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H-E-B awards winners of its H-E-B Slim Down Showdown challenge $18,000

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — H-E-B on Monday announced that its annual H-E-B Slim Down Showdown presented by Dole awarded $18,000 on Saturday to three contestants who made the greatest gains in health improvement and fan engagement over a three-month period.

Hailing from all across Texas, the 25 contestants in this year’s showdown lost more than 700 pounds and showed off their healthier frames to hundreds of cheering supporters in an emotional makeover reveal ceremony at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Saturday. In addition to weight loss, the contestants significantly improved their health biometrics and penned 990 blogs, generating 38,636 comments and hundreds of thousands of page views.

H-E-B determined the grand prize winner using three metrics — overall health improvement, participation and fan engagement.

Grand-prize winner Brittany Ward, an occupational therapy graduate student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, lost 34 pounds, dropped her cholesterol by 62 points and attracted 6,308 comments on her blog. She was awarded $10,000.

“This [contest] was more than I ever thought it would be,” Ward stated. “Change is possible when you commit. We’ve got to change the world. We’ve got to start putting our health first.”

The contest began in January with a five-and-a-half day wellness program in San Antonio featuring experts from H-E-B, Methodist Healthcare and Cooper Aerobics. Contestants received a full medical screening to understand their current health status, met individually with nutrition and fitness experts and bonded with their fellow contestants.

H-E-B first introduced the Slim Down Showdown to its Partners in 2010 as part of Healthy at H-E-B, a comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare. H-E-B aims to inspire millions of Texans to adopt and stick to a healthy lifestyle through special offers on healthy food as well as fitness events and competitions organized around the three critical pillars of health — food, body and life.

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Reports: Costco looks to develop e-commerce in China

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Costco Wholesale appears to be eyeing China’s online commerce market, according to published reports.

The Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, reported Thursday that the Issaquah, Wash.-based club retailer was interested in entering the country’s e-commerce market and was in the process of looking for local partners.

The chain currently doesn’t operate stores in mainland China, but has nine locations in Taiwan. Walmart and French mass-merchandise chain Carrefour also have a long-standing presence in the mainland.

The newspaper reported that Costco was attracted by the growth of China’s e-commerce market, which in 2012 reached 1.2 trillion yuan, or US$193.4 billion, making it the world’s second largest after the United States. 

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Kroger invests $1.5 million in expanding electric-car charging station footprint

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — ECOtality and Kroger on Monday announced an expanded partnership that includes the installation of more than 200 level-2 (quick-charge) charging stations, and 25 DC Fast Chargers, to be installed across key markets through the EV Project. This multimillion dollar expansion will bring the total number of Blink chargers at the Kroger Family of Stores to almost 300.

"As plug-in electric and hybrid cars are becoming more popular with our customers, we are pleased to offer the convenience of electric vehicle charging stations at more of our stores in markets with the highest demand," stated Keith Dailey, Kroger spokesperson. 

"Retailers across the country are quickly realizing the benefits of installing our Blink chargers. Independent research shows that Blink card holders routinely reward these establishments with more time in their stores and repeat business," commented Ravi Brar, CEO of ECOtality. "Kroger not only recognizes this value, but continues to show its commitment to be a leader in sustainability for the food retail industry."

Details of the agreement include a $1.5 million investment by Kroger for the installations across key markets including Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. These stations are in addition to 60 already installed in Oregon and Washington, and 14 in Texas.

 

 

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