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Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises gears up to open pharmacies across Sweden

BY Michael Johnsen

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises, the partnership between the U.K. pharmacy chain Boots and local operator Pharmaceutical Enterprises, in the next two months is expected to open the first of 100 pharmacies across Sweden, according to a report in The Local, an English-language Swedish newspaper.

”We are busy recruiting candidates and finding premises here in Sweden,” Sverker Littorin, Pharmaceutical Enterprises chairman told the newspaper. “Everything is on track, even though it is several months later than we had hoped.”

Initially the partnership, announced in July 2010, had targeted fall 2010 for the first store opening. Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises is planning 100 pharmacy openings — each individually owned and operated by entrepreneurs — in the next three years. According to Lennart Axelsson, Pharmaceutical Enterprises CEO, the opening of new locations should quickly ramp from there. “The response from contractors has been great,” he said in July. “In the current situation, there are more than 100 entrepreneurs who want to start the Boots Pharmacy, and some of them have been very far along in the process. It allows us to get started quickly."

Competition across the retail pharmacy industry in Sweden has intensified in the past two years since the Swedish government privatized what previously had been a state-owned pharmacy sector in November 2009. As part of that initiative, Sweden had sold more than half of its 900 Apoteket pharmacies.

Since the privatization of the industry, retail pharmacy locations have grown by 22%, according to The Local, which cited the Swedish Competition Authority. Along with the proposed 100 new stores from Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises, Apoteket Hjärtat plans to similarly open 100 new locations in the next few years, the paper reported.

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CalmSea unveils social commerce optimization solution

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN MATEO, Calif. — CalmSea on Sunday announced the release of its new social commerce optimization solution, which leverages CalmSea’s predictive commerce platform with Facebook APIs to provide retailers the ability to engage, grow and monetize their Facebook fan base.

With CalmSea’s program, retailers are better able to understand their customers’ preferences and deliver targeted promotions — such as private sales, group-buys, sweepstakes, contests and more.

Through a standard Facebook integration, promotions are built and managed within CalmSea’s solution, then deployed to Facebook where social interactions then can be measured and optimized in real time.

“Retailers are increasingly recognizing the power of engaging their customers on Facebook,” stated Jim Dai, CalmSea CEO. “The question they face now is ‘How do we personalize promotions and engagement to each fan and then measure the ROI of each promotion?’ CalmSea’s social commerce optimization solution provides a turnkey way to do just that — to measure engagement levels of their Facebook fans.”

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SAS, Winn-Dixie enter partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — SAS on Monday announced a five-year agreement with Winn-Dixie Stores around the company’s marketing and merchandising analytics offering.

“We chose SAS because of [its] strong commitment to retail and analytical excellence,” stated Maura Hart, Winn-Dixie’s CIO. “This partnership will enhance our customers’ shopping experience with the implementation of SAS’ technology and resources to provide improvements in pricing, assortment and category management.”

“Many grocers have mountains of data, but they lack the time and resources to gain meaningful intelligence from it,” noted Diana McHenry, director of global retail product marketing at SAS. “SAS is building a bridge so grocers can reap the rewards of advanced analytics just like other segments of the retail industry. … This will help grocers predict buying behavior and identify customers who are at risk of rolling their shopping cart to the competition.”

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