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American Greetings spices up birthday calendar app on Facebook

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND — American Greetings has teamed up with BigDates Solutions to further enhance the birthday calendar application on Facebook.

The duo announced that they are working together to pair the application — which gives Facebook users the ability to easily add birthdays, holidays and special events to their personal Facebook calendar — with content from the greeting card company to offer a great new experience for users. New features include an updated look, a special Daily Stamp that users can post on their or a friend’s Facebook wall for various celebrations and the opportunity to share the best-in-class e-cards and virtual gifts from American Greetings.

"We are thrilled to bring our creativity and innovation to this hugely popular application and to work with BigDates Solutions to make this experience even more fun and useful for the millions who use it every day," said Sally Schriner, American Greetings Interactive president. "We are very excited about the initial enhancements that we’ve introduced, and we have some really great features in store in the coming months that we can’t wait to share."

For more information, please visit the official Birthday Calendar Facebook application page.

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Improvements at Rite Aid are on the horizon

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Rite Aid is a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty kind of company. If your glass is half full, you’re looking at the sequential improvements in pharmacy margins and front-end comps, and the excitement around the chain’s still-new Wellness+ loyalty program. If your glass is half empty, you’re making note of the seven straight quarters of script declines and the fact that Rite Aid had to lower sales projections … again. Our glass is half full.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid’s new loyalty program a major bright spot in tough Q3. For the full story, click here)

Here’s the crux: The building blocks are in place. All Rite Aid now has to do is execute the potentially profit-driving programs it has in place — Wellness+, store segmentation, Save-A-Lot/Rite Aid combo stores, immunizing pharmacists and an expanding inoculation program. Additionally, it will need to continue pushing the envelope with some of its more cutting-edge initiatives, such as Internet-accessible video couponing and live pharmacist consultations, available online.

Not only is Rite Aid showing improvement across several metrics and is executing against concrete plans designed to continue that upward momentum, but the team that’s driving this engine also has done it all before — twice, when you factor in president and CEO John Standley, who helped engineer Rite Aid’s first turnaround earlier this decade and then went on to turn around Pathmark.

Many of the same executives walking through the halls of Rite Aid headquarters today were with the company 10 years ago, when that team inherited a company on the brink of bankruptcy and brought that company back to black. It was because of that team that Rite Aid could even consider an acquisition the size and scope of Brooks/Eckerd. And today you could argue that Rite Aid is once again on a path — rocky though it may be — back to the black.

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Diabetes, inhaled corticosteroids may be linked, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A link may exist between diabetes and the use of inhaled corticosteroids to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to published reports.

HealthDay News reported that researchers analyzed data on 380,000 patients in Quebec, finding a 34% increase in the rate of new diagnoses of diabetes and progression of the disease among those who used inhalers, with greater risk among those using higher doses.

Still, the article quoted an endocrinologist at the New York University Medical Center who said “pro-inflammatory” lifestyle choices associated with the respiratory diseases and Type 2 diabetes could be a factor rather than the inhalers themselves.

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