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CVS/pharmacy reaches out to last-minute holiday shoppers

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — With Christmas less than a week away, CVS Caremark is reminding shoppers that they can find gifts and deals at their local CVS/pharmacy.

With a larger-than-ever selection of gifts in more than 7,300 stores nationwide, customers will find everything from gift wrap and decorations for the home, to gifts that fit every budget and personality. This year’s options range from such classics as bath-and-body products and stocking stuffers to items like speaker towers for iPhone and iPod users, handheld video camcorders, small appliances and many of the hottest children’s toys, which many shoppers might not realize they can find easily at their local CVS/pharmacy.

"Last-minute shoppers can head to CVS/pharmacy this week to find great deals on a variety of gift options," stated Judy Sansone, SVP merchandising for CVS/pharmacy. "With extended holiday hours at nearly all of our 7,300 stores, CVS/pharmacy is the perfect place to find gifts and holiday necessities without the hassle."

Many CVS/pharmacy locations are offering extended holiday hours this week, and most 24-hour stores will remain open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

In addition, shoppers heading to CVS/pharmacy now through Christmas for gifts and other essentials also can earn up to $50 in free gift cards. Through Dec. 25, members of CVS/pharmacy’s ExtraCare Rewards program can earn free $10 gift cards to Macy’s, Gap, Applebee’s, Shell Stations, American Express, Barnes & Noble or CVS/pharmacy by spending $30 on specially marked items found in the weekly CVS/pharmacy circular.

CVS/pharmacy also is reminding customers to check out the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages for exclusive social media offers and contests. Facebook community members can take the "Holiday Shopping Quiz" to earn a 20% off shopping pass before they head to the store. Additionally, shoppers can follow CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare on Twitter to learn about deals and get last-minute gift suggestions.

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Bi-Lo buys big with proposed Winn-Dixie merger

BY Michael Johnsen

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie Stores on Monday announced that the companies will merge to create an organization of approximately 690 grocery stores and 63,000 employees in eight states throughout the southeastern United States.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, BI-LO will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Winn-Dixie stock in the merger. Winn-Dixie shareholders will receive $9.50 in cash per share of Winn-Dixie common stock, representing a premium of approximately 75% over the closing price of Winn-Dixie common stock on Dec. 16.

“With no overlap in our markets, the combined company will have a perfect geographic fit that will create a stronger platform from which to provide our customers great products at a great value, while continuing to offer exceptional service," stated BI-LO chairman Randall Onstead. BI-LO and Winn-Dixie do not currently expect any store closures as a result of the combination, the companies noted. "BI-LO and Winn-Dixie are both strong regional brands with similar heritages.”

“This transaction with BI-LO provides Winn-Dixie shareholders with a significant cash premium for their shares. We believe this transaction is in the best interests of our shareholders,” commented Peter Lynch, chairman, CEO and president of Winn-Dixie. “By combining BI-LO and Winn-Dixie, we anticipate building a company that is stronger than our individual businesses and creating opportunities for continued advancement through the cross-pollination of our people and the sharing of ideas across our organizations, all to the benefit of our guests, suppliers, team members and the neighborhoods that Winn-Dixie serves.”

The transaction is currently expected to close in the next 60 to 120 days, subject to the approval of Winn-Dixie shareholders and other customary closing conditions, including expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition. Following the completion of the merger, Winn-Dixie will become a privately-held, wholly owned subsidiary of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie’s common stock will cease trading on the NASDAQ.

Until the merger is complete, both BI-LO and Winn-Dixie will continue to operate as separate companies.

Following completion of the merger, it is anticipated that the companies will continue to operate under the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie banners, the grocers stated.

The combined company’s executive management team structure and headquarters location will be decided as the companies move closer to finalizing the transaction; however, it is expected that the combined company will maintain a presence in both Greenville, S.C. and Jacksonville, Fla.

 

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Green Monday online spending up 19% to $1.13 billion

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

RESTON, Va. — Data released Wednesday by ComScore showed that holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 42 days of the 2011 holiday season is up 15% year over year. Through “Green Monday,” Dec. 12, $26.8 billion has been spent online.

The most recent week (week ended Dec. 11) reached a record $6.1 billion in spending, in line with the season-to-date’s 15% growth rate, according to the report.

Green Monday, Dec. 12 — the second Monday in December when online spending has historically tended to peak — reached $1.13 billion in spending, a 19% increase over last year and ranking it as the third heaviest spending day of the season after Cyber Monday ($1.25 billion) and Monday, Dec. 5 ($1.17 billion).

“Green Monday kicks off what should be the heaviest week of the year for online shopping, where we could see several billion dollar spending days, punctuated by Free Shipping Day on Friday, Dec. 16,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said.

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