Digital retailer Argos opened office in the heart of London

  • ‘Digital Hub’ to open above Victoria store
  • Opportunities for key roles to work in the growing Digital team

Milton Keynes, UK, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Digital retailer Argos has opened an office in the heart of London with a focus on creating more agile and flexible ways of working and attracting new talent into the business. The office will also be used as a satellite for teams involved in the firm’s major infrastructure projects and is convenient for access to key partners and start-up communities.

Located above the store in Vauxhall Bridge Road and close to Victoria Station, roles currently being recruited include Product Managers, Development Managers, Digital Designers and Testers. Developers are also being sought and further roles will be recruited over the coming months.

Argos Digital Director, Bertrand Bodson said: “For us, this is about creating a space for collaboration and innovation. We want to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit I know to be at the heart of our business and which has meant that nearly 50% of our business now originates in a digital channel.

“We want to build on the successes we have already seen with digital initiatives such as Blippar and Digital Christmas Gift Guide and take that further. Building our agile capability is a strong boost to Argos’ transformation plans, allowing us to bring digital solutions to the market faster and in a more timely and relevant way.

Designed in partnership with the team in Habitat, the new office officially opened on 6 January, and projects are already underway.

Bodson continues “Having a base in the heart of one of the world’s leading centres of technical innovation will help us add to the great team we already have and we are keen to hear from anyone interested in joining us on this exciting journey.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about current or future opportunities should send their CV to resourcing@homeretailgroup.com quoting “Digital Careers” in the subject line.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:
For more information, please contact the Argos Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email: media.relations@argos.co.uk

 

About Argos
Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 29,000 products through www.argos.co.uk, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argos continues to be the UK’s largest high street retailer online with 635 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2013.  Argos serves around 124 million customers a year through its network of around 735 stores.

In the financial year to February 2013, Argos sales were £3.9 billion and it employed some 30,000 people across the business.

Argos is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

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John Lewis Partnership to review previously announced pension scheme

Bracknell, UK, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — In March 2013 the John Lewis Partnership announced that it would be reviewing the pension scheme to ensure that it remains both fair to Partners and affordable over the long term. Since then there have been extensive briefings and discussions with Partners and a draft proposal has now been presented to the Partnership Council, the central democratic body of the Partnership, for its consideration.

The main elements of the draft proposal are to adopt a Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution hybrid scheme as follows:

  • to continue to offer a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme but at a reduced accrual rate for future service
  • to reinvest savings from changes to the DB portion of the scheme to extend the contributory Defined Contribution (DC) from the first three years to a Partner’s entire career
  • to increase the waiting period before joining the DB section of the scheme for new Partners from three years to five years
  • for future service, to link the pension scheme’s normal retirement age to future increases in the State Pension Age
  • to limit pension increases in retirement to the CPI measure of inflation capped at 2.5 per cent instead of RPI, for future service.

This proposal will now be developed and discussed throughout the Partnership with a final proposal expected to be voted on by the Partnership Council towards the end of 2014, in tandem with a period of statutory consultation.

Nat Wakely, Director, Pensions Benefit Review and the author of the draft review commented:

‘The John Lewis Partnership pension is a defining element of our business. We are determined that it should remain so while ensuring that the scheme is sustainable for the long term.

‘The draft proposal maintains a non-contributory Defined Benefit pension but at a reduced accrual rate which then enables the contributory Defined Contribution pension to be extended throughout a Partner’s whole career.

‘Unlike in other companies, employees and shareholders are ultimately one and the same in the Partnership. It’s for that reason that decisions on the pension benefit require the agreement of the Partnership Council, the Partnership Board and the Chairman. This ensures that Partners play a key role in determining how the Partnership continues to offer a pension that is affordable and fair.

‘It’s an important decision for current and future generations of Partners and one that our democratic structure enables us to take together.’

Triennial Valuation

The John Lewis Partnership Plc has reached agreement with the Partnership’s Pension Scheme Trustee on the terms of the triennial valuation. As at 31 March 2013 the valuation of the Company’s defined benefit pension scheme showed a deficit of £840m.; This valuation is in line with the accounting deficit already announced in March 2013. The deficit has arisen in the scheme principally due to a reduction in the interest rates used to discount the scheme’s liabilities.

The Partnership and the Trustees have agreed a 10 year plan to eliminate this deficit, which includes cash contributions of £44m a year and in addition a one off payment in January 2014 of £85m. The balance of the deficit is expected to be met by investment returns on the scheme’s assets.

