retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Boston Globe reports that Larry J. Merlo, CEO of CVS Caremark Corp., gave a speech yesterday at the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club in which he said that "health care faces three overlapping challenges in the next few years -- a 'silver tsunami' of aging baby boomers, millions of newly insured people if the national health care overhaul survives US Supreme Court scrutiny, and a projected shortage of primary care physicians."

Merlo said that he believes that CVS and its Minute Clinics network are "poised to help expand care and reduce costs on all three issues" and can “extend the frontiers of health care” by complementing services offered by primary care physicians, and can "contribute to improved access, better quality, and lower costs no matter what happens in Washington, D.C."

Workday Minnesota reports that member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) employed by Kowalski's Markets in Minnesota "have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract ... Kowalski’s had resisted negotiations with the union and imposed its own contract offer last August. Workers responded by holding rallies outside several stores. In October, workers at the five Kowalski-owned grocery stores in the east metro rejected the imposed offer. The new agreement replaces the imposed contract, the union said."

• The Sacramento Bee reports that "Costco Wholesale Corp. will pay $3.6 million in civil penalties and costs to settle a civil law enforcement action brought against the company by 30 California counties ... The settlement resolves allegations that Costco violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of pharmaceutical and pharmacy waste, as well as other hazardous waste."

• Wakefern Food Corp. announced that it "will be joining forces with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s Climate Corps program this summer to develop an actionable energy efficiency plan .... Over the summer, EDF Climate Corps fellows spend 10-12 weeks in organizations like Wakefern developing customized energy efficiency plans to cut costs and carbon emissions."

• NRF’s annual 2012 Father’s Day spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight,, predicts that "the average person will shell out $117.14 on dad’s gifts this year, up 10 percent from $106.49 last year and closing the gap between its biggest competitor: Mother’s Day (consumers planned to spend an average of $152 on the holiday). Total spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $12.7 billion."
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