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Katz Group Canada names chief merchandising officer

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Katz Group Canada, Canada’s largest integrated retail pharmacy network, has appointed Ken Keelor as chief merchandising officer, effective immediately. Keelor will oversee all merchandising and marketing functions for the Rexall family of pharmacies.

Keelor joins the organization from Sobey’s, a national multibanner grocery chain, where he held a number of executive positions during his 10 years with the company, most recently VP private-label procurement and global sourcing.

“Ken’s more than 20 years of experience in retail merchandising will be a valuable addition to Katz Group Canada’s leadership team. Ken has a proven track record in building winning teams and growing sales and overall business performance through innovative strategies,” stated Frank Scorpiniti, COO of Katz Group Canada. “As we continue to enhance our customer experience, he will be integral to our organization. We’re excited to welcome Ken to our team.”

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Giant Eagle to open first retail clinic

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle is preparing to open its first in-store clinic in Pennsylvania, according to a report published by the Pittsburgh Business Times on Friday.

The clinic, Healthy Directions, is part of an existing program offered in cooperation with Monongahela Valley Hospital that will relocate to Giant Eagle. The clinic will offer physicals, immunizations and patient education programs on such topics as diabetes, cancer and orthopedics, according to the report.

The first Giant Eagle retail clinic will be located at the grocer’s Finleyville location, just off Route 88. Discussions around locating additional retail clinics within the Giant Eagle banner are ongoing.

“Our partnership with Monongahela Valley Hospital takes our commitment to overall consumer health and wellness to a new level,” stated Randy Heiser, Giant Eagle VP pharmacy. “It creates options that help to avoid costly trips to the emergency room and provide access to care when [patients’] own doctor’s offices are closed.”

Mon Valley, a 210-bed hospital, has operated Healthy Directions in Finleyville for nearly 20 years.
 

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July job growth up slightly; recovery still on pace

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy still has a pulse, as evidenced in the slight increase of jobs in July as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. According to the latest employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, 117,000 jobs were added in July, with the greatest job gains coming in health care (31,000), retail (26,000) and the manufacture of durable goods (more than 24,000). The unemployment was little changed, dropping to 9.1%, the BLS reported.

The question is whether that pulse is strengthening or weakening.

“Americans are breathing a sigh of relief that unemployment numbers are taking a step in the right direction," stated Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. "As an industry that provides jobs to more than 40 million Americans, consumer confidence in our economy and our government could not be more crucial as retailers inch closer to the holiday season.”

The report certainly came in stronger than Wall Street expected. According to published reports, economists had forecast a gain of just 85,000 in non-farm payrolls with the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.2%. Combine the July report with news that May and June employment figures were underreported by some 56,000 new jobs, and the data suggests that recovery forecasts remain on track. According to some reports, the report will ease pressure on the U.S. Federal Reserve to take new action in effort to spark growth. The Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday.

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