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Kinney Drugs announces retirement of industry veteran Wuest

BY Antoinette Alexander

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Regional player Kinney Drugs, which operates operates 95 stores in central and northern New York and Vermont, announced on Thursday that Jim Wuest, VP marketing, plans to retire at the end of the year.  
 


Wuest joined Kinney Drugs in 2006, and has been an active member of the executive team and an influential part of the company’s success over the years. He is an industry veteran whose contributions as VP marketing have been paramount to the advancement of Kinney’s marketing and merchandising strategies, the company stated.
 


“We are thankful for all the contributions that Jim has made to the evolution of our marketing and merchandising operations over the last several years,” said Bridget-Ann Hart, R.Ph., president of Kinney Healthcare Services. “It was an honor to have had Jim as a colleague, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.” 
 


On the heels of Wuest’s retirement, Rick Cognetti, VP merchandising, has been promoted to VP marketing and merchandising. In this expanded role, Cognetti will bring together the marketing and merchandising functions to enhance and support the company’s comprehensive business strategies.
 


Cognetti joined Kinney Drugs in 1994 as a store manager, and has progressed through various positions that have provided him with a wealth of retail experience and knowledge of all aspects of the chain drug store business. He will continue to report to Jim Spencer, COO of the drug stores.
 


Also upon Wuest’s retirement, Jennifer Whalen, director of marketing, will assume an expanded role in overseeing marketing initiatives and managing the day-to day operations. Cheri Taylor, director of merchandising, will also expand her current role to include management of Kinney’s merchandise presentation.  Whalen and Taylor will report to Cognetti.

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Target comps tumble 1% in November

BY Mike Troy

A worse than expected 1% decline in November same store sales indicates the holiday season is off to a slow start at Target. The 1% decline was substantially worse than the low single digit increase the company forecast at the start of the month when it reported a 2.4% increase for October that was toward the low end of guidance.

The November weakness suggests traffic trends may be deteriorating at Target, as the company blamed the decline on a decrease in comparable store transactions following that metric’s flat performance in October.

“November sales were below our expectations, reflecting weaker-than-planned sales performance in the first two weeks combined with stronger sales growth across all channels later in the month,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “Profitability for the month remained on plan, reflecting our efforts to balance thoughtful price investments in an intensely competitive environment with our continued focus on driving sales.”

Steinhafel sought to reassure investors disturbed by the November performance that the best is yet to come from the company, and indicated same-store sales for the five-week December reporting period would increase in the low single-digits.

“With the upcoming launch of the Target/Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection, our unique assortment of exclusive, affordable merchandise and the compelling benefits of 5% REDcard Rewards and our Holiday Price Match, we believe Target has the right plans in place to allow our guests to shop with confidence throughout the holiday season,” Steinhafel said.

As in prior months, Target’s strongest growth came in the food category, which produced a mid- single-digit increase in health and beauty, which experienced a low single-digit increase. However, the home and apparel categories both decreased in the low single-digit range, and hard lines dropped by mid- single-digits. The company’s performance was strongest in portions of the south, and softest in portions of the northeast.

The worse than expected comp figures come as Target is experiencing a modest uptick in delinquency rates in its credit card receivables portfolio. Target said the percentage of accounts 60 days past due in November was 2.7% and the 90 days past due total was 1.9%. Those figures hit lows for the year of 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively, this past summer. Even at the slightly higher amount, both metrics are half of what they were several years ago.

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AccentHealth acquires patient education wallboard business of Havas’ Impact division

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — AccentHealth on Wednesday announced it has purchased the patient education wallboard business of Havas’ Impact division. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The acquisition solidifies AccentHealth’s leadership position at the point-of-care, now reaching 26,000 offices and more than 63,000 doctors through its Health Education Television Waiting Room Network that features award-winning programming provided by CNN, the company stated. 

"Havas has built a valuable network reaching patients and doctors in a broad range of offices,” stated Dan Stone, CEO of AccentHealth. “The acquisition allows us to expand not only our existing health panel business, but our in-office media platform as a whole," he said. "We have always been committed to providing the best patient education experience for our viewers, their doctors and for marketers. This expansion continues that commitment.”

Specifically, the acquisition adds substantial reach to AccentHealth’s existing “health panel” media business — engaging, graphical wall-mounted displays that showcase relevant, advertiser-supported educational content around health and wellness-related topics.

The company will also be launching a suite of new cross-platform interactive products, complementing AccentHealth’s existing digital waiting room television network. This will provide unique promotional opportunities to advertising partners while further informing patients and enhancing the overall patient experience, the company noted. 

“Our marketing partners are looking for both targeting capability and scale,” noted John Curbishley, EVP business and product development of AccentHealth. ”This acquisition further increases our ability to deliver on both of these goals.”

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