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Soaring energy prices lead consumers to supercenters

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Consumers are balancing the need to save money on consumer packaged goods with the need to conserve gas, so they are turning to supercenters to make fewer and larger shopping trips, according to new research from Information Resources Inc. that the company released Thursday.

“Times & Trends: Channel Migration 2008,”reveals that supercenters were the only store type to achieve sales gains across six key grocery retail department areas during the last year, while traditional grocery retailers showed declines in four of six departments. Furthermore, supercenters exhibited gains with all income levels and with three high-potential market segments, including baby boomers, Hispanics and households with kids.

“Leaders throughout the retail spectrum know there is not one single answer to this retail challenge, and that securing the best information is the first step to developing an optimal new strategy,” stated IRI president, innovation and consulting, Thom Blischok.

Select findings for the IRI study include

* Facing unprecedented financial burdens as gas, energy and CPG costs skyrocket simultaneously, consumers have made dramatic changes in where and how they shop;

* consumers are balancing the need to save money on CPG products with the need to conserve gas, resulting in fewer, larger trips;

*cross-channel competition has intensified for self-care products, which are experiencing rapid demand increasesNdrug stores and supercenters have secured the largest gains, but channel shifts vary by category.

“With the economy not expected to rebound until at least the second quarter of 2009, there is ample time for consumers to become comfortable with their new shopping patterns, suggesting that these changes and the competitive ramifications could have some staying power,” Blischok added.

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Safeway raises $9.7 million for muscular dystrophy

BY Doug Desjardins

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway customers and employees helped the supermarket chain raise $9.7 million to help fight muscular dystrophy during an August fund-raiser.

Safeway raised the funds through donations made at checkout registers in 1,700 Safeway stores in the U.S. and Canada. A portion of proceeds from some products sold in stores was also donated. With the August funds, Safeway has raised nearly $42 million for muscular dystrophy with its month-long fundraisers.

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Walgreens offers consumers advice in case of evacuations

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has published a short list of suggestions for anyone in areas affected by potential hurricanes, such as Tropical Storm Gustav, which, at press time, was heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to turn into a hurricane.

While the advice was simple, it may make a big difference for prescription medication takers who have to be evacuated:

  1. Fill the medication only after arriving at a safe location.
  2. Carry the medication in a waterproof bag.
  3. Keep a written record of all prescriptions in an “important papers” file.

Walgreens emphasized in step 2 that all prescription bottles should be taken, even if empty. The information on the bottle label will help any pharmacist refill the medicine. Heat, humidity and sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of medicine, so Walgreens reminded consumers to protect it from extreme weather conditions.

The company also reminded consumers that Walgreens’ patients could register online at Walgreens.com and print out prescription information directly from their patient profile. Walgreens operates 6,356 drugstores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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