retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that “after years of sitting on the sidelines as CVS and Walgreens rapidly opened medical clinics nationwide, Target Corp. said Tuesday it will open eight new Target Clinics by the end of July, including four in the Twin Cities.

“It marks the second eight-store burst in six months for the Minneapolis-based retailer, after expanding into Chicago and Palm Beach for the first time in September. The new clinics mean Target will have 44 locations in Minnesota, Maryland, Illinois and Florida.”

• IGA announced that IGA has joined forces with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to create IGA USA’s first IGA Private Brand cause marketing initiative. During this national campaign - running in participating IGA stores from Memorial Day Weekend (May 27) through Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5) - IGA will donate 10 cents from the sale of every specially marked case of IGA Brand water to Wounded Warrior Project, an organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. By fall of this year, IGA’s hopes to have donated up to $100,000 to WWP.

• The Associated Press reports that Walgreen Co. “is leaving the pharmacy benefits management business, selling that operation to Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. for $525 million in cash and freeing it to focus on its drugstore network, the largest in the United States.

“The companies expect to complete the deal by the end of June assuming regulators approve. The pharmacy benefits management business, known as Walgreens Health Initiatives, has never approached the size of Caremark, the pharmacy benefits management business of CVS Caremark Corp., which is Walgreen's largest drugstore competitor. Caremark says it manages prescription benefits for about 60 million people.”

• The Seattle Times reports that Fred Meyer has announced “that electric car-charging stations will be available at a handful of its Puget Sound-area stores this summer.
Melinda Merrill, a spokeswoman for the Portland-based retailer, said stores in Kent, Bellevue, Everett, Lake City and Alderwood were being considered as charging-station locations, along with a Maple Valley store that hasn't been built yet. Another five or six stores in Oregon, some in the Portland area and others in strategic locations along the Interstate 5 corridor, are also set to get charging stations. The cost of using the stations hasn't been determined yet.
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