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Sinatra DVDs arriving May 13

BY Doug Desjardins

BURBANK, Calif. Warner Home Video is digging into its vaults to release 22 classic films starring Frank Sinatra in five collections May 13 with 11 films appearing on DVD for the first time.

The DVDs and boxed sets will debut on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Sinatra and will be promoted in a month-long tribute with help from Reprise Records, Turner Classic Movies and the United States Postal Service. Boxed sets will include The Rat Pack Collection and the Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly Collection and classic films like The Man with the Golden Arm and None but the Brave will make their DVD debut.

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Wal-Mart inks deal to open in-store clinics in 200-plus locations

BY Antoinette Alexander

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart has announced that it will open in April its first co-branded in-store health clinic in Atlanta, Little Rock and Dallas, paving the way toward having 400 co-branded clinics by 2010.

“We know that America’s healthcare challenges are larger than any one corporation, but we’re committed to doing our part to expand access to quality, affordable health care—our commitment to partnering with local hospital systems is evidence,” stated John Agwundobi, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president and president of health and wellness. “Throughout our convenient clinics pilot, customers told us that we are providing a service that benefits their communities. We are confident that our new model of partnership with hospital systems will provide access to quality healthcare services for folks who don’t want to wait in a busy emergency room or can’t get in to see their physician.”

There currently are 77 limited-scope medical clinics open in Wal-Mart stores across 12 states through several partnerships with independent healthcare clinic operators. As widely reported, walk-in clinic operator CheckUps recently closed 23 clinics in Wal-Mart in four southern states.

Now, the big box retailer has inked a deal with clinic operator RediClinic and local hospital systems to open the co-branded clinics, dubbed The Clinic at Wal-Mart, in 200 Wal-Mart Supercenters. Wal-Mart also has signed a letter of intent to partner with St. Vincent Health System, a part of the Catholic Healthcare Initiatives system, to open four co-branded clinics in Little Rock.

Responding to the news, Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig said in a research note that she expects the move to drive new prescription customers and bolster front-end sales.

“Wal-Mart is giving operators a turnkey solution: offering a 500+ square foot clinic with all the bells and whistles. The operator will get major brand visibility and will not have to negotiate for space or location, deal with building permits, contractors of suppliers. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart can standardize the clinic experience no matter what store patients visit,” stated Weinswig.

She noted that she believes Wal-Mart is changing its retail clinic strategy on the heels of the closure of CheckUps by now requiring that clinic operators within its stores be either a hospital system or be closely affiliated with one.

The Clinic at Wal-Mart, owned and operated by St. Vincent Health System, is expected to open in Little Rock by the end of April, as will the clinic owned and operated by RediClinic in association with a local hospital system in Atlanta. By the summer, Wal-Mart expects to open co-branded clinics with RediClinic and a local hospital system in Dallas.

“Wal-Mart Supercenters are a great venue for RediClinic and its health care system partners because there are millions of customers in these stores every day who need easier access to the high quality, affordable health care that we provide,” stated Web Golinkin, chief executive officer of RediClinic.

The clinics operated by both RediClinic and St. Vincent plan to accept health insurance plans including Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others.

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HearAtLast opens 19th Canadian Wal-Mart location, names Mele to board of directors

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO HearAtLast, an operator of hearing aid clinics, has opened its 19th location within a Wal-Mart store in Canada and appointed Louie Mele, president of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, to its board of directors.

The grand opening of the new location within the Airdrie, Alberta Wal-Mart Store is slated for Feb. 8. HearAtLast currently owns and operates 18 hearing clinics in Wal-Mart Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs in Canada. It also recently opened its first free-standing clinic in the United States in the adult community The Villages, Florida.

Meanwhile, HearAtLast has appointed Mele to its board. McDonald’s Canada signed an agreement with Wal-Mart Canada in 1994, and today McDonald’s Canada is the largest licensee of Wal-Mart Canada with 200 satellite restaurants co-located within Wal-Mart stores throughout Canada.

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