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Reports: CVS Health, Walgreens to accept new Apple wireless payment system

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Both CVS Health and Walgreens will be leading retail innovation when Apple unveils its iPhone 6 tomorrow as they are both expected to accept purchases made with the new iPhone payment system, according to published reports on Friday. 
 
According to re/code, representatives for Walgreens and Apple declined to comment. CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis told the online news source, “We don’t know what Apple may be planning in terms of a payment system so it is not possible for us to say whether it is something our stores may be able to accept.”
 
If true, retail pharmacy giants CVS Health and Walgreens gives Apple access to more than 15,000 retail doors where consumers can buy anything from aspirin and cosmetics using Apple's new payment system. It would also serve as a testimonial as to the sway the retail pharmacy channel holds with early adopters. 
 
According to reports, Apple’s mobile payment system is expected to let shoppers wave or tap their phone at checkout terminals using a wireless technology called near field communication to transmit payment information from a phone to a store’s checkout system. "The soon-to-launch iPhone 6 is expected to be the first Apple device to include NFC technology," re/code reported. "The new payment method will also likely include the use of fingerprint identification already available on the latest iPhones as an added security measure."
 
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Study: Most online shoppers using smartphones, tablets to interact with brands

BY Antoinette Alexander

PITTSBURGH — Online shopping has reached a mobile tipping point, according to Branding Brand's Mobile Commerce Index report. For the first time ever, the majority of consumers are visiting retail websites on smartphones and tablets rather than on traditional desktop and laptop computers, the study suggests.

"In four short years, our data has tracked the rapid rise of the mobile consumer from a small fraction of users in 2010, to this moment where the majority of online retail visitors now originate via smartphones and tablets," stated Chris Mason, Branding Brand co-founder and CEO. "This fundamental shift in consumer behavior from desktop to mobile happened with unprecedented speed and represents the greatest opportunity in retail since the advent of the Internet."

In August 2014, mobile devices generated 51% of all online retail visits, the majority of which occurred on Apple devices. In 2010, only 4% of all online retail visits were mobile.

"Not only is the majority of online visits coming from smartphones and tablets, they are occurring on Apple devices," stated Mason. "This August, we saw 61% of all smartphone visits and 81% of all tablet visits occur on iOS devices. Based on past adoption trends of Apple's newly-released operating systems, you can fully expect the majority of holiday traffic to come from users running iOS 8, and it hasn't even launched yet."

Issued monthly, the Mobile Commerce Index identifies retail trends across a consistent sample of 26 major North American brands in various industries, including apparel, health and beauty, and home goods. The Index is the largest collection of data on commerce websites specifically designed for iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices.
 

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Walgreens names JANA Partners founder to board

BY Michael Johnsen

 

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday announced the appointment of Barry Rosenstein, managing partner JANA Partners, and a second new director to be named to its board of directors as the company continues moving forward to complete its merger with Alliance Boots.
 
“We are pleased to welcome Barry to the board in this pivotal moment for our company as we anticipate the completion of the Walgreens-Alliance Boots merger, establish an efficient global platform for pharmacy-led health and wellbeing, and launch a new generation of growth and value creation,” stated James Skinner, chairman of the Walgreens board of directors. “We look forward to the experience and new perspectives he will bring to the board and company as we launch Walgreens Boots Alliance.”
 
“We are very pleased to welcome Barry to the board,” Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and chief executive officer, said. “Barry’s experience and expertise in building shareholder value on behalf of companies will be important as we establish Walgreens Boots Alliance and carry out our Next Chapter plan for long-term growth and value creation. He will add tremendous value to our board and help drive value for shareholders.”
 
Rosenstein is the founder and managing partner of JANA Partners, an event-driven hedge fund located in New York with in excess of $11 billion in investments and commitments which focuses on companies with a compelling valuation and catalysts to realize value. Rosenstein graduated from Lehigh University Phi Beta Kappa and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
 
“I look forward to serving as a voice for all shareholders in joining the Walgreens board,” Rosenstein said. “I am eager to work constructively with Greg, Stefano Pessina and the entire Walgreens board to help unlock greater value for shareholders and to help realize the exceptional future for these two iconic companies as they come together and move ahead.”
 
In connection with Rosenstein’s election, Walgreens entered into a nomination and support agreement with JANA Partners, which, among other things, provides for the appointment of an additional independent director recommended by JANA Partners and agreed to by Walgreens, and that if there is a vacancy which the Walgreens board chooses to fill during the term of the agreement, such replacement director will be mutually agreed to by the company and JANA Partners. 
 
Walgreens also announced that it plans to hold an investor day shortly after the consummation of the Alliance Boots merger to give investors greater insight into the company’s financial outlook, business strategy and capital structure. Details will be provided closer to the date of the event.

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