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A&P divests Superfresh stores in auction

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. — Grocer A&P recently completed the previously announced auction of 25 Southern Superfresh locations as it continues to implement its financial and operational restructuring, the company announced on Wednesday.

The winning bids, which are subject to approval from the bankruptcy court before the sales would be completed, will be listed in motions of the company to be filed with the court on May 27. The winning bids are as follows:

  • Ten stores — two in Baltimore and one each in Parkville, Arnold, White Oak, Lutherville, Cambridge, Chestertown and Brunswick, Md.; and Washington, D.C. — were won by a joint venture between Mrs. Greens Management and Village Supermarkets. The White Oak and Lutherville, Md., stores will be operated by Village Supermarkets, with the remaining stores to be operated by Mrs. Greens Management;

  • The Ellicott City, Md., store was given to Supervalu;

  • The Westminster, Md., store was given to its landlord, Englar Center Limited Partnership; and

  • In addition, the prescription customer lists of seven Superfresh stores were awarded to three different bidders (three to Walgreens, three to Safeway and one to CVS/pharmacy). Based on these results, the company expects auction proceeds in excess of $40 million.

The bankruptcy court is expected to consider its motions on these proposed sales at a hearing on June 14. A&P expects to cease operating these 12 stores by mid-July.

The company anticipates closing the 13 remaining Superfresh locations that were not sold at auction. These locations are expected to be closed by mid-July, subject to approval by the court.

As previously announced, the company’s Superfresh locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Maryland/Delaware shore area were not included in this bidding process. These stores continue to operate as normal.

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Technology could help patients kick bad habits

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Medication nonadherence is sort of similar to substance abuse: It’s a societal issue that stems from multiple causes and as such, probably will never completely disappear; however, it still can be mitigated. And because it stems from multiple causes, effectively combating it also requires multiple strategies.

(THE NEWS: HealthPrize, RealAge look at social media, gaming technology to improve adherence. For the full story, click here.)

But any effort to address nonadherence ultimately depends on the patient. Scaring patients about the dangers of not taking drugs properly only can go so far, especially considering that many patients are nonadherent for reasons that may scare them more immediately than those dangers, such as high costs and unpleasant side effects. But HealthPrize has found that leveraging technologies that patients use — such as smartphones and the Internet — to give them rewards for taking their drugs as directed by prescribers can go even further.

In a January study of 20 patients, the company found that adherence among patients who received cash rewards and got to play interactive games was 88%. And in a March survey of 100 physicians, respondents said they were 30% more likely to prescribe a medication that included a program with adherence incentives than to prescribe a medication that didn’t.

The possibilities go beyond HealthPrize’s platform. The integration of Ford Motor’s SYNC technology and WellDoc’s services creates another avenue through which people can be encouraged to take their drugs properly. And for retailers, incentives for adherence are a natural fit, with possibilities ranging from discounts to cash rewards to sweepstakes to online and mobile games.

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Walgreens continues to raise beauty bar

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then there are plenty of folks beholding Walgreens and its New York palette, Duane Reade. So it should come as no surprise that Walgreens is positioning its heavy hitters against the beauty category, given the number of recent changes Walgreens has made across its beauty facing.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens makes changes to beauty, personal care merchant teams. For the full story, click here.)

What it should tell you, though, is that Walgreens is going to continue to raise the beauty bar in U.S. drug store retailing. If you’ve ever visited a Duane Reade in the capital of beauty — New York City still serves as the fashion runway in this country — then you know how eye-catching that DR beauty set has become.

That upscale staffed beauty department services all aspects of beauty, including brows with a Ramy-branded brow bar that offers in-store eyebrow-shaping services. The Look Boutique also offers shoppers an inviting fragrance area featuring a handful of the most popular fragrances tethered to an upscale-looking counter.

And Walgreens is beginning to expand that Look Boutique experience nationwide, attracting shoppers in search of premium beauty solutions in the process. Leveraged against that merchandising position are Walgreens’ 26,000-plus beauty advisers and the expertise that will soon come from its online beauty engine, Beauty.com, with its recent acquisition of Drugstore.com.

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