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NRF puts Easter spending at $16.4 billion

BY Marianne Wilson

WASHINGTON — The average person celebrating Easter this year will spend $140.62, slightly more than last year’s $137.46, according to the National Retail Federation’s Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Total spending for Easter is expected to reach $16.4 billion.

According to the survey, 45% of those celebrating will purchase clothing, spending more than $2.9 billion on bright colored apparel items for themselves and their families. However, more people plan to buy food for the holiday: 85.7% will purchase food for a family meal or other festivity, spending more than $5.3 billion on Easter fare.  

Children and sweet-tooth craving adults will also purchase candy this Easter: 87.1% of those celebrating say they will buy candy, spending more than $2.2 billion on jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and flavorful chick-shaped Peeps.

Consumers this holiday will also spend $2.4 billion on gifts, $1.1 billion on flowers, $998 million on decorations and $695 million on greeting cards.

With a laundry list of items to buy, 58.6% will head to discount stores to purchase their holiday merchandise. Another four-in-10 (40.7%) will shop at department stores, while 23.8% plan to shop at a local or small business.

Additionally, 21.8% will head to a specialty store like a florist or jewelry store and 18.8% will shop online.

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Walgreens chief medical officer appeals to lawmakers in provider status blog

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Provider status for pharmacists makes sense because of a confluence of factors: An aging America that's increasing demand and an escalating shortage of primary care physicians that's placing a strain on supply, suggested Harry Leider, chief medical officer and group VP for Walgreens, in a blog published Friday by The Hill
 
These factors have come to define the latest healthcare crisis to face Americans: Access.

"Against this backdrop, it’s clear we need to make changes to our system to counter these trends that will only continue to hinder patient access," he wrote. "One viable solution is to promote the important role community pharmacists can play in providing patient care, in the same manner as other non-physician providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants."  

 
Leider argued for support of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 / S. 314), which was recently introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Todd Young, R-Ind. and Ron Kind, D-Wis. in the House of Representatives and Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Bob Casey, D-Pa. and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. "[T]he reality is, healthcare is evolving and the access challenges are very real. In order to meet the access pressures that these changes in the healthcare market are placing on our system, our attitudes as doctors and the policies in Washington need to evolve too," Leider concluded.

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Winning the New General Market: DSN, Mack Elevation create new Leadership program to connect with changing consumer

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Drug Store News and the Mack Elevation Forum have partnered to create a new, multi-tiered industry leadership platform that will assemble an intimate group of CPG brands that emotionally connect with today’s changing new general market consumer. The New General Market Leadership Forum will bring together leading companies that have demonstrated commitment to building a strong community and thought leadership with a diverse consumer base.  
 
“We plan on bringing together companies who are very inclusive and that build relationships with consumers based on their aspirations and values — not just their demographic profile,” explained DSN publisher Wayne Bennett. “We are also reaching out to companies who embrace millennials and multi-cultural consumers, since they are major catalysts of this societal shift.” 
 
Mack Elevation Forum Managing Director Dan Mack added: “We hope to spark a conversation with the industry — including top retailers — sharing how some of the top brands are building authentic, emotional relationships with today’s changing consumer and the in-store implications associated with that. The focus will include addressing the aspirations of the new consumer, their unmet needs and points of view, as well as how we may want to think different about the in-store experience, product groupings and activation.”
 
The leadership program will consist of a group of special brands that are committed to today’s diverse consumer, “The New General Market.”  Sundial Brands, a pioneer in identifying and responding to this cultural shift, has been an essential partner in the development of this platform.
 
Other leading brands committed, including, Sundial Brands (Shea Moisture), Beiersdorf (Nivea), Paris Presents (Eco-Tools, Real Techniques Brushes), Wahl Clippers, Trimmers & Massagers, Unilever (Dove, Axe), Fleet (Summer’s Eve), Sinful Brands, Hello Oral Care & Kao Brand’s (Biore and John Frieda), will convergeand share unique insights at a special industry forum in May, hosted by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum. Sundial Brands cofounder Rich Dennis and Walgreens GVP/GMM for beauty and personal care Shannon Curtin will discuss their companies’ shared vision for connecting with today’s New General Market Consumer. In addition, the one-day forum will focus on eight key pillars:
 
• Identifying the New General Market — who are they, how do they think and what are their unmet needs?
• More than just diversity of color or race, the New General Market is about diverse views.
• How Millennials are influencing and inspiring the New General Market.
• Rethinking the in-store experience, product groupings and activation.
• The future of creating authentic brand communities with the New General Market.
• Building cultural competency and influence in a changing world.
• Creating an holistic brand investment strategy with the New General Market.
• Measuring success with the New General Market.
 
Participants in the May event will help define the best practices of winning brands that are connecting with Millennials and today’s diverse consumer. Collective insights from the forum will be summarized in a series of special Drug Store News reports. 
 
The New General Market Leadeship platform will kick off with a special invitation-only cocktail reception at an upcoming national trade event, where special guest speaker Michael Yormark, president of Jay Z’s Roc Nation, will discuss “The Power of Authenticity & Experience in Reaching Today’s Diverse New Consumer.” Roc Nation manages a roster of athletes and recording artists, including NFL star Dez Bryant and the NBA’s Kevin Durant, Rihanna and Alicia Keys and many others. 
 
For more information on how to participate contact Wayne Bennett, wbennett@drugstorenews.com or Dan Mack, mackdan@comcast.net.
 
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