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Redbox now available at Columbus, Phoenix Walgreens

BY Allison Cerra

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. Redbox is infiltrating the nation’s largest drugstore chain.

The fully automated DVD rental system, featuring new-release DVDs for $1 per night, is now available in select Walgreens locations throughout the Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix metro areas, Walgreens said Tuesday.

Consumers can rent redbox DVDs in 33 area Walgreens locations throughout Columbus and 160 Walgreens stores throughout the Phoenix area, and can return the DVDs to any redbox kiosk nationwide.

Redbox’s expansion into Columbus- and Phoenix-area Walgreens stores follows a successful installation of the service in select Walgreens locations throughout Chicago and Houston.

The nation’s largest drugstore chain began testing redbox in a small number of Chicago and Houston-area locations in September 2006.

“Walgreens has a proud history of offering some of the most innovative products and services in the drugstore industry, and our Chicago- and Houston-area customers have embraced redbox’s $1 per night price point and quick, self-service transaction,” said Walgreens divisional merchandise manager for electronics, Robin Randolph. “We’re excited to provide our Columbus and Phoenix customers with this added convenience, and look forward to their feedback on the service.”

Redbox makes renting DVDs easier than ever by utilizing a touch screen for consumers to select a film from an inventory of 500 DVDs, and can swipe a valid credit or debit card for payment. Customers can keep the DVD for as long as they’d like for $1 per night plus tax, without late fees, and return their DVD to any redbox nationwide. Each fully automated kiosk features 100 to 150 new movie releases, with new titles available every Tuesday.

To ensure a popular title is available, consumers can rent online on the company’s Web site to choose their title and pick it up immediately at the redbox location of their choice.

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A&P acquires wine retailer, hires co-founder

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. Grocer A&P has acquired New York City-based retailer Best Cellars and brought on board as senior director of beer, wine and spirits Best Cellars co-founder Joshua Wesson.

Best Cellars is known for merchandising “Great Wines for Everyday” by flavor rather than by origin, and at reasonable prices. It operated the Best Cellars concept in five retail locations.

“This is an outstanding strategic fit with our ongoing Fresh food marketing evolution,” stated Rebecca Philbert, A&P senior vice president of merchandising, supply and logistics. “Joshua Wesson’s creativity and expertise will be instrumental in elevating the look, feel, quality and value of our beer, wine and spirits offerings, in a way that parallels and interacts with our new Fresh store concept.”

The first example of A&P’s new prototype beer, wine and spirits concept is expected to debut in January in Westwood, N.J.

Under the terms of the transaction, the purchase price, which is not expected to be material, will be based upon the growth of A&P’s beer, wine and spirits business going forward, to be calculated and paid after four years.

A&P currently operates 19 freestanding wine and liquor stores, as well as 12 in-store departments across its retail operations in the greater New York/New Jersey, Connecticut and mid-Atlantic markets.

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WellPoint, Rite Aid collaborate to inform Medicare beneficiaries on enrollment

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. WellPoint and Rite Aid Thursday morning announced a collaborative effort to make health care information more accessible to seniors and other Medicare eligible individuals during the Medicare open enrollment period.

The alliance, which will encompass more than 5,100 Rite Aid pharmacy stores nationwide in 31 states and the District of Columbia, reflects the commitment of both companies to provide Medicare beneficiaries with clear, comprehensive materials to help them make the best health coverage choices for themselves and their families.

Through this alliance, printed materials will be available at Rite Aid stores nationwide to help inform seniors about WellPoint’s Medicare Part D plans. During the Annual Election Period, also known as open enrollment, agents from WellPoint affiliated companies will be on location at specific stores on certain days to answer questions and explain benefit options. The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries begins Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 31.

“We understand that making health benefits choices can be complex and confusing,” stated Susan Rawlings, president of WellPoint’s Senior Business. “This alliance with Rite Aid allows us to reach out to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries in a way that is convenient for them to help them find the best plan to meet their health needs and enable them to live the most fulfilling lives possible.”

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