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More retailers step in with Puerto Rico relief contributions

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the impact of Hurricane Maria, retailers are continuing to step in with resources to help the island get back on its feet — with all three of the biggest retail pharmacy chains stepping in. 

The Rite Aid Foundation announced Tuesday a $150,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.   

"Nearly two weeks after being hit directly by Hurricane Maria, a category four storm, the need in Puerto Rico remains great," stated Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. "The Rite Aid Foundation hopes that this donation to the American Red Cross will help the people of Puerto Rico in their time of need and let them know they are not alone as they recover and rebuild."  

"We're deeply grateful for the generosity of The Rite Aid Foundation, whose support will help provide immediate assistance to thousands of families affected by this horrific disaster," said Jeri Sims, CEO of the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region. "There is a long, difficult road ahead for those impacted by Hurricane Maria and support from partners like The Rite Aid Foundation is critical to aid in the recovery process."  

CVS Health, which has been raising funds from its customers and colleagues since Hurricane Harvey, announced this week that the total raised from that effort was $4 million, and it pledged an additional $6 million of products and supplies. The money will be split between Unidos for Puerto Rico, Rebuild Texas Fund and the Florida Disaster fund, and the products will be distributed to communities most in need, the company said. 

"We are incredibly grateful to our colleagues and customers who have demonstrated our values of caring and integrity over the past few weeks during these historic storms," CVS Health EVP and CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said. "The rebuilding process for many of these communities will take a long time, and we will continue to do our part by providing support during this difficult time."
 
The supplies and funds are in addition to the company's efforts to ensure that patients got their medication in Puerto Rico, even amid widespread power outages. The company transported specialty medications and essential equipment to Puerto Rico to support store operations, sometimes delivering medication directly to patients. These efforts followed its work helping patients prepare for the storms by using its messaging platform to enable rapid and urgent communications to patients. 
 
"While it is never easy to manage through storms of this magnitude, hundreds of our colleagues have gone above and beyond to ensure that our patients, customers and communities are being served, despite the devastation impacting their own personal lives," CVS Health Charitable Foundation president Eileen Howard Boone said. "Their generosity, compassion and dedication to serving others whether it be patients, residents or co-workers is truly amazing."
 
Besides the funds raised through the in-store campaign, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation, employees and customers had previously donated nearly $800,000 in cash and in-kind product donations to the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Salvation Army, Florida Disaster Fund, Unidos por Puerto Rico, Rebuild Texas Fund, the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the CVS Health Employee Relief Fund, a public charity designed to help CVS Health employees during unanticipated and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies.
 
Both CVS Health’s and the Rite Aid Foundation’s efforts follow Walgreens’ commitment of $250,000  to American Red Cross Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

 

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Target pilots curbside pick-up

BY Marianne Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is testing curbside pickup in its home base.

The discounter has launched the service, called Drive Up, at its stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The retailer described the program as the latest example of how Target is using its stores as hubs to help customers shop “on their own terms.”

Here’s how it works: After placing an order in the Target app and selecting “Drive Up,” Target notifies customers when the order is ready to be picked up. Customers hit the “I’m on My Way” button en route to their store, park in a designated spot, and then a Target employee brings the order out to their car.

“Drive Up is our latest effort to make it easier and faster for busy guests to conveniently get what they need, and simply get back to their day," said Dawn Block, Target senior VP of digital.

More than 200,000 items, including home furnishings, toys, electronics, household essentials, non-perishable food, and baby-care, are eligible for the service. Produce and refrigerated or frozen items are not eligible, the StarTribune reported, and no minimum order is required for the free service.

The Drive Up program was built in house by Target.

"It’s a test-and-learn program, so we’ll continue to fine-tune and enhance the experience, and will look to expand to more guests in the future," Target stated.

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Walmart makes last-mile delivery acquisition in NYC

BY Marianne Wilson
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is determined not to be bested by Amazon when it comes to same-day delivery.
 
The discounter announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Parcel, a last-mile delivery startup that specializes in delivery of perishable items and general merchandise to customers in New York City. Operating out of a warehouse in Brooklyn, Parcel delivers goods the same-day, overnight and in scheduled two-hour windows, providing customers with live updates via text messages throughout the delivery process. 
 
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition comes as Walmart's Jet.com has been testing free same-day delivery of certain orders to customers in New York City.
 
"We can build upon that, and plan to leverage Parcel for last-mile delivery to customers in New York City — including same-day delivery — for both general merchandise as well as fresh and frozen groceries from Walmart and Jet," Nate Faust, senior VP, Walmart U.S. eCommerce supply chain, wrote on the company's website. 
 
The extreme density of the New York City area makes it a complicated market for delivery. Walmart will now be able to tap into Parcel'shomegrownn familiarity with the market. (According to Recode, Parcel, which was founded in 2013, has compiled a database of every New York City building it has delivered to, including photos and detailed information on service entrances.)
 
"Born and bred in New York City, Parcel has developed unique expertise delivering to customers in a distinctly challenging and essential market," Faust said. "This acquisition allows us to continue testing ways to offer fast delivery while lowering our operating costs."
 
Parcel will also continue to service and grow its current clients, Walmart said. The company has partnerships with several meal kit, grocery and e-commerce companies. 
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