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Duane Reade staffers show their colors, don shirts to promote new loyalty card

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK —Duane Reade’s overhaul under the new management team led by chairman and CEO John Lederer continues with the recent launch of its new FlexRewards loyalty program. The program replaces the retailer’s Dollar Rewards program and promises to offer members lower prices, more opportunities to earn points and more control over how and when they can spend their rewards.

To celebrate the Jan. 16 kickoff and promote the new rewards program, Duane Reade associates sported bright yellow shirts bearing a picture of the card and a phrase: “Get Yours Today!”

The marketing approach is similar to the one Duane Reade took when it debuted its 20-page “magalogue,” dubbed The Duane Reader, in November. For that launch, store associates wore bright red shirts that read, “The Duane Reader.”

During the retailer’s first-quarter conference call in May 2009, Lederer mentioned that it would be relaunching its loyalty program, then known as Dollar Rewards, to transition it into more of a database marketing business.

With the new FlexRewards program, members get lower prices on hundreds of products per week throughout the store; plus, they earn two points on every $1 in qualified purchases and are eligible to earn bonus points from promotions and on the purchase of specially marked bonus items made available in partnership with brands.

Rewards are redeemable in $5 increments for every 500 points collected. Customers now are able to spend their $5 rewards on the spot, or save them up for special purchases or occasions. All FlexRewards points are tracked and redeemed electronically. Earned points never expire, provided accounts are active within a 26-week period, and there is no time limit on when rewards can be redeemed.

Moreover, FlexRewards members will have the opportunity to earn up to 30% more points with the Super-Saver program.

“Through their actions and direct input, New Yorkers made it clear they wanted a program that made it easier to earn and receive their rewards,” stated Joe Jackman, acting chief marketing officer for Duane Reade. “In fact, half of our customers in our old program didn’t even redeem their reward coupons because there were too many restrictions. Once again, our customers pointed to another valid way we could improve the Duane Reade experience to better serve them.”

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Virginia lawmakers move to block plan for mandated health coverage

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON In an act of defiance against the Obama administration’s plan for healthcare reform, the Virginia legislature this week moved to block a provision in that plan that would mandate that Americans obtain health insurance.

Health reform opponents on Thursday applauded the move, which came Tuesday when the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance. The measure already passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

 

That will make Virginia “the first state to protect its citizens from a federal government mandate to obtain health insurance,” according to a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has bitterly opposed efforts by Democrats to reform the U.S. health system. The group also claims that a total of 37 states are considering some form of “health care freedom act.”

The White House, for its part, has long proposed some form of mandated coverage for all Americans as a means of holding down insurance costs and ensuring that healthier Americans are also included in insurance pools. Under the Obama administration’s proposal, however, much of the cost of individual coverage could be defrayed or offset by tax cuts or other financial help for individuals who can’t afford the costs of coverage.

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Home health specialist Carex launches online membership program for patients

BY Alaric DeArment

OAKLAND, Calif. A company that makes in-home health products has launched a section on its Web site for elderly people and their caregivers.

Carex Health Brands announced Thursday the launch of Carex Care Connection, at carex.com. The site allows users to share stories and find discounts and giveaways on Carex products, which include products for mobility, bathroom safety, personal care and daily living aids, pain management and others.

“Our team at Carex Health Brands genuinely cares about the welfare of seniors,” Carex VP marketing Nathalie Kim said in a statement. “In addition to our efforts to create the most innovative and quality products in the in-home health category, we want to connect directly with caregivers and the senior community.”

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