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December 5, 2011



It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It’s that kind of Dickensian double-speak that personifies the tone of the holiday forecasts this year — forecasts that have really been all over the board.



It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It’s that kind of Dickensian double-speak that personifies the tone of the holiday forecasts this year — forecasts that have really been all over the board.

December 5, 2011

Senior Walmart executives regularly invoke the name of Sam Walton when it serves to reinforce a point regarding the company’s business model or the cultural principles on which Walton is said to have founded the company.

Senior Walmart executives regularly invoke the name of Sam Walton when it serves to reinforce a point regarding the company’s business model or the cultural principles on which Walton is said to have founded the company. Dr. John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness for Walmart U.S., took the practice a step further recently when he participated in a panel presentation with other top executives at a conference put on by the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business.


December 5, 2011

Walmart’s first small-format Express stores have only been open about six months, but strong initial consumer acceptance, coupled with increasingly flexible real estate, points to the near certainty of an eventual rollout.


Walmart’s first small-format Express stores have only been open about six months, but strong initial consumer acceptance, coupled with increasingly flexible real estate, points to the near certainty of an eventual rollout.


The stores range between 10,000 and 15,000 sq. ft., offer about 13,000 products and were developed so Walmart could tap potential growth opportunities in rural and urban markets. Walmart expects to end its current fiscal year in late January 2012 with 11 Walmart Express stores following the opening of the first units in northwest Arkansas.


December 5, 2011

Optimism, skepticism, confidence and concern were among the range of emotions shared by Walmart suppliers who participated in the second annual Walmart Supplier Survey conducted by Drug Store News’ sister publication Connecting Northwest Arkansas.


Optimism, skepticism, confidence and concern were among the range of emotions shared by Walmart suppliers who participated in the second annual Walmart Supplier Survey conducted by Drug Store News’ sister publication Connecting Northwest Arkansas.


(To view the full results of the Walmart Supplier Survey, click here.)

December 1, 2011

Walmart is looking to help holiday shoppers find the perfect gift this season with the launch of a new social shopping application.

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Walmart is looking to help holiday shoppers find the perfect gift this season with the launch of a new social shopping application.

December 1, 2011

Pfizer's efforts to protect the sales of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor have attracted scrutiny from members of Congress, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — Pfizer's efforts to protect the sales of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor have attracted scrutiny from members of Congress, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported Thursday that three senators — Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and Herb Kohl, D-Wis. — had asked Pfizer and five other companies to provide details of their agreements to prevent dispensing of generic versions of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and dispense only the branded version.

November 22, 2011

Pfizer will acquire a San Diego-based drug maker focused on treatments for skin scarring, the company said Tuesday.

NEW YORK — Pfizer will acquire a San Diego-based drug maker focused on treatments for skin scarring, the company said Tuesday.

Pfizer said it would buy privately owned Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, whose lead product, EXC 001, is in phase-2 trials for skin scarring, also known as skin fibrosis, a result of surgical procedures. There currently are no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments to reduce scar severity. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

November 15, 2011

Procter & Gamble's Prilosec OTC and comedian Larry the Cable Guy are teaming up this season on a Facebook-driven contest in search of "parking lot pros who know 'a better way to tailgate,'" beginning Tuesday.

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble's Prilosec OTC and comedian Larry the Cable Guy are teaming up this season on a Facebook-driven contest in search of "parking lot pros who know 'a better way to tailgate,'" beginning Tuesday.

November 15, 2011

Walmart delivered a long-awaited same-store sales increase of 1.3% at its U.S. stores division in the third quarter and pointed to ongoing momentum for the holidays with comps guidance ranging from flat to up 2%.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart delivered a long-awaited same-store sales increase of 1.3% at its U.S. stores division in the third quarter and pointed to ongoing momentum for the holidays with comps guidance ranging from flat to up 2%.

November 10, 2011

Walmart on Thursday officially released its Black Friday circular on its website and Facebook page to help families save money this holiday season, and will host shopping events as early as 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart on Thursday officially released its Black Friday circular on its website and Facebook page to help families save money this holiday season, and will host shopping events as early as 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

November 9, 2011

According to a request for information released Tuesday and reported by Kaiser Health News, Walmart is in the process of piecing together a comprehensive low-cost primary care healthcare platform.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — According to a request for information released Tuesday and reported by Kaiser Health News, Walmart is in the process of piecing together a comprehensive low-cost primary care healthcare platform.

However, Walmart later denied this report in a statement released to the public on Wednesday. "The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect. We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform," stated John Agwunobi, SVP and president of Walmart U.S. health and wellness.

November 2, 2011

Walmart is offering customers an early, exclusive preview of its Black Friday specials.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is offering customers an early, exclusive preview of its Black Friday specials.

Customers that sign up at Walmart.com for Walmart's Facebook page will be able to view top assortments across a variety of categories. Walmart also will hold an early holiday sale beginning Nov. 5.

Walmart recently announced it was bringing back its Christmas layaway program.

October 31, 2011

Procter & Gamble on Monday announced its third year of being an official sponsor of the National Football League in support of its Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Prilosec OTC and Vicks brands.

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble on Monday announced its third year of being an official sponsor of the National Football League in support of its Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Prilosec OTC and Vicks brands.

October 28, 2011

Icagen officially is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.

NEW YORK — Icagen officially is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.

