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Walmart Pay makes mobile wallet universal across its store base

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart on Wednesday announced that Walmart Pay is now available in the more than 4,600 Walmart stores nationwide.

Available through the Walmart app, Walmart Pay works with any iOS or Android device, at any checkout lane and with any credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card. Walmart Pay is like no other mobile payments solution available today, expanding access to mobile payments and improving the way customers check out in all Walmart stores in the U.S.

“There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay,” stated Daniel Eckert, SVP services, Walmart U.S. “What’s even more powerful though, is what this means for our customers. We want to make every day easier for busy families. We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, frictionless checkout and apps and websites that are simple to use.”

Walmart Pay is one of the newest and most powerful additions to the Walmart app, which ranks among the top three retail apps in the Apple and Google app stores with more than 20 million active users. The app was built with an emphasis on making shopping faster and easier for customers – from refilling a pharmacy prescription to building a gift registry and finding where an item is located in store. The app also makes it easy for customers to shop the millions of items on Walmart.com.

“Walmart Pay is just the beginning,” Eckert said. “We’re building deeper relationships with our customers across our ecosystem and are looking forward to delivering new tools like Walmart Pay that allow them to use the Walmart App as their remote control for a faster, more convenient shopping experience.”

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Costco June comps flat; net sales up 3%

BY Gina Acosta

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Same store sales were flat at Costco in June, and net sales increased 3% June to $11.33 billion. 

For the 44-week period ended July 3, the company reported net sales of $98.51 billion, an increase of 2% from $96.33 billion during the similar period last year. Comps for the five-week and 44-week periods ended July 3 were flat and 2% respectively. 

Comparable sales for these periods excluding the negative impacts from gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange were 2% and 4% respectively. 

Costco currently operates 708 warehouses, including 496 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 90 in Canada, 36 in Mexico, 27 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 12 in Korea, 12 in Taiwan, eight in Australia and two in Spain.

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CVS Health Foundation grants $110K to AAP for tobacco counseling program

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The CVS Health Foundation on Thursday announced a new grant to the American Academy of Pediatrics to help improve counseling by all pediatric health care providers around tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke. The program will provide clinicians with the messages, tools and counseling protocols needed to screen for secondhand smoke exposure and better prepare them to speak with parents and families about the importance of reducing tobacco use.

"With an alarming number of children still being exposed to secondhand smoke every day, working with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help educate physicians and parents and help curb exposure is an important step in our efforts to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation," said Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. "We're honored to be working with this respected organization that has demonstrated success in helping to increase education and awareness around the dangers of secondhand smoke."

To help reduce the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure, the AAP will hold two in-person training sessions in 2016 for pediatricians and other child health clinicians, who act as the primary source of medical information for parents. A $110,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation to AAP will cover the costs of the meetings, which will feature content produced by the AAP.

Pursuing a further reduction in tobacco use and nicotine addiction among young people and increasing access to smoke-free environments continues to be a priority for many Americans, as evidenced by the results of a new CVS Health/Morning Consult poll. According to the national survey of 2,001 U.S. registered voters, 86% feel it's important to reduce youth smoking rates. And 37% of all respondents say they are so concerned with exposure to secondhand smoke they exclusively seek out smoke-free locations when they leave their homes.

While the rate of smoking among adults and youth are at all-time lows in the U.S., the ultimate goal of controlling tobacco consumption as the biggest preventable cause of disease and death requires incremental progress on many fronts, including preventing exposure to secondhand smoke, especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 41% of children ages 3 to 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke, which even at brief levels can be harmful to a person's health.

The grant to the AAP is part of Be The First, CVS Health's $50 million, five-year initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. The initiative, announced in March 2016, includes education, tobacco-control advocacy and healthy behavior programming.

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