The National Grocers Association announced its Creative Choice Awards “Best of Show” winners

LAS VEGAS, NV, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced its Creative Choice Awards “Best of Show” winners in the Marketing and Merchandising categories at a special reception, held during the 2014 NGA Show.  The “Best of Show” title is the highest award of the Creative Choice Awards contest.

The Best of Show in Marketing was awarded to K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.  The marketing campaign, titled “Salute,” is a 60 second video/television commercial created to honor and show respect for our armed forces. Originally aired on the Fourth of July, it has also been shown for other patriotic occasions such as Labor Day and Veteran’s Day.

The Best of Show in Merchandising was awarded to B. Green & Company, Inc. of Baltimore, MD, submitted by SUPERVALU, Inc. The marketing campaign, titled “Food Depot and Eat Right, Live Well,” sought to encourage low-income shoppers to buy more healthy items in-store.  As a part of a grand re-opening, Food Depot highlighted Eat Right, Live Well ideas and their commitment to offering healthy choices for consumers and introduced Food Depot’s newly-hired registered dietician and nutritionist.

Over 350 entries were judged based on the criteria of creativity, clarity and effectiveness by a panel of industry experts. Creative Choice Awards winners for each category were selected as “Best of Show” nominees. “Best of Show” winners were determined by both the judges, and for the first-time ever, through online voting, which incorporated over 1,600 votes.

In addition to this year’s “Best of Show” awards, our sponsors, Kellogg’s and Unilever, as well as the reception sponsor, Anheuser Busch, each chose entries to specially recognize while at the awards receptions. The following entries were chosen:

  • Anheuser Busch selected “Ptacek’s Fundraising with World Record Beer Brat,” created by Ptacek’s IGA and submitted by Affiliated Foods Midwest.
  • Kellogg’s selected “Kellogg’s Promotion – Back to School,” created by Coborn’s Inc.
  • Unilever selected “Cart Race for Hunger,” created by Chris’ Food Center.

The annual Creative Choice Awards contest, sponsored this year by Kellogg’s and Unilever, honors the best marketing and merchandising programs in the grocery retail industry. Marketing campaigns and merchandising events or promotions held between December 3, 2012 and December 3, 2013 were eligible for this year’s contest.

Click here to view the “Best of Show” winners and all of this year’s nominees.

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NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: Consumer optimism about the economy continues to inch upward after bottoming out in October 2013

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumer optimism about the economy continues to inch upward after bottoming out in October 2013, according the latest monthly NACS Consumer Fuels Survey that examines how gas prices affect consumer sentiment.

While the percentage of consumers who say that they are optimistic about the economy remains unchanged from last month (43%), more consumers say that they are “very optimistic.” One in 11 consumers (9%) today say that they are very optimistic about the economy, the highest percentage since July 2013. Younger consumers feel particularly good about the economy: 17% of those 18-34 say that they are very optimistic, as opposed to only 4% of those over 50 who say that they are.

Consumers continue to say that gas prices — which fell 4 cents over the past month — play a role in shaping economic sentiment: 84% of consumers say that gas prices have an impact on their feelings about the economy.

Another sign of optimism is that consumers say that gas prices have to significantly increase before they will change their driving behavior. Consumers say prices would have to increase 79 cents per gallon before they will cut back on their driving and that prices would have to rise $1.74 before they would seek out an alternative to driving or drive drastically less. Both of these gaps between current prices and future behaviors are at their highest levels since NACS began capturing this metric in May 2013.

Consumers also may feel that they are getting more value for their dollar. Miles per dollar spent at the pump increased 4.3% to 7.2 miles per dollar, according to consumers’ self-reported gas prices and gas mileage estimates.

“By virtually every metric that we examined, consumers, particularly younger consumers, are feeling optimistic, and that is great news for the economy’s prospects in 2014,” said NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. “However, consumers do have concerns that gas prices will increase: more than half of them (51%) say that prices will increase over the next 30 days, and if that is the case, overall consumer optimism may take a hit.”

