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Staples to Sell Barcode Solutions to SMBs

BY CSA STAFF

Targeting its smaller commercial customers, Staples’ 1,400 U.S.-based store shelves now feature two new barcode solution packages designed for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

In October, software departments across the Framingham, Mass.-based office-supply chain began carrying the WaspLabeler and the WaspNest suite, from Wasp Barcode Technologies, Plano, Texas. The WaspLabeler enables users to quickly create and print barcode labels for product, inventory, shipping and mailing labels. Meanwhile, the WaspNest suite features a barcode scanner, barcode-labeling software and tracking software for basic inventory and asset tracking.

Both solutions are designed to aid the SMB marketplace—a demographic that relies on major retailers, such as Staples, as its primary resource for office supplies, according to Steve Coffman, president of Wasp Barcode Technologies.

In fact, research from IDC confirms that a growing number of small-business owners purchase technology products from office superstores, including Staples, according to Merle Sandler, research manager for SMB and home office programs at IDC. “For example, one in five small firms currently purchase PCs from office superstores.”

Based on these statistics, “Staples is an ideal retailer for Wasp’s affordable barcoding solutions,” said Coffman. “The solutions will further help small companies dramatically improve their productivity and profitability.”

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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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