OPERATIONS

Report: Walgreens files mobile refill patent suit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. – Walgreen Co. is reportedly suing CVS Caremark Corp., Rite Aid Corp. and Shopko Stores Inc. for allegedly infringing on a patent for using mobile phone scanners to refill prescriptions. According to Bloomberg, Walgreens filed a complaint in federal court in Wilmington, Del., saying the three competitors are violating a patent it received in January 2013.

Walgreens reportedly said in its complaint that it owns, offers and operates mobile express refill applications that run on iPhones, Android-equipped phones and Blackberrys. The retailer is asking for unspecified damages and a halt to the infringement. Representatives of CVS, Rite Aid and Shopko all declined to comment in the article.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

NRF: Fewer consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day, spend more

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Fewer U.S. consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, but will spend a little more than last year. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Valentine’s Day spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 54% of Americans will celebrate with their loved ones in 2014, compared to 60% in 2013.

The average person plans to spend $133.91 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, up slightly from $130.97 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion.

Nearly half (48.7%) will buy candy, a third will give flowers (37.3%) and over half (51.2%) will send greeting cards. Jewelry spending will total $3.9 billion, and 37% will celebrate with an evening out, spending an estimated total of $3.5 billion. Others will give more practical gifts like clothing (15.8%) or gift cards (14%).

Men will spend $108.38 on gifts for their significant others, twice as much as women who will spend $49.41 on their special someone. People will also show their appreciation for family members (59.4%) friends (21.7%) teachers (20.4%) and colleagues (12.1%). About one-in-five (19%) will buy gifts for their pets, spending an average of $5.51.

In addition, the survey found that 26.1% plan to shop online this Valentine’s Day, flat with last year’s 26.3%. Many will turn to their tablets or smartphones before making their final gift decisions; 24% will research products or compare prices on their smartphones and 32.2% will do so on their tablets.

“While fewer are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, millions of shoppers will still make room in their discretionary budgets to send cards and gifts to loved ones or enjoy a special evening out,” says Prosper Insights and Analytics Director Pam Goodfellow. “Consumers can expect promotions on everything from flowers to date night dinner packages in the coming days, leaving plenty of ideas for those looking to spoil their Valentines.”

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News

ShopRite tests mobile scanning app

BY CSA STAFF

KEASBEY, N.J. — ShopRite is piloting a program that takes shoppers beyond the traditional checkout lines and self-checkout lanes and enables them to check out from their smartphones.

The new ShopRite Mobile Scan app also alerts them to sales in the aisles in which they are shopping and automatically deducts Price Plus Club card savings as each item is scanned. Once their shopping orders are complete, customers can sync their mobile devices to designated self-service pay stations.

“Our customers can now enjoy the ease of shopping — and checking out — right on their smart phones, with the added convenience of product recommendations. Using their own phones, they can take advantage of ShopRite’s traditional low prices and speed through checkout, making for a quick and easy trip to the supermarket,” stated Cheryl Williams, VP of digital commerce and innovation for ShopRite.

The pilot is currently in eight ShopRite stores in New Jersey and Connecticut.

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