Every month, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) conducts a nationwide survey in partnership with Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC to measure consumer perceptions about gas prices and how they relate to broader economic conditions. For the February survey, 1,115 gas consumers were surveyed from February 4-6, 2014. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/-2.85 at the 95% confidence interval and higher for subgroups. The OPIS weekly national average price for gas was $3.279 on February 3, the week in which the survey was fielded. Summary results from this and previous surveys can be found at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 149,000 stores across the country, posted $700 billion in total sales in 2012, of which $501 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey Consumer optimism about the economy continues to inch upward after bottoming out in October 2013

 

National Retail Federation: January 2014 retail sales flat due in part to severe winter weather

WASHINGTON, DC, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumers leveled off post-holiday shopping and spending in the beginning of the year due in part to severe winter weather in much of the country. According to the National Retail Federation – the world’s largest retail trade association – January retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were flat seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Following a solid holiday sales season, it seems that many consumers decided to take a break from the stores and shopping malls this January in an attempt to avoid winter weather,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While the dip in retail sales was somewhat anticipated, it is concerning that both jobless claims came in above projections and that consumer spending were flat in January – it’s not the way to kick off a new year.

“Even though policymakers decided wisely to increase the debt ceiling this week so the nation would not default on its obligations, more can be done to spur consumer confidence and spending and employment and economic opportunity.”

January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 2.6 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“Harsh winter weather is masking the performance of the broader economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Extreme temperatures and severe ice and snow are making it increasingly difficult to assess if the retail sales slowdown is temporary or a telling sign of a longer lasting weakness in the consumer-fueled economy. No one can jump to any solid conclusion until we shovel out of the snow.”

Earlier this month, NRF released its annual economic forecast projecting a 4.1 percent increase in retail sales in 2014.

Other findings from the January retail sales report include:

•    Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales decreased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 4.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 6.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales decreased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

For Immediate Release
Stephen E. Schatz or Bethany Aronhalt (855) NRF-Press
press@nrf.com
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Leading trade associations form cybersecurity partnership

Arlington , VA, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Today leading trade associations representing the merchant and financial services industries announced a new cybersecurity partnership. The partnership will focus on exploring paths to increased information sharing, better card security technology, and maintaining the trust of customers. Discussion regarding the partnership was initiated by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), joined by the American Bankers Association (ABA), the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), The Clearing House (TCH), the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Associations of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Grocers Association (NGA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“We are committed to working together to ensure customer personal and financial information is secure and protected,” said Tim Pawlenty, CEO of FSR.  “Exploring avenues for increased information sharing and collaborating on innovative technologies and safeguarding data will be critical in defending against common enemies.”

“Retailers place extraordinarily high priority on protecting customers’ personal information,” said Sandy Kennedy, President of RILA. “This partnership will improve collaboration across the payments ecosystem allowing us to work together to develop near- and long-term solutions that will enhance security for our customers.”

“Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and recent events underscore the urgency to update the payments system and protect customers against recent and future threats,” said James Aramanda, President and CEO of The Clearing House Association and Payments Company. “Customers deserve a proactive approach – like the Secure Cloud tokenization initiative to protect consumer credentials that The Clearing House and its Owner Banks have undertaken – by banks and retailers alike to address these real and evolving threats. This cyber partnership is consistent with such an approach and marks an important step to provide for collaboration, continued innovation, and dynamism among all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that customer data will be safeguarded.”

“The U.S. hotel industry is committed to protecting the confidential data of our customers,” said Katherine Lugar, President & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We look forward to working with merchant and financial groups to advance measures to further enhance data security.”

“This is a positive first step toward addressing a complicated set of concerns shared by everyone involved in payments.  Consumers expect both that the payments system will protect their sensitive information, and that they receive the convenience they’ve come to expect while using their credit or debit cards,” said Frank Keating, President and CEO of the ABA. “With all stakeholders at the table – including community banks, large banks, networks and retailers – we have a real opportunity to find solutions and continuing opportunities to meet the threats posed by cyber thieves.”

“Customers are counting on everyone to keep their data safe and secure. It’s critical to recognize that the real enemy here is the hacker,” said Richard Hunt, President and CEO of CBA.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “The food retail industry, with its rich history of a vigorous connection with its shopper, stands ready to work with all stakeholders across the payments chain – processors, credit card companies, equipment manufacturers and banks – to find real improvements in increasing customer data security. We welcome this cross-industry partnership.”

“Issuing banks, payment processors, networks, merchant acquirers and merchants- all share two things in common: customers and protecting the payment system. This partnership embodies these shared commitments,” said Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association. “We look forward to working with our partners to protect and strengthen payment system that processes almost $5 trillion in purchases each year.”

“Data protection is a shared responsibility of everyone involved in the payments processing chain,” said Camden R. Fine, President and CEO of ICBA. “Consumer confidence in the payments system is vital for retailers, networks, processors, telecom providers, and card issuers and is at the heart of the customer-bank relationship.”

“The solution needs to be through cooperation.  We hope that this partnership will be a constructive step in helping to create a pathway to improved consumer confidence,” said Jennifer Platt, Vice President of Federal Operations at ICSC.

