CVS collaborates with builder, city of L.A. to open multi-access playground for all kids
WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark, Boundless Playgrounds and the city of Los Angeles have announced the grand opening of a new playground at the Rosecrans Recreation Center in Los Angeles that provides access for children of all abilities to play together.
Construction of the playground is funded in part by a $250,000 grant from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, along with $50,000 donated by the city of Los Angeles.
The playground, officially unveiled today, is located at Rosecrans Recreation Center about 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles International Airport. To celebrating the opening, an event lasts from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and includes free health screenings, refreshments, face painting and other family activities.
This marks the opening of the city’s third Boundless playground, and the 11th playground in the community that is handicapped accessible. GameTime, the manufacturer of the new playground, provided equipment consisting of universally accessible pathways, surfacing and ramps to the highest play deck. The playground also includes special ground level play activities, near wheelchair accessible platform centers, to promote social and physical interaction between children of all abilities. In addition, the city of Los Angeles will be adding an accessible ground level playhouse island in the middle of a sand area.
Since 2006, CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS Caremark that is dedicated to making life easier for children with disabilities, has donated more than $2 million to the building of Boundless playgrounds nationwide.
CVS Caremark’s signature playground projects include three $250,000 grants to the playground that opens today in Los Angeles, another playground that opened in Dallas last March, and a third playground opening in Boston next spring. Plans for three more signature playgrounds are also underway.
Consumers in tough economy enticed by value, Citi Investment analyst says
NEW YORK Retailers who are chasing that value-oriented consumer across the store are best positioned to profit in this tough economic environment, reported Citi Investment Research analyst Deborah Weinswig in a research note Tuesday.
“Consumers are changing their shopping behavior to adapt to the current economic environment, and Nielsen data has shown that consumers are shifting to value channels, buying more private label products and increasing their coupon usage,” she said. “We believe that the retailers who cater to this value-focused consumer through low prices and targeted promotions are best-positioned to drive sales and gain market share in this environment.”
That bodes well for retailers who traditionally chase after that savings-conscious consumer, such as super centers and dollar stores—two channels that experienced an increase in foot traffic in the third quarter of 2008. And it ought to have meant good tidings for channels like drug stores and clubs as well, thanks to either the convenience position in the marketplace or, as is the case with club stores, the potential of buying bulk at a significant per-unit cost savings. However, while both the drug and club channels realized higher foot traffic in the third quarter, that traffic spiraled negative for the four weeks ending Sept. 27. “[That] is likely due to consumers cutting back as the financial crisis intensified in September,” Weinswig said.
Meanwhile, mass merchants, department stores and office supply retailers experience the largest declines in traffic of any channel for the quarterly period.
And in the same month retailers began sending out Christmas-oriented point-of-purchase material, retailers were already getting a taste of what might be this holiday season—retail sales were down 1.2 percent year-over-year in September, according to the Department of Commerce, reflecting record lows in consumer confidence. “U.S. consumers are paring back spending in discretionary categories like apparel, technology, home improvement, out-of-home entertainment and vacations more than their global peers, as shown by Nielsen’s October 2008 Global Consumer Confidence Survey,” Weinswig said. “In addition, the number of U.S. consumers who reported that they had no cash to spare after covering essential living expenses was twice the global average.”
Private label sales are growing in both dollars and units, according to Nielsen data measuring the 52 weeks ended Sept. 6, as cited by Weinswig. Dollar sales of branded products grew 2.5 percent over the same period, but unit sales declined 2.4 percent. In addition, private label sales grew 3.1 percent during the last four weeks of the period.
“We believe that more consumers, including higher-income consumers, are trading down to private label to save money. Improved product quality, better packaging, and increased in-store marketing have made private label products more appealing, in our view,” Weinswig said.
CompUSA, TigerDirect team to benefit breast cancer research on Black Friday
MIAMI The Friday after Thanksgiving holiday, known as “Black Friday” because it is traditionally the busiest holiday shopping day of the year, is getting made over by CompUSA and TigerDirect to be “Pink Friday” this year. Pink Friday falls on Nov. 28 and the retailers said that they anticipate raising $250,000 or more in Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation for breast cancer research by collecting donations and contributing part of their total sales from the day.
During a live Webcast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Pink Friday on www.CompUSA.com and www.TigerDirect.com, many items will be sold at half price with 100 percent of their profits going to Komen for the Cure.
“Pink Friday is all about giving back to the community,” said Gilbert Fiorentino, chief executive of Systemax Inc. Technology Products, the parent company of CompUSA and TigerDirect. “Between our donation and the opportunity for our customers to help assist us in this cause, we hope to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity and beat the $200,000 we raised last year.”
Customers are invited to donate $1, $5, $10 or $20 to Komen for the Cure in-store in addition to their Pink Friday purchase items.
Pink Friday events will also be taking place at CompUSA’s retail locations in markets including El Paso, Texas; Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Raleigh, N.C.