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SoloHealth reaches 2,000 health and wellness kiosks in operation

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth has more than doubled the number of retail locations featuring a SoloHealth Station digital health and wellness kiosk to more than 2,000 locations over the past three months, the healthcare technology company announced Wednesday. SoloHealth plans to have more than 3,500 health and wellness kiosks installed by the end of the year. 

“We are thrilled to be expanding our free healthcare access platform, the SoloHealth Station, providing more Americans access to free health and wellness services, tools and information,” stated SoloHealth CEO Bart Foster. “By end of March, we will be within a 10 minute drive time of 48% of the U.S. population," he said. "As we grow, we are exploring many new ways we can leverage our versatile platform to continue to help better our nation’s health and healthcare system, especially as the country prepares for the Affordable Care Act rollout.”

The SoloHealth Stations are being used by more than 2.5 million people each month and they have been running at 98% uptime. To date, more than 9 million consumers have interacted with the kiosk, up from 2.5 million in late August. Additionally, daily consumer usage has increased going from 10,000 per day at the end of August to approximately 85,000.

Approximately 33% of users took more than one test, with blood pressure and BMI being the highest combination, and one-out-of-four users make a repeat visit to the kiosk. Saturdays drive 19% more users than other days, SoloHealth reported. 

The SoloHealth Station is currently in select retailers including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Safeway and Schnuck’s Markets.


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Fred’s reports slight February gains despite economic headwinds

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s Super Dollar on Thursday reported total sales of $159.2 million for the four weeks ended March 2, up some $200,000 from the corresponding year-ago period. Comparable store sales for the month declined 1.5%. 

"Considering current economic headwinds, including delays encountered with processing tax returns and refunds as well as increased payroll taxes, we were pleased that February sales were within our projected range for the month," stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO. "General merchandise comparable store sales were positive for the second consecutive month, reflecting good momentum in new initiatives such as an expanded offering in auto/hardware and our discount tobacco shop. We also saw a solid start to our new spring layaway program, and while sales under this program are deferred until final payments are made and therefore not included in February, they would have added 60 basis points to the month’s total and comparable store sales," he said. "In the pharmacy department, positive script growth continued, but as in previous months, top-line sales were negatively affected by the ongoing brand-to-generic shift. The effect of this shift on total and comparable store sales was 280 basis points in February."

Because of the combination of fourth quarter promotional markdowns on basic and consumable products, as well as year-end adjustments relating to higher-than-anticipated insurance and other operating costs, Fred’s reduced its financial guidance for the fourth quarter of 2012. Fred’s now expects to report earnings in the range of $0.16 to $0.21 per share for the fourth quarter. 

During February, Fred’s opened one new store and pharmacy location.


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Target, Fast Company sponsor mobile-development competition

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Fast Company magazine and Target are sponsoring a competition to develop a new mobile experience for Target, with a grand prize of $75,000.

The Co.Labs and Target Retail Accelerator is a competition to create either a mobile app or a mobile-enabled website design for the retailer, taking places at the Fast Co. Grill in Austin, Texas, blocks away from the SXSW conference. Entries will be accepted between this Friday and April 30, and seven finalists will be selected in May and awarded $10,000 to develop their prototypes.

"Innovation is core to Target’s culture and strategy, and we are always looking for new ideas to enhance the shopping experience for our guests," Target president for multichannel and SVP enterprise strategy Casey Carl said. "We’re proud to partner with an innovative publication like Fast Company, and we can’t wait to see what the developer community brings to the table through the Retail Accelerator."

 

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