Notes to editors
The John Lewis Partnership – The John Lewis Partnership operates 40 John Lewis shops across the UK (30 department stores and 10 John Lewis at home), johnlewis.com, 303 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £9.5bn. It is the UK’s largest example of worker co-ownership where all 85,500 staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis – John Lewis, ‘Retailer of the Year 2013’¹ , ‘The Nation’s Best Retailer’² and ‘Best Retailer 2013’³, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores. The website stocks over 250,000 products focused on the best of fashion, beauty, home and giftware and electrical items including online exclusives. johnlewis.com is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. (www.johnlewis.com). John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products – home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover – delivering the usual values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Oracle Retail Week Awards 2013
² Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2013
³ Which? Awards 2013

You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:
www.johnlewis.com/twitter
www.johnlewis.com/facebook
www.johnlewis.com/youtube

Waitrose – Waitrose, Britain’s favourite supermarket*, has 303 shops in the UK and Channel Islands and is consistently achieving sales growth significantly ahead of the market**. Its strong performance has been driven by the success of the essential Waitrose range, Brand Price Match, an unmatchable top tier of products and free delivery for online shopping, as well as a long term commitment to sourcing the UK’s finest local and regional foods. Waitrose combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop – dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced combined with high standards of customer service.(www.waitrose.com)

* Which? Annual Supermarket Satisfaction Survey, Favourite Food & Grocery Retailer at Verdict’s annual Consumer Satisfaction Awards; Favourite Supermarket at Good Housekeeping Awards
** Kantar Worldpanel

You can follow Waitrose on the following social media channels:

www.facebook.com/waitrose
www.twitter.com/waitroseuk
www.twitter.com/waitrosewine
www.youtube.com/waitrose.

Enquiries
For further information please contact:

John Lewis Partnership
Andrew Moys
Director of Communications
Telephone: 020 7592 6292

Citigate
Dewe Rogerson
Simon Rigby/Jos Bieneman
Telephone: 020 7638 9571

S Group announced slightly over EUR 11.3 billion retail sales in 2013

S Group’s retail sales in 2013 amounted to slightly over EUR 11.3 billion. Comparable sales increased by more than one per cent year-on-year.

Helsinki, Finland, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — According to Taavi Heikkilä, CEO of SOK, sales developed best in the grocery trade, where growth amounted to nearly 4 per cent. Poor development of the economy in Finland was also clearly visible in the S Group’s sales, particularly in the automotive trade and consumer goods trade.

Other S Group’s business operations were close to zero in sales trends.

At the turn of the year, S-Bank had over 2.6 million customers. By the end of December, S-Bank had issued nearly 1.4 million S-Etukortti Visa cards. The amount of deposits by private customers totalled nearly EUR 2,304 million at the end of the year. Corporate deposits included, S-Bank’s total funds on deposit were nearly EUR 2,532 million at the end of the year. This showed an increase of around EUR 60 million from the turn of the year.

Co-op members were paid almost EUR 380 million in Bonus rewards

The growth in the number of co-op members of S Group cooperatives continued as 92,113 new members joined in 2013. At the end of the year, the total number of co-op members was 2,109,025. During the year, co-op members were paid a total of EUR 379.0 million in bonuses, which is the same level as a year ago.

At the end of the year, there were 1,646 S Group outlets. The number of outlets fell by 51 outlets year-on-year.

The more detailed sales figures by business area and the sales information for the SOK Corporation are available in the appendices.

S Group’s result and financial statements are published on Thursday, 13 February 2014.

Additional information:
Taavi Heikkilä, CEO, SOK,
tel. +358 10 76 80200
Jari Annala, Senior Vice President, CFO, SOK Finance and Administration,
tel. +358 (0)10 76 82040

Rite Aid reports same store sales for January 2014 increased 1.8 percent over the prior-year period

Camp Hill, PA, US, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) today announced sales results for January.

Monthly Sales

For the four weeks ended Jan. 25, 2014, same store sales increased 1.8 percent over the prior-year period. January front-end same store sales decreased 1.3 percent, of which 1.4 percent was attributable to a decrease in sales of flu-related over-the-counter products. Pharmacy same store sales, which included an approximate 124 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 3.2 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 2.2 percent over the prior-year period, of which 2.4 percent is attributable to a decrease in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots.

Total drugstore sales for the four-week period increased 1.5 percent to $1.943 billion compared to $1.914 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales accounted for 69.7 percent of drugstore sales, and third party prescription sales represented 96.7 percent of pharmacy sales.

Year-to-Date

Same store sales for the 47-week period ended Jan. 25, 2014 increased 0.6 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales were flat compared to the prior-year period while pharmacy same store sales increased 0.9 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 0.2 percent over the prior-year period.

