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Report: CVS Caremark contributes $1.2 billion to Rhode Island economy

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark on Tuesday released an economic impact study of its contribution to the economy of its headquarters state of Rhode Island.

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers-conducted study showed that the company’s Rhode Island operations contributed more than $1.2 billion to Rhode Island’s gross domestic product in 2010, approximately 12,000 jobs, $831 million in labor income, and $116 million in state and local taxes.

Over the next 10 years, the study found that CVS Caremark’s contribution to Rhode Island’s GDP is projected to be approximately $16.6 billion, assuming its growth matches the average annual growth for the national economy, which is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to be 4.7%. However, if CVS Caremark’s growth over the next 10 years matches its historical growth, its contribution over the next decade would increase to approximately $35 billion, the PwC study projected.

"The results of this study are further evidence that as we have grown as a company, we have also helped Rhode Island to grow," CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo said.

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U.S. Census Bureau: Retail sales rebound in January

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — January retail sales are on solid ground, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

U.S. retail and food services sales for the month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, totaled $401.4 billion, an increase of 0.4% and 5.8% above the year ago-period. Retail trade sales increased 0.4% for the month and 5.5% above the year-ago period, the government agency said.

Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores increased 1.3% in January $46.8 billion, compared with December 2011. Health and personal care stores were virtually flat at roughly $23.1 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales were virtually flat from November to December ($19.25 billion).

The National Retail Federation said sales built on the momentum of the holiday shopping season and were "propelled by gift card redemptions and warm weather."

“Thanks to a combination of unseasonably warm weather across much of the country and millions of shoppers with gift cards burning holes in their pockets, retailers are still riding the tailwinds of consumers’ spending power,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “As a traditionally slower sales month for the industry, it’s encouraging to see such sustained growth in consumer spending and sentiment.”

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Publix names new executive director of its charity foundation

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix announced on Tuesday that it promoted Kelly Williams-Puccio to executive director of the Publix Super Markets Charities. In her new position, Williams-Puccio will be responsible for the strategic direction of the charity foundation.

“Giving back to our communities is an important part of our culture,” Publix vice chairman Barney Barnett said. “It’s a core value Mr. George [Jenkins, Publix founder], instilled in us 82 years ago. I am pleased we have leaders like Kelly who are prepared to take on new roles and continue the legacy of giving.”

Williams-Puccio began her Publix career in 1979 as a cashier in Boca Raton, Fla. In 1989, she became manager of personnel records for Publix’s Miami Division, and in 1995 she was promoted to human resources investigations manager. She has been the director of associate relations since 2000.

Kelly and her husband, John, also a Publix associate and manager of welfare benefit plans, live in Lakeland, Fla., and have four daughters. Kelly is board chair for Polk County Junior Achievement and very active with the Girl Scouts, leading four troops and acting as community liaison for South Lakeland.

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