming resignation of Rostov, who will be replaced by Bob Barton, vice president and general manager of pharmacy operations, and of the upcoming layoffs.


The job cuts were made across the board and were part of an effort to cut Drugstore.com's annual expenses by $20 million, a company spokeswoman said.
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