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NewsBytes on CVS and Rite Aid’s latest promotions, Katz Group’s latest hire, GSK’s plans to divest OTC brands, and more

BY DSN STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has named Helena Foulkes EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer. In the newly created role, Foulkes will bring together the company’s capabilities in enterprise branding, communications, community relations, charitable giving, healthcare-reform strategy, government relations and marketing into one integrated organization in an effort to deliver even better business results and stronger partnerships.


 

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid in April named Tony Montini EVP merchandising. Previously, Montini had served as SVP category management.


As EVP merchandising, Montini, who began working for Rite Aid in February 2010, will oversee field merchandising and new store format development in addition to his current category management responsibilities. He will continue reporting to COO Ken Martindale. Montini’s new responsibilities include the Wellness stores, Value + stores and co-branded Save-A-Lot/Rite Aid stores.


In addition, SVP business development Bryan Shirtliff has been promoted to the new position of SVP merchandising. Shirtliff will report to Montini and will continue to be responsible for store segmentation initiatives and front-end merchandising.


 

TORONTO — Retail pharmacy network Katz Group Canada has hired Frank Scorpiniti as COO. With more than 20 years of retail pharmacy experience, Scorpiniti previously was SVP pharmacy operations at Duane Reade. Prior to Duane Reade, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Longs Drug Stores.


 

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Dijuana Lewis was named SVP healthcare solutions at Walmart. She will report to John Agwunobi, president of Walmart’s health-and-wellness business unit. Lewis most recently served as president and CEO of health benefits company Wellpoint’s comprehensive health solutions business unit, where she spent 16 years. She is expected to oversee development of products and services in collaboration with a third-party payer in the healthcare industry.


 

LONDON — GlaxoSmithKline last month identified several noncore OTC brands it intends to divest in order to focus its efforts around a portfolio of fast-growing consumer health brands and emerging markets. The company plans to complete all transactions by the end of the year.


The products include analgesics Solpadeine, BC and Goody’s; Abtei vitamin and supplement; feminine hygiene treatment Lactacyd; and Alli for weight management. The products had sales in 2010 of approximately $816.9 million.


Following the divestment, GSK Consumer Healthcare will focus on three priority categories: oral health, wellness/OTC and nutrition.

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Montini’s promotion will help move Rite Aid in right direction

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Newly promoted Rite Aid EVP merchandising Tony Montini isn’t new to the company, having served brief stints there in the late 1980s and early 2000s. But the retailer’s latest initiatives, and the leading roles that Montini and SVP merchandising Bryan Shirtliff will take in them, are the kinds of things that will let the two really leave their mark on the company — and on the industry.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid appoints new EVP merchandising. For the full story, click here)

Rite Aid has had its share of troubles over the last several years, but it already has seen a rise in same-store sales. And the promotions of Montini and Shirtliff, who will oversee the chain’s customer segmentation initiatives, new store formats and the Wellness+ loyalty program, couldn’t have come at a better time.

It’s safe to call Wellness+ a success, thanks to its growth to 36 million members. Meanwhile, the co-branded Rite Aid/Save-A-Lot stores saw comparable-store growth of 83% in fourth quarter 2011, and the company recently unveiled its Wellness store format, with stores in six markets in western Pennsylvania and the New Jersey coast. As a result, according to the company’s fourth quarter 2011 and fiscal 2011 earnings statement, it expected the situation to improve in 2012, anticipating increased chain-wide and same-store sales and reduced losses.

Should the company prove truly successful in its decade-long bid to restore its former greatness, it is likely that these men and the teams and initiatives they are leading, will be remembered as among the critical heroes who helped usher in a corporate Renaissance in Camp Hill.

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Inaccurate meta-analyses cause dietary supplement industry to take a hit

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Calcium causes heart attacks! Vitamin E kills! Vitamin D makes your eyeballs explode! OK, the last headline was just made up, but these are the kind of B-movie headlines many of these inaccurate meta-analyses generate, especially across the dietary supplement industry.

(THE NEWS: Council for Responsible Nutrition, Natural Products Association respond to British Medical Journal meta-analysis. For the full story, click here.)

That means these stories should be of little importance. The problem is, the lay press and general public don’t know that. A few years back when one of these meta-analyses suggested people who supplement with vitamin E have a greater chance of dying, the category took a 30% hit. And when that particular meta-analysis was faulted by fellow researchers as having bigger holes than a doughnut, the story already had dropped to page eight in the lay press. By then, the damage already had been done. The general public never really caught wind of the fact that it was safe, even healthy, to supplement their diets with vitamin E again.

What IS important is the fact that both the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association started reaching out to the press the same day this story hit the wires, and consequently before those B-movie headlines would have been created. Sales of all vitamins totaled $6.5 billion for the 52 weeks ended March 19 across all channels, including Walmart, according to the Nielsen Group, and are growing at a rate of 3.6%. The allocation to supplements like calcium and vitamin D products run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

And CRN and NPA were on hand to help set the record straight before these popular supplements were unjustly maligned.

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