NYT: CVS Health resigning from U.S. Chamber over position on tobacco products
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health is reportedly withdrawing its membership from the United States Chamber of Commerce over the chamber’s stance on smoking, according to The New York Times.
CVS Health, which pulled the plug on tobacco products last year, made its decision after learning that the chamber and its foreign affiliates were embarking on a global lobbying campaign against antismoking laws, the NYT reported. That lobbying activity runs counter to CVS Health’s mission to improve public health.
According to the NYT, the chamber and its network of foreign affiliates targeted restrictions on smoking in public spaces, bans on menthol and slim cigarettes, advertising restrictions, excise tax increases, plain packaging and graphic warning labels, and often in developing countries.
The chamber stated that it does not support smoking but is looking to defend its members’ business interests, the NYT reported.
Jean Coutu’s marketing initiatives help fuel Q1
LONGUEUIL, Quebec — Canada’s Jean Coutu Group reported on Tuesday a lift in first quarter retail sales thanks, in part, to its marketing initiatives, Francois Coutu, president and CEO, told analysts during its quarterly conference call.
“Total sales have achieve solid growth in a market which still remains very competitive,” Coutu told analysts.
During the quarter, retail sales increased 4.4% to Canadian $1.06 billion. On a same-store basis, pharmacy sales increased 4.2% during the quarter as front-end sales increased 2.7%.
Net profit during the quarter totaled C$50.6 million, or 27 Canadian cents per share, compared with C$54.1 million, or 29 Canadian cents per share, in the year-ago period. According to Coutu, the decrease is mainly due to a tax provision of C$4.7 million recorded during the first quarter.
During the quarter, the pharmacy retailer put forward several marketing initiatives, such as weekly flyers announcing lower prices. The company also launched additional promotions and contests that were supported by advertising campaigns on TV, radio, weekly flyers and social media.
“[The] increase in sales were significant during these events,” Coutu told analysts.
Coutu noted that, again this year, the company served as the Parents and Kids Fair sponsor in Montreal and Quebec in April and May. During the event, the company promoted its services and products and distributed more than 15,000 kits for new mothers at both the fair and in its stores.
Amazon creates ‘Prime Day’ to boost subscriptions
SEATTLE — Amazon’s latest gambit to encourage shoppers to buy a $99 Prime membership and goose second quarter sales involves the creation of quasi-holiday called “Prime Day.”
Amazon said it was introducing a new global shopping event called Prime Day on July 15 to commemorate its 20th anniversary. To celebrate the company said it will be offering more deals than on Black Friday for those who pay the $99 annual fee to belong to the Prime free-shipping program.
Throughout the day, Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria will be served a steady diet of promotional offers and Amazon.com’s special features called Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day.
“Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe. Members tell us every day how much they love Prime and we will keep making it better,” said Greg Greeley, vice president Amazon Prime. “If you’re not already a Prime member, you’ll want to join so you don’t miss out on one of the biggest deals extravaganzas in the world.”
To make it easy to participate, the company is offering a free 30-day Prime trial in hopes shoppers will get hooked on a service that now goes well beyond free two-day shipping on 20 million items. More recently, the service has been expanded to offer free same day delivery in 14 metropolitan areas.
Content is also a key part of the Prime value proposition with members receiving unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, more than one million songs, more than one thousand playlists, hundreds of stations with Prime Music and unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos.
The most recent Prime development involves the introduction of Prime Now one-hour delivery service, for an additional fee, in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Dallas, Manhattan, Miami and London. To get current users talking about the service, part of Prime Day involves a social media component and a contest. Prime members are being given a chance to win a $10,000 gift card by participating in the #PrimeLiving photo contest.
The premise is that Prime members will share some of their happy moments that are reflective of time savings, convenience and access to a broad assortment of merchandise that Prime offers. Members sign into Prime Photos between July 6 and July 15 to submit a photo on the contest page amazon.com/primeliving. Photos will be selected and featured daily on Amazon’s social channels leading up to Prime Day.
One winner will be selected in each country based on the image that most creatively captures a happy moment of #PrimeLiving.