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Retail buyers, stores convene to share new ideas and products

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO —From the Meet the Market program to education sessions to the exhibit floor, the 2010 NACDS Marketplace Conference was described by the association as an “overall success.”

This year’s Marketplace Conference, held at the San Diego Convention Center from June 5 to 8, attracted more than 200 retail companies—representing more than 700 buyers and 145,000 stores—to conduct business with more than 450 manufacturing companies.

Attendees hit the ground running the morning of June 5 with the Meet the Market program, which boasted nearly 8,000 preplanned appointments. More than 300 retail buyers—representing more than 100,000 retail outlets—conducted one-on-one meetings to discuss suppliers’ products and services.

Prior to the opening of the exhibit floor on June 6, representatives from such retailers as Walgreens, Costco and Wegmans shared insights with attendees on what retailers are looking for in a product and a company during the “Meet the Retailer/How to Do Business With…” sessions.

The conference also afforded a platform for attendees to learn about a newly launched research initiative in “The Path to Purchase” business program, held the morning of June 7. The panel, which included Brian Harris, chairman of The Partnering Group, and Catherine Lindner, VP retail marketing for Walgreens, was crafted to explore the next generation of manufacturing, marketing and merchandising, encompassing everything from product development to checkout.

Meanwhile, conference-goers were able to stay updated each day via the new NACDS mobile application. The free app provided detailed conference information, including biographic information on speakers, an interactive map with routing information for booths, an exhibitor directory and a personalized show schedule.

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FDA advisory committee shoots down Vivus’ Qnexa

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. The possibility of a new drug for treating obesity suffered a setback Thursday as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted against recommending its approval.

The FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 6 against recommending approval for Vivus’ drug Qnexa (phentermine and topiramate), citing safety concerns such as the possibility of psychiatric problems and birth defects.

“We appreciate the advisory committee’s recognition of obesity as a significant health crisis and the challenges associated with the treatment of this disease,” Vivus CEO Leland Wilson said. “We are disappointed with the advisory committee’s vote.”

The company said it would attempt to address the committee’s concerns. An advisory committee vote is a recommendation, and while the FDA will take it into account when deciding whether to approve a drug, it is not bound to follow it.

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Post-it launches Shopping Genius widget

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON 3M has developed a bargain-shopping widget with the help of its Post-it brand.

Inspired by usage of the classic Post-it note as a shopping list, 3M has developed an evolution of the shopping list for the digital age called Post-it Shopping Genius. How it works: Post-it Shopping Genius sits on your computer desktop, keeping an eye on the price changes for you, locating the cheapest price, and letting you know when it changes. The customizable application enables you to choose from thousands of electricals, durables and other consumer goods, and track up to five at a time.

The application — which can be directly downloaded from http://bit.ly/Post-itGenius and is available on iGoogle, Mac OS X desktop and Windows 7 / Vista desktops — displays up-to-date prices on many thousands of products, which are searchable within the tool.

In related news, 3M announced that it is offering a monthly monetary prize of 1,000 GBP ($1,542) or the value of a user’s shopping list if less as an incentive to those who refer the Shopping Genius application to a friend.

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