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Rite Aid’s Wellness+ loyalty program wins 2011 LEADER Award

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s customer loyalty card program has received recognition from a trade organization that focuses on marketing practices that use technology, Rite Aid said Friday.

The retail pharmacy chain announced that it received the 2011 LEADER Award in the loyalty category from the Shopper Technology Institute for its Wellness+ program. The institute presents the LEADER Awards for Excellence, sponsored by IBM, at its LEAD Marketing Conference. The award’s name is an acronym for loyalty, engagement analytics and digital applications.

"From day one, we’ve been extremely proud of Wellness+ and the innovative way it combines shopping discounts with health and wellness benefits," Rite Aid VP marketing Craig Riner said. "To be recognized by our retail peers with a 2011 LEADER Award is welcome affirmation of what our 44 million members have resoundingly told the world — that the value of Wellness+ is significant."

The program was launched throughout the chain in April 2010, and since then has been expanded to include Wellness+ for Diabetes, which the company introduced last month. At the time of its launch, it was billed as the retail pharmacy industry’s first and only customer loyalty program to provide health-and-wellness benefits as well as shopping discounts and special prices. The Zocalo Group Recommendation Index also named it the top-ranked and most-recommended loyalty program in the country.

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Unilever to acquire Russian beauty company Concern Kalina

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON — Unilever has agreed to acquire Russian beauty company Concern Kalina, which significantly will strengthen its foothold in skin care and hair care in Russia.

Unilever initially is acquiring 82% of Concern Kalina for approximately €390 million ($537 million). The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

Concern Kalina, which is based in Ekaterinburg, is Russia’s largest local personal care player with leading positions in skin and hair care. The company has an extensive distribution network and sells its products primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"We are delighted to be acquiring Concern Kalina. This will transform Unilever’s personal care business in Russia, giving us leading positions in skin care and hair care, as well as establishing a presence in oral care. It will also strengthen and rebalance Unilever’s portfolio and competitive position in Russia, an emerging market with considerable potential and one of our priority countries," stated Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

Personal care is a strategic category for Unilever that is rapidly growing. Ten years ago it represented 20% of group turnover at Unilever and strong organic growth has driven it to now reach more than 30%.

Alexander Petrov, CEO of Concern Kalina, added, “The coming together of our company with one of the most successful and best-known global companies represents a tremendous vote of confidence in the strength of our brands, the people who have built them and the potential of the Russian market. The combination with Unilever will also provide our employees with opportunities in one of the best companies in the world."

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Former CVS Caremark head Tom Ryan joins Advent International’s Operating Partner Program

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON — Global private equity firm Advent International has announced that Tom Ryan, former chairman and CEO of CVS Caremark, has joined the firm’s Operating Partner Program. In this role, Ryan will advise and work closely with Advent’s investment professionals to identify opportunities and generate post-investment value at retail and healthcare companies globally.

“Advent has a proven ability to tackle complex situations and deliver long-term value through operational enhancements and earnings growth, even in low-growth environments. I am delighted to join a firm with a solid track record of success. Advent is a highly focused global organization and I’m excited to now be part of the team,” Ryan stated.

This is the latest appointment in Advent’s Operating Partner Program, a long-established element of the firm’s approach to investing. The program includes more than 80 senior industry executives, many of whom have been involved in multiple Advent investments. These executives typically assist in such activities as finding attractive investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, and creating and driving value creation plans for Advent’s portfolio companies.


“Tom is simply one of the world’s top corporate leaders. He is tireless in his pursuit of new ideas, innovation and growth. That drive, combined with his expertise in the retail and healthcare sectors, complements Advent’s time-tested approach to value creation. He is a great addition to Advent, and we look forward to working with him to identify and develop investment opportunities on a global basis,” stated David Mussafer, Advent managing partner.
 


Ryan joined CVS Caremark in 1974 as an in-store pharmacist and progressed through increasingly senior positions, becoming CEO in 1994 and adding the role of chairman in 1998. As the leader of the company, Ryan oversaw the transformation of CVS Caremark from a New England-based regional player into a more comprehensive pharmacy services company with a national footprint and revenue of nearly $100 billion in 2010.

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