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Say cheese! Walgreens offers same-day service for personalized photo gifts

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Photo enthusiasts that shop at Walgreens now can enjoy same-day pickup for many of its photo gifts at more than 3,000 stores nationwide.

Walgreens customers can create their gifts by utilizing Walgreens touchscreen photo kiosks in stores (or from home at Walgreens.com/photo) and pick them up within the same day at their local store. The drug store chain said its new photo technology and printing systems produce high-resolution, color-rich prints that allow photo technicians to produce some photo gifts in as little as an hour.

Products now available for the same-day store pickup option include classic photo books, wall calendars, folded cards and greeting cards, posters, collage calendar posters, board prints, banenrs and more. Prices range from $1.99 to upwards of $19.99.

"With most online photo sites, people often have to wait a week or more to get custom photo gifts delivered to their homes," said Jasbir Patel, Walgreens senior director and general merchandise manager of photo and e-commerce. "Our new service allows customers to pick up these products in their neighborhood store the same day. For time-crunched holiday shoppers, this will be a valuable service."

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Ahold reports Q3 earnings, unveils growth strategies

BY Alaric DeArment

AMSTERDAM — Dutch supermarket operator Royal Ahold reported sales of $9.3 billion and profits of $347.8 million in third quarter 2011, the company said.

Those figures represented a 2.5% increase in sales and a 15.2% increase in profits over third quarter 2010.

The company’s Ahold USA division — comprised of the Stop & Shop, Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover chains and the Peapod online grocery delivery service — had sales of $5.8 billion, an 8.5% increase over third quarter 2010. For the year so far, sales were $19.2 billion, a 7.1% increase over the first three quarters of fiscal year 2010.

The company operated 757 stores in the United States at the end of the quarter, compared with 746 at the end of third quarter 2010, and 751 at the end of fiscal year 2010.

At a conference with investors Monday, CEO Dick Boer unveiled "six strategic pillars" to accelerate growth in the company. These included an expansion of store formats and the company’s online business, including a test in early 2012 of a system that will allow customers in Europe and the United States to order items online and pick them up at designated locations; an expansion of the company’s geographic reach, particularly in Europe, but also in the United States; a three-year, 350 million Euro cost-reduction program; programs to increase customer loyalty; programs to develop employees’ skills and capabilities; and charitable programs.

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Kmart, Sears to debut website, mobile enhancements in line with Cyber Monday

BY Allison Cerra

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — In line with the unveiling of its Cyber Monday offerings, Kmart parent company Sears Holdings announced the debut of enhanced features across its e-commerce and m-commerce platforms.

The deals, which debut on Nov. 28 at midnight (central time), are available across Kmart.com, Sears.com, MyGofer.com, as well as the stores’ mobile applications. Kmart, Sears and MyGofer mobile sites and apps give customers access to millions of products by allowing users to check if the item they want is in stock, buy it online and pick it up in-store. The option is available for the iPhone, Android and other mobile browsers.

Additionally, through the MyGofer service, customers can shop for abundance of items, and in select markets, and have orders delivered to their home or office within the same day.

"We understand that the holidays are a busy time for customers, and Cyber Monday is no exception," said Imran Jooma, SVP and president of marketing, online, and financial services at Sears Holdings. "At Sears, we are offering customers customization — whether they take advantage of our mygofer service for same-day home delivery or help vote for the next special deal via our People’s Pick function — that allow them to not only shop for incredible savings, but have a more enjoyable shopping experience."

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