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Colin Powell to keynote NACDS Total Store Expo

BY DSN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — Attendees of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo will get to hear firsthand from Ret. Gen. Colin Powell about his more than 50-year career in public service. The former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will speak at the Aug. 20 Business Program at the event, which takes place Aug. 19-22 in San Diego.

“We are honored to welcome Gen. Powell to the NACDS Total Store Expo,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “He is uniquely qualified to share insights on both the military and diplomatic aspects of pressing global issues. And his inspiring leadership at the America’s Promise Alliance and his commitment to our youth also will be of interest to attendees — with the focus NACDS is bringing to corporate social responsibility. NACDS Total Store Expo attendees will hear from a true patriot and a trusted hero.”

Powell was born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx and had a 35-year Army career, rising to the rank of four-star general. Before he became secretary of state under Pres. George W. Bush he held various military and diplomatic positions in three other administrations, including national security advisor.

Besides the Business Program, NACDS Total Store Expo will feature various other educational offerings covering such topics as health information technology, pharmaceutical trends, optimizing pharmacy care, reducing hospital readmissions, the health and wellness consumer, millennials in the workplace, public policy issues and more.

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Merger decision expected soon, Rite Aid tells associates

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — In a letter to associates earlier this week, Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley, along with Ken Martindale, CEO Rite Aid Stores and president Rite Aid, informed Rite Aid's rank and file that a decision regarding Walgreens Boots Alliance proposed acquisition of Rite Aid is expected soon.

"We greatly appreciate the dedication you’ve displayed during this time and your tremendous efforts to serve our customers and support our fellow Rite Aid associates," Standley noted. "We remain actively engaged in discussions with the FTC to attempt to gain regulatory approval and there can be no guarantee that the merger will be approved. However, we expect a decision sometime soon."

While the delay in merger approval has negatively impacted Rite Aid results, Standley acknowledged, the company is working toward improving performance. "Our Rite Aid team has worked hard over the past few years to develop a robust health and wellness platform that is both strong and unique in the retail drug store space," he noted. "We will continue to build from this strong foundation as we also focus on operational efficiency, investing in growth opportunities and delivering a consistently outstanding experience to our customers and patients."

Rite Aid will post first-quarter fiscal 2018 results on the morning of June 29, which incidentally is the same day Walgreens Boots Alliance will be posting that company's third quarter results for fiscal 2017.
 
 

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Hallmark launches VR Father’s Day cards

BY David Salazar

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This Father’s Day, Hallmark is looking to capitalize on growing interested in virtual reality. The company has launched virtual reality greeting cards that take the recipient through a  360-degree viewing journey that’s tied to the theme of the card — surfing, motorcycle racing, skydiving and car racing.

“At Hallmark, we are merging digital trends with physical cards to take card giving and receiving to the next level,” Hallmark Greetings Innovation creative director Tom Brantman said. “Our virtual reality cards offer more than a sentiment — they provide a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Each of the four selections features a detachable VR pop-up viewer and instructions. Using their smartphones, recipients can access a website and open the YouTube app, then slide their smartphone into the viewer.

“With the affinity between men and technology, these cards are the perfect way to extend the gift of an experience and elevate the moment for Father’s Day,” Hallmark Greetings Innovation product manager Shannon Ortbals said. “The pop-up VR viewer has a patent pending and is much simpler than other options out there, making it easy for anyone to use.”

And the VR experience won’t be limited to Father’s Day. The company said it planned to launch four new birthday-themed VR card designs this summer.

Hallmark said an estimated 72 million Father’s Day cards exchanged every year, making Father’s Day the fourth-largest holiday for giving greeting cards. This year, the Hallmark Father’s Day card collection includes more than 800 designs, the company said. 

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