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Rite Aid, LifeScan officially kick off Rite Track Diabetes Tour

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Rite Aid and LifeScan kicked off the Rite Track Diabetes Tour in New York on Tuesday with a special appearance by celebrity chef Sam Talbot.

The tour, which runs through November — to mark American Diabetes Month — and December will visit more than 30 locations across the Northeast in a specially outfitted RV and offer free diabetes testing, resources and materials.

Talbot, who has Type 1 diabetes and recently published a cookbook titled "The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries," was on hand at the launch of the tour in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to sign copies of the book and whip up some of the recipes therein. "The food connection is just doing great food that doesn’t compromise flavor," Talbot told Drug Store News. "Eating great food and testing regularly — that’s what’s key."

LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes the OneTouch line of blood-glucose monitoring devices, was giving out gift bags that include Band Aids, Listerine and a coupon book with discounts on J&J products. "Rite Aid and LifeScan have been partners for a long time," LifeScan trade marketing project director Michelle Singer told DSN. "Rite Aid has focused on wellness and outreach to local communities, so we thought they were a good fit for the program."

The tour will make stops in Boston; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; Harrisburg, Pa.; Norfolk, Va.; and Buffalo, N.Y.

"I think it’s amazing for patients who don’t even know they’re diabetic," Margherita Lafragola, VP pharmacy for Rite Aid’s New York-northern New Jersey division, told DSN, adding that one visitor already had been found to be borderline diabetic. "I think it’s just a great way to educate folks."

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Target begins search for CFO as Scovanner’s tenure comes to a close

BY Gail Hoffer

MINNEAPOLIS — The unexpected announcement that Target EVP and CFO Doug Scovanner will retire on March 31, 2012, has investors speculating about the reasons for his departure following the recent exit of other key executives.

Analysts at Bernstein Research pointed to the fact that no successor has been named, suggesting that the retirement was not a long-planned event. However, the firm said it believed that despite the unexpected news, this appeared to be a true retirement and doesn’t anticipate seeing Scovanner in a CFO role at another major company.

Scovanner will remain in his current role for the next five months in order to ensure a smooth transition once his successor is named, the company said.

“Throughout his tenure with the company, Doug has been a valuable partner in developing and executing our strategy,” Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. “He has made many significant contributions to Target, and as a result of his financial leadership, Target continues to deliver outstanding sales and earnings growth and generate superior returns for our shareholders. I am grateful that we will continue to benefit from his experience and expertise during this extended transition timeframe.”

Scovanner, 55, began his career at Dayton Hudson Corp. — under which Target was a division until the company was renamed in 2000 to Target Corp. — in February 1994 as SVP finance. He became CFO later that year and was named to his current role as EVP and CFO in 1999, making him one of the longest-serving CFO’s at a Fortune 500 company. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of TCF Financial Corporation a national financial holding company.

Before joining Target, Scovanner spent two years at The Fleming Cos. in Oklahoma City as SVP finance. Prior to that, he was with Coca-Cola and affiliates for 12 years, the last five years as VP and treasurer of Coca-Cola Enterprises.

“With Target’s strong core business and clear strategies for expansion, its prospects for continued profitable growth have never been brighter,” Scovanner said. “I feel extremely fortunate to have played a role in guiding the financial and strategic direction of this company over the years and I am committed to ensuring a seamless transfer of responsibilities to my successor.”

Though Scovanner’s departure may have been a planned retirement, the timing is unfavorable for Target, which saw the departure last month of Steve Eastman, president Target.com, following the retailer’s troubled website revamp, and the loss of Michael Francis, who as chief marketing officer was leading Target’s entrance into Canada, to JCPenney.

According to Bernstein Research, Target has some work to do in filling the CFO role, but with a number of strong internal and external candidates likely seeking the role, the retailer should not have tough time finding a quality replacement for Scovanner.

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Plant Pal looks to take guesswork out of watering plants

BY Allison Cerra

TOLEDO, Ohio — Mark Feldstein & Associates has launched a new gardening tool that can be used to aid the growth of indoor and outdoor potted plants.

The Plant Pal singing bird moisture meter is a 6-in. moisture-sensing probe that measures moisture at a plant’s root level to help prevent under- or over-watering, MFA said. The Plant Pal features a polyresin songbird that houses an electronic sensor, which helps monitor moisture levels, and will softly chirp its own authentic bird song when the soil is too dry, MFA said.

“Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, a moisture meter is a vital and inexpensive tool to take the guesswork out of watering your plants,” MFA president Mark Feldstein said. “Plant Pal is the perfect solution to help you prevent detrimental under- or over-watering, and as an added bonus, will enhance the beauty of your plant.”

The Plant Pal currently is available in cardinal, robin and blue jay designs and carries a suggested retail price of $11.95.

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