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Drug Fair Group files for bankruptcy

BY Drug Store News Team

The retail pharmacy universe just got a little bit smaller.

 

Despite Drug Fair’s turnaround efforts in recent years, the regional player has fallen victim to the current economic crunch, filing for bankruptcy protection and agreeing to sell the majority of its assets to Walgreens.

 

 

As president and CEO Tim LaBeau explained in an internal memo to associates, the company found itself fighting an uphill battle as the economy took a downturn. Instead of shuttering its doors completely, Walgreens will bolster its presence in New Jersey by snapping up the assets associated with 32 stores. Walgreens currently operates about 112 stores in New Jersey.

 

 

Drug Fair has been on the mend for the past few years. In 2005, it was acquired by private investment firm Sun Capital Partners, which specializes in leveraged buyouts of companies, and in 2006 hired retail veteran LaBeau as its new president and CEO. Before joining Drug Fair, LaBeau was a top merchant at Manhattan’s leading pharmacy retailer, Duane Reade, where he was instrumental in establishing several innovative front-end initiatives.

 

 

Since joining Drug Fair, LaBeau had been working to enhance the shopping experience and was in the process of introducing a new prototype in several locations, characterized by lower-profile shelving, wider aisles, a more prominent beauty department and an upgraded pharmacy waiting area.

 

 

It was anticipated that Sun Capital Partners would afford Drug Fair greater financial strength and operating expertise to help accelerate such strategic initiatives as inventory management, merchandising strategies, store renovation and IT systems.

 

 

Granted, Sun Capital Partners invests in distressed businesses, it nevertheless has seen several companies within its portfolio recently go under. Several of its portfolio companies filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Last year, Sun’s bankruptcy filings were mainly concentrated in the retail sector as it held stakes in Lillian Vernon Corp., Sharper Image Corp., Mervyn’s LLC, Rag Shops Inc. (filed in 2007) and Wickes Furniture Co.

 

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Diabetes Alert Day on March 24

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The American Diabetes Association is sponsoring its 21st Annual American Diabetes Alert Day next week on March 24. The Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day, “wake-up” call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association encourages people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Already, 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and nearly one-quarter of those do not know they have it. One in five Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle), and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

On Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association will “Sound the Alert” about the dangers of diabetes. To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association encourages the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test which requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for diabetes. If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider.

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Rite Aid helps Americans breathe easier during allergy season

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology are again teaming up to help those affected find the best treatments for their symptoms.

As part of its annual focus on allergy, Rite Aid will be distributing a 12-page color Allergy Health Guide beginning March 29 at www.riteaid.com and in Rite Aid stores. Included in the reference: the tell-tale differences between allergies and the common cold or flu, both of which are still spreading in an unusually late season; potential complications of such untreated allergies as acute or chronic sinusitis; common treatments for allergies based on symptoms, a brief explanation of how they work and a breakdown of allergy products available at Rite Aid; nonseasonal allergies, such as pet dander, mold or dustmites; detailed instructions on how to reduce allergens within the home; information on reactions to nickel, latex and other nonbiological triggers; information on other breathing disorders, including asthma and exercise-induced asthma; and the possible connection between asthma and weight management.

Customers who spend $20 or more on select allergy-related products will receive a $5 to $25 Rite Aid Gift Card, depending on the amount of purchase, in the mail through Rite Aid’s Single Check Rebate Program. Products must be purchased between March 29 and May 30, when the program ends.

Rite Aid’s focus on allergy awareness is part of its yearlong commitment to health and wellness. Each year Rite Aid offers free information, answers and education on health and wellness topics including skin care, oral health, diabetes, weight management and heart health.

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