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Reporters Notebook

BY DSN STAFF

Supplier News

Scotch introduced Instant Power toilet bowl restorer, a super-strength product that cleans and restores toilet bowl surfaces and improves flushing action. Instant Power toilet bowl restorer instantly removes all stains and discolorations caused by rust, lime and mineral deposits from toilet bowl surfaces and clogged flush holes. It is the first product that is focused on eliminating the need to re-flush caused by poor toilet operation, Scotch said.

“By introducing toilet bowl restorer, we have addressed a concern for many home owners: how to get their old toilets flushing and looking like new without the costly expense of replacement. We are the first in the industry to focus on cleaning out clogged flush holes. This allows water to enter the bowl faster and eliminates the need to re-flush,” said Todd Elms, VP marketing. “We are confident that the consumer is focused on repair and renew rather than replacement.”

BIC is launching a new line of pens for the “image-conscious professional,” the company stated. The BIC Triumph 537RT retractable gel pen features smooth writing gel ink, a beveled silver clip for a professional look and a rubber grip for comfortable, controlled writing. The product is refillable and is available in 0.7 mm and 0.5 mm point sizes in black, blue and red ink, with a suggested retail price of $3.98 for a two-pack and $6.98 for a four-pack.

BIC also announced it will launch a campaign for the new Triumph line with a consumer sampling program and advertising. “Consumers are going to enjoy this pen; it has a premium look and feel, and provides a very smooth writing experience,” said Mary-Ellen Lacasse, stationery brand manager for BIC Consumer Products USA.

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Bashas’ rejects Albertsons’ buyout bid

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Bashas’ has turned down a nearly $300 million buyout offer from Albertsons, according to published reports.

According to an American City Business Journals article, the Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas’ was uninterested in a buyout offer of $290 million for the chain.

Bashas’ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, announcing the following month that it would close 14 stores. Still, the published reports quoted an attorney representing the company as saying that the reorganization plan would ensure Bashas’ remained in the hands of the Bashas family, which has owned it since 1932.

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Shoppers’ new initiatives sets chain up to become retail giant

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT While the decision to move in this direction may have been made before Chong Bang crossed the border, there is no questioning that industry watchers will be focused on what SDM’s new top merchant will do to further improve the stores.

(THE NEWS: Shoppers Drug Mart takes a page out of CCR playbook. For the full story, click here)

That has a lot to do with Bang’s pedigree — he’s directed a significant merchandising program at Walgreens, one of the leading pureplay pharmacies in the United States. And now he’s at Shoppers, the leading drug store retailer north of the border.

Bang will be armed at Shoppers with the sales data generated by 9.7 million members of the pharmacy’s Optimum loyalty program, 80% of whom are women. When you consider that there are only 34 million Canadians, that means that almost 1-in-3 Canadians are members of Shoppers’ loyalty program, and almost 1-in-2 Canadian women.

Presently, Shoppers plans to grow its square footage at a clip of 8% to 9% with a new distribution center slated to open in 2010 to help support that growth. And that’s really going to be Bang’s merchandising challenge — finding a way to slip one more item into that Shoppers marketbasket in a saturated marketplace. Bang certainly can’t build front-end sales by attracting new customers. There just aren’t that many Canadians who don’t already shop at Shoppers.

For Bang, it’ll be a question of optimizing categorical synergies and in doing so help drive impulse purchases. Similar to Walgreens, Shoppers is on a mission to make a good shopping experience better, and Bang’s expected to help realize that goal.

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