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Fresh & Easy’s design contest: It’s in the bag

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy is bringing back its Design-a-Bag contest, which invites customers to design and vote on the grocer’s next reusable bag that will be sold in its stores.

Now through May 15, customers ages 13 years and older can submit their original designs to Freshandeasy.com/designabag. Last year’s Design-A-Bag contest generated more than 1,300 design submissions from customers and 24,000 votes through its Friends of Fresh & Easy page, in which customers sign up to receive the latest news about Fresy and Easy, as well as exclusive offers.

The winning bag design will be chosen from June 21 through July 10. Finalists will each receive a $100 Fresh & Easy gift card and the winning designer will win a year’s worth of free groceries, valued at $5,000.

"Our first Design-A-Bag contest was a huge hit, and customers loved the great design that won, so we’re excited to bring back the contest this year," said Roberto Munoz, Fresh & Easy director neighborhood affairs. "We believe that offering affordable — and hip — reusable bag options will continue to encourage customers to use them even more."

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Kroger to implement Sharps Compliance’s TakeAway program

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON — Sharps Compliance’s TakeAway envelope solution is making its way to Kroger and its family of stores.

Kroger, which operates stores under several banners across 31 states, will offer the the medication disposal envelopes at its pharmacy counters. The goal: to offer a safe and environmentally responsible means of disposing unused, expired or unwanted noncontrolled prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Kroger joins such retailers as Rite Aid, which recently implemented Sharps Compliance’s TakeAway program in its stores.

"Sharps is a leading provider of solutions for the proper handling and disposal of individuals’ unwanted or expired prescription or OTC medications, and we are excited that our TakeAway System will now be available in Kroger pharmacies," said David Tusa, Sharps Compliance president and CEO. "We estimate that more than 200 million lbs. of unused dispensed medications each year are disposed of improperly and as a result are adversely affecting our water systems and placing our citizens at risk for accidental poisonings. We believe our cost-effective and convenient solutions are ideal for addressing these issues."

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SpendingPulse: Solid retail growth in March

BY DSN STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Most retail segments showed solid year-over-year retail growth in March, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales.

“Most retail sectors continued to record solid growth year over year, similar to February, although we’re not seeing an acceleration of momentum from February to March,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. "The lack of increased momentum in some sectors could be due to calendar shifts, given that Easter falls very late this year.”

Gasoline prices remain a concern as the average price continues to be more than $3.50 a gallon, McNamara said.

“Compared to March 2010, we’re seeing drivers pump less gasoline,” he said. “Based on what we’ve observed in the last three to four years, high gasoline prices typically result in consumers consolidating shopping trips, shopping closer to home, and making fewer trips to the brick-and-mortar locations as we get to Saturday. On the other hand, we’ve seen the e-commerce channel benefitting somewhat from this trend.”

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