“Everyone, from the smallest to the largest businesses, has an interest in keeping our customers’ payment data secure,” said Henry Armour, President and CEO of NACS. “Working collaboratively across industries to find ways to thwart data thieves is the best approach to protecting customers’ information.”

“Independent grocers take protecting our customer’s information very seriously. We look forward to working together with our industry partners and stakeholders to enhance cybersecurity measures, prevent and prosecute criminal attacks, and importantly to protect the trust that our customers have in their independent grocer,” said Peter J Larkin, President and CEO of the NGA.

“The restaurant industry has long sought a constructive, open dialogue with the financial services industry on the path forward toward creating a more secure payments environment for all stakeholders in the payments system.  Our customers and their financial and personal data are of paramount importance to us, and on behalf of the nation’s restaurant industry, we are pleased to be a part of an effort that acknowledges that there is a shared responsibility between the financial sector and the retail sector to solve these issues together,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of NRA.

“This partnership is a positive step in the right direction, since there is no single solution to the complex issues surrounding cyber security.  That is why it is important to bring stakeholders together as we seek answers, share solutions and implement programs that not only prevent hackers from breaching data systems, but protects the consumer by shutting down these criminal enterprises,” said Matt Shay, President and CEO of NRF.

Payments occur in an ecosystem of retailers, banks, card companies, processors, security and technology vendors and others.  The ecosystem operates best when cyber threats are addressed collaboratively and each stakeholder does all it can to reasonably ensure the defenses of their internal systems are as robust and resilient as possible. The partnership will encourage collaboration across the industries, focused on the following principles:

  • Information sharing is paramount to warding off cyber attacks and protecting data. We are stronger together than divided and must warn each other about cyber threats being waged against all our defenses. The financial services industry has a robust information-sharing mechanism through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) that could serve as a forum or model for further information sharing across sectors.
  • Other innovative technologies must be implemented, such as systems that will transmit payment data in a way that is unique and dynamic to reduce the risks. Ongoing innovation will be needed to outpace the threats.
  • We must forge partnerships among all stakeholders of the payments ecosystem to collaborate on long-term, comprehensive solutions to the threats that are growing to card-not-present situations and the mobile environment. 

We welcome the participation of any other organizations committed to advancing these goals.

The participating trade associations will form working groups made up of themselves, member companies, and other stakeholders. The working groups will be focused on increasing threat information sharing, innovative technologies that adds safeguards to protect consumers within the payment system and other areas like national data breach laws. While this forum will serve as an effective way for the industries to discuss areas of agreement, equally important, this forum will be a platform to discuss areas of disagreement and seek solutions.

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The Financial Services Roundtable represents the leading integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, payment and investment products and services to the American consumer. Member companies participate through the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives nominated by the CEO. Roundtable member companies provide fuel for America’s economic engine, accounting directly for $92.7 trillion in managed assets, $1.2 trillion in revenue, and 2.3 million jobs.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees. The majority of ABA’s members are banks with less than $185 million in assets. Learn more at aba.com.

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.

Established in 1853, The Clearing House is the oldest banking association and payments company in the United States. It is owned by the world’s largest commercial banks, which collectively employ more than two million people and hold more than half of all U.S. deposits. The Clearing House Association L.L.C. is a nonpartisan advocacy organization representing – through regulatory comment letters, amicus briefs, and white papers – the interests of its owner banks on a variety of critically important banking issues. The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. provides payment, clearing, and settlement services to its member banks and other financial institutions, clearing almost $2 trillion daily and representing nearly half of the automated-clearing-house, funds-transfer, and check-image payments made in the U.S.

The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the trade association for today’s leaders in retail banking – banking services geared toward consumers and small businesses. The nation’s largest financial institutions, as well as many regional banks, are CBA corporate members, collectively holding two-thirds of the industry’s total assets. CBA’s mission is to preserve and promote the retail banking industry as it strives to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business.

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores.  For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org.

As the only organization leading and representing the payments technology industry, ETA offers cutting edge news and information, facilitates business connections and growth, provides a standard of industry certification, and advocates on issues critical to our members’ success. ETA’s more than 500 members employ millions of Americans and represent nearly $5 trillion in annual payments processed in the U.S.

The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 60,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials.  As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world.  For more information, visit www.icsc.org.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 149,000 stores across the country, posted $700 billion in total sales in 2012, of which $501 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. Also represented are affiliated associations, manufacturers, and service suppliers, as well as other entrepreneurial companies that support NGA’s Mission and Philosophy.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 17-20, 2014, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.www.nrf.com.

