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Kmart unveils ‘Fab 15’ toys for donation to needy kids

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart has compiled a list of 15 toys that it is encouraging members of its loyalty program to send as gifts to children in need.

The mass merchandise retailer unveiled its annual "Fab 15" holiday toy list, allowing customers to "gift it forward" as part of the Shop Your Way Charity Gift Registry, part of a partnership between Kmart and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

The toys include Hasbro’s Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo; Just Play’s Disney Doc McStuffins Get Better Check-Up Center; Lego’s Eglor’s Twin Bike; Spin Master’s Flutterbye; Hasbro’s Furby Boom; Mattel’s Holiday Auburn Barbie 2013 Doll; Mattel’s Hot Wheels Car Maker; MGA Entertainment’s Lalaloopsy Loopy Hair Doll; Ultra’s LeapFrog LeapPad; Mattel’s Monster High 13 Wishes Party Doll; Mattel’s Disney Planes Pilot Pals Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane; NERF’s Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow; Fisher-Price’s Imaginext Rescue City Center; Jakks Pacific’s Disney Sofia the First Transforming Dress and Trunk; and Playmates Toys’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser.


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NPD Group: Prestige beauty benefiting from color, care

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — U.S. dollar sales of prestige department store beauty products grew 6% in the 12 months ending August 2013 compared with the year-ago period, driven by strong growth in makeup and skin care, according to the NPD Group.

Makeup, a $4 billion market, and skin care, a $3.6 billion market, have been the driving forces for growth in the prestige beauty industry between September 2012 and August 2013, with makeup up 7%, and skin care up 8%. Each represents more than one-third of the overall prestige beauty dollar growth, NPD stated. Fragrance is growing at a slower pace, up 3% in dollars during the 12 months ended August 2013.

According to NPD, the following makeup and skin care segments are contributing to the overall prestige beauty growth, and outpacing the total market performance:

  • Alphabet creams
  • Skincare sets/kits
  • Eye treatments
  • Lip color
  • Makeup sets
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Concealer
  • Eye brow makeup
  • Face primers
  • Skincare masks

“The prestige beauty market is benefiting as color and care continue to win with consumers,” stated Karen Grant, VP and global industry analyst for NPD.

“In makeup, most segments are winning as women focus on color and enhanced eyes to look their best. New product introductions in skin care, like alphabet creams, and the consumer’s focus on preventative [sic] care are paying off for the skincare industry,” added Grant.
 


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Walgreens to offer workers health insurance through marketplace managed by Aon Hewitt Corp. Health Exchange

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday announced that it will provide more than 160,000 eligible employees with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in 2014 through its proprietary “Live Well Benefits Store,” a marketplace that is an outsourced solution through Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange. The Walgreens program provides more health coverage choices and an opportunity for most employees to lower their out-of-pocket healthcare costs next year.

Working with Aon Hewitt, the Walgreens marketplace will offer a wide array of benefit options and carriers for medical, dental, vision, pharmacy and other benefits coverage in 2014. Walgreens contribution toward the cost of healthcare benefits will be at the same level as it was the previous year, with employees choosing a healthcare plan that is personalized to their own individual and family needs. Plan options include three high-deductible health plans, a PPO and an HMO-style plan. With up to five carriers in each of the country’s 21 geographic regions, the range of pricing for premiums can be as low as $5 a month or less, depending on the region. These options can be particularly attractive to the 36% of employees who are single and under age 30, Walgreens noted. 

The new program also continues Walgreens value-based pharmacy benefit — excluding prescriptions from plan deductibles. “Our experience has been that this approach to pharmacy benefit design is the best way to improve medication adherence and lower overall healthcare costs,” noted Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness.

“Walgreens is moving down a path that shows a commitment to its employees and the desire to offer competitive, cost-effective, flexible benefit choices," commented Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "Marketplaces similar to Aon Hewitt, while new for active employees in the employer space, offer opportunities to drive more consumerism and consumer engagement," she said. "[And] keeping prescription drugs from the plan deductible is innovative and could help control costs and buy more health, not just buy more health care.”

In addition, the new program allows Walgreens to continue offering health insurance and wellness benefits to its employees as the plan administrator, while providing tools and resources that help employees personalize coverage for themselves and their dependents. The plan members will also continue receiving access to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics for a $5 co-pay.

“Under this new program, employees will have expanded choices to personalize their healthcare coverage in a competitive environment, giving our diverse workforce the flexibility they need to meet their healthcare needs,” stated Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Walgreens SVP and chief human resources officer. “We will continue to invest in the health of our employees and their dependents while using a marketplace solution that offers a wide variety of plan options that meet the affordability standard of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Walgreens anticipates that many of its retirees who are under age 65 and are eligible for company healthcare benefits will see reductions in their healthcare premiums and more plan options as well. Medicare-eligible retirees will see no changes in 2014.

The new program also provides an opportunity for Walgreen retirees who weren’t previously eligible for healthcare benefits to participate in affordable plan options through the “Live Well Benefits Store.”

“With continued investment in wellness programs that are an effective means of improving personal health, we are assisting our team members and their families to control the cost of insurance premiums in future years,” Wilson-Thompson said. “Our Walgreens ‘Well Informed’ wellness program, launched in 2010, paid team members approximately $35 million in the last year in incentives and rewards for participation in health risk questionnaires, biometric screenings, healthy activities and tobacco-free counseling services, among other programs.”


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T.FLICK says:
Sep-18-2013 12:47 pm

The Jury is out on Walgreens announcement. I am hoping for the best but I am very skeptical of the Affordable Care Act.

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