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Cool Off personal cooling towelette makes retail debut

BY Allison Cerra

SAN ANTONIO — A personal cooling towelette has entered the market.

Cool Off is designed to reduce surface skin temperatures 12 degrees and will maintain that lower temperature for approximately one hour, the company said. The towelettes, which are pocket-sized, are infused with 17 different cooling and therapeutic herbs, botanicals and essential oils.

Cool Off is available at such retailers as Duane Reade and H-E-B, as well as online at Amazon.com, CVS.com and Drugstore.com.


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Ralcorp’s Ronald Wilkinson announces retirement

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Ralcorp announced that Ronald Wilkinson, corporate VP and president of Ralcorp Cereal Products, will retire from the company, effective Sept. 30.

Wilkinson, a food industry veteran, has served in this capacity since 2010.

"Ron has been an integral member of the Ralcorp leadership team for the past 16 years, and we congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement," Ralcorp president and CEO Kevin Hunt said. "Ron has contributed greatly to Ralcorp’s success over the years, and we are grateful for his strong leadership and business acumen."

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Walgreens to acquire mid-South drug store chain

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has entered into an agreement to acquire a regional drug store chain for approximately $438 million.

Walgreens said it will acquire 144 stores — currently operated under USA Drug, Super D Drug, May’s Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse banners, located in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee — as well as corporate offices, a distribution center located in Pine Bluff, Ark., and a wholesale and private-brand business from Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings and members of the LaFrance family. Walgreens said that the acquired drug stores will continue to operate under their current brand names after the transaction closes, and decisions will be made over time regarding the best, most effective way to harmonize Walgreens and the acquired brands.

The latest announcement follows Walgreens’ blockbuster deal with Alliance Boots, which will position the companies as the first and largest global retail pharmacy player.

"This acquisition expands our business in an important region of the country," Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson said. "It will provide significant new pharmacy business for us in this region while also enabling us to bring the Walgreens experience to many additional smaller communities where USA Drug has developed strong operational expertise."

Stephen LaFrance, who serves as owner and chairman of Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings, said the decision to sell the chain — which recorded sales of $825 million in 2011 — was "not only because it is the premier drug store company in [our] industry, but also because Walgreens will continue to provide [our] customers with the service and products they have come to expect."

The transaction is structured as a purchase of the stock of Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings, which owns most of the acquired business, and also includes the purchase of assets or stock of certain affiliated companies or stores and other parts of the business that are not owned by that holding company. It is subject to satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other closing conditions, and is expected to close around Sept. 1. Walgreens currently expects that the transaction will not have a material impact on earnings per share in fiscal year 2012.

USA Drug ranked No. 31 on the DSN PoweRx 50, with projected pharmacy sales of approximately $409 million in 2011. For a complete USA Drug profile, see DSN PoweRx Players 2012.

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