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General Imaging to sell cameras at Walgreens

BY Doug Desjardins

LAS VEGAS General Imaging used the first day of the Photo Marketing Association show to announce it will begin selling its cameras at Walgreens in April.

The buzz on opening day at PMA centered on the new wave of new cameras loaded with such features as face and smile recognition at lower prices, a product of a mature market that’s unlikely to match the 34 million cameras sold in the U.S. last year. “Walgreens has been selling some of our cameras on their Web site but they’ll soon be selling them in 6,000 stores,” said Rene Buhay, General Imaging senior vice president of sales and marketing, Americas. “And this will be our first venture into the food and drug category.”

Speaking from the PMA show floor in Las Vegas, Buhay said stores would carry the basic A735 and E850 models with prices starting at $89. “Having our cameras available in stores that are so familar to generations of Americans is a great accomplishment,” he said. “This will help us greatly in further extending our brand.” Buhay said entering Walgreens would expand its GE branded line of cameras to more than 22,000 storefronts. The company also unveiled nine new cameras at PMA.

The PMA show will run until Feb. 2 and is expected to attract more than 20,000 attendees who will check out the latest cameras and printers from major vendors, including Canon, Kodak, Sony, Nikon and Hewlett-Packard.

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Costco looks to open down under in ’09

BY Doug Desjardins

BELLEVUE, Wash. Costco plans to open its first store in Australia in 2009 and is currently looking at sites for its first store down under.

At its annual shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Wash. on Jan. 29, Costco chairman of the board Jeffrey Brotman said Costco plans to “open in Australia sometime next year” when asked about the chain’s plans for international expansion.

Costco executive vice president and chief financial officer Richard Galanti later confirmed that Costco is searching for sites in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. “We’re looking at opening there in 2009 if everything goes as expected,” said Galanti.

But Costco is still not ready to entertain a move into China. Brotman said Costco has been looking at China for years and said it’s, “still undecided, though we’re taking a hard look at it.”

During his presentation, chief executive officer Jim Sinegal said Costco continued to push eco-friendly ideas in stores last year. He said Costco increased the number of stores powered by solar energy to 13 and that the company is considering solar panels for 25 more locations.

Sinegal also confirmed the 531-store chain plans to open 29 new stores this year and estimates Costco could eventually open 1,025 stores worldwide with more than 700 warehouses in the U.S.

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Walgreens names new lead director

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens today named current board of directors member Alan McNally to the position of lead director. McNally has served on Walgreens board since 1999.

McNally was chief operating officer of Harris Bank from 1993 to 2002 and chairman of the board of Harris Financial from 1998 to 2006. He is currently retired from those positions but continues to serve both organizations as a special advisor.

“Designating a lead director is becoming a standard good governance practice, making it the right time for us to take this action,” said Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein. “Alan’s broad expertise, energy and enthusiasm make him well-suited for this new role.” 

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