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MinuteClinic offers workplace health services through new partnership

BY David Salazar

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health’s MinuteClinic on Tuesday announced that it had joined the Alere eScreen Occupational Health Network in a move that will allow employers to direct employees to MinuteClinic to complete occupational health screenings.

"MinuteClinic is pleased to partner with Alere eScreen to provide workplace health services to employers and their employees at times and locations that are convenient for them," MinuteClinic SVP and executive director Sharon Vitti said. "Our practitioners are trusted and knowledgeable resources for health care services in their communities and they are looking forward to being able to provide this important service to local employees as well."

Employees who are required to complete screenings pre-employment or as part of their employment can visit MinuteClinic for such services as biometric screenings, vaccinations, Dept. of Transportation physicals and drug testing. Patients can search the Alere eScreen site to find a testing location, among them their local MinuteClinic. They then print an e-passport to be presented to the provider identifying the tests their employer requested.

“Alere is excited to be an enabling partner for MinuteClinic in their desire to dramatically improve the accessibility of workplace testing services,” Alere global president of technology Sanjay Malkani said. “With the Alere eScreen system already in place, and access to a broad services menu including biometric screening, DOT physicals, vaccinations, and drug testing, MinuteClinic is poised to become a valuable workplace health destination for employers nationwide.”

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Fresh-food/fast-food franchise Freshii catapults into New York through Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO — Freshii on Monday announced the expansion of the brand into New York City under the Walgreens name.

"Freshii has a unique and widespread offering for anyone focused on health and wellness," stated Jon Blob, franchise owner. "The breadth of our menu eliminates the veto vote as everyone can come to Freshii and find something tasty, healthy and energizing,” he said.  “My belief in the Freshii mission, my passion for health and wellness and Freshii’s strong positioning within the competitive restaurant industry made me want to be a part of the Freshii brand.”

According to reports, Freshii inked a deal with Walgreens to open in-store restaurants in 2016. The fresh-food retailer has also partnered with Target. In addition, the company is developing a line of grab-and-go items available in nearby coolers when the restaurant is not open.

Freshii’s partnership with Walgreens has led to more than eight successful Freshii stores since launching in 2016. Other Freshii Walgreens locations include Miami, Chicago and Boston.

 

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Transformation on track: Fred’s remains optimistic after new Walgreens-Rite Aid deal

BY David Salazar

In the aftermath of the announcement that Walgreens would be purchasing more than 2,000 stores from Rite Aid rather than continuing with its initial plan to acquire the chain outright — which removed the need for Fred’s to purchase 855 Rite Aid stores and related assets — the Memphis-based retailer is unfazed.

For Fred’s CEO Mike Bloom, the potential to expand its store base was just one opportunity.

“While the acquisition of additional stores was an opportunity for growth, we always viewed it as a potential outcome that would accelerate our transformation, not define it,” Bloom said the day after the new deal was announced. “This is a disappointing outcome; however, the termination of the transaction has no impact on the company’s transformation strategy or our ability to execute. … We are excited about what we have accomplished and are optimistic about the future.”

Fred’s currently is working its way toward operational profitability after its first-quarter results reflected a $36.5 million net loss, partially due to losses from lease liability impairments and expenses associated with closing 39 stores that were underperforming, the cost of professional and legal advisory for the proposed Rite Aid stores acquisition and other factors.

And though the company also swung to a loss in June, Bloom said that the company is still committed to achieving operational profitability by the end of 2017. Fred’s is looking to achieve this in two areas — its continued healthcare transformation and tweaks to its front-end.

On the healthcare front, Fred’s is seeing the results of continuing to diversify its specialty pharmacy offerings, with June seeing strong sales and script growth. Additionally, the company’s retail pharmacy segment saw a 3.5% increase in comparable sales in June, and in Q1 its retail pharmacy script comparable sales increased 30 basis points. The company’s generics dispensing rate also is on the rise, with it increasing 100 basis points year over year in Q1 to 89.6.

“In retail pharmacy, we continue to see a positive shift to generic, while we consistently experience strong sales and script growth in the specialty pharmacy business.”

Other efforts include a revamped front-end in Fred’s stores. When discussing Q1 results, Bloom noted that new prototype stores performed 4% better than the average in April, and in June he noted that such efforts as introducing beer and wine in certain stores were having a positive impact on sales.

“Our leadership team continues to deliver on its promise to optimize our business model and execute our healthcare strategy,” Bloom said in late June. “We are capitalizing on opportunities to increase prescription comps in retail pharmacy, growing sales in specialty pharmacy and driving traffic into our front store. We also continue to optimize our store fleet, upgrade our talent, technology, supply chain and business processes. Our transformation is on track.”

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