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Industry News - October 31st, 2008



CVS Caremark Completes Acquisition of Longs Drug Stores  

CVS Caremark Corporation announces that it has completed its acquisition of Longs Drug Stores Corporation.

The acquisition provides CVS Caremark with Longs' 521 retail drugstores in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona as well as its Rx America subsidiary. The subsidiary offers pharmacy benefits management (PBM) services to more than 8 million members and prescription drug plan benefits to approximately 450,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

"We look forward to working with our new Longs colleagues and to serving the millions of loyal customers who shop Longs stores," says Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. "With the closing now behind us, we are focused on realizing the many benefits of this combination, which accelerates our expansion into key growth markets and strengthens our position as the nation's leading pharmacy services company."


Toys "R" Us Launches Enhanced E-Commerce Site

Toys"R"Us launches an enhanced version of www.Toysrus.com with new features and functionality including easy-to-use navigation and new applications such as 'gift finder,' 'online wish list' and 'want it today?' The new site also includes upgrades to current online tools, such as the online Baby Registry at www.Babiesrus.com.

As part of the site re-launch, the site has been updated with three new applications that are displayed prominently throughout the navigation process. These tools are designed to help customers select the right gifts with ease or quickly locate a store in their area that has stock of the in-demand toy or baby product they are seeking.

- Gift Finder - Online shoppers can filter gift options by answering a series of questions related to the age, interests and personality traits of the gift recipient. Shoppers receive a tailored list of gift ideas specific to the child they have in mind. And, when shopping for babies ages 12 months and younger, the site allows customers to choose gifts based on building desired skills, such as coordination and motor, creative play or nurturing.

- Online Wish List - Whether for holidays, birthdays or special occasions, the Toys"R"Us online Wish List lets parents and caregivers browse products with their kids to create and update a running list online of their most desired presents. Kids can generate as many Wish Lists as they'd like, tailoring them for specific occasions. To ensure they get the gifts they crave, kids can share their Wish Lists with family and friends via e-mail. Gift-givers can also print Wish Lists in-store at Guest Service stations.

- Want It Today? - By accessing the "Want It Today?" feature, online shoppers have the ability to check in-store availability of toys and juvenile merchandise from the website by entering their zip code into the "Want It Today?" box. The online system can check for inventory of preferred products at the five stores closest to the customer. Currently, the
"Want It Today?" feature is only available on select items in certain markets throughout the U.S. but will be expanded to other areas and items over time.

"At Toys"R"Us, we know our customers look to us for our expertise in the toy and baby product categories, and an increasing number of people are using our online store not only to make purchases but to conduct research on products and services available in our stores," says Michael Scharff, vice president, general manager, e-commerce, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "By simplifying and enhancing the look of our e-commerce site and adding helpful tools, it's easier than ever for online customers to select and purchase the perfect gifts for their loved ones, quickly locate in-store availability of a desired product, and determine what items they need to prepare for the arrival of a new baby. These advancements pro


The Shoe Company Adds Store Ops-Center

The Shoe Company fully deploys Store Ops-Center store operations software from Opterus at all 65 store locations. The shoe retailer uses Store Ops-Center to automate communications, messaging and operational compliance. Implementation for the entire chain was completed with less than a week's worth of effort.

For years, The Shoe Company attempted to communicate with store-level employees via internal e-mail and paper-based methods. The Shoe Company found that the majority of stores would ignore the emails, read the e-mails but not complete the tasks, or read the e-mails and complete tasks incorrectly. Store Ops-Center now provides The Shoe Company with an 'eye-in-the-sky' view of store operations, and replaces the retailer's manual communications methods through an on-demand retail portal that helps ensure message delivery and verification of operational compliance issues.

"Most retail software projects are very demanding on internal resources and take time to implement," says Lewis Feinstein, vice president of operations, The Shoe Company. "It took only days to plan and go live with Store Ops-Center and our employees love using it because it's easy, and it works well while greatly streamlining our store operations."


Social Commerce Delivered Through Escalate and PowerReviews Partnership

Escalate Retail announces its partnership with PowerReviews, a provider of customer reviews and social merchandising solutions. The partnership will enable integration between Escalate's Blue Martini e-commerce Suite and PowerReviews' tool for customer reviews.

Escalate provides merchandising, advanced search, embedded analytics, personalized content and scalability. PowerReviews allows retailers to create multi-dimensional tags based on the pros, cons, and best uses of a particular product.

Through the partnership with PowerReviews, Escalate customers will have the option to implement innovative customer review technology on their Web sites . Many online retailers use the review data collected to fuel targeted email marketing campaigns and add product review snippets to their category pages. Multi-channel retailers also can add the review snippet next to products in their catalogs and create in-store displays.


Best Buy Leverages Retail Traffic Analytics Tool

Best Buy analyzes and optimizes customer experiences associated with product placement and promotions by using the Nextiva Retail Traffic Analytics Tool by Verint Systems. Best Buy deploys Verint's retail traffic product on a 45 camera platform in one of its 45,000 square foot retail stores. Designed to leverage existing video surveillance applications, Nextiva Retail Traffic Analysis provides real-time information regarding customer count, traffic patterns, dwell-times and information regarding customers' in-store shopping behaviors. Best Buy already monitors 60 percent of its retail stores with Verint equipment.

"We are already impressed with the value Nextiva Retail Traffic Analysis has shown for Best Buy in the areas of product placement, and the effectiveness of displays and promotional positioning," says Tim Fisher, director of loss prevention and safety, Best Buy. "Within hours of the installation, store management was working actively with the solution and modifying product placement based on the information. Store operations found the user interface to be intuitive and easy to use, and we are very encouraged about the possibilities the solution can deliver."

Best Buy uses Nextiva Retail Traffic Analysis to understand shopper behaviors and trends by providing insight into in-store promotions and advertising campaigns, identifying traffic flow patterns and measuring dwell-time, and helping to ensure proper product placement on shelves and aisles. By using a video analytics tool, Best Buy can extract and search customer behaviors through a video management application. In addition, the analysis can be used along with point-of-purchase data to further understand buying patterns. Wth this type of information, Best Buy can determine the success rate of promotions and optimize store layout and design to help improve the customer experience and maximize sales.


Giant Eagle Adds Deal Management Software

Giant Eagle selects DemandTec's Deal Management software service and has extended its agreement to manage pricing with software services from DemandTec. The food retailer first deployed DemandTec's Everyday Price Optimization software service to help manage everyday retail pricing in 2005.

Prior to deploying DemandTec's pricing solution, price management at Giant Eagle was a manual operation, using libraries of spreadsheets, that required significant resources and provided little optimization. The retailer uses DemandTec technology to more quickly respond to competitive changes in the market, help ensure accurate prices across thousands of items and multiple markets, and streamline pricing business processes.

"DemandTec has helped us to plan and execute a pricing strategy that provides consistent everyday value to our customers and at the same time allows us to meet our objectives for company performance," says Stephanie White, vice president of sales systems and operations at Giant Eagle. "We have enjoyed our partnership with DemandTec and are looking forward to working together to further advance our pricing and promotions management".

DemandTec's Deal Management software service will replace Giant Eagle's manual process that has consumed significant resources, resulted in inaccurate deal submissions, and required the archival of paper deal sheets for seven years.

"The process for negotiating, submitting and executing deals has been very labor intensive, requiring a significant amount of non-value added work, and has also lacked built-in quality controls, leading to errors and omissions, time delays and team member frustration," says White. "With DemandTec, these problems are greatly reduced, so we expect our team to be more productive and better able to concentrate on delivering the best available programs to our shoppers."


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