RETAIL NEWS

Walgreens kicks off 4th annual Red Nose Day campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens again will be the exclusive retailer of the Red Noses for the fourth annual Red Nose Day, helping raise funds to end child poverty, “one nose at a time,” the Deerfield, Ill.-based retail pharmacy chain announced Monday.

This year’s iconic Red Nose will have an extra twinkle, as Walgreens introduces its first ever “Sparkle Red Nose.” The new edition – which people wear in support of the official Red Nose Day on Thursday, May 24 – hit store shelves at Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide Monday morning, officially kickstarting the eight-week charitable campaign.

From now until June 2, customers can participate and show their support by purchasing a Red Nose for $1, with all profits from all sales benefitting Red Nose Day. Following the success of past campaigns, Walgreens is committed to continuing to raise funds through the sale of Red Noses and Red Nose Day merchandise by reminding Americans that “Every One Counts” – a simple idea that helping end child poverty can start with buying one Red Nose at Walgreens.

“At Walgreens, we believe our business should be a catalyst for change to help improve the lives of people in the U.S. and globally,” Alex Gourlay, co-COO, Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Walgreens, said. “By focusing our efforts on initiatives like Red Nose Day, we create a unique and powerful opportunity for our customers and the communities we serve to come together to help make an impact on a worthwhile cause like child poverty. Every One Counts means that a $1 donation can help provide nutritious food for a child or school supplies for a student. By choosing Walgreens, our customers choose to make a difference in the life of a child in need.”

Walgreens cause platform, “Every One Counts,” provides an opportunity for customers to help children by supporting the health and well-being of communities both in the U.S. and around the world. Through efforts such as Red Nose Day and Walgreens Get A Shot. Give A Shot. campaign, and partnerships with ME to WE and Vitamin Angels, customers can choose to make a difference by simply shopping at Walgreens.

“Our mission to improve health and wellness extends beyond the four walls of our stores,” said Adam Holyk, chief marketing officer for Walgreens. “Walgreens aims to remove the external barriers that prevent people from having access to critical health care supplies and services. We accomplish this through our commitment to impactful, long-term initiatives focused on health and wellbeing, supporting young people, cancer programs and our communities. Whether it’s buying a red nose, getting a flu shot or purchasing vitamins – even the smallest transactions can help provide much-needed support to populations in need.”

Red Nose Day has raised more than $100 million in the U.S. in three years to help end child poverty. Walgreens customers have helped to support the program through purchases of Red Noses, other Red Nose Day merchandise and cash donations, which provide funds for nutritious meals, medicine, clean water and other vital aid and education-based services to children in America and around the world.

 

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Piggly Wiggly to acquire locations from Southeastern Grocers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Piggly Wiggly is making a move that will expand the brand’s presence in South Carolina and Georgia.

Three independent Piggly Wiggly store owners, in conjunction with C&S Wholesale Grocers, have entered into an agreement with Southeastern Grocers to acquire three Bi-Lo stores in South Carolina, and three Harveys Supermarkets in Georgia. This arrangement coincides with Southeastern Grocers’ restructuring support agreement announced on March 15, 2018.

The transactions, which must meet customary closing conditions, are expected to close by the end of April. Upon completing the transaction, the acquired stores will be rebranded under the Piggly Wiggly banner name.

Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina and Southeast Georgia are independently owned and operated, but they are supported and supplied by C&S Wholesale Grocers. Through this conversion, C&S will service 50 Piggly Wiggly locations across both states.

“Our independent owners are excited to grow their existing store count and expand the Piggly Wiggly brand in the Southeast,” said John Owens, VP of marketing and merchandising in the Southeast for C&S Wholesale Grocers.

Southeastern Grocers filed for bankruptcy protection on March 27.

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Walmart, Humana reportedly in early merger talks

BY DSN STAFF

Walmart and health insurer Humana reportedly are in early discussions regarding a possible merger, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. A potential merger, if it went through, would bring the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer even further into the healthcare space that it has pushed into with its pharmacies, Care Clinics, optical centers, lab testing services and Wellness Day events.

WSJ notes that while it’s unclear what terms the companies are discussing — or that a deal with even materialize — its sources said that talks include an acquisition, as well as a range of other options.

The discussions come in the wake of several high-profile moves by retailers to enter the healthcare space in more robust ways. December 2017 saw CVS Health and Aetna announce plans to merge — which has potential to bring together CVS Health’s store footprint and pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark with Aetna’s connected health tools and patient base. A Walmart-Humana merger also would combine a retail footprint with insurer tools and Humana’s in-house PBM at a time when payers are increasingly using PBMs as a way to control ballooning healthcare costs. Also fresh in the retail world’s mind is Amazon’s partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to create a healthcare company to provide coverage to the three companies’ employees — which came amid continued speculation that Amazon will soon get into the healthcare game.

Humana currently has 2.4 million Medicare Advantage members, according to its website, making it one of the nation’s largest provider of the plans. WSJ’s report notes that in addition to the roughly 17% market share of the Medicare Advantage market would offer Walmart a customer boon, alongside potential savings on the retailer’s health plan — it currently is the largest private employer in the country, with roughly 1.5 million U.S. employees.

To read the full report, click here.

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