Allie Brandenburger
Director, Communications
Phone: 203-536-6789
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org

 

Nation’s leading low-price grocer ALDI won two nationally recognized awards

ALDI Offers Award-Winning Options at Unbeatable Prices

Batavia, IL, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — ALDI, the nation’s leading low-price grocer, announced the win of two nationally recognized awards: Private Label => Store Brands 2014 Retailer of the Year and 2014 Product of the Year in the Kid’s Snacks category for SimplyNature Squeezable Fruit Blends.

2014 Retailer of the Year
ALDI has been named Retailer of the Year by Private Label => Store Brands for its strong commitment to value and innovation-focused private brand product development. Each year, the editors of the magazine recognize one retailer for achievements and noteworthy contributions to the growth of store brand products in the retail marketplace. More than 90 percent of products at ALDI are its own exclusive brands rather than national brands.

“We are honored to be named the 2014 Retailer of the Year by Private Label => Store Brands magazine,” said Chuck Youngstrom, president, ALDI. “We’re always looking for ways to innovate and offer more value to our shoppers, and we are committed to meeting our customers’ evolving priorities. Over the last several years, we’ve added, on average, 80 new stores each year, expanding our ability to bring grocery savings to more people every day.”

ALDI recently announced a five-year strategic plan to open 650 new stores across the nation, accelerating its store openings to an average of 130 per year. When the expansion is complete, ALDI will have stores coast-to-coast and anticipates serving more than 45 million customers per month.

ALDI was previously honored by Private Label => Store Brands for its exclusive brand Specially Selected, which was named 2013 Best New Product or Product Line in the grocery/supermarket channel. More details on why ALDI was selected as Retailer of the Year can be found in the February 2014 issue of Private Label => Store Brands or at www.plstorebrands.com.

2014 Product of the Year
ALDI exclusive SimplyNature Squeezable Fruit Blends were named 2014 Product of Year in the Kid’s Snacks category. The SimplyNature Squeezable Fruit Blends are all-natural, made with real fruit and without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The great tasting fruit blend pouches are a convenient, wholesome, and portable snack for busy families – and a great value at $1.99* for a package of four pouches. SimplyNature Squeezable Fruit Blends can be enjoyed by anyone, anytime for school lunches, sports, parties, picnics and more.

Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. In partnership with the leading global research company TNS, more than 40,000 consumers were surveyed to assess consumer opinions on innovation, use, satisfaction and purchase intent of the competing products. ALDI previously won in 2010 in the Value Products category for their Moser Roth Chocolate collection.

Quality is a hallmark of the ALDI exclusive brands, and smart shoppers have found that switching from national brands to ALDI exclusive brands can save them up to 50 percent** on more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased, high-quality grocery items. To ensure its exclusive brands meet or exceed the national brands on taste and quality, ALDI conducts rigorous testing on all products. ALDI stands behind this commitment to quality with a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with a food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the customer’s money.

ALDI Ranks High in Retail Industry
ALDI has been recognized as the nation’s low-price grocery leader for the third year in a row, according to a recent consumer survey*** conducted by Market Force Information, Inc., the world’s leading customer intelligence solutions company. When asked to rank the top grocers offering low prices, consumers ranked ALDI ahead of competitors such as Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.

ALDI also ranked high on Market Force’s “Delight Index,” which reveals the intersection between overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending a grocer to friends/family. The Delight Index placed ALDI among such industry leaders as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Publix.

About ALDI Inc.
A leader in the grocery retailing industry, ALDI operates nearly 1,300 US stores in 32 states, primarily from Kansas to the East Coast. More than 25 million customers each month save up to 50 percent* on their grocery bills, benefiting from the ALDI simple and streamlined approach to retailing. ALDI sells more than 1,300 of the most frequently purchased grocery and household items, primarily under its exclusive brands, which must meet or exceed the national name brands on taste and quality. ALDI is so confident in the quality of its products, the company offers a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any ALDI food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the purchase price. For more information about ALDI, visit www.aldi.us.

*Based upon data from February 4, 2014; prices and availability at individual stores may vary.
**Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.
***Consumers view ALDI as the affordable price leader among leading grocers, according to Market Force Information. The survey was conducted among more than 6,500 consumers across the United States and Canada in May 2013

Contacts:
Caitlyn Andre
(312) 988-2324
CAndre@webershandwick.com

Daniel Hernandez
(312) 988-2371
DHernandez@webershandwick.com

Edward Record to succeed Ken Hannah as CFO at J. C. Penney Company, Inc.

