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Tesco places troubled Fresh & Easy business up for sale

BY Michael Johnsen

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Tesco placed its U.S. supermarket business Fresh & Easy on the sales bloc Wednesday, in conjunction with an announcement that Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason has left the company. 

"In October, we announced that new capital investment in Fresh & Easy was to be tightly constrained whilst the business focused on reducing costs and improving the profitability of its existing stores," noted Tesco CEO Philip Clarke. "It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form," he said. "Following a year in which my priority for Fresh & Easy was to improve its performance, I have now made a fully-informed assessment of its longer term potential. Whilst the business has many positives, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities. I have therefore decided to conduct a strategic review of Fresh & Easy, with all options under consideration."

To that end Tesco appointed independent investment bank Greenhill to assist with a review of options. "In recent months, we have had a number of approaches from parties interested in acquiring either all or part of Fresh & Easy, or in partnering with us to develop the Fresh & Easy business," Clarke said. 

Regarding Mason, Clarke stated: "Tim Mason, who leaves Tesco today, has played an important part in our success over a 30 year career with the company, and he leaves with my thanks and good wishes."

 

 

 

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Rite Aid debuts exclusive exercise equipment line from Denise Austin

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has become the exclusive retailer of a new line of home fitness products, the retail pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

Rite Aid announced that celebrity fitness expert Denise Austin’s new Forever Fit line would be available at stores nationwide. The 33 products in the line, which range in price from $3.99 to $29.99, include yoga and exercise mats, medicine balls, exercise wheels, weights, push-up stands and others. The company said the line was focused on addressing the everyday health and fitness needs of people looking to work out at home, embodying an "active aging" approach to fitness to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and muscle strain, as well as increase cardiovascular and other health measures.

"Forever Fit is not about exhausting yourself in the pursuit of bulging biceps," Austin said. "It’s a simple, easy and safe way to help reduce our little life pains, while promoting weight loss, improving cardiovascular fitness and enhancing your overall health and wellbeing."

Products are categorized according to the health benefits associated with them: balance and flexibility, heart health, fitness and support and toning and strength. Unique items include a balance board and deluxe walking kit.

 

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NCPA and Purdue Pharma remind families to safeguard their prescription medicines over holidays

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma on Wednesday announced the two organizations are working together to remind parents, grandparents and other family members about simple steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicines this holiday season through their national educational initiative, Safeguard My Meds.

“As a community pharmacist and mother, I understand how critical it is to keep prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands,” stated Michele Belcher, NCPA second VP. “Every day more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medication for the first time. Proper storage and disposal of prescription medicines in the home can play a vital role in preventing misuse and abuse.”

NCPA and Purdue Pharma suggest that families use a locked storage container to store prescription medicines at greater risk of being abused, including pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and anti-depressants, and to keep track of medications with the Medicine Inventory Sheet, which can be found at www.SafeguardMyMeds.org.

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