US-based pharmacy giant Walgreens has taken a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots for $6.7 billion (£4.3 billion) in a deal to create the world’s largest pharmacy business. According to a joint statement, the merger will create a global leader in “pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail” with more than 11,000 stores in 12 countries. In addition the deal will see a global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network with more than 370 distribution centres delivering to more than 170,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals in 21 countries.
US-based sportswear retailer Zumiez is to acquire its Austrian rival Blue Tomato for €59.5 million (£48 million). Founded by former European Snowboard champion Gerfried Schuller in 1988, Blue Tomato sells a range of branded snow and skate hard goods, apparel, footwear, and accessories across Europe via the blue-tomato.com website, which is available in 14 different languages. In addition, it operates five bricks-and-mortar stores in Austria. It had a net income of €3.5 million (£2.8 million) for the year ended 30th April 2012. Blue Tomato will continue to be headquartered in Schladming, Austria and senior management led by Schuller will continue in their current roles.
Some 230 production workers at the Clarks Shoes distribution centre in Street, Somerset, started “work-to-rule” industrial action over a dispute involving pay and changes to their terms and conditions. The workers, who are all members of the trade union Community, voted in a ballot with 79 percent supporting the action. If the dispute is not resolved quickly, the union warned of the prospect of strike action at a later date.
The team behind online gifts retailer Prezzybox has launched GetMonkeys, a daily deals website. Prezzybox founder Zak Edwards says GetMonkey is different because “we carry stock--no vouchers required”.
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