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Rite Aid reminds holiday shoppers — heartburn relief only an aisle away

BY Michael Johnsen

PALMYRA, Pa. — Retailers are gearing up for the holiday seasons, and have every intent of coaxing their shoppers into filling a shopping cart, such as this one at a central Pennsylvania Rite Aid. But with the coming holiday shopping season comes over-indulgent, belt-loosening meals and the stress that comes with hoping Grandma doesn’t get your nine-year-old a wallet … for the third straight year. So it can’t hurt to remind shoppers that a little store brand omeprazole can go a long way toward relieving any heartburn generated by that over-indulgence or holiday stress.

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Sears Holdings enters the future of shopping with mobile walls

BY Gail Hoffer

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears and Kmart have entered the future of staying connected to consumers introducing mobile shopping walls in high-traffic areas.

The shopping walls, which will feature top toys that customers can purchase from their smartphones by scanning the products’ QR code, will be available in select malls across the United States, and, for Kmart only, in movie theater lobbies in major markets. Additionally, shoppers can find the Sears and Kmart mobile walls in airports in Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Puerto Rico, and at bus shelters nationwide.

“With the hectic holiday season, we know how important it is to make shopping as convenient as possible, which is why we are bringing the Sears and Kmart shopping experience to places that correspond with our customers’ everyday routines,” said Hugo Malan, SVP and president fitness, sporting goods and toys. “As more shoppers head online to do their holiday shopping, consumers are now able to be more productive during their wait time. For example, customers can literally do all their holiday toy shopping while they wait for the bus or a delayed flight home.”

Shopping for items via a virtual wall may be a new concept for Americans, but as Retailing Today pointed out in Walmart News Now issue in August, it already is a popular way to shop in Asian markets. For example, Tesco has developed an interesting shopper marketing solution that appeals to time-starved Korean commuters. To see how it works, check out the video here.

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Walmart denies exploring primary care healthcare platform

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — According to a request for information released Tuesday and reported by Kaiser Health News, Walmart is in the process of piecing together a comprehensive low-cost primary care healthcare platform.

However, Walmart later denied this report in a statement released to the public on Wednesday. "The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect. We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform," stated John Agwunobi, SVP and president of Walmart U.S. health and wellness.

The request reportedly stated that, "Walmart intends to build a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform that will provide [preventive] and chronic care services that are currently out of reach for millions of Americans."

Many of those offerings already are available at select Walmart locations that include a retail clinic partner. Several retail clinic operators already have begun incorporating more chronic disease state management and diagnostic services into their practice, where appropriate, according to a panel of retail executives hosted by the Convenient Care Association earlier this month. And many of those services are being ceded to the retail clinics by their healthcare system partners because of the healthcare cost synergies that can be realized.

Walmart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl earlier this week confirmed the proposal, Kaiser Health News reported, but declined to elaborate on specifics, calling it simply an effort to determine "strategic next steps."

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