Plano, TX, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced that Ed Record has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective March 24, 2014. He will succeed Ken Hannah, who will remain chief financial officer through that date to ensure a smooth transition. As chief financial officer, Record will be responsible for the financial operations of the Company. He will report to Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chief executive officer of JCPenney, and join the Company’s executive board.

“Ed is a highly accomplished executive with a broad understanding of retail finance and operations. His extensive department store experience and track record of success make him an ideal candidate as we continue to advance our turnaround,” said Ullman. “On behalf of myself and the entire JCPenney team, I would like to thank Ken Hannah for his meaningful contributions to our turnaround and wish him success in his future endeavors.”

Record, 45, has nearly 25 years of experience managing the financial and operational performance of multiple retailers. He spent over six years at Stage Stores, a Houston, Texas-based retailer that operates department and off-price stores, most recently serving as chief operating officer and, prior to that, chief financial officer. Before Stage, Record served as senior vice president of finance at Kohl’s and as controller and senior vice president of finance at Belk. Earlier in his career, he held a variety of finance positions of increasing responsibility at Federated stores, leading to his eventual appointment as controller and vice president of finance.

Record holds a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and an MSIA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Media Relations:
(972) 431-3400 or jcpnews@jcp.com

Investor Relations: 
(972) 431-5500 or jcpinvestorrelations@jcpenney.com

About JCPenney:
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), one of the nation’s largest apparel and home furnishing retailers, is dedicated to becoming America’s preferred retail destination for unmatched style, quality and value. Across approximately 1,100 stores and at jcp.com, customers will discover an inspiring shopping environment that features the most sought after collection of private, national and exclusive brands and attractions. For more information, please visit jcp.com.

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SM Mall of Asia: 5th Pyromusical Competition kicks off on Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pasay City, Philippines, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — An amazing display of fireworks and music will kick off on February 15, 2014, Saturday, 7:00 PM at the Seaside Boulevard of the SM Mall of Asia (MOA). The Festival will run for six consecutive Saturdays until March 22. A phenomenal showdown of lights and sounds from 10 competing countries is also expected to draw a crowd of at least 100,000 up to 500,000 usually on opening night.

“We are glad that the Philippine International Pyromusical Competition (PIPC) has been bringing countries and communities together for the last five years to witness the beauty of the Bay. Our founder, Mr. Henry Sy, Sr. has always envisioned SM Mall of Asia to be a major destination in the country and in Asia and we are delighted that this is becoming a reality through events like the PIPC,” said Steven Tan, Vice-President for SM Supermalls Premier Division.

Competing countries include Australia on February 15; Spain and United Kingdom on February 22; France and Japan on March 1; China and Germany on March 8; Finland and Canada on March 15 and USA on March 22. The Philippines, which is the host and organizer of the tournament, will showcase its own pyrotechnics show on the opening and closing days of the tournament.

About Mall of Asia
More than just a mall, the SM Mall of Asia is a tourist destination that has raised the standard of shopping, leisure and entertainment in the Philippines. Spanning over 400,000 square meters of floor area, SM Mall of Asia is one of the world’s largest malls. It has 8,000 parking slots, 5,000 square meters allotted for public utility vehicles, 100 slots for tourist buses, almost a kilometer in length and almost two kilometers in perimeter.

SM founder Henry Sy, Sr. visualized the mall to be more than just a shopping complex but a major destination in the Asia Pacific region. This vision gave birth to the SM Mall of Asia which opened in May 2006 and was SM Prime Holdings, Inc.’s 25th mall in the country at the heart of SM Bay City.

# # #

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Corazon P. Guidote
Senior Vice President for Investor Relations
SM Investments Corporation
cora.guidote@sminvestments.com
Tel. No. 857-0117
www.sminvestments.com

Ms. Punky Canoy
punky.canoy@smmoamarketing.com

S Group’s 2013 retail sales up by more than one per cent to more than €11.3 billion

S Group’s result for 2013 increased by 6.7% from 2012 and stood at €226 million. Despite the generally poor economic situation, S Group’s retail sales went up by more than one per cent to more than €11.3 billion in 2013.

Helsinki, Finland, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — In 2013, S Group’s total profit before extraordinary items and taxes was €226 million, whereas the profit for the corresponding period in 2012 was €212 million.

SOK Corporation’s result for 2013 before taxes improved substantially through the divestment of Hankkija Oy shares. The result was €5.2 million to the negative, whereas the result for 2012 was €27.1 million to the negative.

