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Apple Pay to go live Oct. 20

BY Michael Johnsen

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple announced Thursday that customers can start making payments with the touch of a finger on Monday, Oct. 20 when Apple Pay becomes available in the United States at retailers including Walgreens. 
 
“Our team has worked incredibly hard to make Apple Pay private and secure, with the simplicity of a single touch of your finger,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP internet software and services. “The reaction to Apple Pay has been amazing. We continue to add more Apple Pay ready banks, credit card companies and merchants, and think our users will love paying with Apple Pay.”
 
“We are very proud to be able to offer this to our customers as soon as it goes live on Oct. 20,” said Jo Natale, Wegmans' director of media relations.  “Apple Pay is easy to use and secure — two things that we know are very important to our customers.” 
 
Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks — American Express, MasterCard and Visa — issued by the top U.S. banks which make up 83% of the credit card purchase volume in the United States.
 
In addition to the 262 Apple retail stores in the United States, availability from leading retailers at launch include: Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. In addition, many other retailers will add support this year, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
 
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H.D. Smith deploys cutting-edge pricing technology

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H.D. Smith is employing cutting-edge pricing technology through SAP, the wholesaler noted on Tuesday in a video posting. "The pricing engine that we've deployed keeps track of all the conditions that affect price," said David Guzman, H.D. Smith CIO. "On any given day, we'll process somewhere between 2 million and 10 million price permutations," he said. 
 
That number quickly climbs to 40 million pricing changes during specific events, such as the implementation of a new contract, he said. 
 
"The predetermined pricing engine is what gives us the realization of benefits to our business in terms of reducing day sales outstanding, reducing inventory levels, increasing service levels," he said. "Those are real value drivers for our company."
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Healthentic: Flu vaccination rates among employees exceedingly low

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Healthentic, an analytics company that identifies health savings for employers, found the overall vaccination rate of employees was only 10%. While the CDC reports higher vaccination rates, a majority of Americans don't receive flu vaccinations, the company stated.
 
"October is the start of the active flu season in the U.S. and the CDC says it's the best time to get vaccinated," said Sean Gallivan, Healthentic COO. "It only takes a few minutes and the benefits are tremendous. Employers can reduce healthcare costs and the number of sick days lost to the flu. Employees can protect their health. Get vaccinated."
 
Healthentic's analysis of 27 companies found the average cost for a single flu-related outpatient office visit totaled $122 during the 2012-13 flu season. The average cost for each flu-related emergency room visit totaled $581, and the average cost for a flu-related hospitalization totaled $4,001. In one instance, an employer incurred $28,000 dollars in hospital expenses resulting from a single case of flu. While extreme, this shows taking the time to get a flu shot can have a huge payoff for both employees and employers, Healthentic noted. 
 
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