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Eastman Kodak sells Eastman Gelatine subsidiary

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In an effort to focus on its digital growth initiatives and accelerate its transformation to a digital company, Eastman Kodak said it is selling its Eastman Gelatine business to Rousselot, which is part of the Vion Food Group.

Eastman Gel develops gelatin primarily for use in photographic movie film and paper emulsions, but has expanded its business into pharmaceutical, edible protein and food/confectionary categories, Kodak said. The acquisition of the business by Rousselot will help strengthen the latter’s position in both growing pharmaceutical markets and its current position in North America, Vion vice chairman Dirk Kloosterboer said.

Financial details of the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

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Shopatron predicts factors that will impact retail shopping in 2012

BY Allison Cerra

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — An e-commerce solution for branded manufacturers has released a new forecast on how retail shopping will be influenced by the Internet, in addition to mobile and social networking.

From January to December 2011, the percentage of visits to Shopatron brand partner stores from mobile devices grew from 6.5% to 12.2%, the company said, adding that it has projected that number will grow 18% to 20% by the end of next year. Additionally, Shopatron also predicted social networking will have a stronger influence on retail purchasing behavior in 2012, with the number of Shopatron clients using the company’s online marketing services to invest in Facebook ads or Facebook shops will increase from about 50% to 70% to 75% by the end of 2012.

"We have seen rapid growth in mobile this year, with visits to our mobile optimized client stores approaching double what we saw at the beginning of the year," Shopatron online marketing manager Greg Squires. "And we expect that number to nearly double again in 2012. With this level of traffic, we recommend that brands pay special attention to their mobile presence and mobile marketing tactics in the coming year."

Added Shopatron SVP marketing Mark Grondin said, "There’s an undeniable shift happening. Consumers are being conditioned to expect that they can shop anywhere, anytime and any way they like. Not just in stores, but also on their computers, their phones, their tablets, their TVs and soon on their refrigerators. Brands and retailers that don’t accommodate them are going to lose sales and loyalty."

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Walgreens makes capital commitment with new pilot opening in Washington, D.C.

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent Gray on Friday will join Walgreens executives when the national drug store chain unveils its new health and daily living store to residents of Washington, D.C., during a ribbon cutting celebration starting at 11 a.m.

The store, located at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Veazey Terrace, reinvents the traditional drug store format into a health and daily living solutions store by pairing state-of-the-art technology with a team of trusted healthcare professionals to make health care more accessible and effective. The store includes a private healthcare practice staffed by nurse practitioners, who will offer preventive care, as well as treatment of common illnesses, injuries and skin conditions.

The store also brings 35 new jobs to the area and kicks off Walgreens participation in Mayor Gray’s One City, One Hire program, an initiative by which local businesses strive to create 10,000 new jobs in the District of Columbia.

“I’m delighted that Walgreens has chosen the District for this innovative pilot store and that they’ve committed to joining our One City, One Hire program,” Gray said. “I’m proud to celebrate the opening of another resource for job creation and economic development and look forward to our partnership with Walgreens.”

“This new store offers District of Columbia residents a health and daily living destination that will help them live well, stay well and get well,” Walgreens market VP Darron Briscoe said. “At the core of this new format is our effort to bring the pharmacist from behind the counter to a front desk, so they can provide more counseling to patients and offer clinical services such as immunizations and health screenings. Having them out front also greatly increases patients’ ability to approach the pharmacist with questions.”

As part of a pilot program over the past year, Walgreens has opened 20 stores in the Chicago area with the new health and daily living format and has converted all of its stores in the Indianapolis market to the format.

“The initial response we’ve received from our customers in Chicago and Indianapolis has been extremely positive, and we’re excited to now bring this experience to residents and visitors of Washington, D.C.,” Briscoe said.

The store is Walgreens third in the District of Columbia, and the company plans to open a fourth at 7th and H streets next year. Walgreens plans to operate eight locations in D.C. by 2017.

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