Watsons To Open 120 New Stores In 2009.

Despite the downturn in the economy, Christian Nothhaft, managing director of Watsons China, has announced that the company plans to open 120 new stores in 2009, which means opening two new stores weekly.

Several years ago, the Hutchison Whampoa subsidiary announced plans to open 1,000 stores in mainland China. Nothhaft said the although the current economic situation is not optimistic, the company has never given up its goal of opening 1,000 outlets in mainland China. According to its budget for 2009, Watsons will open 120 new stores with its focus on six cities in north China and west China.

Though affected by various negative factors, Watsons still opened 86 new stores in 2008.

The latest statistics from the retailer show that Watsons has developed more than 1,500 own brand products, accounting for over one-third of the products sold in its stores. In addition, the prices of its own brand products are 20% to 30% lower than the similar products in other supermarkets. Nothhaft revealed that the company will develop another 240 kinds of own brand products in 2009.

Hubei: 22 Chain Medical Stores To Set Up Collective Purchase Platform

The largest retail drugstore alliance in Hubei has been established and 22 chain medical companies in the province will jointly set up a collective purchasing platform.

The stores of the 22 large chain medical companies, including Hubei Longtai Drugstore, Hubei Jinyaotang Drugstore, Wuhan Jianghan Drugstore, Wuhan Hansen Drugstore, cover Wuhan and nine other cities in Hubei Province, have more than 40% of the market in Wuhan.

According to a representative from Hubei Longtai Drugstore, most of the retail drugstores in Wuhan rely on the supply of medical distribution channels. Medicines are distributed through a lengthy supply chain of national general distributors, provincial general distributors, regional general distributors, and regional distributors before reaching the retail stores, which increase the costs of the products.

After the establishment of the alliance, the medicine purchases for more 2,000 chain drugstores belonging to 22 companies will be made by a professional agency. With this new platform, the retail prices of medicines sold in these stores are expected to be reduced by 3% to 5% as a result of simplifying the distribution process.

In addition, the alliance will be further expanded in the future and the number of member retail medical companies will ultimately reach over 30 with their stores covering 17 cities across the province.

Retail clinics in line with Obama’s health reform

President Barack Obama is committed to pursuing significant healthcare reform in 2009. Dean Lin, chief executive officer of Careworks Convenient Healthcare retail clinics, sees innovative delivery models like Careworks as a vital part of the solution.

Careworks is a business of Geisinger Health System, an integrated delivery system comprised of hospitals, a large physician group practice and a health plan.

According to Lin, the central and northeastern Pennsylvania-based Geisinger recognised the opportunity to further address both access and cost issues with the establishment of retail health clinics beginning in 2006. The new Obama administration is poised to focus on similar initiatives.

An estimated 47 million people are uninsured, or live in areas where there is a shortage of primary care physicians. As a result, this population often utilises hospital emergency rooms as their main source of care, if any.

The American College of Emergency Physicians recently released its ‘2009 State of Emergency Care’ report card, only giving the country’s emergency rooms a C- overall and a D- for access.

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“Shoppers Drug Mart” tops as Canada’s most valuable retail brand

Canada: With a brand value of $3.1 billion, Shoppers Drug Mart took the number-one spot on Interbrand’s first-ever ranking of Canada’s top 5 retail brands.

The list was rounded out by Canadian Tire ($1.8 billion), Rona ($485 million), Sobeys ($368 million), and LuLuLemon ($352 million).

“Shoppers Drug Mart has great geographic coverage, but in addition has done a good job branding the retail experience with its new stores, so that you’re more likely to be walking through the high-value, high-profit products first,” said Ted Graham, director, business development at Interbrand.

Last year, Shoppers opened a beauty concept store offering an “upscale beauty experience” under the new store banner Murale, and plans to expand its Shoppers Simply Pharmacy stores, a format designed to work within hospitals.

In the U.S., where 50 brands were ranked, the top five retail brands were Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Target and CVS Pharmacy.

The ranking marked the first time Interbrand has issued a brand value for Wal-Mart. Historically, the company has been excluded from its global brand ranking because it operates under different banners in the rest of the world, said Graham.

Wal-Mart’s brand value of US$129 billion is almost double the global brand value of Coke, and is larger than the rest of the top 10 U.S. retail brands combined, said Graham.

Australia: WorkSafe targets Melbourne retailers

WorkSafe’s inspectors are targeting retail and hospitality outlets in Melbourne’s central business district this month.

Retail businesses and restaurants, cafes and bars will be inspected to check that employers are meeting their return to work obligations for injured workers.

The visits in Melbourne will run over two weeks, from January 19 to 30.

Over the past five years, a total of 12,013 workers were injured in the City of Melbourne, with treatment and rehabilitation costs exceeding $170 million. Continue reading

Indian medical tourism to touch Rs 9,500 cr by 2015

NEW DELHI: India’s medical tourism sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 30 per cent to become a Rs 9,500-crore industry by 2015 as
foreign arrivals will increase to avail treatment at lower costs, industry body Assocham said.

“The cost of surgery in India is one-tenth of what it is in the US and Western Europe and sometimes even lesser,” the chamber said.

Patients from other countries would make India a preferred choice for medical treatment because of cost and competitive factors, it added.

In 2008, the size of the industry was estimated at Rs 1,500 crore and it would grow into a Rs 9,500 crore business by 2015, with an annual growth rate of 30 per cent, it said.

About 1.8 lakh foreigners visited India for treatment in the first eight and half months of the current fiscal and their number would increase by 22 per cent to 25 per cent in the coming years, it said.

While a heart-valve replacement costs about 0.2 mn dollar in the US, in India it can be done in 10,000 dollar which also includes round-trip airfare and a vacation package, the industry body said.

India provides world-class medical facilities with hospitals and specialised multi-specialty health centres providing their expertise in areas such as cosmetic surgery, dental care, heart surgeries and coronary bypass.

Golden Dragon enters into agreement with Lohao City Supermarkets

Golden Dragon enters into agreement with Lohao City Supermarkets

Golden Dragon Holdings has entered into an agreement with China-based Lohao City Supermarkets. Under this agreement, Golden Dragon will place the organic product line of Eden Foods in all its outlets effective immediately.

Frank Yglesias, CEO of Golden Dragon Holdings, said: “The organic niche is a rapidly growing market in China, we are honored in working with such an excellent group like Lohao City and being part of this new emerging market.”

Lohao City is a specialty shop selling a range of organic health foods and other natural products.

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