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Cash Cow for Chick-fil-A

BY CSA STAFF

Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., announced that Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A is piloting a cash-management technology that will automate and simplify cash handling and give the quick-serve restaurant chain faster access to funds.

The patent-pending solution from Bank of America is a sophisticated cash-handling device that is located in the merchant’s back office and that accepts, counts and secures cash. The device includes a “rapid-recognition” feature that communicates directly with Bank of America, allowing funds to be credited to the retailer’s deposit accounts, even while the currency is still in store locations.

Another key capability is that the technology can give corporate executives comprehensive, real-time visibility of receipts across all payment types—including cash, check and card transactions—for all of their geographic locations.

At presstime, Chick-fil-A had begun testing the hardware in select store locations and expected to begin using the rapid-recognition capability within the coming weeks.

‘Washing Out’ Identity Theft

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, and Uni-Ball Pens have partnered to increase awareness of identity theft. As part of a national campaign, they recently released a list of the top 50 U.S. cities victimized by identity theft in 2006.

Phoenix topped the list and, unsurprisingly, populous cities including New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago were included in the top 50. What was unexpected was the smaller cities that made the list, such as Birmingham, Ala., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Criteria for identifying the top 50 cities were based on the number of identity-theft complaints reported in the Federal Trade Commission’s 2006 annual report, adjusted to compare the occurrences per capita in major U.S. metropolitan areas

Additionally, Uni-Ball has launched a campaign to encourage businesses and consumers to secure signatures by using pens that help prevent a type of check fraud called “check washing.” Many gel pens use inks that are specially formulated with color pigments and are absorbed into the paper fibers. If an individual attempts to wash or lift the information, the ink remains “trapped” within the fibers of the paper, helping prevent check or document washing.

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CompUSA may get a new look

BY CSA STAFF

ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.

According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.

The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.

Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.

While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.

“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.

CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.

The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.

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Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.

Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.

Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:

“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.

“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”

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