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Pharmaca creates experience that shoppers will find beautiful to behold

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the folks over at Pharmaca just gave their shoppers a whole lot more to behold. The new full beauty ambiance installed by Pharmaca lead executive Mark Panzer and his team represents the latest evolution in pharmacy retailing — creating an in-store experience that generates the kind of Foursquare buzz that will drive new-to-Pharmaca shoppers into the store to check it all out.

(THE NEWS: Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy unveils full beauty experience. For the full report, click here.)

There are actually two opportunities here. For shoppers celebrating their nth 29th birthday, the economy has driven them out of the hair salons and spas, away from the prestige offerings associated with the department store boutique and toward more home beauty treatments. According to a recent SymphonyIRI MarketPulse Survey, making the beauty experience happen at home (after soccer practice and dance rehearsals) was the second-most cited economy-driven action by moms. Trying to make beauty products last longer and going less often to hair salons or spas were ranked on that list No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

If value and convenience is what she’s looking for, Pharmaca just gave her a reason to get out of the house (during soccer practice and dance rehearsals).

Then there are the millennial shoppers, younger women who have never really established that shopping muscle-memory that suggested the best beauty products could only be had at Macy’s. Across millennial women, 48% suggested they’re going to hair salons and spas less often and 33% are using at-home beauty treatments in an effort to save money, according to a separate SymphonyIRI MarketPulse Survey.

And it’s the younger millennials — the millennials perhaps most comfortable with posting their experiences on FourSquare or Pinterest — who are shopping the drug channel more often than even their slightly-older peers (most of whom have yet to celebrate their first 29th birthday). And while convenience, selection and price are important to these younger millennials, too, choosing retailers based upon a "fun factor" also is pretty significant. According to SymphonyIRI Group, 42.6% of millennials identify with a retailer because they’re "fun to shop at."

So, if a fun experience is what she’s looking for, well Pharmaca just gave her a reason to create a new shopping muscle-memory — one that dictates the best beauty experience can be had at the neighborhood pharmacy.

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Shaw’s reopens two Maine stores

BY Allison Cerra

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Supervalu banner Shaw’s has reopened two of its revamped Maine locations.

The new formats, located in Auburn and Lewiston, are designed to provide a comfortable shopping experience with a focus on delivering premium customer service and seek to offer customers an expanded variety of the freshest produce, top-quality meat and seafood and a large selection of local products.

Shaw’s commemorated the reopenings with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the stores on Friday.

"From the products and services to design layout, Shaw’s is committed to delivering a shopping experience that meets the needs of our local customers," Shaw’s president Mike Stigers said. "The redesigned Auburn and Lewiston locations bring a greater selection and variety to our customers, while offering a fresh, new feel to their shopping experience. We look forward to continuing to provide our neighbors with quality products and outstanding service they expect from Shaw’s."

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Consumers restrict discretionary spending in June

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales decline during the month of June, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

U.S. retail and food services sales for the month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $401.5 billion, an decrease of 0.5% from the previous month but 3.8% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were down 0.5% from last month but 3.5% above last year.

Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores during the month of April increased about 0.1% to roughly $47.06 billion. Health and personal care stores saw a slight decline to nearly $22.8 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight drop from April to May (about $19.14 billion). General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained flat unadjusted year-over-year.

Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said there is "no doubt about it that consumers cooled off on discretionary spending this spring."

"While the retail industry remains confident in an incremental recovery, today’s statistics should concern every policy-maker in Washington, and compel them to revisit burdensome regulations and job-killing tax increases set to take effect early next year," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, "Weak economic numbers over the past few weeks have increased anxiety about the future direction of the economy. Today’s data is discouraging but not demoralizing. If you look at the first half of the year overall, retail sales actually increased 4.6% year-over-year, indicating that the economy is improving but maybe not quick enough to impact consumer spending and job growth."

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