Report: Consumers turn to discounters for back-to-school shopping
CHICAGO More consumers are turning to low-cost retailers, discounts and store brands during the back-to-school shopping season, according to data released Monday by market research company SymphonyIRI Group.
According to the Chicago-based firm’s annual back-to-school report, 69% of all respondents are focusing on watching spending and saving money. Among those making more than $100,000 a year, 46% plan to do more shopping at such mass-merchandise supercenters as Walmart Supercenter and SuperTarget, compared with 50% of the general population. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents said they would choose items on sale over their favorite brands, while 58% said they would stock up on items on sale.
“The good news corporations are reporting in their [second-quarter] earnings is not translating to consumer confidence,” SymphonyIRI editor for Times & Trends Susan Viamari stated. “Even shoppers in higher-income brackets are channel shifting to save money. Typically, lower-income shoppers are most price-sensitive and lead in economizing trends.”
Some consumer behavior points to the trend as well. Slightly more than 46% of respondents are buying back-to-school items gradually — buying a few at first and then buying others when the need arises — while 42% are using leftover items from last year, and 40% are minimizing purchases and looking for ways to extend the life of the items they buy.
Private labels have increased in popularity as well. Among consumers making $55,000 or more, 31% considered private-label brands to be inferior to national brands, but more than two-thirds considered them equal or better, which SymphonyIRI cited as an opportunity for manufacturers to reach more affluent shoppers.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics
NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.
The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.
“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”
Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.
(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)
It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.
According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.
Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.
The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.
Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.