Insights

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America's bend toward healthier living sparks two big nutrition M&A deals

There were two big deals in the nutrition space this week: Kroger bought one of the most successful VMS e-commerce sites in Vitacost.com, and Hormel bought a dominant nutritional/supplement brand in Muscle Milk. 
 
With Vitacost.com, Kroger will offer customers the convenience to order online and ship to their door with an expanded assortment online. Vitacost.com fields about 45,000 SKUs, and there's a roughly 10,000 SKU overlap when Kroger's mix is factored in.

 

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Sam's Club new credit card offering will boost membership value

Sam’s Club recently announced a credit card cash back program that gives members the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 annually. Marking one of the biggest changes in membership in more than a decade, the club operator in one fell swoop boosted its appeal to loyal Sam's Club members and close the gap between Sam's Club and its chief rival, Costco. The news comes off of a first-quarter performance that Sam's Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer characterized as “one of our more difficult quarters.” While the club operator was negatively impacted by weather and a reduction in public assistance, Costco emerged under the same conditions with a positive same-store sales comp figure.

NRF: April sales figures 'weaker than anticipated'

Retail sales rose ever so slightly in April, putting a damper on hopes of a sharp uptick in economic growth in the second quarter. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales — which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — rose 0.1% in April, following a revised 1.5% increase in March that ranked as the biggest since March 2010.

Easter, warmer weather boost spending in April

Consumer year-over-year spending growth of 4.1% gained momentum in April 2014 compared with the prior month’s growth of 3.1%, driven by warmer weather, as well as the Easter shift into April this year, according to First Data SpendTrend analysis.

Q&A: The importance of responsible medication storage

DSN had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Doug Hebert, Co-Founder and Vice President of RxArmory, and Shelly Mowrey, Vice President of RxArmory about the importance of substance abuse prevention.

Bayer/Merck combined portfolio represents leading position across significant OTC categories

Bayer agreed to acquire the consumer care business of U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck for a purchase price of $14.2 billion. The OTC acquisition will give Bayer the global No. 2 position in nonprescription products following recently announced consolidations in this growing healthcare industry segment, and will significantly enhance Bayer’s business across multiple therapeutic categories and geographies. Merck's consumer care business includes such leading brands as Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s. Pro forma sales of the combined businesses in 2013 amounted to $7.4 billion with Merck’s business contributing approximately $2.2 billion. Upon completion of the acquisition, Bayer is expected to achieve global leadership positions in dermatology and gastrointestinals and advance to the No. 2 position in the cold, allergy, sinus and flu category. Bayer will remain No. 2 in nutritionals and No. 3 in analgesics. Overall, the proposed GlaxoSmithKline-Novartis combination represents the largest consumer health business with about 5.7% share, according to reports. The Bayer/Merck combination comes in second with around 4.5% share. McNeil Consumer rounds out the top three globally with a share just above 4%.

NACDS continues its heritage of naming 'A-List' chairmen with appointment of Rite Aid's John Standley

"NACDS helps to protect the value we currently deliver and sets the stage to provide an even higher level of care, all while sending a powerful message that chain pharmacies are doing far more than filling prescriptions and selling merchandise." That's the message incoming National Association of Chain Drug Stores John Standley had for NACDS Annual attendees. It's a critical juncture in the healthcare industry, he said, and everyone who participates in NACDS plays a substantial role. NACDS is getting a seasoned performer at the helm. Standley has shown exemplary leadership and remarkable clarity of vision in leading the turnaround at Rite Aid — today the retail health care company is in the best shape it has been in financially in more than a decade, and introduced several very innovative new programs and initiatives from the wellness ambassadors to wellness+ to the Rite Aid Health Aliance, and most recently its acquisition of RediClinic.

Nielsen: Millennials mean business

Looking to “break the myths” about millennials, and help marketers and brands effectively engage with them, Nielsen has released a new report, dubbed “Millennials: Breaking the Myths of this No Strings Attached Generation.”

Rite Aid acquisitions strengthen wellness position, position retailer for growth

Spring 2014 will be marked as a watershed moment for Rite Aid — it's the season Rite Aid officially transitioned from an operation on the turnaround to a renewed and recharged entity positioned for future growth. "Fiscal 2014 was far more than just another great year for Rite Aid," John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, shared with analysts Thursday morning. "Because of our continued positive momentum, we are now in a position to evolve our strategy from one that focuses on turning our company around to one that emphasizes growth. Because of the rapid change taking place throughout the healthcare industry, we believe there is enormous opportunity to meet evolving marketplace needs, better serve our customers and demonstrate our value to the healthcare system. In many ways, we feel as though we're beginning a new chapter here at Rite Aid as we look to further expand our healthcare offerings and strengthen the many wellness offerings that have driven our recent success."

Walgreens and Water Street Healthcare Partners — enabling a virtuous circle

Walgreens helped create a new, larger worksite health organization when it sold a majority interest in Take Care Employer Solutions to strategic health investor Water Street Healthcare Partners. The new entity, which combines Take Care with CHS Health Services, will serve more than 200 leading corporations through nearly 500 worksite health-and-wellness centers across the country. Walgreens still maintains a significant stake in the company and will continue to manage their existing worksite clinics in collaboration with the new company. The end result will be an opportunity to couple best practices into an entity with a greater economy of scale that's part of a business model with a lot of upside. The vast majority of large employers remain committed to providing benefits to active employees, according to a recent survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health — an association of large employers — released in March. Offering health insurance as an employee benefit is something the majority of small businesses think is very important, too, according to the 2014 Small Business Health Care Survey from the National Small Business Association — 91% of firms fielding between 20 and 50 employees and 94% of businesses with more than 50 employees believe health benefits are crucial to employee recruitment and retention.