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Shoppers Drug Mart takes a page out of CCR playbook

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart is looking to expand its overall category selection in an effort to make more of a direct appeal to all Canadian shoppers with an expansion into more traditional food and mass merchant fare, suggested a report published in Canada’s The Globe and Mail Tuesday.

Shoppers CEO Jurgen Schreiber told analysts at a CIBC World Markets retail conference that Shoppers will be expanding its position in several burgeoning categories such as ethnic, health foods and even electronics, and to make room for those expanded sets Shoppers would jettison less productive merchandise.

That sounds very much similar to Walgreens’ CCR initiative, in which the Deerfield, Ill.-based druggist tossed a deep assortment of auto care in favor of higher-turning health and beauty categories. In the case of Shoppers, that means cutting away a slower-moving photo category in favor of a more hip electronics offering, Schreiber told analysts according to the news report.

The fact that Shoppers is now featuring a Canadian version of CCR shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, especially as the executive who stewarded that initiative early on at Walgreens — Chong Bang — joined Shoppers as its chief merchant in December.

“Some believe that Bang’s CCR experience could help Shoppers Drug Mart as the Canadian retailer works to maximize front-end performance,” read a Feb. 16 Drug Store News special report retail pharmacy merchants. “Along with improved adjacencies, expect Bang to identify coreccategories in Shoppers’ front end that currently may be undersized for a Canadian retailer flush with prestige beauty products … Bang’s challenge may be to exploit and grow othe categories without losing any of that market share.”

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Dollar General CEO delivers keynote address at RILA conference

BY Allison Cerra

ORLANDO, Fla. The Retail Industry Leaders Association’s 2010 Logistics Conference kicked off Monday with a keynote address delivered by Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling.

Dreiling shared his perspective with attendees on the crucial role of the supply chain in retail operations today as customers, employees, investors and suppliers are coping with the uncertainty of a strained economy and legislative and regulatory overhauls, RILA said. Dreiling, who joined Dollar General in January 2008 as CEO and was named chairman of the board in December 2008, spearheaded the company’s reemergence as a public company through a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 13, 2009.

“Rick Dreiling opened the day with a compelling dialogue and inside look at the substantial impact and competitive edge that strategic investments and process improvements in supply chain can have for retailers in this challenging economic climate,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.

RILA’s 2010 Logistics Conference is being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

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Combined HIV drug therapy may cause heart rhythm issues

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Combining two HIV drugs made by Roche subsidiary Genentech and Abbott could cause abnormalities in patients’ heart rhythms, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The FDA announced preliminary data suggesting that combining Roche’s Invirase (saquinavir) and Abbott’s Norvir (ritonavir) could prolong the heart’s QT and PR intervals. Prolongation of the QT interval can lead to a condition known as torsades de pointes, an abnormal heart rhythm, while a prolonged PR interval can lead to heart block, also an abnormal heart rhythm. Both conditions can cause lightheadedness, fainting or abnormal heart beats. In some cases, torsades de pointes can progress to ventricular fibrillation, a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat.

The FDA said review of the data was ongoing.

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