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Study: 1-in-5 store customers are ‘connected’

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — Eighty percent of U.S. consumers use the Internet when they shop. The fourth annual research study of shopper behavior, conducted by Cisco Consulting Services, revealed the percentage of “uber-digitals” shoppers, who regularly use their smartphones for their shopping decision-making, nearly doubled to 18% of the sampled population.

In addition, 39% of consumers research products in store before buying them online, and 51% of those consumers prefer to use a retailer’s mobile app for the purchase. The majority (52%) of digital shoppers are willing to share information with retailers if they’ll get discounts on their next purchase.

Other findings include:

  • Thirty-one percent of consumers highly trust retailers to protect their personal data;
  • Thirty-four percent of consumers are interested in scavenger-hunt promotions that offer consumers special discounts if they scan/collect QBR codes while shopping through store;
  • Thirty-five percent of consumers are interested in "beat the clock" specials that offer consumers special discounts if consumer clicks on pop-up window while shopping on-line or smartphone;
  • Twenty-nine percent of consumers were interested in getting on-demand advice from stylists, designers, product specialists, do-it-yourself-home improvement consultants and other experts via video when shopping in the store; and
  • When ordering online and picking up merchandize in the store, consumer interest varies by store type; 44% at consumer electronic stores, 35% at home improvement stores, 30% apparel/fashion stores and 22% at grocery stores.

“Today’s mobile phone is a remote control for shopping,” Jon Stine, North America lead, retail, Cisco Consulting Services, said. “The growing trend of consumers using mobile phones when shopping in the store is a wake-up call for retailers. The retailers that will win more revenues from customers today and in the future will be the ones that offer the best online experience and integrate it with the consumers’ in-store shopping experience."

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Univ. of Rhode Island pharmacy professor awarded $1.3M grant for cancer research

BY Antoinette Alexander

KINGSTON, R.I. — The National Institutes of Health have awarded a University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor a $1.3 million grant to further study a new class of inorganic nanoparticles that target primary cancer and help control the disease’s spread and recurrence.



Wei Lu, assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in URI’s College of Pharmacy, in his lab conducting research on novel nanoparticles to battle metastatic breast cancer. URI photo by Joe Giblin.

Wei Lu, assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy, has discovered in his preliminary research that hollow copper sulfide nanoparticles are effective in delivering chemotherapy and heat through a laser that can burn the tumor.



The Kingston resident will be using the four-year NIH grant to further his laboratory study with a focus on breast cancer, the second most frequently diagnosed malignancy in women worldwide.



“We are developing a novel cancer therapeutic technology that has several innovative features: biodegradability, multimodality and simplicity,” said Lu, who is teaming with pharmacy professor Bingfang Yan, a specialist in genetic and environmental factors that combine to regulate the expression of genes involved in drug response and the cellular switches related to tumor formation. 

Lu, who came to the University in 2010, said he could not have competed for the NIH award if it weren’t for the support of the Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, a $45 million initiative funded by NIH and headed by URI to increase research capacity among biomedical faculty in Rhode Island.



“The program supported my research for three years, which allowed me to develop my preliminary findings,” Lu said. “I am very grateful for this support, without which I could not have gotten this major federal funding.”



Lu’s research colleague Yan, chair of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said it’s rare in the nation for a junior faculty member with just three years on the job to be awarded such a major grant through the regular R01 mechanism by NIH. 
Lu and Yan will be working with post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates from the bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences program.

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Kimberly-Clark discusses outlook following Q4 results

BY Vivian Gomez

DALLAS — Following its fourth-quarter results, Kimberly-Clark plans to pursue targeted growth initiatives and support growth opportunities with increased advertising and research spending.

The company’s net sales of $5.3 billion were even with the year-ago period. Organic sales, which exclude the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates and lost sales as a result of European strategic changes and pulp and tissue restructuring actions, rose 5%, including an 11% increase in K-C International. 

"The strength of our results this past year gives us added confidence that we will continue to execute our global business plan well going forward,” chairman and CEO Thomas J. Falk said. “We expect to achieve a healthy level of cost savings, which should help fund brand investments and improve margins.  We will also focus on cash generation and allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways.  And while we expect significant currency headwinds and higher commodity costs this year, we plan to deliver solid bottom-line growth.  We remain optimistic about our prospects to drive profitable growth and generate attractive returns to shareholders."   

In November 2013, Kimberly-Clark said it was pursuing a tax-free spin-off of its health care business. A spin-off would create a stand-alone, publicly traded health care company with approximately $1.6 billion in annual net sales and leading market positions in both surgical and infection prevention products and medical devices.

Company management continues to analyze the potential spin-off and expects to seek approval from the board of directors in the second quarter of 2014. Kimberly-Clark continues to expect that the spin-off will be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2014, assuming board approval and subject to market, regulatory and other conditions.
 

 

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