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WBA CEO to shareholders: ‘Taking into account anything that is required’ to close deal

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK  — With the deadline for the deal set to expire Friday, Jan. 27, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina told shareholders attending the Walgreens Boots Alliance annual meeting Thursday morning that the board of directors for both Walgreens and Rite Aid were in "active" discussions toward getting the deal approved even as the Federal Trade Commission continues to deliberate over the proposed retail pharmacy merger.

The news bolstered stocks of all three public companies tied to the deal, including Rite Aid, Fred's and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

"At this time, we are actively engaged in discussion with Rite Aid regarding how to proceed," Pessina said. "These discussions include taking into account anything that is required to gain approval of the transaction."

Specifically regarding FTC, Pessina offered no comment, however. "The FTC is doing their job and the process is going on and we cannot comment on what the FTC is doing," he said. "The only thing  I can repeat is we are actively engaged to dialogue with the FTC."

Last week, Deutsche Bank analyst George Hill suggested the deal would continue to be pursued even if the January 27 deadline expires. "As the Walgreens/Rite Aid merger agreement is set to expire on Jan. 27, Walgreens could look to re-cut the Rite Aid deal given the challenges, potentially enhancing its profile," he said.

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Retail execs optimistic about 2017 in survey

BY David Salazar
Retailers executives are bullish on 2017.
 
That’s according to a survey from TD Bank, which polled 173 retail executives at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York City. Seventy-four percent of the retailers said they believe sales will increase in the next 12 months. What’s more, 81% of the retailers reported that they met or exceeded their revenue goals in 2016.
 
In other key findings:
  • When looking at mobile technology applications to the credit sales process, 43% of retailers expect that customers will browse and apply and buy online within the next two years.
  • More than one-third (43%) of retailers cited that a credit promotional finance program is extremely or moderately important to their business.
  • Forty-six percent of retailers cited that most of their customers seeking financing options when purchasing products are Gen X-ers (35-54 year olds).
When evaluating financing partners for their business, retailers consider the following factors most important:
  • Customizable program: 21%;
  • Quality of customer service: 17%; and
  • Credibility of the lender: 15% 
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Miami-area Walgreens features new TD Bank ATMs

BY Michael Johnsen

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — TD Bank, in partnership with Cardtronics, recently branded 189 ATMs in Walgreens locations across Florida, specifically the Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg metro areas, the company announced Wednesday.

The TD Bank-branded in-store ATM installation follows the company's expansion last summer in Boston-area Walgreens locations.

"Fast, convenient access to cash is a priority for consumers," stated Ernie Diaz, regional president, TD Bank. "We've expanded our ATM footprint to select Walgreens locations in Florida to provide our customers even more options for accessing funds where, when, and how they need to. And with TD ATMs in more locations, we're also helping our customers avoid fees."

A new study by TD Bank found that although the majority of respondents (71%) primarily use their debit card for everyday purchases like gas, coffee, and groceries, visiting the ATM for cash is still a regular part of their routine.

  

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