business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Best Buy and Target are ending an experiment "that stationed Geek Squad agents at Target stores in Denver and Minneapolis," with a stated goal of providing services to "electronics customers at 29 Target stores, including installation, repair and warranty plans. The program covered a wide range of products — from mobile phones and MP3 players to e-readers and home theater systems."

The six-month test ideally would have helped Best Buy extend its brand equity, which has been diminished because of tough competition in recent years. But the folks at Best Buy - wisely, I think - figured that in a time of limited resources, they were better off focusing on their own stores than bolstering the service quotient at someone else's. Better it should figure out how to compete with Amazon than help Target compete with Walmart.

CNN has a story saying that a new Consumer Reports study says that "CVS charges $150 for a monthly prescription of the generic version of the cholesterol drug Lipitor. The same drug goes for $17 at Costco."

It isn't just Lipitor. Consumer Reports says that it "sent secret shoppers to 200 pharmacies that carry five blockbuster drugs: Lipitor, Lexapro, Plavix, Actos and Singulair, all of which lost their patents in the last two years. Shoppers found they could be paying as much as $749, or 447%, more for a generic prescription drug in one year at the highest-priced pharmacy, compared with the lowest."

The story says that "the priciest places to pick up these prescriptions were CVS, Target and Rite Aid. The least expensive were Costco and Sam's Club, while Wal-Mart, and Walgreen's fell in the middle."
KC's View: