business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The New York Times this morning reports that CVS "is taking a big step forward in the increasingly popular realm of personalizing and selecting products for shoppers. The effort will offer customers who belong to the chain’s ExtraCare loyalty program tailored versions of the weekly print circulars distributed through newspapers and in stores to an estimated 45 million people. The initiative, under the rubric of myWeekly Ad, will use the data gathered by CVS from ExtraCare members’ purchases to do things like suggest sale items based on previous purchases and make available in one place all ExtraCare savings and rewards offers.

"Users will also be able to build digital shopping lists that can be personalized based on the CVS store at which they shop most often — down to the aisle in which each product can be found."

The story notes that the initiative - supported by $7 million in advertising - "is emblematic of a trend as brick-and-mortar retailers seek to fend off growing competition from online retailers."

I am so tired of the ten-foot-long register receipts that I get at CVS that seem designed to let me know that I can get discounts, while being engineered to make sure that I never actually use the discounts because those pages are so damned annoying, that I am about ready to start shopping somewhere else. reports that "pregnant women with the highest exposure to BPA, an industrial chemical found in plastic water bottles, receipt paper and canned food linings, among other consumer goods, had up to an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage than those who had been exposed the least, a new study found ... Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems, and a study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist."

While the researchers said that the study "is not cause for alarm," it is "far from reassuring that BPA is safe."

Maybe this is not conclusive, but if an "80 percent greater risk" isn't cause for alarm, then what is?
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