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Sara Lee debuts ‘fragrance free’ Endust

BY Doug Desjardins

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. Sara Lee has added a new fragrance-free, hypoallergenic Endust spray to its line of aerosol cleaners. Endust Free debuted in August and will be in all retailers by the end of September.

The new product features a sleeker, curvier can, retails for $3.99 and is being promoted with the tagline ‘A quick clean that’s hypoallergenic.’ In addition to being free of odors, the product also contains fewer volatile organic compounds, a pollutant released by some aerosol products.

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CVS Caremark ratings affirmed by S&P

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK The financial market intelligence company Standard & Poor’s has affirmed its ratings on CVS Caremark.

What this means is that the financial ratings company is okaying CVS’ acquisition of Long Drug Stores, which was announced yesterday.

“The rating affirmation is based on CVS Caremark’s track record in integrating acquired retail stores, its strong cash flow generation and the expected debt reduction to restore credit measures to levels more appropriate for the rating,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Ana Lai.

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Hawaii won’t say Aloha to Longs name

BY Doug Desjardins

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. Assuming the CVS acquisition goes through as planned later this year, Longs Drug will disappear from the retail landscape in California after a 70-year run but that won’t be the case in Hawaii.

“We will leave the Hawaiian market as Longs,” said CVS chairman and chief executive officer Tom Ryan. “Hawaiians see Longs as a homegrown chain and it’s really a stand alone market.”

Longs opened its first store in Hawaii in 1954 and it’s dominated the state since then. It has 39 stores there, with several more on the way, and is far and away the No. 1 player in the market, though Walgreens opened its first store there last year and is expanding.

But in the more competitive atmosphere of California, CVS plans to convert the more than 450 stores to its own brand. “California will become a CVS market,” said Ryan, adding that the conversion should be complete by the end of 2009.

CVS already has a sizeable presence in California, courtesy of its purchase of 335 stand-alone Sav-On stores in 2006, and the addition of Longs stores will make it the top drug retailer in the state with more than 830 stores. But what remains to be seen is how much overlap there will be in some markets, particularly in Southern California, though Longs Drug chief executive officer Warren Bryant suggested the merger shouldn’t produce much in the way of cannibalization.

“There’s very little geographic overlap,” said Bryant. “The only two broad markets we have (with CVS)—Southern California and Las Vegas—largely have a complimentary footprint.”

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