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Walmart’s social commerce gets ‘Kosmix’ intervention

BY Gail Hoffer

BRISBANE, Calif. — Walmart announced that it has acquired the services of Kosmix, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company, to grow its multichannel strategy.

Kosmix’s founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman will lead the newly formed @WalmartLabs, based in Silicon Valley, which Walmart said will create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support Walmart’s global multichannel strategy, which integrates the shopping experience between bricks-and-mortar stores and e-commerce. Harinarayan and Rajaraman are early pioneers of online shopping; their first company, Junglee, was acquired by Amazon.com in 1998.

“We are expanding our capabilities in today’s rapidly growing social commerce environment,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart’s vice chairman. “Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers’ day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping both online and in retail stores. We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and the company anticipates it will close during the first half of this year.

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Rite Aid appoints new EVP merchandising

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s SVP category management Tony Montini has been promoted to EVP merchandising, the pharmacy retailer said Monday.

In addition, SVP business development Bryan Shirtliff has been promoted to the new position of SVP merchandising.

As EVP merchandising, Montini, who began working for Rite Aid as SVP category management in February 2010 — though he previously served as VP purchasing from 1987 to 1989 and as SVP category management from 2002 to 2003 — will oversee field merchandising and new store format development in addition to his current category management responsibilities. Montini’s new responsibilities include the Wellness stores, Value + stores and co-branded Save-A-Lot Rite Aid stores.

Shirtliff will report to Montini and will continue to be responsible for store segmentation initiatives and front-end merchandising.

“Tony has done a terrific job this past year in strengthening our category management department and further building upon our strong relationship with suppliers,” Martindale said. “With his broad-based retail experience and expertise in chain drug merchandising and marketing, he will be a great asset in strengthening our field merchandising capabilities and continuing the development of the new store formats that are part of our segmentation strategy.”

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[email protected] says:
Apr-20-2011 09:45 pm

Thanks for your feedback William. We will pass on your suggestion. In spirit, we agree with your comments--we believe America needs more retail clinics in general, and I am certain the community in which you live and work is no exception. Access and affordability are the key issues with regards to health care in America. But opening clinics is not as easy as it should be, particularly, given the pronounced need we have for them. Laws governing things like physician oversight and scope of practice vary from one state to the next. That said, Rite Aid does in fact operate clinics in the state of California, including 7 Lindora Clinics in southern California and three Sutter Express Clinics in the Sacramento area. That's not to say that they don't need a clinic in Needles, Calif.; you're probably right about that. But you should know that the company you work for thinks retail clinics are important and deliver real value back to the community! Again, thanks for your feedback. BEST WISHES, ROB EDER EDITOR IN CHIEF THE DRUG STORE NEWS GROUP

W.GARNER says:
Apr-18-2011 09:01 pm

Dear DSN; I am a Rite Aid pharmacist in the small desert town of Needles, California. Needles is a poor town with a lot of our bussiness being, Medi-Cal - state medicaid. Our store has small prescription volume, but has had a much greater volume in the past. This is the rub - there are no Medi-Cal providers in the city! Most people have to go the Emergency room or those with Medicare D plans - 20 miles across the Colorado river to Arizona. There are only two drug stores in our town - ours (Rite Aid) and a independent; so competetion is low. Does Rite Aid have any stores with medical clinics in them - like CVS does? I know if there was a clinic in our store, or even in our bussiness complex - our volume would soar. It is kind of like that oil play in South Dakota where they have to drill vertically and fracture the shale rock to reach the oil. Really, it would open up a new world for our store if the people had access to a Medi-Cal provider - plus not to mention the traffic from travelers on Interstate 40. Could you, DSN, relay this message to Mr. Montini? Even if he has no helpfull suggestions; he may know the people to write to. Sincerely, William M. Garner Pharmacist, Rite Aid 5699

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Publix to donate funds to SFP

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — In recognition of Earth Day, Publix Super Markets on Monday pledged to donate 50 cents per pound, up to $40,000, to Sustainable Fisheries Partnership when customers purchase any wild domestic shrimp from April 17 to 27.

“As a retailer passionately committed to eco-savvy practices, our support of SFP speaks directly to our sustainable philosophy of meeting today’s demands without compromising what’s essential for tomorrow,” stated Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “We are uniquely positioned to share information with our customers to enrich the quality of life for our communities and aquatic ecosystems, all while doing our part to preserve and conserve."

The mission of SFP is to maintain a healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystem by rebuilding depleted fish stocks and reducing the environmental impacts of fishing and farm fishing. The Publix donation would assist SFP in providing fisheries along the Gulf with the resources and tools needed to operate in a more sustainable manner.

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