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Giant Eagle highlights fresh produce

BY Allison Cerra

PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle is celebrating its locally and regionally grown produce with a new video on its website.

The retailer said that it is taking several steps to educate consumers on which fruits and vegetables are at their peak season throughout the year, and is further relaying this message through its video, which can be viewed on the company’s website.

“What we’ve found is that our customers associate in-season produce with peak freshness, better value and environmental consciousness,” Giant Eagle VP produce Craig Ignatz said. “No matter where it’s from — a local farm or the far side of the globe — we ask ourselves the same questions every day: how fast can we get it to our customers, and how fresh can it be?”

Ignatz also said that depending on the season, the produce Giant Eagle offers won’t necessarily be from our region, but may come from farther away where climate and growing conditions are ideal.

According to Giant Eagle, its customers annually consume:

  • 56 million lbs. of bananas;

  • 11 million lbs. of strawberries;

  • 17 million ears of corn; and

  • Nearly 17 million lbs. of Idaho potatoes.

For information about Giant Eagle’s produce sourcing efforts, watch the video here.

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Merlo lets everyone know why PBM isn’t going anywhere

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With all the talk among the investment community and press about what CVS Caremark should do with its PBM business, it really comes as little surprise that president and CEO Larry Merlo hit the topic head on during Thursday’s first-quarter conference call — insisting that there are no plans to split the company.

(THE NEWS: CVS off to ‘good start,’ Merlo says; company committed to PBM biz. For the full story, click here)

Merlo told analysts at the start of the conference call, "Despite conjecture in the marketplace, there are no plans to split up the company. We strongly believe that we have the right assets in place to ensure our long-term success in this changing healthcare environment."

Merlo’s comments came on the heels of much chatter among the investment community and press about whether or not CVS Caremark should spin off the PBM business. And some critics have argued that the two divisions of the company are worth more apart than together.

However, those who insist that CVS Caremark’s parts are worth more than their sum should take a closer a look at how the various parts of the company’s integrated model come together — retail, mail order, PBM, specialty and retail clinics. Each component complements the others, and the PBM is a big part.

Echoing this sentiment, J.P. Morgan issued a report in March — on the fourth anniversary of the CVS Caremark merger — that stated: "In our view, the strategy behind the merger is not inherently flawed, and we believe that Caremark has proven to be a valued asset to the retail pharmacy operation. As such, we think it is unlikely the company would voluntarily spin off the Caremark asset in the near term. That said, while some have argued in favor of separating the two companies to unlock value, we note that a sale would likely have sizeable FTC concerns, while a spin has the potential for negative synergies on both segments."

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Former Supervalu executive joins iControl

BY Mike Troy

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Mike Jackson was named to the board of directors of iControl Systems USA, where he also will serve in the capacity of senior adviser to iControl president and CEO Tal Zlotnitsky.

Jackson is a 30-year veteran of Supervalu who retired from the company in late 2009 as president and COO.

iControl is a supply chain visibility and collaboration solutions provider to retailers and their supply chain partners with a client roster that includes CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Rite Aid, Winn Dixie, A&P, Chevron, Hess and other major U.S. retailers.

“Mike is among the few true lions of the industry, a man deeply and rightfully respected across the spectrum of retailers and suppliers for his common sense [and] fair-minded approach to supply chain issues,” Zlotnitsky said. “We are confident that our solution is a game changer, and it is gratifying that someone of Mike’s stature, upon seeing us up close, came to the same conclusion and agreed to put his shoulder to the wheel.”

The addition of Jackson to the iControl board is expected to help the company gain greater insight into the growing issues affecting retailers and their trading partners. “The iControl suite of services, including their thoughtful and ground-breaking approach to scan-based trading, provide for unprecedented collaboration between the direct store delivery supplier and retailer to optimize the business,” Jackson said.

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