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Dollar channel gets lucrative

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Retailers operating outside of the dollar channel are beginning to experience some night terrors. Because the fear is, what if American consumers learn from this bargain-hunting experience once the economy recovers? What if they decide quality and convenience in a dollar store today is comparable with other channels, and that the only real point of difference is the price point? Sure, there are some analysts who feel that once American shoppers are carrying a few more discretionary dollars in their pockets, they’ll go back to their previous shopping habits. But what if they don’t?

(THE NEWS: Getting it done at Dollar General. For the full story, click here)

“Some investors expect shoppers to move away from [the dollar] channel when the economy improves,” commented Barclays Capital analyst Meredith Adler in a recent dollar-channel research note. “We believe, however, that the strong small-box discounters will retain a large percentage of their consumers, as the recession has, in some cases, newly introduced these concepts to consumers.”

There probably are a few drug-channel veterans at Dollar General that would concur with Adler, and it seems they may be striking while the iron is hot. Just last month, Dollar General began test marketing an expanded product offering by adding beer and wine to its mix across Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Over time, Dollar General expects to offer beer and/or wine in about half of its 9,000 stores nationwide, the company stated.

If successful, exploiting such merchandising opportunities could continue to transform the dollar channel from the treasure-hunting opportunity it was in the past to the value-conscious destination center it’s fast becoming today. And that’s when the real nightmares begin for competing mass merchants.

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Pfizer to acquire FoldRx

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Pfizer announced Wednesday that it will acquire a privately held drug discovery and clinical development company.

FoldRx’s portfolio includes clinical and preclinical programs for investigational compounds to treat diseases caused by protein misfolding, which increasingly is recognized as an underlying cause in many chronic degenerative diseases. FoldRx’s lead product candidate, tafamidis meglumine, is an oral, disease-modifying therapy for TTR amyloid polyneuropathy (ATTR-PN), a progressively fatal genetic neurodegenerative disease, for which liver transplant is the only treatment option that currently is available, the companies said.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“By combining FoldRx’s proprietary expertise in identifying and developing treatments for protein misfolding diseases with Pfizer’s commercial, medical and regulatory expertise, and global strengths in patient services and reimbursement, we are taking a significant step toward potentially bringing, for the first time, a nonsurgical treatment option for underserved patients affected by the deadly disease ATTR-PN,” said Geno Germano, president and general manager of Pfizer’s specialty care business unit. “This transaction will add another important component to the growing portfolio of innovative in-line and investigational medicines for orphan and rare diseases within Pfizer’s specialty care business, and will complement the current and planned future research and clinical development taking place in Pfizer’s specialty care neuroscience disease area.”

Added FoldRx president and CEO Richard Labaudiniere, “Pfizer’s strong clinical and regulatory resources, global marketing reach and commitment to the treatment of rare diseases will significantly enhance the ability to pursue the goal of efficiently bringing tafamidis to all patients affected by this devastating neurodegenerative disease.”

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Connoisseurs Products’ Diamond Dazzle Stik to make retail debut

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Hitting retail shelves this fall is the new Diamond Dazzle Stik, which is a portable diamond cleaner that is sized to fit in a makeup bag or purse, from Connoisseurs Products.

The Diamond Dazzle Stik uses a twist-to-dispense click pen to deliver the cleansing solution to a flow-through brush. The brush has been engineered specifically to clean behind diamonds and other precious stones and their mountings.

The formula contains microfine cleansers and polishing agents combined with polymer. The polymer fills in fine scratches on the setting, increases the sparkle of the diamond and reduces future build-up of dirt.

To promote the launch, the manufacturer is launching a multipronged advertising program that includes sampling, social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, branded television spots and consumer contests.

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