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Alliance Data Systems to provide co-brand and private-label credit card services for Meijer

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — Alliance Data Systems on Thursdy announced it has signed a multi-year agreement to provide co-brand and private-label credit card services for Meijer.
 
Alliance Data will provide credit card marketing services for the Meijer store-branded credit card and the Meijer Platinum MasterCard, which will offer cardmembers the opportunity to accrue Meijer Rewards points for every dollar spent at Meijer, Meijer gas stations and Meijer.com, as well as on all other purchases made with the card. The accrued points allow customers to earn certificates for discounts on future Meijer purchases. 
 
Alliance Data will also work with Meijer to enhance program features designed to recognize and reward cardmembers, and will leverage its loyalty and mobile marketing capabilities to further support one-to-one customer engagement and increase value to cardmembers. 
 
Additionally, Alliance Data signed an agreement to acquire Meijer's existing portfolio of co-brand and private label credit card accounts. Details of the purchase price will not be disclosed, other than to note it is well within norms of the industry, Alliance Data reported. Alliance Data believes that the performance of the acquired portfolio will be consistent with traditional expectations. 
 
The transaction is scheduled to close before the end of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.  
 
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DEA launches prescription take-back site locator

BY Michael Johnsen

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — The Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collection site locator is now available online, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy reported Wednesday. The site locator allows consumers to search for a nearby location to dispose of unneeded, unwanted or expired medications on Sept. 27. On this day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., thousands of DEA-coordinated collection sites will be available across the country, and consumers are encouraged to use this opportunity to safely and legally dispose of any unneeded pills, including prescription painkillers and other controlled-substance medications, which can only be accepted for disposal when law enforcement is present.

The take-back service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked, according to the DEA. Participating sites will accept tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms of unwanted medication. Personal information may be blacked out on prescription bottles, or medications may be emptied from the bottles into bins provided at the locations. 
 
Consumers have disposed of at least 4.1 million pounds of unwanted medication during previous DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. During the eighth DEA take-back event on April 26, 2014, more than 6,000 locations provided take-back services across the United States.
 

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Fred’s positive August results reflective of recently implemented improvement initiatives

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's Super Dollar on Thursday reported sales of $147.6 million, up 6%, for the four weeks ended Aug. 30. Comparable-store sales for the month increased 2.3% compared with flat-store sales in the same period last year.
 
Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 1% to $1.1 billion. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.6% versus an increase of 0.5% for the year-earlier period.
 
"We are pleased to report improved sales and traffic for August," stated Bruce Efird, Fred's CEO. "Our results reflected the positive impact of recently implemented initiatives, which were fully in place for the first time in August. As a result, we saw ongoing improvements in virtually all general merchandise departments during August, and our pharmacy department continued to post strong growth in comparable scripts and sales," he said. "Going forward in the third quarter, we will continue to transform Fred's based on the convenience/pharmacy-centric model we recently outlined, a strategy that brings clear advantages to our store operations and customers."
 
Fred's last week outlined a series of initiatives to right its listing ship after reporting a disappointing second quarter, including the shuttering of 60 non-pharmacy stores and a stepped up focus on pharmacy.
 
During the month, Fred's opened three Xpress pharmacy locations.
 
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