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Jewel-Osco’s president leaves post

BY Allison Cerra

ITASCA, Ill. — Supervalu company Jewel-Osco announced that its president will retire, effective Feb. 28.

Keith Nielsen, whose career at the company spanned 40 years — and who has served as Jewel-Osco’s leader since 2007 — will be replaced by Brian Huff, Supervalu SVP specialty retail. Huff will transition into the new role Feb. 7.

“I am very proud of the work we’ve accomplished at Jewel-Osco during my tenure as president, but I’m looking forward to retiring and spending more time with my family,” Nielsen said. “I will miss working with the many wonderful associates at Jewel-Osco and wish the team the very best as they continue to grow the business.”

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NRF: Consumers will show love for spending this Valentine’s Day

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Retailers should expect a boost in sales this Valentine’s Day, as total spending is projected to reach $15.7 billion among consumers ages 18 years and older, according to the National Retail Federation.

The average person’s total spend this Valentine’s Day will be about $116.21, up 11% over last year’s $103.

In line with other project numbers for Valentine’s Day shopping, NRF reported that 52.1% of consumers would express their love through greeting cards, making it the most popular gift this year. Coming in the No. 2 spot is candy (24.6%). The top go-to destination for Valentine’s Day shopping will be discount stores (47.5%), followed by department stores and specialty clothing stores, the survey noted.

The survey, which polled 8,913 consumers, was conducted by BIGresearch on behalf of NRF.

“Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts, which bodes well for the economy,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

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Study: Hispanics less likely to get flu shot

BY Michael Johnsen

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Seniors of Hispanic descent are far less likely to become immunized against the flu or pneumonia, compared with white seniors, according to a new RAND study released earlier this week.

Researchers found that Hispanic seniors who prefer speaking Spanish and live in such linguistically isolated communities as the Southeast are least likely to be immunized.

"All Hispanic seniors are less likely to become immunized, and we found the problem seems to be the worst in new immigrant communities where Spanish is the predominant language," stated Amelia Haviland, the study’s lead author and a statistician at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "These findings suggest new strategies may be needed to target an important problem."

The findings were published in the Jan. 24 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study analyzed information from more than 244,000 seniors surveyed in 2008 as a part of the Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a federal project that regularly polls a large number of American seniors about a variety of healthcare issues.

According to the study, 74% of white seniors had received the pneumonia vaccine, while just 56% of English-speaking Hispanic seniors and 40% of Spanish-speaking Hispanic seniors had done so. Findings for getting the annual flu vaccine were a bit less dramatic, RAND reported. While 76% of white seniors had been inoculated against the flu, 68% of English-speaking Hispanic seniors and 64% of Spanish-speaking Hispanics seniors had done so.

Researchers found that the disparities did not appear to be related to differences in health status and were explained only partly by socio-demographic differences between the groups. Communities where there was a long-standing Hispanic population had significantly smaller disparities in influenza vaccination rates, regardless of language preference.

In addition, researchers found that Hispanic seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans had higher pneumonia immunization rates and experienced lower White-Hispanic disparities than those in traditional fee-for-service Medicare plans, regardless of language preference.

Haviland said the findings suggested that further efforts are needed to improve cultural and linguistic access to care for Hispanic seniors.

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