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CVS/pharmacy launches online gift cards

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy announced on Thursday the availability of interactive, customizable online gift cards that can be created and purchased on the retailer’s Web site.

The personalized gift cards, which can be found by visiting www.cvs.com/giftcards, are sent to recipients via email and may be redeemed at any CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs location.

How it works: Customers are able to personalize the look and feel of a virtual gift card by selecting color schemes, messages and fonts. After choosing the preferred decorative layout, shoppers may then select the dollar amount to assign to the card and set the date, time and destination of e-mail delivery. Shoppers can even get a head start and set up virtual gift cards in advance to be delivered to family and friends on upcoming birthdays, holidays and special occasions.

Upon receiving a virtual gift card, recipients print out their customized e-mail and bring them to their local store. The cards can be used toward purchases on everything from health and beauty items, seasonal goods, snacks, personal care items, photo products and services, as well as prescriptions.

“We are always looking for products and services that will enhance our customers’ experience with CVS/pharmacy,” stated Mike Bloom, SVP of merchandising for CVS/pharmacy. “Our new virtual gift cards are an ideal choice for shoppers who want to add a personal touch to a popular gift option. We are pleased to offer this new feature on CVS.com to make gift giving even more convenient.”

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Walgreens opens eco-friendly drug store

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. The “green” in the Walgreens name is taking on new meaning.

Walgreens Wednesday unveiled what it calls the nation’s first drug store to meet top environmental requirements for efficiency and design. The new store, in the San Diego suburb of Mira Mesa, Calif., is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, a certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Walgreens officials and guests marked the store’s grand opening with a tree planting ceremony and other eco-oriented activities, along with product giveaways for the local community. The company also is donating $5,000 to the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group whose goal is to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through education, conservation and research.

“We are proud to showcase our commitment to the environment here in the San Diego area, a region recognized for its sustainability efforts,” said Walgreens operations VP Matt Sesto. “Walgreens is making great progress on our environmental initiatives in stores chainwide. We’re cutting our electricity and water usage, recycling tons of cardboard and shrink wrap each year and upgrading equipment for maximum efficiency.”

The Mira Mesa store — Walgreens’ first in that community and its 19th unit in San Diego County —  offers reserved parking for hybrid vehicles and bike racks, and is located close to public transportation. Seventy-five percent of the store’s lighting comes from sunlight through skylights and solar tubes. Coolers, freezers and exterior signs all use LED lights, reducing energy use by 50% over fluorescent lighting.

The store will save enough electricity to power 19.3 homes per year, according to Walgreens. In addition, the use of native and adaptive plant species will eliminate water usage for landscaping, and 95% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled.

“Signage posted inside the store will inform customers about the features that make this location unique,” Sesto said. “We want people to feel good about shopping here, and maybe even be inspired to live greener lives.”

The Mira Mesa Walgreens is registered under the LEED Green Building Rating System. It will be reviewed by the USGBC and given a specific level of certification in four to six months.

Walgreens plans to open its next LEED-registered store in Chicago this fall, with two more locations to follow by the end of the year. The company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint also include the use of solar panel systems in 63 of its locations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Oregon.

More information on Walgreens’ environmental efforts can be found at www.walgreens.com/responsibility.

The chain opened its first store in Southern California more than 15 years ago. Another nine Walgreens stores are planned to open in the area by the end of 2011.

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Supervalu CEO warns investors of upcoming Q1 results

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS Within one week after the close of its first quarter ended, June 20, Supervalu officials warned investors that results will be “substantially” less than originally anticipated.

“Since providing guidance on our fourth-quarter earnings call, consumers have become more value focused and cautious in their spending, which has pressured sales and margins greater than anticipated,” said Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert. “We currently estimate our identical-store sales will be approximately negative 3%. We will update annual guidance on July 28 with our first-quarter earnings release,” he said. “I am engaged in a full review of our operations and support functions. Supervalu has significant potential.”

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