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Price Chopper opens environmentally friendly store in upstate New York

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. A supermarket chain in the Northeast has opened a new store with environmental features that it calls “unmatched in the industry.”

Price Chopper Supermarkets announced the opening of a 69,000 sq.-ft. store and pharmacy at 1892 Central Ave. in Colonie, N.Y. The company said the store was designed to meet the requirements of Leadership in Energy Efficient Design certification.

“This revolutionary new store represents several of our major corporate commitments: our commitment to our hometown capital region, our commitment to reducing our energy usage and investing in sustainable and renewable technology, as well as our commitment to provide value to our customers with an extensive selection of locally grown and produced products, natural and organic products, unique specialty and imported products, and signature fresh and packaged Price Chopper and Central Market brand products, in addition to an unparalleled kosher foods offer,” Price Chopper said.

The store is one of four in the country to receive the highest level of GreenChill certification from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership. The EPA awards the certification to encourage the use of refrigeration technologies that reduce greenhouse and ozone-depleting gases.

“Only three other stores in the nation have achieved gold-level certification and, of the four, Price Chopper’s new Colonie store has the highest rating,” EPA GreenChill program head Keilly Witman said. “Price Chopper customers and associates should be proud of this level of achievement from the store.”

The store, which the company said would serve as a prototype for future stores, will derive 60% of its electricity from fuel cells, which will also provide power in case of a power failure.

Other initiatives will include recycling more than 75% of construction waste, using natural lighting, using environmentally friendly building materials and recycling heat.

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Walgreens reports surge in May sales

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens reported a 6.1% increase in sales for the month of May, from $5.06 billion for the same month in 2008.

Meanwhile, sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) increased 1%. Comparable store front-end sales increased 0.2%, versus last year’s increase of 6%. May pharmacy sales increased 6.3%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 1.5%. Comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 4.5 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.

Fiscal 2009 year-to-date sales for the nine months were $47.6 billion, up 7.2% from $44.4 billion. Comparable store sales for the fiscal year to date increased 1.9%.

Walgreens opened 43 stores during May, including four relocations, acquired 38 stores and closed three.

At May 31, Walgreens operated 7,361 locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 6,857 drugstores, 605 more than a year ago, including 73 stores acquired over the last 12 months. The company also operates worksite health centers, home care facilities and specialty, institutional and mail service pharmacies. Its Take Care Health Systems subsidiary manages 716 in-store convenient care clinics and worksite health and wellness centers. Franchisees of Option Care, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens, are not included in Walgreens location or store count.

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Moderate alcohol intake reduces gallstone risk, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Health researchers at the University of East Anglia have found that drinking two units of alcohol per day reduces the risk of developing gallstones by one-third.

It was already known that alcohol intake has a protective effect against the formation of gallstones, but this new study establishes for the first time the precise quantitative effect of each unit of alcohol on the development of gallstones.

Using questionnaires, investigators measured the dietary habits of 25,639 men and women and followed them for a 10-year period, during which time 267 patients developed gallstones.

Participants in the study provided detailed information on the frequency and quantity of their alcohol intake. Researchers found that those who reported consuming two U.K. units (16 grams) of alcohol per day had a one-third reduction in their risk of developing gallstones.

Each unit of alcohol consumed per week reduced the chances of gallstones by 3%. One U.K. unit of alcohol contains eight grams of alcohol; one standard drink in the U.S. is equal to 14 grams of alcohol.

Researchers emphasized that their findings show the benefits of moderate alcohol intake but stress that excessive alcohol intake can cause health problems. Quantifying how much alcohol reduces the risk of gallstone development allows doctors to offer specific guidance without introducing the risk of excessive alcohol consumption.

“These findings significantly increase our understanding of the development of gallstones,” said Andrew Hart, senior lecturer in gastroenterology at UEA’s School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice. “Once we examine all the factors related to their development in our study in the U.K., including diet, exercise, body weight and alcohol intake, we can develop a precise understanding of what causes gallstones and how to prevent them.”

Hart presented his findings on at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday, May 31.

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