FINANCE

Walgreen to acquire drugstore.com

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens announced that it would "accelerate its online strategy" by acquiring e-retailer Drugstore.com. The deal, worth about $429 million, gives Walgreens access to 3 million online customers.

“Our acquisition of Drugstore.com significantly accelerates our online strategy to leverage the best community store network in America by becoming the most convenient choice for health and daily living needs, whether customers shop online or in our stores,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “This acquisition offers a unique opportunity that will provide us immediate access to more than three million savvy, online loyal customers, and will allow us to move even closer to our existing customers through relationships with new vendors and partners, adding approximately 60,000 products to our already strong online offering."

Under the agreement, Drugstore.com stockholders will receive $3.80 in cash for each share of stock, representing a total of about $429 million.

The all-cash transaction is expected to close by the end of June and, according to the company, will add about 60,000 products to Walgreen’s online offerings and speed up its online strategy.

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FINANCE

Talbots posts smaller-than-expected Q4 loss, accelerates remodels

BY CSA STAFF

Hingham, Mass. — The Talbots reported Thursday a narrower-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss, and said it plans to expand its store re-image program to improve traffic. The chain also it expects to close as many as 100 stores over the next two years.

Talbots lost $2.8 million in the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with a loss of $1.5 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales fell 7.4% to $292.6 million, compared with $315.9 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales dropped 7.3%.

The Talbots said that it plans to renovate about 70 stores by fiscal year-end. It also plans to close 90 to 100 stores and consolidate or down-size another 15 to 20 stores over two years, with a majority of those expected to be completed in 2011.

Additionally, the retailer said it expects to open 20 outlets in 2011.

For the full year, sales dropped to $1.21 billion from $1.24 billion a year ago. Same-store sales declined 3.4% for the year.

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Home Depot rolls out mobile barcode program powered by Scanbuy

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The Home Depot partnered with Scanbuy to launch a national communications strategy utilizing mobile barcodes enabled by Scanbuy’s ScanLife system. The initiative incorporates 2D bar codes (QR codes) that give customers immediate access to such information as product rating and reviews, How-To guides and videos on specific products.

The service will be introduced this week as part of the print ad featuring Martha Stewart Living kitchens. The codes will also be placed in direct mail pieces linking to product information and video demos. A number of unique codes will also be rolled out to store shelves, signage and other traditional marketing material as part of the initial launch of the barcode program.

We look forward to introducing ScanLife mobile barcodes into our overall marketing strategy," said Tom Sweeney, senior director of online strategy for Homedepot.com. "ScanLife barcodes provide a number of benefits to our customers such as immediate access to our video, product and How-To content and the ability to purchase online from their smartphone. We know our customers are already using their mobile device to assist in the purchasing process, and now Home Depot is embracing this technology to more closely connect our stores and customers to our digital content."

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