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Duane Reade to unveil unique offerings at 52nd and Broadway location

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Duane Reade is set to put its signature “New York Living Made Easy” vision on full display on Friday with the unveiling of its expanded store located at 1657 Broadway in New York.

(Check out photos of the new store here)

The new 24-hour location, which opens Friday, will serve as an amplification of the retailer’s continued rebranding and aggressive transformation initiatives to date.

"Duane Reade will continue to be at the forefront of drug store innovation throughout the chain’s repositioning efforts where it makes sense," stated Joe Magnacca, president of Duane Reade and president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. “Taking this former 3,100-sq.-ft. Duane Reade Express store [and] integrating strategic retail and neighborhood-centric niche elements — thereby transforming it into its current 20,000-sq.-ft. total health, beauty and daily living destination — clearly indicates what we feel the future of drug stores will be."

New store offerings will include the debut of the UpMarket "Fro-Yo" Bar. This food offering, never rolled out before by Duane Reade, will feature eight varieties of frozen yogurt and four twists. There also will be various condiments, sauces and refrigerated toppings to choose from. The UpMarket "Fro-Yo" Bar yogurt is all-natural and produced by New York-based Ronnybrook Farms. An Upmarket "Freezee" station will also make a debut with rotating flavors of self-serve slushies.

Duane Reade’s fresh-made daily products will introduce all new entrees in ultra-fresh packaging, and a Good & Delish oatmeal station will be introduced containing three self-serve flavors of fresh instant oatmeal daily.

Offerings, first introduced at the chain’s 40 Wall St. flagship store, also will be integrated, including the Juice Market and a chef-manned sushi station featuring fresh sushi, sashimi and traditional sides.

"We are thrilled to provide this vibrant neighborhood with expanded ‘ultra-fresh’ food solutions for every meal of the day," added Paul Tiberio, SVP merchandising and chief marketing officer for Duane Reade. "Furthermore, this comprehensive store expansion has created [more than] 30 jobs, including assistant manager positions, making this particular remodel effort even more worthwhile."

The Duane Reade pharmacy will be "Powered by Walgreens Pharmacy Network.” This means it is linked to Walgreens’ pharmacy system so New Yorkers, out-of-state residents and visitors can have their Walgreens pharmacy information available at this Duane Reade location for a seamless patient experience that also will include prescription "ready" text messaging, free in-store language translation assistance and immunization services.

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Research on rare genetic disorder could yield Type 1 diabetes treatments

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — New research on a rare genetic disorder in which the pancreas fails to grow could shed light on how the organ develops and lead to treatments for Type 1 diabetes.

In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers led by scientists at England’s University of Exeter discovered a genetic mutation present in 15-in-27 people with a condition called pancreatic agenesis, finding a key role for the gene, GATA6, in the development of pacreatic cells.

"This rare genetic condition has provided us with a surprising insight into how the pancreas develops," Exeter medical professor Andrew Hattersley said. "What is it that programs cells to become pancreatic beta cells? Our study suggests that GATA6 plays a very important role in this process, and we hope this will help the crucial work to try and make beta cells for patients with Type 1 diabetes."

In patients with Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys pancreatic beta cells, leaving the body unable to regulate blood glucose.

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Kroger merges four pension funds

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Thursday announced that four of the UFCW/multi-employer pension funds to which the company contributes will merge into a new fund, effective Jan. 1. This new arrangement is expected to reduce Kroger’s annual pension contribution expense and will secure the pension benefits of more than 65,000 Kroger associates.

“Given the challenging environment that exists for pension plans today, we are pleased to have reached an agreement that provides a meaningful future benefit for Kroger associates who participate in these plans,” stated Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s CFO. “The unique characteristics of these plans, coupled with our strong financial position and today’s low interest rate environment, give us the ability to contribute to the new fund in a manner that we expect to produce significant future savings.”

Pending market conditions, favorable discussions with the rating agencies and the approval of three remaining UFCW locals, Kroger expects to contribute approximately $650 million to the new fund in January 2012. The plans cover more than 65,000 Kroger associates from 14 UFCW local unions. Kroger associates represent 92% of the total active participants in the four funds, which was a key factor that facilitated this arrangement, Kroger stated.

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