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Beth Kaplan tapped to head up GNC

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH GNC named Beth Kaplan, one-time Rite Aid senior executive vice president, its president, chief merchandising and marketing officer. Kaplan was one of the original engineers of the relationship between Rite Aid and GNC.

Kaplan will report directly to chief executive officer Joe Fortunato.

“As president, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Beth will focus on key strategic initiatives relating to the merchandising of our stores, marketing of the GNC Brand and product development,” Fortunato stated. “Beth’s enormous depth of experience in merchandising and marketing will help GNC to further build on its strong financial performance to date.”

“This is a great time to join GNC,” Kaplan said. “Joe Fortunato and his senior management team have done a wonderful job expanding GNC’s franchise as the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional supplements. Moving forward, my focus will be on brand-building initiatives that broaden our relationship with our customers, particularly women, while expanding our product offerings.”

Her relationship with GNC and its product strategy goes back to her tenure, in the late 1990s, as senior executive vice president, marketing and merchandising for Rite Aid, where she was responsible for overall corporate marketing and merchandising. In that role, she developed and negotiated Rite Aid’s strategic alliance with GNC, which is forecasted to grow to 2,500 GNC stores within Rite Aid stores.

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Jean Coutu acquires drug manufacturer Pro-Doc Ltee

BY Michael Johnsen

LONGUEUIL, Quebec The Jean Coutu Group on Thursday announced that it had acquired Pro-Doc Ltee, a Quebec-based generic drug manufacturer.

“The acquisition of Pro-Doc fits with our Canadian development strategy and is an interesting expansion of our core business,” stated Francois Coutu, JCG president and chief executive officer. “Pro-Doc has an excellent reputation and represents a significant growth opportunity. This transaction confirms our goals of continuing our growth and creating value for shareholders.”

Financial terms were not disclosed. As a result of this transaction, Pro-Doc will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Jean Coutu Group. The company will carry on its operations in Laval, Quebec and maintain an independent management team.

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Safeway announces breast cancer donations in excess of $1.3 million

BY Adam Kraemer

BELLEVUE, Wash. Safeway Thursday announced it donated at total of $1,365,185.13 for critical breast cancer research and prevention programs in Western Washington.

The announcement follows a month-long breast cancer fundraising and public service campaign in all of Safeway’s stores where customers, employees and suppliers all made donations to help find a cure and bring awareness to a disease that affects millions of women each year.

“As a longstanding partner with premier cancer research and treatment facilities in Western Washington, we remain steadfast as a company to aid in the fight against breast cancer,” said Cherie Myers, director of public and government affairs for the Seattle Division of Safeway. “By partnering with the most innovative research institutions and focusing on critical prevention programs, we are confident a cure will be found within our lifetime.”

The funds raised in Western Washington were presented to the following beneficiaries:

  • Breast Cancer Research Institute in the amount of $800,000
  • Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in the amount of $315,185.13
  • Dr. Julie Gralow of the Wellness Center at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in the amount of $200,000
  • Dr. Wendy DeMartini of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in the amount of $50,000

Safeway has become a corporate leader in cancer research, providing nearly $70 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer causes during the past six years. The company dedicates the month of October to raising money for breast cancer research and prevention programs where customers are able to make donations and purchase specially marked “pink ribbon” products in stores.

In addition to raising funds, Safeway stated, the 2007 campaign also focused on educating women about detection and prevention of breast cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The company reached millions of women through public service messages that appeared in radio commercials, electronic point-of-sale screens, in-store signage, weekly print sales circulars and the safeway.com website. Grammy and Oscar winner Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor, performed at The Safeway Foundation’s benefit Gala on Nov. 3, an event which raised $1.4 million for the foundation.

“The overwhelming support we received throughout our fundraising campaign only strengthens our commitment to work toward the day when medical research can find a cure for breast cancer,” Myers stated. “Our donation in excess of $1.3 million in Western Washington reflects the passion and true spirit of giving shown by our customers and employees.”

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