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Report: Meijer testing automated checkout from NCR

BY Staff Writer

New York — Meijer is testing an automated system that speeds up the checkout process at its store in Jenison, Mich. The system, from NCR, automatically scans merchandise. It became available customers on April 3, according to MichiganLive.

As shoppers place merchandise on a conveyor belt, the items are scanned, and then sent to one of three collection areas, where customers bag them.

The system is not self-service in that a cashier manages the register and helps customers with any questions or issues that come up during the checkout process.

To see a video, go to mlive.com.

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Rakuten.com launches new rewards card

BY CSA STAFF

Rakuten has teamed up with First Bankcard to launch the Rakuten Rewards MasterCard Program, which provides cardholders with reward points for using their credit card to shop on Rakuten.com and elsewhere.

Rakuten.com, formerly Buy.com, is Rakuten’s U.S. marketplace, offering consumers more than 17 million products at everyday low prices from a network of small and large business shop owners.

The new Rakuten Rewards MasterCard Program will be integrated with the existing Rakuten Super Points Loyalty Program to provide additional points to cardholders for both qualifying purchases on Rakuten.com and on qualifying purchases everywhere else MasterCard is accepted. In addition, customers who are instantly approved will be able to complete their purchases with their new Rakuten Rewards MasterCard the same day they apply.

"First Bankcard has a very personalized approach, and it was very evident to us that they have a commitment to their customers. Given Rakuten’s own customer-centric methodology, it seemed to offer a perfect fit for our new U.S. credit card program as we seek to build a larger presence in the U.S. market and further drive our digital retail business," said Masatada ‘Seichu’ Kobayashi, CEO, Rakuten.com. "We have seen tremendous synergy between our marketplace and credit card businesses in Japan, where our Rakuten credit card users have been found to enjoy shopping with us 52% more frequently and spend 38% more than other customers."

According to Stephen Eulie, president of First Bankcard, the new credit card program underscores First Bankcard’s commitment to provide value-added business solutions to its customers.

"We’re dedicated to creating possibilities that will help our partners grow their businesses and drive customer loyalty, whether it’s in their local communities or worldwide," Eulie said. "Rakuten has a strong international brand, and we’re excited to help support its growth in the United States."

Rakuten Rewards MasterCard members will earn three points per dollar spent on all qualifying purchases made on Rakuten.com and one point per dollar spent on qualifying purchases everywhere else MasterCard is accepted. Each point earned under the Credit Card Rewards Program equates to one Rakuten Super Point redeemable only through the Rakuten Program. Rakuten Super Points are redeemable toward purchases on Rakuten.com. For a limited time, consumers who apply for the new Rakuten MasterCard online, and are approved, will receive 3,000 points (a $30 value) to use on a Rakuten.com purchase.

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CVS to pay $20 million to settle SEC charges

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. agreed to pay $20 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it misled investors in 2009 during a debt offering and by accounting improperly for an acquisition.

The SEC said CVS failed to disclose while marketing $1.5 billion of bonds in September 2009 having recently lost significant Medicare and contract revenue streams in its pharmacy benefits manager business.

After CVS disclosed the problems on November 5, 2009, the company’s share price fell 20%. The company further misled investors by manipulating its "retention rate," thereby inflating its ability to retain business, according to the SEC.

CVS was also accused of having in November 2009 manipulated accounting for its October 2008 purchase of Longs Drug Stores Corp. The SEC said the changes improperly boosted profit by as much as 11.7 cents per share for the third quarter of 2009, enabling CVS to exceed rather than miss analyst forecasts.

CVS did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle, and on Tuesday said it is not restating any financial results.

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