S Group’s operational result was €196 million, whereas in 2012 it was €206 million. SOK Corporation’s operational result was 32.1 million to the negative, whereas in 2012 it was €30.4 million to the negative.

The year 2013 was difficult to the trade sector due to the poor situation of the economy and the slowdown in private consumption. Consumer confidence in the economy was considerably lower than the long-term average.

The slowdown of retail trade will also continue this year. According to a forecast by the Finnish Commerce Federation, a recovery can only be expected in 2015.

“In addition to strict cost control, S Group addresses the difficult situation by developing new operating models. We also hope that the Finnish government will refrain from taking action that decrease consumers’ purchasing power and the trade sector’s opportunities of providing jobs,” says SOK CEO Taavi Heikkilä.

In 2013, S Group’s retail sales (excluding VAT) totalled €11,353 million. It increased by 1.2% compared to 2012.

Regional cooperatives’ retail sales increased by 0.8% compared to 2012 and it was €10,462 million. The cooperative enterprises’ proportion in S Group’s sales was 92% and in SOK Corporation’s sales, 8%.

S Group invested €566 million in 2013. In 2012, investments stood at €584 million.

The total number of business locations was 1,646. This was 51 less than in 2012.

 

Summary:

S Group’s sales and economic development in 2013

The S Group as a whole

  • S Group tax-exclusive retail sales in 2013 was €11,353 million.
  • Comparable retail sales increased by 1.2%.
  • S Group’s result (cooperatives + SOK Corporation) before extraordinary items was €226 million (€212 million in 2012).
  • Investments totalled €566 million (€584 million in 2012).
  • The number of personnel decreased from the previous year and was 41,784 at the end of 2013 (43,417 in 2012).
  • The total number of business locations on 31 December 2013 was 1,646 (1,697 in 2012)

Regional cooperatives

  • Retail sales totalled €10,462 million, up 0.8%.
  • Profit before extraordinary items and taxes was €231 million (€239 million in 2012).

SOK Corporation (SOK + subsidiaries)

  • The revenue of continuous operations was €8,539 million, a decrease of 19.7% compared to 2012.
  • The decrease of €2,095 million in the revenue from continuing operations is due to a change that took place in the ownership of North European Oil Trade Oy in December 2012. As a result of this change, North European Oil Trade Oy is no longer considered a subsidiary but a joint venture.
  • The comparable revenue excluding the figures for the company increased slightly from the previous year.
  • SOK Corporation’s result before taxes was €5.2 million to the negative (€27.1 million to the negative in 2012).
  • SOK Corporation’s operational result was 32 million to the negative, whereas in 2012 it was €30 million to the negative.
  • Investments totalled €100 million (€125 million in 2012). The number of SOK Corporation personnel decreased by 1,277 people from the corresponding period last year, totalling 9,353 at the end of June.

 

S Group’s retail sales by business area in January–December 2013 (excluding VAT)

1 Jan–31 Dec 2013 1 Oct–31 Dec 2013
€ million Change, % € million Change, %
Supermarket trade* 7,807.1 3.5 2,059.9 2.4
Service station store
and fuel sales
1,817.2 -0.8 433.7 -2.3
Department store and
speciality store trade
338.5 -2.9 109.8 8.5
Travel industry and
hospitality business*
810.8 1.0 213.6 3.4
Automotive trade
and accessories
406.0 -19.9 74.9 -29.9
Agricultural trade** 161.8 -3.4 33.9 -22.8
Other 11.7 6.1 3.3 2.9
Total 11,353.2 1.2 2,929.1 0.4

* Includes the retail sales for neighbouring areas (the Baltic countries and St. Petersburg).

** The figures for Hankkija Group have been excluded from the agricultural trade total.

 

Supermarket trade

S Group’s supermarket sales increased by 3.5 per cent in 2013. This figure includes the grocery and consumer goods sales of the Prisma, S-Market, Sale, Alepa, Kodin Terra and S-Rauta stores, as well as the grocery and consumer goods sales at other supermarket trade units.

When considered separately, S Group’s grocery sales grew by 3.8 per cent, totalling €6,960 million. Consumer goods trade remained at the previous year’s level and stood at €1,425 million.

The number of supermarket trade business locations increased by 21 in 2013 and the total number at year-end was 938. Sale chain opened the largest number of new market trade locations.

Service station store and fuel sales

Service station store and fuel trade sales decreased by less than one per cent in 2013. At the end of 2013, there were 234 outlets (437, including all S Group distribution outlets). S Group’s service station store and fuel sales are managed by the ABC service station chain.

