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Networking at TOPSS

BY CSA STAFF
Chain Store Age publisher and editor Murray Forseter made a point during a TOPSS discussion. Enjoying a moment on the exhibit floor, left to right, Steven Quon and Claude Chriqui of Raymark, Leo Fernandez of Harrah’s Entertainment, Theresa Hunter of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, and Marco Vacirca and Veronike Hamel of Raymark.

John Pruban, president of TekServe POS, moderated a dynamic panel discussion on managing rollouts. TOPSS brought together IT and operations executives.

Alan Lipson, center, and Monica Harvey-Ticknor of Hewlett-Packard, right, compared notes with Beth Williamson of Williams-Sonoma and a colleague. AutoZone’s Ken Brame, CIO and VP IS, asked a question as Cathy Hotka of Cathy Hotka & Associates looked on.

Frank Riso, left, senior director of retail operations, Motorola, visited with Tim Kane from Wincor Nixdorf. The Check into Cash Crew came out in force. Left to right, Mike London, Edward Haluska, Ed Ryan and Alan Haws.

John Rutherford of The Sports Authority took home a special gift from Sprint, presented by Michelle Brantley of Sprint and Murray Forseter, publisher and editor of Chain Store Age. Rite Aid’s Fred Otteson, left, and Bob Kostosky sought information from Stephen Sparrow of Microsoft.

Exchanging business cards is a big part of the networking experience at TOPSS. Audience participation was encouraged at TOPSS.

John Thompson, senior VP and GM of bestbuy.com, delivered a powerful keynote address. Spencer Technologies’ Scott Bellefeuille chatted with Neil Abramson, director of IS, Mill Stores.

Dollar General’s Justin Neece, director of operations strategy, center, sought solutions on the exhibit floor. Len Jacaruso, left, and Ron Ehlers, former CIOs of Liz Claiborne and Pacific Sunwear, respectively, networked with Cathy Hotka of Cathy Hotka & Associates.

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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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