OPERATIONS

Walmart denies exploring primary care healthcare platform

BY Michael Johnsen

Bentonville, Ark. — According to a Request for Information released Tuesday and reported by Kaiser Health News, Walmart is in the process of piecing together a comprehensive low-cost primary care healthcare platform.

However, Walmart later denied this report in a statement released to the public on Wednesday. "The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect. We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform," stated John Agwunobi, senior VP and president of Walmart U.S. health and wellness.

The request reportedly stated that "Walmart intends to build a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform that will provide [preventive] and chronic care services that are currently out of reach for millions of Americans."

Many of those offerings already are available at select Walmart locations replete with a retail clinic partner. Several retail clinic operators already have begun incorporating more chronic disease state management and diagnostic services into their practice, where appropriate, according to a panel of retail executives hosted by the Convenient Care Association earlier this month. And many of those services are being ceded to the retail clinics by their healthcare system partners because of the healthcare cost synergies that can be realized.

Walmart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl earlier this week confirmed the proposal, Kaiser Health News reported, but declined to elaborate on specifics, calling it simply an effort to determine "strategic next steps."

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U.S. households to spend $497 on holiday gifts

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — The Conference Board reported Wednesday that U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $497 on gifts this holiday season. Just 7% of consumers said they plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, while approximately 40% plan on spending less than last year.

“As the holiday season approaches, we once again find consumers in a frugal mood,” says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “With the overwhelming majority of consumers expecting to spend the same or less than they did last year, it’s not surprising that they expect a large share of their purchases to be on sale or discounted.”

Consumers will be heading to the malls and online searching for bargains. Four out of 10 holiday shoppers say they expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. An additional three out of 10 expect a quarter to half of their purchases to be discounted, according to the survey findings.

Close to two-thirds of consumers expect to purchase a portion of their holiday gifts online, with about 15% saying more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions was conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.

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Jones Lang LaSalle launches iPad app prototype to support leasing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — Jones Lang LaSalle announced Wednesday that it has launched an iPad app prototype for its retail leasing team to support the 98 million-sq.-ft. nationwide retail portfolio it manages.

The app features interactive lease plans that include all relevant property information, detailed images of the interior and exterior space, aerial photos, demographics information and an interactive map. All of the information is updated automatically via a centralized database, eliminating the need to reprint expensive color brochures that become outdated.

“This flexible and dynamic technology platform will enable us to work smarter by creating a streamlined leasing and marketing process that will ultimately enhance our ability to serve our clients,” said Greg Maloney, CEO and president, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail. “Not only is this a more sustainable practice, our teams can now travel lighter with all the information they need on their iPad.”

The leasing app is based off of a web-based cloud service called Property Capsule designed to manage portfolio data across a variety of mediums. The core architecture is focused around providing a central repository “cloud” for all property-related data such as property overviews, leasing agent contacts, tenant lists, site plans, photos and demographics. Managed access to this data is then provided to a series of outputs including printed materials and Jones Lang LaSalle’s website.

Jones Lang LaSalle Retail engaged digital media design company No.Inc. to provide strategic leadership and execution for the development of the app.
The firm said it is also in the early stages of developing a similar app to be used by its property management teams.

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