Department store and speciality store trade

Retail sales in the Department Stores and Speciality Stores decreased by almost 3%. At the end of the year, there were a total of 22 Sokos stores (including the online store) and 35 Emotion stores.

Travel industry and hospitality business

Retail sales increased by 1%. At the end of the year, there were 63 hotels and 267 restaurant locations. All in all, there were 760 restaurant locations, taking into account units located in connection with other units. The tourism and hospitality business chains include Sokos Hotels, Radisson Blu Hotels and several restaurant chains.

Automotive trade and accessories

Automotive sales decreased by 20% in 2013. S Group had 37 automotive trade outlets at the end of June.

At the end of the year, SOK Corporation’s automotive trade had been discontinued through divestments and outlet closures. A total of 11 regional cooperatives still engage in automotive trade in S Group.

Agricultural trade

Comparable sales in the agricultural trade decreased by 3.4%. The chains operating in the agricultural trade segment are Agrimarket and Multasormi. The number of agricultural trade outlets fully owned by the S Group totalled 15 at the end of the year. Cooperatives engaged in agricultural trade include Etelä-Pohjanmaan Osuuskauppa, Suur-Seudun Osuuskauppa and Kymen Seudun Osuuskauppa.

In 2013, the sales and the number of outlets within the agricultural trade no longer included Hankkija Oy, a former subsidiary of SOK, as 60 per cent of the company was sold to the Danish DLA Group.

Neighbouring areas (the Baltic countries and St. Petersburg)

Retail sales in the business operations in Finland’s neighbouring countries totalled €570 million, up 22.1 per cent on the corresponding period in the previous year. Grocery trade sales in Finland’s neighbouring countries totalled €448 million, up 25.2 per cent. In 2013, one new Prisma unit was introduced in Tallinn and three new units in St. Petersburg.

Banking

At the end of 2013, S Bank had more than 2.6 million customers using its free basic banking services. By the end of the year, S Bank had granted about 1.4 million S-Etukortti Visa cards, and about 1.3 million customers had received online bank codes for digital services.

S Bank Group’s operating result for 2013 was €27.9 million (€6.4 million in 2013) and the solvency ratio was 18.2% (19.4% in 2012).

The amount of deposits by private customers in S-Bank totalled nearly €2,304 million at the end of the year. Corporate deposits included, S-Bank’s total funds on deposit were nearly €2,532 million at the end of the year. This showed an increase of around €60 million from the turn of the year.  Lending to private customers increased by more than €141 million and amounted to almost €394 million at the end of the year. Including corporate customer credit, the credit base at year-end was €589 million. The amount of outstanding credit grew by a total of €229 million during the year. The development of deposits and lending is explained by a rapid increase in volumes and by that the S Bank Group also includes the banking operations of FIM through the acquisition of a share majority in FIM Oyj in August.

At the beginning of August, S Bank acquired the share majority in the FIM investment service company, expanding its product range to cover funds and asset management services. The first new fund products were introduced at the end of November. Another long-awaited product was also introduced in November: the entire S Group’s S-mobiili service that combines store and bank customerships.

S-Säästörahasto funds, introduced at the end of November, were well received, and a total of 8,600 S Bank customers had signed a fund savings contract in December. A total of 38% of the customers selected S-Säästörahasto Rohkea fund, 49% S-Säästörahasto Kohtuullinen fund and 13% S-Säästörahasto Varovainen fund. The assets managed by FIM totalled €2,112 million at the end of the year.

However, the most significant event in 2013 was the decision made in November to merge with LähiTapiola Pankki to become the new S Bank launched in May 2014.

Co-op membership

The co-op members, or the members of the cooperative enterprises, are the sole owners of S Group’s cooperative enterprises. Co-op membership is S Group’s way of conducting its cooperative form of business and producing services and benefits for its co-op members. In 2013, the number of members of bonus system cooperatives increased by 92,113. The total number of members at year-end was 2,109,025.

Cooperative member purchases from S Group, that is, the Group’s bonus sales, was €9,541 million, an increase of 1% in comparison to 2012. The share of bonus sales in the entire S Group’s sales was 71.2% (66.9% in 2012). The bonus paid to cooperative members, i.e. purchase refund based on centralising monthly purchases, was €379 million, which was at the same level as at the end of 2012.

The payment method-related benefit paid to the co-op members increased by 7%, amounting to €6 million. The co-op members have been receiving the payment method-related benefit of 0.5 per cent since the beginning of 2008. The benefit is calculated from the total sum of purchases covered by the bonus scheme and made at Finnish S Group outlets using the S-Etukortti bonus card.

