FINANCE

J. Crew-Fast Retailing Co. merger talks cease

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Merger talks between J. Crew and Japanese retailer Fast Retailing Co. have reportedly ended, at least for the time being. According to the Wall Street Journal, Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo chain, left the discussions not long after they were made public by the media in late February 2014.

J. Crew’s owners were reportedly seeking as much as $5 billion in a merger deal, and may continue looking for other potential buyers. In addition, Goldman, Sachs & Co. is reportedly in the early stages of preparing an IPO for J. Crew.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Walgreen Well Experience privacy practices investigated

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights is reportedly investigating privacy practices at the new Well Experience stores run by Walgreens. According to the Wall Street Journal, the investigation is focusing on whether pharmacist consultations with customers at Well Experience Stores violate the privacy of patient medical data.

The investigation was reportedly spurred by a complaint filed by the non-profit group Change to Win Retail Initiatives. In summer 2013, undercover investigators from Change to Win reportedly visited 100 Walgreens stores and observed widespread violations of patient privacy. The compliant focuses on the Well Experience stores having pharmacists work from desks in high-traffic areas of stores and frequently leave them to consult with customers and supervise pharmacy technicians. This allegedly leaves sensitive patient data in open view and unattended on the desks.

Maryland, Connecticut and Hawaii do not allow the Well Express store format, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Walgreens in Oct. 2013 asking if the format violated patient privacy. In a written response to Markey’s letter, Walgreens said it takes appropriate security steps. A Walgreens spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the Well Express format has been approved by the pharmacy boards of more than 30 states, modifying it when necessary, and is cooperating fully with the investigation.

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News

Report: Burger King plans mobile payment app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Miami – Burger King Worldwide Inc. is reportedly planning to introduce a mobile payment app. According to the Wall Street Journal, Burger King will launch the smartphone app in select markets starting in April 2014 and will offer it in all 7,000 U.S. stores within a few months of initial rollout.

The app was reportedly developed by Tillster Inc. and will provide coupons and nutritional information as well as allow customers to pay for purchases via a digital stored value card. Burger King reportedly may add functionality for advance ordering and pickup at a later time.

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