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New NYC CVS flagship highlights Project Life

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK —CVS recently opened the doors to its new flagship Manhattan store that incorporates many of the elements of its Project Life design and features a large beauty department and skin care center.

The 24-hour store is located at 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue, just a stone’s throw away from a Duane Reade store that sits on the corner of 43rd and 3rd streets.

While other CVS locations in Manhattan incorporate some elements of the company’s Project Life design, this new location is by far the largest to do so—featuring 12,000 square feet of retail space—quite large by New York City’s standards. CVS currently has more than 30 stores in the borough of Manhattan.

The pharmacy is located at the rear of the store. According to a company spokesperson, it is set up to house a MinuteClinic in-store health clinic. However, as of press time, a clinic was not in operation nor was there any signage indicating when an opening would take place. It would mark the first MinuteClinic in Manhattan.

Developed with the idea that women are the company’s core shopper, the Project Life format includes such elements as lower gondolas and wider aisles to make it easier to shop, and these elements are clearly evident in this new flagship location.

Upon entering the store—which is in a prime traffic area as it sits near Grand Central Station—shoppers are immediately greeted by a digital photo area on their left and a staffed Healthy Skincare Center, a European-style high-end beauty boutique, on their right, just past the grocery-style checkout and self-checkout lanes.

The large beauty department, which is called out by the turquoise-colored overhead and shelf signage, also includes the Boots brand and an endcap featuring the retailer’s new exclusive 24.7 Skincare line. The 24.7 collection, which became available nationwide in December, includes a targeted wrinkle treatment for $39.99; firming anti-aging eye serum for $29.99; smoothing anti-aging moisturizer for $29.99; daily purifying facial scrub for $15.99; and instant plump volumizing lip shine for $19.99.

The retailer also is clearly highlighting Lumene, the cosmetic and skin care brand from Finland, as there is a large, illuminated display adjacent to the brightly lit Healthy Skincare Center. Also illuminated is the skin care aisle.

In typical CVS fashion, the store is easy to shop as each department is color-coded and highlighted with signage that pops from the shelf and hangs overhead. In addition to the beauty department’s turquoise signage; the household area features dark blue-colored signage; the health department is green; the food and beverage department is pink; and the digital photo area is called out by orange signage.

The store, which has light-colored hardwood flooring around the perimeter that encases blue carpeting covering the center of the floor, also features a “coupon center” where shoppers can scan their ExtraCare loyalty card to see what savings are available.

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S&P revises outlook on Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services revised its outlook on chain drug retailer Rite Aid to negative from stable, the firm reported Friday. At the same time, S&P affirmed the ‘B’ corporate credit rating on Rite Aid.

“The outlook change reflects the company’s weak same-store sales and our expectation that this trend will continue over the next few quarters,” stated Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Diane Shand. Rite Aid faces a more cautious consumer, strong growth of lower-priced generics and intense competition, she said. In addition, the current environment could make it more challenging for the company to integrate its recently-acquired Brooks/Eckerd stores.

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Boston Mayor decries in-store health clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON On the heels of the Massachusetts Public Health Council approving regulations allowing for in-store health clinics in the state, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is reportedly looking to ban the clinics from opening in the city.

The decision by the health council “jeopardizes patient safety,” Menino said in a written statement, according to a Boston Globe report. “Limited service medical clinics run by merchants in for-profit corporations will seriously compromise quality of care and hygiene. Allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong.”

The newspaper also reported that, in a separate letter, the mayor urged members of the city’s Public Health Commission to consider banning the clinics from opening within Boston. CVS has plans to open 20 to 30 MinuteClinics in the Greater Boston area but it is unclear how many of those would be within the city’s limits.

Defending its decision to allow clinics to operate, the state Public Health Council issued a statement that read: “The members of the Public Health Council were deliberative and thoughtful in their review of the limited service clinic regulation. We believe these types of clinics, operated either as part of a retail operation or in a nonprofit setting, can provide the public access to safe, convenient, and quality care for minor health issues.”

Officials at MinuteClinic were not immediately available for comment.

On Jan. 9, the state Public Health Council approved rules for limited service medical clinics. The new regulations took effect immediately.

“This is a new model for health care delivery that can benefit many people in the Commonwealth. These regulations will improve consumer convenience and make it easier for non-profit organizations to establish satellite clinics in a variety of settings to serve vulnerable populations,” stated secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby in a statement issued after the approval.

Added John Auerbach, commissioner of the Department of Public Health and chair of the PHC, “Properly regulated, these types of clinics will serve an important function, making care for minor medical care more convenient. The council was mindful of not wanting to create a stand-alone system of health care, so these regulations require coordination and linkages to primary care providers.”

The approval came at the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations, including testimony in favor of the clinics from the Convenient Care Association.

“We appreciate the Public Health Council’s careful deliberation regarding the adopted regulations that will now guide the operation of limited services clinics in Massachusetts. These retail-based clinics are providing consumers in 35 other states with easy access to high-quality, affordable health care in the face of a nationwide primary care physician shortage. Since this growing shortage is well documented in Massachusetts, and its related health care access issues have been exacerbated by the state’s near-universal healthcare coverage, we appreciate the Council embracing limited services clinics as a partial solution to these serious problems,” said Web Golinkin, president of the CCA and chief executive officer of in-store clinic operator RediClinic, in a statement issued after the council’s decision.

Sparking the move to create specialized regulations for these clinics was CVS’ application to open a MinuteClinic in one of its stores in Weymouth. According to the council, early in the application review process it became clear that DPH regulations governing medical clinics did not address the operation of medical clinics with limited scope of services. Rather than consider applications requiring numerous waivers from full-service clinic regulations, the department decided to create a specialized set of rules.

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