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Kmart launches low-cost check cashing

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Members of Kmart’s loyalty card program can use low-cost check cashing services at stores, the chain said Tuesday.

Kmart announced the launch of the check cashing service, for Shop Your Way members, at stores nationwide. For $3 or less, members with a valid identification card can cash checks and receive cash for government checks up to $2,000, payroll checks up to $1,500 and personal checks up to $400. According to a 2011 study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., more than 28% of households either don’t have bank accounts or underuse them, conducting financial transactions outside the banking system. About 10 million households lack a bank account.

"With the addition of check cashing to our Kmart financial services portfolio, our Shop Your Way members now have the convenience of cashing checks where they shop, saving them time and money," VP financial services of parent company Sears Holdings Jai Holtz said. "Along with Kmart’s other financial services offerings, including layaway, walk-in bill pay, money transfer, money orders, ATMs and prepaid debit cards and reloads, we are providing one-stop shopping for our members’ needs."


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IT Cosmetics receives minority equity investment from TSG Consumer Products

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN FRANCISCO — Equity investor TSG Consumer Partners LLC has made a minority equity investment in IT Cosmetics, a beauty line that is primarily distributed on QVC and the Shopping Channel, and is now expanding to Ulta Beauty stores.

“We continue to see a trend in multi-purpose cosmetics lines where products don’t just cover imperfections but nourish and improve the skin as well,” stated Blythe Jack, managing director at TSG Consumer Partners. “IT Cosmetics falls squarely within this growing category as its products offer anti-aging benefits in addition to aesthetic improvements. This made the brand particularly appealing to TSG, in addition to the charismatic leadership and vision of its founders, Jamie and Paulo.”

To increase IT Cosmetics’ growth, TSG will help the brand focus on a variety of initiatives including the expansion of the product portfolio, penetration into the U.S. specialty beauty channel and increased brand marketing to drive overall awareness.

Founded in 2008 by Jamie Kern Lima and Paulo Lima, IT (Innovative Technology) Cosmetics was developed to deliver anti-aging, color-infused skin care products.


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Walgreens furthers reach into North Carolina with acquisition of Kerr Drug

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Kerr Drug, a privately-held regional pharmacy chain in North Carolina, to include both Kerr’s retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business.  

In fiscal year 2012, Kerr Drug’s retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business recorded total sales of $381 million.

“The Kerr Drug retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business are an exceptional addition to the Walgreens family of companies,” stated Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “We are closely aligned on the important task of expanding the healthcare role that community pharmacists can have with their patients, and we share the common goal of stepping out of the traditional drugstore format to create a new experience for our customers.” 

“Kerr Drug’s strategy and core principles have always been focused on its unique ability to provide patients access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and wellness offering in the industry," noted Anthony Civello, Kerr Drug chairman, president and CEO. "Walgreens is the perfect partner to continue this journey as a patient-oriented company dedicated to expanding the role of the pharmacist as an integral part of health care.” 

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Earlier this year Walgreens and Kerr Drug were named the top pharmacy chains, for a national chain and regional chain respectively, by OutcomesMTM, a medication therapy management delivery system

The acquisition is structured as an asset transaction and includes Kerr Drug’s 76 retail drug stores and its specialty pharmacy business. The acquisition also includes a distribution center. Kerr Drug will retain ownership of its long-term care pharmacy business. 

Walgreens has 200 stores in the North Carolina market. "We anticipate that a significant majority of Kerr Drug stores will remain open," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin told DSN. "As with most acquisitions, there will be overlap in some locations, which may result in store closures. I’d anticipate that those decisions will be communicated shortly after the transaction is finalized," he said. 

The transaction is subject to satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other conditions, and is expected to close sometime this year. Walgreens anticipates the transaction will not have a material impact on earnings per share in fiscal year 2014.

Until the acquisition closes, Kerr Drug and Walgreens will continue to operate separately. After closing, the acquired Kerr Drug retail drug stores will continue to operate under their current brand in the near term.

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