As part of the transaction, which first was announced in July, Icagen now will be part of Pfizer’s worldwide research and development organization and also will be integrated into Neusentis, Pfizer’s pain, sensory disorders and regenerative medicine research unit.

The aggregate transaction value, which includes the value of the shares that already were owned by Pfizer, was about $56 million.

October 24, 2011

Walmart announced that it is helping ensure customers pay the lowest price on holiday gifts with the launch of its Christmas price guarantee.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that it is helping ensure customers pay the lowest price on holiday gifts with the launch of its Christmas price guarantee.

Customers who purchase eligible product at Walmart anytime between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, and then find those same products advertised for less at another store, will receive a Walmart gift card for the difference through Dec. 25.

October 18, 2011

Johnson & Johnson Tuesday morning pledged significant support behind the relaunch of several McNeil Consumer products into the marketplace in 2012, and feels confident impacted brands — Tylenol and Motrin, among others — will be able to recapture market share, despite significant private-label erosion.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson Tuesday morning pledged significant support behind the relaunch of several McNeil Consumer products into the marketplace in 2012, and feels confident impacted brands — Tylenol and Motrin, among others — will be able to recapture market share, despite significant private-label erosion.

October 13, 2011

Two years of declining same-store sales at Walmart are poised to end next month when the retailer reports third-quarter results that reflect positive momentum from a wide range of initiatives put in place during the past 12 months, judging from comments made by senior executives during an all-day meeting with analysts on Wednesday.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Two years of declining same-store sales at Walmart are poised to end next month when the retailer reports third-quarter results that reflect positive momentum from a wide range of initiatives put in place during the past 12 months, judging from comments made by senior executives during an all-day meeting with analysts on Wednesday.

October 5, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a regulatory approval application from Merck and Ariad Pharmaceuticals for a new drug to treat soft-tissue and bone cancers, the drug makers said Wednesday.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a regulatory approval application from Merck and Ariad Pharmaceuticals for a new drug to treat soft-tissue and bone cancers, the drug makers said Wednesday.

The FDA is expected to complete its review of ridaforolimus for soft-tissue and bone sarcomas in patients who have shown a favorable response to chemotherapy by second quarter 2012.

Sarcomas are cancers of the body's connective tissues, and treatment options remain limited, the companies said.

September 29, 2011

McNeil-PPC announced Wednesday that the acquisition of full ownership of the Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals joint venture has been completed.

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. — McNeil-PPC announced Wednesday that the acquisition of full ownership of the Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals joint venture has been completed.

The joint venture will be renamed McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals and will continue to market products under the Pepcid, Mylantq and Mylicon brands.

September 27, 2011

Wal-Mart Stores is in search of a new head of its global e-commerce and global sourcing businesses, now that Eduardo Castro-Wright announced his retirement effective July 1, 2012.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores is in search of a new head of its global e-commerce and global sourcing businesses, now that Eduardo Castro-Wright announced his retirement effective July 1, 2012. Walmart said it intends to name new leadership for these businesses by the end of January, after which Castro-Wright will assist in the transition.

September 21, 2011

Thanks to a large online following and success on YouTube, oral care brand Orabrush now has gained distribution at 3,500 Walmart stores throughout the country.

SALT LAKE CITY — Thanks to a large online following and success on YouTube, oral care brand Orabrush now has gained distribution at 3,500 Walmart stores throughout the country.

With distribution within Walmart, the total number of retail locations carrying the Orabrush tongue cleaner is now more than 10,000 throughout the world, the manufacturer stated.

September 21, 2011

The offering period for Pfizer's acquisition of Icagen has expired, allowing the former to purchase more than 5 million shares in the company, Pfizer said.

NEW YORK — The offering period for Pfizer's acquisition of Icagen has expired, allowing the former to purchase more than 5 million shares in the company, Pfizer said.

Pfizer said that as of Monday, 5.4 million shares of Icagen had been put up for sale. Along with the 1.1 million shares Pfizer already owns, this would give it control of 70.2% of Icagen, which develops drugs for pain and other conditions. Pfizer plans to acquire the remaining shares as well.

September 19, 2011

A drug made by Merck for treating HIV infection was effective and tolerated in patients regardless of their gender or race, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Monday.

CHICAGO — A drug made by Merck for treating HIV infection was effective and tolerated in patients regardless of their gender or race, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Monday.

September 14, 2011

Wal-Mart Stores on Wednesday launched initiatives intended to help women around the globe in the next five years.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Wednesday launched initiatives intended to help women around the globe in the next five years.

The retail giant has spent the last year developing a plan — with help from both governmental and nongovernmental organizations and philanthropic groups — which will direct $20 billion over a five-year period on goods and services from U.S. businesses owned by women, as well as double the amount it pays women-run suppliers overseas.

September 12, 2011

Healthcare giant WellPoint has inked a deal with IBM whereby it will develop applications using IBM's Watson artificial intelligence technology to deliver healthcare information to patients.

INDIANAPOLIS — Healthcare giant WellPoint has inked a deal with IBM whereby it will develop applications using IBM's Watson artificial intelligence technology to deliver healthcare information to patients.

Watson, named for IBM founder Thomas Watson, is a system developed by IBM scientists designed to mimic a human's ability to answer questions posed in natural language that earlier this year appeared on the TV game show "Jeopardy!" and won against two human contestants.