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drugstore.com Predicts Profitability in 2003

Following a strong fourth quarter, with sales shooting up 19 percent over fourth quarter 2000 sales, Bellevue-based drugstore.com said Monday that it expects to hit positive EBITDA in 2003, one year earlier than expected.

"As our preliminary fourth quarter results are showing, drugstore.com is well-positioned to reach profitability earlier than originally forecasted," said Kal Raman, president and chief executive officer of the health-focused e-tailer. "We have been able to increase our sales, increase our customer base and lower our cash use, while maintaining a commitment to both our customers and investors. We believe drugstore.com will turn EBITDA positive in 2003 and, in fact, will be EBITDA positive for the fiscal year ending December 2003 when excluding the impacts of non-cash marketing charges."

drugstore.com said its Q4 sales were about $43 million, and it added 225,000 new customers, bringing the total customer base to 2.4 million. It also said that it reduced its cash use to $9.7 million, ending the year with $79 million. The company said that amount should be sufficient for it to reach break even.