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NRF: Gift card spending to reach $27.8 billion this holiday season

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WASHINGTON — Holiday shoppers are expected to spend $155.43 on average for gift cards this season, while total gift card spending is projected to reach $27.8 billion, according to a survey released Friday by the National Retail Federation.

NRF’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 8-out-of-10 shoppers will give gift cards this year, thanks to e-gifting, instant delivery through Facebook, personalized video and mobile giving options. Average spending is expected to be the highest since 2007.

Not only will more people purchase gift cards this holiday season (80.2% versus 77.3% in 2010), gift givers also will spend more on each card they buy. Shoppers will spend an average of $43.23 per card, up from $41.48 last year. Men will spend significantly more on gift cards than women this year, shelling out an average of $164.24, versus women’s $147.06.

When it comes to which gift cards people will buy this holiday season, most shoppers said they will give their friends or family members a gift card to a department store (38.7%), restaurant (33.8%) or an entertainment venue such as a night at the movies or music event (18.2%.) Others will buy gift cards to book stores (19.8%), coffee shops (15.9%) and discount stores (13%).

Practicality wins as the most likely reason shoppers will buy gift cards this year as 46.4% said they will buy gift cards because it allows the recipient to select their own gift. Additionally, 19.4% said they will choose the cards because they are more convenient, as they are easier and faster to buy.

For those who don’t buy gift cards, reasons given are that cards are too impersonal (26.1%), they are concerned about fees and expiration dates (17.4%) or they’d rather buy items on sale to stretch their dollar (9.1%).

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MinuteClinic, Emory Healthcare form clinical affiliation

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has entered into a clinical affiliation with Emory Healthcare, the largest hospital system in Georgia, to enhance access to healthcare services in communities throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area.

MinuteClinic has 31 clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in metro Atlanta.

"We share a common goal with Emory Healthcare to make medical care more accessible and convenient in the Atlanta metro area, where we opened our first Georgia clinic in 2007 and continue to grow with six new clinics in 2011," stated Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "As we have experienced with 11 other health system affiliations around the country, this relationship with Emory will enhance our ability to bring high-quality care to patients in MinuteClinic locations in 13 Georgia counties."

Under the agreement, Emory physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic locations in the metro-Atlanta area. In addition, MinuteClinic and Emory Healthcare will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers. Emory Healthcare will accept patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has a clinical affiliation with Emory Healthcare.

MinuteClinic and Emory Healthcare will begin to work toward fully integrating their electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other Emory Healthcare locations in Georgia. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours.

The Emory Healthcare system encompasses Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, Wesley Woods Center, The Emory Clinic, Emory Specialty Associates, Emory-Children’s Center, Emory-Adventist Hospital and Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

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Kodak, LifePics team up to streamline online photo merchandising for retailers

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Kodak has entered a partnership with a provider of Web-based fulfillment for photo merchandising products to co-market a suite of preintegrated retail photo merchandising services.

Kodak and LifePics now offer retailers nationwide their private-labeled net-to-retail photo order fulfillment and in-store photo specialty gift catalog ordering. Kodak said its partnership with LifePics allows retailers that use Kodak photo-finishing equipment to offer consumers the convenience of ordering photos online and picking them up the same day at the retail location.

In addition to the fulfillment services, the companies also are offering a photo gift ordering service, which leverages LifePics’ specialty photo gift catalog to allow retailers to offer their customers a variety of specialty photo gifts that can be ordered from a Kodak Picture Kiosk in-store and fulfilled by a LifePics central lab partner. Gift items include mouse pads, mugs, sweatshirts, T-shirts, photo buttons, playing cards, puzzles, pillow cases, blankets and ornaments. Consumers also can order canvas prints and have their photos restored and colorized, Kodak and LifePcs said.

“Consumers want the ability to place orders online and pick them up in-store,” said Larry Trevarthen, Eastman Kodak VP worldwide marketing, retail system solutions. “LifePics’ market-leading Web-based photo services running on Kodak’s retail systems is an efficient, cost effective way for retailers to deliver the value and convenience of net-to-retail photo ordering for consumers.”

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