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Bounty introduces cloth-like DuraTowel

BY Jason Owen

CINCINNATI — Bounty, a Proctor and Gamble brand, has unveiled the new DuraTowel, a cloth-like paper towel designed to use instead of reusing dishcloths, which the company said can redeposit millions of germs after just one use.

“Believe it or not, you may think your family’s kitchen is clean after you wipe up with a dishcloth, but surfaces may not be as spotless as they look because your dishcloth is actually hiding a dirty little secret,” said Gregg Weaver, Procter & Gamble research and development engineer for Bounty. “In P&G lab demonstrations, black lights reveal that even after rinsing, used dishcloths can still harbor germs and drag them around. Switching to Bounty DuraTowel means you can feel good about cleaning up knowing you’re using a cleaner alternative than a used dishcloth.”

Some health and hygiene experts agree. “To use a paper towel and then to throw it away is a very smart thing to do, especially on any surface in your kitchen where you’ve been preparing food,” said Elizabeth Scott, founder and co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Community Settings at Simmons College in Boston. “Dishcloths should be left at the sink for washing only and should be kept away from all other surfaces to cut down on the potential for cross contamination.”

The DuraTowel is made with a durable, fiber-rich design and is ideal for cleaning countertops, sinks and even small appliances, the company noted.

Bounty DuraTowel retails for $3.19 and is available at food and grocery as well as mass retailers nationwide.


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Costco February sales beat analyst estimates

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp.’s sales increased 8% to $7.58 billion in February, the club retailer said Thursday.

For the 26-week period that ended Sunday, the chain reported sales of $51.35 billion, a 9% increase over February 2012. Comps for the company’s U.S. stores increased 6% during the month and also during the past 26-week period.

For the second quarter and first half of fiscal year 2013, the company reported that sales increased by 8%, to $24.34 billion and by 9%, to $47.55 billion, respectively. Comps during those two periods increased by 5% and 6%, respectively.

"Amidst all of the hand-wringing about a challenged consumer in February, Costco delivered a strong, above-consensus 6% comp gain, which we believe is the product of both terrific product quality and unquestioned value," Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel wrote in a note to investors, adding that Guggenheim remained concerned with Wall Street estimates of the company’s earnings per share in the second half of 2013 might be too high due to price investments in the United States, Canada and new club expansion costs in Asia. In addition, Heinbockel wrote, Costco’s 85 Canadian stores could face intensified competition as Target expands its reach in the country.

Fresh food and soft lines were the leading product categories, with same-store sales in the high single digits, while U.S. regions with the strongest results were Texas, the Southeast, the Northeast and the Midwest.


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SoloHealth reaches 2,000 health and wellness kiosks in operation

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth has more than doubled the number of retail locations featuring a SoloHealth Station digital health and wellness kiosk to more than 2,000 locations over the past three months, the healthcare technology company announced Wednesday. SoloHealth plans to have more than 3,500 health and wellness kiosks installed by the end of the year. 

“We are thrilled to be expanding our free healthcare access platform, the SoloHealth Station, providing more Americans access to free health and wellness services, tools and information,” stated SoloHealth CEO Bart Foster. “By end of March, we will be within a 10 minute drive time of 48% of the U.S. population," he said. "As we grow, we are exploring many new ways we can leverage our versatile platform to continue to help better our nation’s health and healthcare system, especially as the country prepares for the Affordable Care Act rollout.”

The SoloHealth Stations are being used by more than 2.5 million people each month and they have been running at 98% uptime. To date, more than 9 million consumers have interacted with the kiosk, up from 2.5 million in late August. Additionally, daily consumer usage has increased going from 10,000 per day at the end of August to approximately 85,000.

Approximately 33% of users took more than one test, with blood pressure and BMI being the highest combination, and one-out-of-four users make a repeat visit to the kiosk. Saturdays drive 19% more users than other days, SoloHealth reported. 

The SoloHealth Station is currently in select retailers including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Safeway and Schnuck’s Markets.


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