LONDON (SHARECAST) - As one of the country’s largest health-insurance companies, Humana regularly has a say in where its members seek care. Now it wants sway over what groceries they buy, reports The Washington Post. Humana announced a new partnership with Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, on Wednesday that will give the more than 1 million members of its wellness programmme, HumanaVitality, a 5 percent discount on healthy groceries.
Wal-Mart rival Kroger, meanwhile, is adding clothing to its line-up of essentials at a Marketplace store in Mansfield, Ohio. That may not seem like big news, but it is the first time in Kroger's 129-year history that it has offered a dedicated apparel section, notes the Cincinnati Enquirer. The test will be watched closely by hundreds of independent and national grocers, said Nate Filler, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. "There is only about a 1% profit margin in the grocery business, so the best thing you can do is increase traffic in the store," he said. "Other grocers will be taking note to see if this is a trend they will eventually need to pick up on."
In a move to accelerate its cost-savings plan, Bank of America is considering the lay-off of 16,000 employees by the end of the year, according to a document given to top management, The Wall Street Journal reports. The job cuts are part of the bank's plan to become a better organised and less diversified entity that will take less risks and generate more revenue from existing customers. Most of the lay-offs will be produced in the retail division although some lay-offs may take place among less-experienced investment bankers.
Customers might complain about the flood of unsolicited credit card applications, supermarket flyers and shopping catalogues in their mail, but the US Postal Service is hoping to deliver even more, because that's where the money is. Faced with multi-billion-dollar losses and significant declines in first-class mail, the post office is cutting deals with businesses and direct mail marketers to increase the number of sales pitches they send by standard mail, the official term the agency uses for what is less kindly referred to as junk mail, notes the New York Times.
California is benefiting from a tech boom, economists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) say. The UCLA Anderson Forecast warns, however, that the state's growth could be hampered if conditions in China and Europe worsen, the LA Times revealed. "What happens in Europe and China is not insignificant for California," said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the forecast. "Though we don't see international events driving the US and California into another recession, we do need to be cognisant of what happens because we are tied to them."
According to the Chicago Tribune, US census data released Thursday indicated an estimated 1.9 million people in the state of Illinois - President Obama's home state - were living below the federal poverty rate last year, almost 150,000 more than in 2010. Chicago saw another 15,000 enter poverty last year, bringing the city's total to 261,400, the survey showed.