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Redbox breaks rental record on New Year’s Eve

BY Allison Cerra

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. The fully automated DVD rental provider located at the nation’s leading grocery, mass, drug and convenience stores announced the rental of more than 2 million DVDs on New Year’s Eve.

Redbox said Jan. 1 the record surpassed its previous one-day rental record by more than 170,000 rentals.

“With many Americans celebrating New Year’s Eve at home and many more resolving to save money in 2010, Redbox proved a great way to do both,” said Gary Cohen, SVP marketing and customer experience. “Renting a record-breaking two million DVDs in a single night, Redbox looks forward to continuing to provide consumers with incredible value and convenience in the New Year.”

In 2009, Redbox surpassed 350 million rentals nationwide, the company said.

Redbox currently boasts more than 19,000 locations nationwide.

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Rite Aid takes a bite out of obesity; relaunches weight-loss program for New Year

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is once again teaming up with TV fitness expert Denise Austin and weight-loss experts Lindora Health, and also has added Harvard Medical School to the mix in the relaunch of its Rite Weight program in 2010.

At the heart of the program is a free, 16-page weight management guide with information provided by Harvard Medical School, which Rite Aid began to make available this week in more than 4,800 of its stores and online at www.riteaid.com.

The guide is designed as an easy to use resource to help dieters make tough choices and stay honest on a daily basis. Instead of relying on food scales, wallet charts or food “points,” dieters can simply use their hand as a guide for determining proper serving sizes across a variety of food groups; for example, a single serving of cheese (1 oz.) is about one finger’s worth, but for pretzels it’s two open handfuls (2 oz.).

In addition, the guide also coaches dieters on how to measure body mass index and to determine their body shape, as well as how being overweight affects their overall health. Other topics, include, the benefits of even a small weight loss, childhood obesity issues, tips for healthier eating and exercise, as well as how to keep the weight off.

In addition to the guide, Rite Aid customers can also log onto riteaid.com/riteweightplan to sign up for the free Rite Weight Plan. The online weight loss program, developed by Lindora, is designed to help participants lose as much as 10 percent of their body weight in just 10 weeks. The program relies on a series of daily e-mail alerts to promote accountability and provide positive affirmation, as well as personal access to Lindora’s team of weight-loss experts, online weight tracking and food journaling, and meal recommendations and complete menus.

Other online resources available through the program include an easy-to-adapt fitness plan developed from by Austin, nutritional tips for seniors, children and those on-the-go, a guide to understanding nutrition labels, and interactive tools like a BMI calculator and a five-minute risk assessment.

Rite Aid will also look to leverage the expertise of its pharmacists as part of the program, offering dieters personalized advice on nutrition, supplements and how losing weight can lead to significant health benefits including lowering blood pressure and the risk for diabetes.

As part of the initiative Rite Aid is offering a special promotion that rewards customers who purchase $30 or more worth of select diet and nutrition products from Dec. 27 to Jan. 23, with a free $5 gift card through its Single Check Rebate program.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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SpendingPulse data suggests U.S. retailers were on Santa’s “nice list” this year

BY Rob Eder

PURCHASE, N.Y. Yes, Virginia; there really was a Santa Claus this year.

At least that’s the story U.S. retailers were getting from early results from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse data, which showed a 3.6% bump in holiday sales this year.

The data, which excludes car and gasoline sales, measured retail sales across all forms of payment. According to SpendingPulse, the season got a boost from online shoppers and a rise in electronics purchases this year.

Important to note, momentum continued through the final week of the shopping season, even as a massive blizzard across much of the country threw a monkey wrench at retailers on Power Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, and an even more critical day for retailers than Black Friday. Clearly, the cyberpurchasing made up some of the difference, as despite the massive storm, electronics sales rose 6% in the final week of the season, according to SpendingPulse.

The SpendingPulse data is a bright spot amid other holiday spending reports and prognostications. The National Retail Federation had predicted spending to drop 1% this season. Meanwhile, the International Council of Shopping Centers called for a 2% increase in same-store sales this season.

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