TECHNOLOGY

Walmart sets up emergency pharmacy at mega-shelter for hurricane victims

BY Marianne Wilson

Evacuees from Hurricane Harvey seeking shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will find a pharmacy on-site to meet their immediate needs. The facility has been turned into a mini-city to house and care for what is expected to be 5,000 evacuees who are being bused and flown into Dallas from the regions devastated by the storm.

Four Walmart stores in the Dallas area will fulfill orders placed through the pop-up pharmacy and deliver the items to the convention center. A selection of over-the-counter medications is also available at the center.

Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy accounts are not required. For people who do not have the information needed to transfer their prescriptions, the American Red Cross has medical professionals on-site to help determine their needs and help get necessary prescriptions, Walmart stated.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged at least $1 million to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope and other organizations in connection with Harvey relief efforts.

Other retailers are also involved in relief efforts. The Home Depot Foundation is distributing $1 million in donations to American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon.

For more on retailers' Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

Apple partnership helps retailers adopt advanced business apps

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Apple wants to help retailers take their enterprise mobility strategies to the next level.

The company is teaming up with Accenture to help businesses transform how their workforces engage with customers through iOS-based solutions. The partnership will educate companies on how to take full advantage of the functionality, simplicity and security of the mobile platform.

Accenture will create a dedicated iOS practice within Accenture Digital Studios, or innovation labs, in select locations around the world. (These innovation hubs focus on rapid application development, service design and digital project creation across mobility and digital services.) A team of Apple’s visual and experience designers, programmers, data architects and scientists, hardware and software designers will be co-located at the labs.

Working together, the two companies will launch a new set of tools and services that help businesses transform how they engage with customers using iPhone and iPad. They are also focused on helping companies integrate iOS devices — and the latest Apple technologies — into their enterprise, and transformation their mobile strategies.

“Starting 10 years ago with iPhone, and then with iPad, Apple has been transforming how work gets done, yet we believe that businesses have only just begun to scratch the surface of what they can do with our products,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Both Apple and Accenture are leaders in building incredible user experiences, and together we can continue to truly modernize how businesses work through amazing solutions that take advantage of the incredible capabilities of Apple’s technologies.”

In addition to helping companies to quickly and easily transfer their existing legacy applications and data to modern iOS apps, teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, according to Reuters.

Other focuses include augmented reality, where a smart device’s screen overlays digital objects on top of real-world objects; as well as Internet-of-Things services, including will include various templates and predesigned code to streamline gathering data from IoT platforms in their own iOS apps, according to Apple.

“By combining Accenture’s vast digital capabilities and industry expertise with Apple’s market leadership in creating products that delight customers, we are in a perfect position to help our clients transform the way they work,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and CEO.

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Consumers buoyant in August as confidence rises

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumer confidence increased in August to the second highest level since late 2000.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 122.9 in August, up from 120 in the prior month. Economists had expected the index to rise to 122.5 in August.

The Present Situation Index increased from 145.4 to 151.2. The Expectations Index rose marginally from 103.0 last month to 104.0.

"Consumers' more buoyant assessment of present-day conditions was the primary driver of the boost in confidence, with the Present Situation Index continuing to hover at a 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3)," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board

Franco added that consumers' short-term expectations were relatively flat, though still optimistic, "suggesting that they do not anticipate an acceleration in the pace of economic activity in the months ahead."

Consumers' appraisal of current conditions improved further in August. Those saying business conditions are "good" increased from 32.5% to 34.5%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" moderated from 13.5% to 13.1%.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was also more upbeat. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" rose from 33.2% to 35.4%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 18.7% to 17.3%.

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook, however, was relatively flat in August. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 22.4% to 19.6%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.4% to 7.3%.

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