WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CVS/pharmacy (NYSE: CVS) has become the first national retailer to give consumers the ability to print photos in-store directly from mobile phones equipped with cameras. This groundbreaking advance in retail photo service was recently introduced in all CVS stores with 1-hour photo service chain wide, making it easy for customers to take advantage of their mobile phone cameras.
"The use of camera phones by consumers represents a revolution in digital photography and CVS is first with an easy, simple, customer-focused solution for printing images directly from your mobile phone. Meeting the expected growth of on-demand printing of camera phone photos is part of our strategy to be the easiest pharmacy retailer for our photo customers," said Grant Pill, Category Manager of Photo Processing at CVS/pharmacy.
Although camera phones are just now being introduced to many Americans, sales of these phones are exploding. Last year, camera phones outsold conventional digital cameras 2-to-1 and in 2004, camera phone sales are expected to grow from 7.5 million camera phones in America to 21.3 million by year-end.
The technology at CVS works with any camera-phone enabled with an infrared or Bluetooth(TM) wireless device. Following instructions on the touch-screen, the customer simply beams the image to the store's Kodak Picture Maker. Prints are ready in minutes and cost just 29 cents each -- the same price as prints from traditional or digital cameras.
"Offering prints from camera phones is the logical next step for CVS in our efforts to capture digital photo customers. We were the first national retailer to offer a truly easy way to print photos from digital cameras. Today, 13% of our digital photo customers are new to CVS, and we hope to see the same incremental trend as printing from camera phones increases," said Pill.
Customers are using camera phones to capture incremental images, over and above their digital and traditional cameras. These incremental images will fuel significant additional growth to the already dynamic digital image space.
In fact, the introduction of camera phones is forecast to increase image capturing from 26 billion images today to 70 billion in 2007. "More images captured leads directly to more image printing," said Pill. In Japan, where widespread camera phone introduction and usage is ahead of the U.S., customers are printing 10% of their images captured on their camera phones.
On April 5, 2004, the Company entered into a definitive agreement under which it will acquire 1,260 Eckerd drug stores, located mainly in the southern United States, in addition to Eckerd Health Services, which includes Eckerd's mail order and pharmacy benefit management businesses. The transaction is subject to review under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act as well as other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in June of 2004. General information about CVS is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company's website, at http://investor.cvs.com.