Total drugstore sales for the 47 weeks ended Jan. 25, 2014 increased 0.3 percent with sales of $22.896 billion compared to $22.826 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales represented 67.7 percent of total drugstore sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.0 percent of pharmacy sales.

Rite Aid is one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains. On Jan. 25, 2014, the company operated 4,588 stores compared to 4,626 stores in the like period a year ago. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at http://www.riteaid.com. Note that all sales data in this release is preliminary, unaudited and subject to revision.

Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties that are described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you are encouraged to read. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Rite Aid expressly disclaims any current intention to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the distribution of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

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Contact:

Investors: 0 0 717-975-3710, Matt Schroeder 717-214-8867 or investor@riteaid.com

Media: Susan Henderson 717-730-7766

Toys“R”Us to launch nationwide text-to-donate campaign in support of 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

In-Store and Online Awareness Program Amplifies Company’s Commitment as a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and Seeks Customers’ Support in Helping Athletes Go for the Gold this June; Customers Invited to Text “CHEER” to 80888 to Make a $5 Donation to 2014 Special Olympics USA Games via Their Mobile Device

Wayne, NJ, US, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Furthering its commitment as a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, Toys“R”Us today announced the February 1 launch of a nationwide in-store and online awareness campaign encouraging its customers to support the athletes participating in this inspirational event. By texting “CHEER” to 80888, customers can make a $5 donation via their mobile device that will help Special Olympics athletes go for the gold at the “Games of Welcome and Acceptance” being held in New Jersey from June 14-21.

Toys“R”Us was the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games with a $1 million grant from the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company. The company will serve as the presenting sponsor of the first-ever Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 USA Games, which will provide opportunities for children ages 2-7, and their families, to take part in the Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program. This inclusive, innovative play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities helps kids develop critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces them to the world of sports.

“As we eagerly count down to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the future stars of Special Olympics, and cheer on those who will be competing this year,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman, Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. “Toys“R”Us has a long history of supporting the special needs community, and through our text-to-donate campaign we are pleased to engage our customers in supporting Special Olympics as it reveals America’s current and future champions at this summer’s USA Games.”

The Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will provide a national stage to highlight the Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program, as well as promote acceptance and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.

“From the very beginning, Toys“R”Us has been a terrific partner in helping us tell the story of what Special Olympics offers its youngest participants through the Young Athletes Program, and we’re so excited to highlight their accomplishments at the Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 USA Games,” said TJ Nelligan, Chairman & CEO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. “We are grateful to Toys“R”Us for using its tremendous reach to raise awareness nationwide for this innovative program, while at the same time supporting the athletes across the country who will make their way to New Jersey this June to compete.”

Toys“R”Us Raises Awareness of 2014 USA Games In Stores Nationwide and Online

From February 1 through March 31, signage in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will encourage customers to text “CHEER” to 80888 to make a $5 donation via their mobile device to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Donations will help more than 3,500 athletes go for the gold at the Games in New Jersey this June. The signage features three participants in Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program – Traigh of Wisconsin, Kailani of New Jersey and Jack of Illinois – showcasing the future stars of Special Olympics.

Toys“R”Us has also developed a robust online experience at Toysrus.com/2014SpecialOlympics where visitors can “meet” Young Athletes from across the country via an interactive map and learn how the Young Athletes Program is helping kids achieve their personal goals. In addition, the site highlights the company’s partnership with Special Olympics for the 2014 USA Games, its history of supporting Special Olympics and the Young Athletes Program and its ongoing commitment to the special needs community through its Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. An easy-to-use resource featuring specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities, this year the Guide features two Special Olympics Young Athletes on its cover, along with 2012 All-Around gymnastics gold medalist Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas.

#CheerOnAChampion – Customers Encouraged to Share the Excitement on Social Media

Last June, Toys“R”Us began its one-year countdown to the Games by encouraging its fans and followers on social media to #CheerOnAChampion and learn about Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program and its inspiring participants across the U.S. Throughout the coming months, the company will profile Young Athletes from various states on its official Facebook and Twitter pages, shining a spotlight on the personal goals attained every day by these determined athletes.

In addition to being a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, Toys“R”Us will also serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, during which more than 100 law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states will take part in a multi-day torch run leading up to the Games’ Opening Ceremony on June 15.

For more information about the campaign, please visit Toysrus.com/2014SpecialOlympics.

Charitable Giving at Toys“R”Us

The philanthropic mission of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations and has donated $1 million as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.

