OPERATIONS

Brookstone launches free shipping on orders over $99

BY Staff Writer

Merrimack, N.H. — Brookstone has introduced automatic free shipping on all orders over $99 through Brookstone.com.

Orders less than $99 will automatically ship for a flat rate of $4.99. Brookstone has also extended its customer care center hours to provide longer customer support hours and round-the-clock catalog ordering by phone.

"The free and flat rate shipping structure represents the latest in Brookstone’s ongoing commitment to our customers," said Jim Speltz, Brookstone COO. “We’ve made these changes in the spirit of simplifying the shopping experience for all our customers.”

The new shipping fees will be calculated automatically for online shoppers requiring no special promotional codes to be entered at the time of purchase.

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Industry Trends: C-store traffic up in first quarter

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The mild winter weather across much of the country helped to offset the negative impact that rising gas prices traditionally have on convenience store visits, according to The NPD Group. NPD’s Convenience Store Monitor reports that in the first calendar quarter of 2012 compared with same quarter a year ago, c-store traffic increased by five percentage points from a year ago quarter and by six percentage points at major oil chain c-stores.

C-store consumers continued to pay slightly more for products with average check increasing slightly to $11.21 in the first quarter of 2012 compared with $11.08 in the same quarter year ago, according to the Convenience Store Monitor, which continually tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 51,000 convenience store shoppers in the United States.

At the same time, consumers are not purchasing more products at c-stores with average units purchased maintaining at about 3.4 items per visit, the same level as a year ago.

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Walgreens finalizes BioScrip deal

BY Michael Johnson

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday announced it has completed its acquisition of certain assets of BioScrip’s community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty and mail-service pharmacy businesses. The transaction represents a total deal value of approximately $225 million.

“We welcome the BioScrip leaders and employees involved in the transaction to the Walgreens family,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president pharmacy, health and wellness. “BioScrip’s clinically focused community specialty pharmacies and access to additional limited distribution drug therapies, combined with Walgreens’ existing nationwide network of retail and health system pharmacies, creates a strong network of support for our core drug store business to provide specialty pharmacy solutions to our patients. This acquisition also significantly expands our nationwide reach to an additional half-million patients with chronic and complex health conditions.”

Beyond growing Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy footprint, the acquisition also will help grow Walgreens’ centralized specialty and mail-service pharmacy operations, the company stated.

The acquired community specialty pharmacy business includes a national network with 30 locations in 16 states across the United States and the District of Columbia, primarily serving HIV, oncology and transplant patients. Walgreens also acquired certain assets of BioScrip’s centralized specialty pharmacy business and traditional mail-service pharmacy business that dispenses prescriptions for, among others, Drugstore.com, which was acquired by Walgreens in June 2011.

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