February 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

Drugstore.com posts record sales and profits

With a boost from non-prescription sales, Drugstore.com Inc. finished a year of record performance in 2008. Fourth quarter net income reached $289,000, compared to a year-earlier net loss of $2.3 million. The retailer posted sales increases on Beauty.com and VisionDirect.com as well as on Drugstore.com.

With a vitamin-like boost from over-the-counter, non-prescription sales, Drugstore.com Inc. finished a year of record performance for the 12 months ended Dec. 28. “I am pleased to report record quarterly OTC revenue and net income as we delivered a profitable fourth quarter,” says CEO and chairman Dawn Lepore.

Overall fourth quarter sales rose 2.9% year over year to $93.9 million, as net income reached $289,000, compared to a year-earlier loss of $2.3 million. For the full year, sales grew 8% to $366.6 million, as net loss narrowed to $8.3 million from $11.5 million.

Although holiday sales were off, as they were at many retailers, Drugstore says sales of basic over-the-counter products rose 6% to $69.8 million in the fourth quarter and 11% to $260.8 million for the year. These increases include growth on Drugstore’s cosmetics site, Beauty.com, of 9% for the quarter and 28% for the year.

In addition, separate sales of eyecare products on Drugstore’s VisionDirect.com grew 14.5% to $14.6 million for the fourth quarter and 12% to $61.4 million for the year.

Drugstore says it served about 406,000 new customers in the fourth quarter, up 8% from a year ago, as active customers reached 2.6 million, up 9%.

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

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