News

CVS health services subsidiary updates member website

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – Accordant Health Services, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark, has launched an updated website and member portal, which provides new features and services for program members and is designed to help support and improve member engagement and participation for clients.

Accordant.com now provides eligible members with online access to educational materials, videos, communication tools and community resources that encompass 17 conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and sickle cell disease.

"The launch of our member portal marks an important milestone for Accordant," said Trip Hofer, president of Accordant Health Services. "While most health management organizations position online tools and services as distinct and separate from those provided on the telephone or via mail, we recognize that health care doesn’t happen at a single point in time or through only one channel. The updated member portal at Accordant.com offers a digital experience that further enables Accordant to proactively support and empower individuals with rare conditions to improve their total health and manage their multiple and complex needs."

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News

It’s pile-on-Walmart time

BY CSA STAFF

With rising expectations that Walmart’s sales for the recently ended second quarter will be weak when it reports on August 15, the company once again has naysayers doubting its growth prospects with some questioning its long-term viability.

As we noted last week in a piece titled, “Wealth effect not it play at Walmart,”and as other analysts have suggested, Walmart’s same store sales are likely to be negative or at the low end of the company’s forecast range of flat to up 2%. Certainly not a great showing, but a far cry from some of the doomsday scenarios put forth by those who see Walmart at the front edge of a long-term term decline. For example, in a piece on Yahoo! Finance a pair of retail pundits weighed in on the topic, “3 signs Walmart’s best days are behind it.”

Ever the target of criticism, deservedly so in some cases, any hint of weakness on the part of Walmart tends to bring out the naysayers. If second quarter sales are soft, Walmart will be in for a lot of second guessing and questions about its business model.

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FINANCE

Retail M&A activity due to pick up after slow Q2

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Despite a slowdown in U.S. retail and consumer merger & acquisition (M&A) activity in second quarter 2013, consumer sentiment and retail sales trends remain positive, along with strong corporate balance sheets and availability of private equity "dry powder," which should help trigger M&A activity during the second half of 2013, according to PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer deals insights second quarter 2013 report.

In second quarter 2013, there were a total of 21 deals worth $50 million or more in the retail and consumer sector, accounting for $5.4 billion in deal value, a 49% decrease in volume and 90% decrease in value from the 41 deals worth $40.5 billion during second quarter 2012.

The decrease in deal activity is primarily a result of the lack of large deals in second quarter 2013 compared to the prior year, during which time there were several large deals. There was only one mega deal (worth more than $1 billion) in the second quarter, as opposed to a trend of four successive quarters with five or more mega deals. Sequentially, deal activity in the retail and consumer sector declined, with the middle market also seeing declines, partially due to the lingering effect of the abnormally higher deal volume during fourth quarter 2012 due to the impending fiscal cliff, along
with the several mega deals seen in the first quarter of 2013, according to PwC.

"Coming off the heels of one of the largest retail and consumer deals in history in the first quarter of 2013, the declines we saw in the second quarter will likely be temporary as the pipeline for deals resets from the flurry of activity we’ve seen in the last few quarters," said Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s US retail & consumer deals leader. "The second half of 2013 looks promising for M&A activity in the industry given the recent pick up in businesses starting to come to market for sale, although price expectations and seller timelines continue to be a challenge."

Also seen as driving increased M&A activity later this year is the trend toward omni-channel retailing, which PwC data indicates is continuing to contribute to deal activity in the sector as retailers look at opportunities to transform their business and capabilities, focusing on innovation. Key activity in the omni-channel space in the second quarter included several acquisitions of ecommerce retail service companies. PwC expects to see increased activity in this area as investors see opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through technology for data analytics.

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