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.

Highmark to open first health insurance retail store

Pittsburgh: Highmark Inc., the region’s largest health insurer, plans to open a retail outlet in the North Hills next year, the first health insurance company to open such a store in Pennsylvania, Highmark announced this morning.

Highmark Direct, as the store will be called, will be at 4885 McKnight Road, in Ross township’s McKnight-Seibert shopping center. It won’t deal with large corporate group plans, but everybody else is invited, including individuals, seniors and small business.

Customers will be able to meet one-on-one with insurance sales associates, or can attend one of the various health seminars that the store intends to schedule. The store will be open Monday through Saturday.

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Source : Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Space NK Launches New Online Store With MarketLive

FOSTER CITY, CA and LONDON — MarketLive, Inc., the leading global eCommerce software and service provider for retailers, today announced the launch of a new online store (www.SpaceNK.com) for Space NK, a London-based cult beauty retailer.

The store, which went live on September 2, 2008, offers the very best in cutting-edge beauty, advice, and online shopping 24 hours a day. The website launch goes hand in hand with as tunning new concept store in London, also to open inSeptember.

Designed in collaboration with MarketLive, the new website was built on the MarketLive® eCommerce Suite v5.5 and brings new opportunities for growth both in stores and online. The site also provides greater exposure andbrand recognition for Space NK and the 60 brands it features from around the globe.

Established in 1993 by Founder and Creative Director Nicky Kinnaird, SpaceNK has become one of the most remarkable and iconic sources of the world’s best beauty brands — a unique retail concept like no other. Space NK was designed as a browser’s paradise to showcase an edited, personal selection of the things Nicky has discovered and coveted on her travels, coupled with informative, unbiased advice. Nicky Kinnaird is renowned as a visionary female entrepreneur and leading authority on beauty and retail.

The website houses the entire range of unique Space NK beauty brands and products, combined with expert tips and advice, in a rich and engaging store-like experience, reflecting the characteristic light, uncluttered yet intimate design of Space NK stores.

www.SpaceNK.com includes Nicky Kinnaird’s first blog, a place to share her latest beauty discoveries from around the world, with invaluable tips and advice on beauty products, techniques, seasonal makeup, and hair trends. Other features include complete descriptions of product use, size, ingredients, and pricing, a function that allows customers to search by specific skin types and skin solutions, a store locator, wish lists, and acomplimentary luxury gift wrapping service,making browsing, researching,and purchasing online as simple and effective as can be.

“We cater to discerning customers who want to be at the cutting edge of products, techniques, and trends, and who require a selection that helps them maximize their skincare, makeup, and bodycare inside and out,” said Lynn Ritson, International eCommerce Manager for Space NK Apothecary. “We selected MarketLive because they were able to deliver the right technology and integrated best practices to help us grow our multichannel business andstay close to our customers.

MarketLive met our aggressive timeline for launch and is committed to providing support for the site and our business as we grow.”

Space NK required a flexible and responsive platform to launch, promote, support, and sell products, both in its 57 retail stores and online.MarketLive combines essential software, services, and proven methodologies in a single package that enable Space NK to meet its business goals, respond to trends, grow its brand, and become the central source of information and products for its customers. “The MarketLive technology is robust and gives us the flexibility we need to change content, run promotions, improve our marketing, and increase the overall effectiveness of our online store. The professional service team is knowledgeable and responsive. And, the Intelligent Selling best practices have helped us build a site designed for success,” added Ritson.

“We are pleased to work with Space NK as they expand their global reach,build strong relationships with their customers, and expand both their own brand as well as the brands of their product manufacturers,” said MarkPierce, CEO of MarketLive. “We are glad to welcome Space NK to our family of retailers and look forward to watching their growth over the years to come.”

Online Diagnostic Tool by “The Body Shop”

The Body Shop Has Unveiled A New Online Diagnostic Tool To Coincide With The Launch Of The Company’s New Wellbeing Range

The website is designed to help customers of The Body Shop find products in theWellbeing Range that are suited to help ease the stress and anxiety of the individual’s everyday life.

Split into four different regimes, namely Total Energy, Divine Calm, Deep Sleep and Pure Detox, the diagnostic tool leads users through four simple stages in order to determine the regime and products that are suitable for the customer’s needs. These recommendations are then available for the customer to print off and keep for future reference.

Visitors to the site can find products to help ease their everyday concerns, with the site guiding users to the ideal cleansing items, moisturisers, treatments and essential oils for their needs, with full details of the ingredients used, including camomile, jojoba and guarana, also available.

Designed to be easily incorporated into everyday lifestyles, every product in the Wellbeing Range contains effective active natural ingredients based on traditional herbal remedies. Products user trials have proved the effectiveness of this new range from The Body Shop, with well over half of those testing the products discovering the relaxing properties of Divine Calm Heavenly Shower Gel as well as the uplifting and invigorating Total Energy Exhilarating Body Wash.

The new diagnostic site from The Body Shop looks to be the ideal way for those leading a busy life to discover remedies and treatments to combat stress, lack of sleep and the feeling of being run down.

With many of the natural ingredients used in the Wellbeing Range sourced through Community Trade Programme, those who purchase items from the Wellbeing Range will also contribute to the wellbeing of communities around the world including Ghana, Brazil, Zambia, Namibia, Nicaragua, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and the UK.

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