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Boom in retail prescription sales helps Walgreen's raise revenues
Robust growth in retail prescription business has helped leading pharmacy chain Walgreen's increase its second-quarter earnings by 24.5%. The drugstore chain's revenues have grown by 14.6% to $13.93 billion, beating Wall Street expectations. According to chief executive Jeffrey A. Rein, the company's gains this winter in prescriptions filled at stores were very good despite fewer-than-usual doctor visits due to the flu. Walgreen's is capable of achieving strong front-end sales, especially during the Christmas season. There has also been strong growth in prescription sales that has outpaced growth in retail and mail-service pharmacy sales. In addition, the company has witnessed brisk sales of generic drugs. Walgreen Company  sources stated that the drugstore chain is likely to open 500 new locations this year, bringing its total number of stores across the country to 5,600.

Travel company to promote New Caledonia tourism in the U.S.
Scottsdale-based travel-representation company Discover the World Marketing has been selected to promote the island of New Caledonia as a destination for U.S. travelers. New Caledonia, a large archipelago located in the South Pacific about 1,500 kilometers from Australia, will have U.S. representation for the first time. Presently, New Caledonia is not a household name in the U.S. The move is aimed at informing and educating more Americans about the island's beautiful and bountiful marine life. Jenny Adams, Chief Executive of Discover the World, believes that the French influence on the island's cuisine, culture, and language will surprise many new American visitors. Discover the World Marketing represents more than 50 major travel corporations. Incorporated in 1981, the company has 82 offices in 54 countries.

Hampton Hotels campaign wins "Big Idea Chair" award
Hampton Hotels ad campaign "Proud to be a Bed Head" has won a "Big Idea Chair" award for creativity. The award was presented by Yahoo! at the annual Reggie Awards ceremony. Hampton's campaign also won other awards, including a silver medal for interactive/online/wireless promotion and a bronze medal for event marketing. The Reggie Awards, which were created by New York-based Promotion Marketing Association, were presented at a gala event held during the association's annual conference in Chicago on March 22. The Reggie Awards are dedicated to recognizing promotional thinking, creativity, execution, and results as integrated constituents of the full range of marketing activity. Hampton Hotels' winning entry was developed by DraftFCB and Hall Event Group. The creators used a combination of traditional and non-traditional media to supplement the marketing plan. The campaign also bagged a silver medal in the innovation category at the RACie Awards held in Chicago two months ago. Hampton Hotels is part of a leading global hospitality company—Hilton Hotels Corporation. The group comprises more than 2,900 hotels and 500,000 rooms in 78 countries and territories.

Toyota, GM surge ahead while Ford, Chrysler report drops in sales
The leading car manufacturers have maintained their positions despite fluctuations in sales figures for the month of February. While Toyota and General Motors Corporation have made gains, their competitors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler, have reported decreases. According to a February sales report, while Toyota registered a 12.2% increase, General Motors Corporation surprised market watchers by showing a 3.7% increase. Sales of Ford Motor Company have declined by 13.5%, and those of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group have gone down by 8.3%. Sales of Ford's F-Series pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., witnessed a 12% drop, while sales of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes have remained nearly flat. In the month of February, GM sold 308,411 light vehicles, compared with Toyota's 187,330, Ford's 210,194, and Daimler Chrysler AG's 191,810. American Honda Motor Company, which sells Acura brands, sold 110,026 vehicles, while Nissan North America, producer of Infiniti brands, sold 85,218 vehicles.

Japanese "no-brand" retailer attempts to woo American consumers
Currently successfully selling simple and functional products at unbeatable prices in 15 countries, Muji now plans to take the U.S. by storm. Muji, Japan's unbranded retail store, will open its first U.S. location in Manhattan. Muji's full name is Mujirushi Ryohin, which means "no-brand quality products." Muji's large stores sell around 7,000 products ranging from $4 socks to $1,170 washer-dryer combos. The store also sells prefab houses at prices starting at $115,000. Muji's projected targets are consumers in their 20s and 30s. In the U.S., Muji will have to strive to create its market in view of tough competition from brands like IKEA, Crate & Barrel, Gap, and Target. Muji has confidence in its staying power and the universal appeal of its products.
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