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Sam’s Club to provide free diabetes screening

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — To help encourage early detection of diabetes in communities around the United States, Sam’s Club Pharmacy will host free diabetes screenings to both members and non-members on Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m, the retailer announced Wednesday.
 
The diabetes screenings are free, confidential and available to the public at all Sam’s Club locations with a pharmacy (599 locations). The screenings, valued at $250, include tests for:
 
  • A1C blood test;
  • Glucose;
  • Total cholesterol;
  • HDL (good cholesterol);
  • Risk ratio (relationship between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol);
  • Blood pressure;
  • Body fat percentage; and
  • Vision.
“There is clearly a need to offer people an easy and accessible way to detect diabetes early on,” said Jill Turner-Mitchael, SVP Sam’s Club health and wellness. “We are committed to offering solutions like this screening as a way to encourage people to take control of their health and to learn information that can be very valuable in getting them to their long-term health goals.”
 
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KPMG survey: Retail executives embracing omnichannel approach

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Many retail executives said their organizations have adopted an omnichannel strategy to link the consumers' in-store experience with the company's website, mobile device application and social media platforms in an effort to better respond to an increasingly online and mobile customer, according to KMPG’s 2014 Retail Outlook Survey.

"Consumer preferences have evolved, and the omnichannel approach has become an imperative for organizations to provide their customers with the shopping experiences they demand," stated Mark Larson, KPMG's U.S. and global retail sector leader. "Organizations that have adapted well to the rise of e-commerce, customer mobility and other technological disruptions of the last decade are showing some early signs of breaking away while others are still near the starting line. Regardless of where they are in the process, one thing is clear – retailers have acknowledged the shopping habits of today's consumer and they are making transformational changes to embrace them."


According to the survey, which was conducted in the spring and reflects the viewpoints of 100 U.S. senior executives in the retail industry, 70% of retail executives said their organizations have adopted an omnichannel strategy to link the consumer's in-store experience with the company's website, mobile device application and social media platforms. This strategy, according to KPMG, will help create a seamless shopping experience for the consumer.


The survey also found that more than (53%) of executives in the retail sector believe that they are ahead of their peers when it comes to omnichannel adoption. When asked which three channels they have increased spending on in 2014, executives cited their company website (67%), physical/permanent stores (47%) and social media platforms (46%) as the most important areas.



Adopting an omnichannel business strategy may be costly, however. Fifty-three percent of retail executives surveyed stated that the cost and complexity of technology upgrades were one of the main challenges their organizations faced.

Cyber security is also a rising issue. Currently, 77% of executives surveyed said that their companies share customers' personal and payment information across their channels to make for a more seamless shopping experience. In light of the large-scale cyber breaches this year at retailers across the country, executives may need to reevaluate what customer information they share across their channels and determine the appropriate level of security necessary to protect that information.



Revenue Growth and Focus



According to the survey, 70% of executives identify customer retention as the most significant driver of revenue growth over the next one to three years. To assist in retaining customers and executing an omnichannel strategy, retail executives are evaluating their operational efficiencies and technology investments. Forty-two percent of retail executives say that operational efficiencies and applicable technology updates have consumed and will continue to consume the most time for senior leadership in 2014.



Nearly three-quarters of the executives surveyed have increased spending in their technology capabilities and new products or services.



The Challenges Ahead 



An overwhelming majority of executives agree that they are at least on par with risk management in comparison to their peers (87%). Despite this, however, there are many pressing challenges that retail executives have identified as obstacles for the remainder of 2014 and beyond, the survey found.

Forty-one percent of executives cited the Affordable Care Act as a high-priority compliance area that their organization has begun to address and will continue to address in 2014. Thirty-four percent stated payment card industry compliance is the next highest priority, followed by federal and state tax changes (29%).



Forty-one percent of executives surveyed stated that losing share to lower-cost competitors is the top threat to their organization's business model. In relation to lower-cost competition, 36% stated that discounting and other sales incentives have had and will continue to have the greatest negative impact on their company's profit margins during 2014.


 

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Abbott launches wearable glucose sensor in Europe

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott on Wednesday announced that it has received CE Mark (Conformite Europeenne) for its FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, a revolutionary new glucose sensing technology for people with diabetes. The system eliminates the need for routine finger pricks, reading glucose levels through a sensor that can be worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days. In addition, no finger prick calibration is needed, a key differentiator from current continuous glucose monitoring systems. 
 
The system will be available in seven countries across Europe in the coming weeks.
 
Abbott's FreeStyle Libre System consists of a small, round sensor worn on the back of the upper arm, which measures glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a small filament that is inserted just under the skin and held in place with a small adhesive pad. A reader is scanned over the sensor to get a glucose result painlessly in less than one second. Scanning can take place while the sensor is under clothing, making testing more discreet and convenient. Each scan displays a real-time glucose result, a historical trend and the direction the glucose is heading. The reader holds up to 90 days of data, providing a historical snapshot of glucose levels over time. The FreeStyle Libre System software enables the data to be presented in a visual chart for both healthcare professionals and patients.
 
"The FreeStyle Libre System fulfills a major need for people living with diabetes," stated Robert Ford, SVP Diabetes Care, Abbott. "Our customers told us that the pain, inconvenience and indiscretion of finger pricking were the key reasons they weren't managing their diabetes as well as they should. Addressing these concerns has guided the development of FreeStyle Libre – a transformational product designed to not only remove the pain of finger pricking but also seamlessly integrate into their daily lives." 
 
 
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