About the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted by New Jersey from June 14-21, 2014.  Nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 70,000 family, friends and spectators.  The 2014 USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport and showcase athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as they demonstrate the transformative power of sports to educate and inform others about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.  In addition to sports competition, the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will highlight Special Olympics’ work in sport, education, health and communities including special events and programs such as the Opening Ceremony at the Prudential Center, Closing Ceremony at Sun National Bank Center, a Young Athletes Festival, Healthy Athletes screenings and symposiums, youth leadership and more.  Delegates will also enjoy recreational and cultural programs introducing them to the culture and history of the New Jersey/New York area.  The 2014 USA Games will be held at venues throughout the state with most of the athletic competitions taking place in and around Princeton, NJ.  Founding Partners for the 2014 Special Olympic USA Games include 21st Century Fox, Barnabas Health, HESS, KPMG, PSE&G, ShopRite, Toys“R”Us and WWE. Learn more about the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games at www.2014specialolympics.organd follow the Games on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGamesand Twitter @2014USAGames.

# # #

Media Contacts: 
Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Katie Regner
973-617-4381
Katie.Regner@toysrus.com

Jennifer Albano
973-617-5632
Jennifer.Albano@toysrus.com

 

H&M supports WWF Conservation Project in the Yangtze River basin, China

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — H&M understands that our long-term success depends on sustainable water usage throughout our value chain, but also that water is a shared resource and a shared risk. So, one year ago H&M and WWF signed a ground breaking water partnership. Through a holistic water stewardship strategy we, side by side, strive towards new standards for the fashion industry and beyond.

“We quickly realised that both organisations share common views and want to achieve actual results. Since the launch, we have made water awareness a part of H&M’s global sustainability training for all 104,000 employees. Together we have mapped water risks for H&M’s 500 supplier factories working with wet processes and updated our routines to monitor waste water treatment. Through the partnership H&M is also supporting a WWF Conservation Project in the Yangtze River basin”, says Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability at H&M.

The WWF Conservation Project is working to save the Yangtze finless porpoise. The species is under severe stress and acts as an indicator for demonstrating the state of the Yangtze River’s ecosystem. Specific activities to increase the number of porpoises include improvement of sustainable fisheries and decreasing pollution from agriculture by educating cotton farmers.

“Degraded and depleted water resources, and inadequate supply and sanitation, impose impacts across society. WWF believes that actions to address these shared risks to water security require collaborative action,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. “In working together with H&M, we want to inspire a shift of the whole fashion industry towards responsible water stewardship. The aims of this partnership are high, and so are the stakes”.

What truly takes the H&M and WWF partnership beyond the beaten track is our joint work to engage stakeholders and influence governance in China and Bangladesh. Here we can take water stewardship within the fashion industry to the next level. We now have our engagement plans for China in place and implementation will start early 2014.

Together we will engage a number of local stakeholders in China, including governmental institutions, NGOs, local communities and industry associations. Common to all stakeholders is their influence and interest in water policy on different levels; regional, provincial and national. If successful, both H&M and WWF will gain valuable experience and knowhow that can be used elsewhere to ensure better water management.

With a new year ahead of us, we have a lot of exciting activities in the pipeline and we are looking forward seeing even more specific results. We are proud of the partnership with WWF, which we hope will inspire others to follow.

GLOBAL MEDIA INQURIES
Only for media representatives
Phone: +46 8 796 53 00
Email: mediarelations@hm.com

Please note the contact details above are only for media representatives. For other enquiries contact H&M’s switchboard on +46 8 796 55 00.

8 shops on Reunion Island to join the Auchan brand from January 2014

Croix, France, 2014-1-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Groupe Auchan signed affiliation contracts for 8 shops on Reunion Island. The contracts enter into force this January.

On 28 January, 2 hypermarkets will join the Auchan brand, while 6 supermarkets will do likewise with the Simply Market brand on 29 January. The stores’ product offer and sales and promotions policies are similar to that of the brands they join and meet the expectations of local consumers. Groupe Auchan will also be ensuring the supply of part of the shops’ goods.

The 2 hypermarkets are located in Saint Louis and Saint Pierre. The 6 supermarkets are in the towns of Tampon (2), Saint Joseph, Saint Denis, Saint Gilles les Bains, and Plaine des Cafres.

The new affiliates are businesses belonging to the Thien Ah Koon family and to Mr. David Soui-Mine, well-known distribution professionals on Reunion Island.

This operation illustrates Groupe Auchan’s desire to develop new forms of partnership, in particular in the field of multi-brand retail (hypermarkets and supermarkets) both in France and abroad.

***

Press Contact:
François Cathalifaud
+33 (0)1 58 65 08 10 / +33 (0)6 21 09 84 35
fcathalifaud@auchan.fr