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SXC to acquire Zynchros

BY Alaric DeArment

LISLE, Ill. Pharmacy benefit management service provider SXC Health Solutions Corp. has acquired Seattle-based formulary management services company Zynchros, SXC announced Monday.

 Founded in 2000, Zynchros provides on-demand formulary management tools to more than 40 health plans and PBMs. SXC said the zynchros.com platform helps payers manage their formulary programs and maintain Medicare Part D compliance.

“Zynchros.com is by far the most advanced and widely installed solution on the market to manage formularies and maintain compliance with Medicare Part Drequirements,” SXC president and chief executive officer Mark Thierer said in a statement. “This acquisition further cements SXC’s leadership position as the industry?s technology-enabled PBM.”

Health insurance plans and PBMs use Zynchros? services to control pharmacy benefit costs and leverage e-prescribing and electronic medical records initiatives.

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Penn Traffic to sell wholesale business for $43 million

BY Alaric DeArment

SYRACUSE, N.Y. The Penn Traffic Company has agreed to sell its wholesale business segment to C&S Wholesale Grocers, the supermarket operator announced Wednesday.

The sale, worth about $43 million, will allow Penn Traffic to focus on retail supermarkets and consumers, the company said. Penn Traffic will use proceeds from the divestiture and last month’s sale of two stores in New York and New Hampshire to pay down a majority of its outstanding debt, including a $17 million revolving line of credit and approximately $15 million of the company?s $25 million supplemental real estate facility.

The Syracuse, N.Y.-based company owns and operates supermarkets in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire under the P&C, Quality and BiLo banners.

“For nearly a year, we’ve been executing a strategy that includes focusing resources on our top-performing and highest-potential operations in our core store portfolio, while working to lower corporate administrative expenses and not-for-resale costs,” Penn Traffic president and chief executive officer Gregory Young said. “Now, with the significant deleveraging of the balance sheet, we expect to accelerate our progress toward rebuilding the company, restoring profitability and positioning Penn Traffic for long-term success.”

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Information Resources, Inc launches IRI Market Pulse research report

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Information Resources, Inc. on Wednesday launched IRI Market Pulse report, which provides results of rapid, topical research on an ongoing basis.

IRI’s first Market Pulse speaks to the recent decline in gas and energy prices—shoppers are placing those saved dollars and putting them back into the bank. According to the Market Pulse survey, 87 percent of respondents are continuing to try to save gas despite falling prices; 85 percent are continuing to be “very cautious in their spending; and 74 percent believe the current falling gas prices are only temporary.

Consumers remain extremely negative about the U.S. economy as a whole—just 19 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve in the next six months.  These shoppers continue to pursue a wide range of money-saving strategies, such as eating out less, cooking in more, and trying to make basic goods, such as cleaning supplies and shampoos, last longer.

“It is clear that decreasing gas and energy prices will have little or no impact on shopper behavior over the holidays,” stated Thom Blischok, president of IRI consulting and innovation. “Conditioned by spiking energy and commodity prices, the severe problems in U.S. financial markets and the fall into recession, shoppers are cutting back severely.”

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