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CVS/pharmacy’s ExtraCare cardholders save big in 2009

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy announced Tuesday that ExtraCare cardholders received a combined total of more than $1.9 billion in savings and rewards throughout 2009.

In addition, the pharmacy retailer kicked off on Jan. 17 a special promotion, dubbed “I Heart My Double Bucks!” The promotion offers double Extra Bucks rewards to customers purchasing prescriptions and CVS/pharmacy brand health, household, beauty and personal care products. By presenting a Double Bucks certificate along with their ExtraCare card in-store or by signing up for the offer online, shoppers will earn twice the amount of Bucks with $2 Extra Bucks for every two prescriptions filled and will earn 4% back on all CVS/pharmacy brand purchases instead of the usual 2%. Shoppers who sign up for Double Bucks will earn 4% back when purchasing any CVS/pharmacy brand product.

In the final quarter of 2009 alone, ExtraCare cardholders earned a total of $76 million in savings. With more than 62 million active cardholders, CVS/pharmacy’s ExtraCare Rewards program remains the largest retail loyalty program in the United States.

Seniors led the charge as the fastest growing demographic of rewards program users with more than 7.3 million to date and growing. Meanwhile, Los Angeles took the lead as the community with the highest number of Extra Bucks in the last three months of 2009 with shoppers there earning more than $6.5 million.

The program itself saw an increase of 10 million active card users from December 2008 to December 2009. Both the number of men and women who signed up for a card increased substantially, growing by 8.7% and 7.9%, respectively, since last year.

“In 2009, Americans continued to cut costs and look for new ways to help stretch their dollar,” stated Bari Harlam, VP marketing for CVS/pharmacy. “Through our ExtraCare loyalty program, we were able to deliver real value to CVS/pharmacy customers consistently throughout the year. In 2010 we’re raising the bar even higher for ExtraCare members as we focus on providing additional savings on the products our customers need and value most like prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.”

For more information about the ExtraCare program, consumers can visit http://www.CVS.com/ExtraCare. To sign up for Double Bucks online, consumers can visit http://www.CVS.com/DoubleBucks.

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Meijer introduces new store format in Chicago suburb

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer is focusing on innovation with the opening of a new, smaller format, grocery-focused store in Niles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

The new Meijer in Niles, which opens after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, is about half the size of most Meijer supercenters at 102,000 sq. ft.  The store is grocery- and pharmacy-focused, while still providing some general merchandise offerings. The Niles Meijer will be the 12th Meijer store in suburban Chicago.

The new store will feature many grocery items geared toward the diverse community that surrounds it.

“For several years, we have worked hard throughout the Midwest to offer specific grocery items that are relevant to the unique customer base in the communities we service,” Meijer president Mark Murray said. “The Niles community is represented by a variety of cultures, and we are thrilled to be able to serve such a diverse community.”

Meijer also announced plans to expand this new concept in the Chicago area by building a second grocery-focused store in Orland Park, Ill. Construction of the planned store will begin in the coming weeks and includes a full renovation of a currently vacant retail site. The opening of the Orland Park Meijer is currently planned for later this year and will create up to 150 new jobs inside the store.

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Price Chopper cuts into Conn. market with new store

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. Price Chopper has plans to open a new store in Middletown, Conn., the family-owned supermarket chain announced last week.

The 60,00- sq.-ft. supermarket pharmacy will be the eighth in Connecticut and the 120th in New England when it opens this summer, the company said.

“The city is extremely pleased to welcome Price Chopper to our community,” Middletown mayor Sebastian Giuliano said in a statement. “Not only are they great corporate citizens, but they also bring a reputation for quality products at great prices.”

The company plans to “meet or exceed” the U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards to minimize the store’s effects on the local environment and natural resources.

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