For more information:Taavi Heikkilä, CEO, SOK, tel. +358 10 76 80200
Jari Annala, Senior VIce President, CFO, SOK, tel +358 0 10 76 82040

SOK Corporation’s Financial Statements are available in their entirety at www.s-kanava.fi

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Sainsbury’s started major recruitment campaign in London for its convenience stores

LONDON, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sainsbury’s has started a major recruitment campaign in London to find 500 Team Leaders and 200 Managers for its convenience stores.

The drive will bring in fresh talent to power the growth of Sainsbury’s Local convenience stores, with 60 new stores due to open in in London and the South East in the next year.

There are 500 Team Leader, 100 Store Manager and 100 Deputy Manager positions available over the next financial year. Sainsbury’s currently has 185 Local stores in Greater London,employing over 6,000 people.

Director of Convenience for Sainsbury’s, Simon Twigger, said: “We’re a growing business, and with that comes the need for fresh new talent and perspective. We’re open to everyone, so if you like a challenge and have a head for business and customer service – come and see what we can offer.

“Running one of our busy stores is like running your own business and if you put in the hard yards the results get noticed. The variety and potential for career progression is pretty much unrivalled.”

Nationally, Sainsbury’s employs over 14,000 people in its convenience business.  It has pledged to open up to two new convenience stores each week during 2013/14 and has opened nearly 80 so far this year. In November 2012 the retailer announced plans to create 10,000 jobs through the expansion of its convenience business within the next three years and always works to fill these jobs with local people whenever possible.

Fojlu Hussain, 33, manages the Kilburn Local. He said: “I was studying to become an accountant, when I started a part-time job with Sainsbury’s in 2000, to earn a bit extra while I was at college. I’m now managing my own store with 35 colleagues, and used every opportunity to train and develop. The business has really supported me – once I got the flavour being in management I knew that I then wanted to be a store manager.”

Luiza Vedana, 27, manages the Sainsbury’s Local in St John’s Hill, Wandsworth. She said: “I have a team of 25 people and a local community to serve – so it’s a big responsibility but equally very rewarding – I can really make things happen and see the difference in my job. Making sure that my team share the same goals and serve our customers is a real challenge but one that I relish.”

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Sainsbury’s started major recruitment campaign in London for its convenience stores

Sainsbury’s started major recruitment campaign in London for its convenience stores

Tesco: whopping 85 per cent of all Valentine’s Day bouquets are bought on the day itself

Cheshunt, England, 2014-2-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — It’s the news that will shame many British men.  A whopping 85 per cent of all Valentine’s Day bouquets are bought on the day itself.

And nearly three quarters of all boxes of Valentine’s Day chocolates are sold on February 14 –with a third being bought after working hours, suggesting many pick up their gifts on the way home from work.

New stats also reveal a real North-South divide when it comes to buying Valentine’s Day gifts with southerners lagging behind their northern counterparts when it comes to buying gifts.

Hampshire is the worst county in Britain for last minute Valentine’s Day sales, with Portsmouth by far the worst place in Britain for Valentine’s Day Johnny-come-latelys who leave it until the eleventh hour.

Nearby Winchester takes the second spot.

Out of the top 10 places in the UK for late sales on Valentine’s Day, only one city is in the north of England: York.

The data was collected by Tesco, which sells over one million Valentine’s bouquets each year.

Tesco Events flower buyer Susan Locke said: “This won’t do the romantic reputation of Brits any good at all. The last thing anyone wants on Valentine’s Day is to feel like an afterthought.

“Northerners appear to be more organized when it comes to planning for Valentine’s day, but the women of Portsmouth won’t be too happy knowing that their men are the worst for leaving it until the last minute to buy gifts.”

The top 10 places with the highest number of specific Valentine’s purchases made after 5pm are as follows.

1.      Portsmouth

2.      Winchester

3.      Cambridge

4.      York

5.      Norwich

6.      Northampton

7.      Southend

8.      Reading

9.      Coventry

10.  Bournemouth

 

ENDS

We are delighted to have been recognised for the work we do for our customers:

Quality Food Awards Retailer of the Year 2013

World Food Awards 2013 – National Retailer of the Year

International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2013 – Retailer of the Year

World Cheese Awards 2013 – Super Golds for finest* Chaource and finest* Montagnolo Affine Blue Vein Cheese

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

We are a team of over 530,000 people in 12 markets dedicated to bringing the best value, choice and service to our millions of customers each week. Our core purpose is ‘we make what matters better, together’.