retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• SymphonyIRI Group today announced a new relationship supporting Walmart’s customer-centric initiatives whereby the two companies are introducing a next-generation, Web-based shopper insights and collaborative planning platform, Customer Advantage™.  Powered by SymphonyIRI’ s, Liquid Data technology and marketing analytics, Customer Advantage will be available from SymphonyIRI beginning August 2011.

Full disclosure: SymphonyIRI is an MNB sponsor.

• The Boston Globe reports that Rite Aid Corp. has agreed to pay the state of Massachusetts $2.1 million to settle charges that it has been overcharging cities and towns for prescription drugs as part of workers compensation claims. Rite Aid has not admitted any guilt in agreeing to the settlement.

According to the story, “State law requires pharmacies to offer state entities the best price paid by any company. Collectively, Walgreen Co., Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc., Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., CVS Caremark Corp., and Rite Aid have settled for almost $8 million in similar cases” since an investigation was begun by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

• The Detroit Free Press reports that Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is dropping hints that a long -rumored Whole Foods actually will be build in the city’s downtown area, and that the official announcement will be “just the first of other major announcements this week that will change ‘how people view the city of Detroit’.”

• The Associated Press reports that Whole Foods has created a new charity, the Whole Kids Foundation, for the purpose of providing more children with access to healthy foods. According to the piece, “The foundation's first initiative is a program to help put in place or expand teaching gardens to help build children's relationships with food through the power of gardening.”
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