The National Grocers Association welcomes Legislative Action on Tax Extender Package

Arlington, VA, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) released the following statement after the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act was passed by the Senate Finance Committee earlier today:

“NGA commends Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch for working together and passing a responsible tax extenders package. While it is our preference to see fair and balanced comprehensive tax reform enacted, it is critical to give certainty to job creators and employees by extending many of the tax provisions in its absence. Renewing important tax extenders will have a positive impact on the independent grocery industry, allowing it to continue to grow and contribute to the U.S. economy,” said Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO of NGA. “We will continue to monitor the bill as it moves through the Senate and will hope for a similar outcome for these tax extenders in the House of Representatives.”

The bill addresses every provision included in a letter from Larkin sent to all members of the Finance Committee on April 2, 2014.

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BRC-NIELSEN SHOP PRICE INDEX MARCH 2014: March recorded deepest level of deflation since the series began in December 2006

LONDON, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Overall shop prices reported deflation for the eleventh consecutive month in March, accelerating to 1.7% from 1.4% in February.

This is the deepest level of deflation since the series began in December 2006.

Food inflation slowed to 0.8% from 1.1% in February – the lowest ever recorded.

Non-food reported annual deflation of 3.2% in March from 3.0% in February – the lowest ever recorded.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “Retailers have rightly been getting recognition for their contribution to the economic recovery, including good news recently on apprentices and training. But keeping costs down for ordinary people is just as important. And that’s why the continuing deflation we are seeing in shop prices is such good news for consumers.

“It’s strong industry wide competition as retailers vie for a share of limited spending capacity that is driving this record breaking run. Retailers have been responding to their customers with keen prices and promotions to maintain market share, and March saw the deepest deflation for eight years and the lowest inflation ever recorded for food. With food and drink representing 15 per cent of disposable income for the least affluent third of households, retail’s significant contribution to maintaining standards of living is clear.

“The outlook on commodity prices shows some upwards pressures. So, while we know retailers will be working hard to sustain these low prices, continued support from Government on other costs such as business rates reform and the recent reliefs for National Insurance Contributions will be key to maintaining this positive trend.”

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen, said: “Savvy shopping and looking for savings by buying on promotion, is the way that most shoppers now look to save money and the continued fall in shop prices will also be helping households to keep to their budget. After a difficult start to the year for the industry with falling volumes in food and unpredictable weather impacting non-food, the current respite in inflationary pressure will be welcomed by retailers”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

The British Retail Consortium welcomes the Draft Modern Slavery Bill

LONDON, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — The British Retail Consortium today (April 8, 2014) welcomed the publication of the report of a Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill.

The retail industry supports the approach outlined in the Draft Bill which is intended to expose the hidden crime of slavery, bring more perpetrators to justice and protect and support victims. Responsible retailers have been active in tackling exploitation in their supply chains for a number of years through ethical audit programmes and work with the GLA in the UK; collaborative approaches such as the Ethical Trading Initiative and, more recently Stronger Together.

During the Committee’s consideration of the Bill, the BRC submitted written evidence and was called in front of the committee to share the industry’s experiences and provide suggestions to strengthen the Bill. The retail industry is pleased that the Committee supported the BRC’s recommendation to allow individual companies to decide how to allocate responsibility for tackling exploitation within their businesses. Modern slavery is taken very seriously by retailers and allowing them this flexibility means that they can achieve the best results by taking an approach that best matches their business model.

The BRC has also welcomed the Committee’s recommendation to amend the Companies Act to give effect to the Bill’s reporting requirements. Companies covered by the act are already required to report on “social, community and human rights issues” and adding Modern Slavery to this existing list is a pragmatic solution that retailers will welcome. However, the BRC remains concerned that the scope of the Bill is too narrow. It is hoped that, in time, it will be widened to encompass all businesses. Giving every enterprise, of every size, a legal obligation to tackle exploitation is the only way to ensure these abhorrent practices are more expediently ended.

The Joint committee’s consideration of the Draft Bill has opened up dialogue across Government and business supply chains about trafficking and modern slavery which has been widely welcomed by retailers. The Industry is looking forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure a Modern Slavery Act is a reality in the not too distant future.

BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: “The BRC absolutely supports the Government’s efforts to end exploitation of workers in the UK and we understand that retailers have a crucial role to play here. The approach of the Draft Bill to this issue is pragmatic and we’ve welcomed it. I’m encouraged by how the Government has engaged with industry in developing this Bill. I hope that they reflect on the concerns raised by the committee, which we fully support, and improve the Bill in a way that will have the most impact on the ground.

“All levels of Government across the UK also need to take this opportunity to look to themselves and take a lead in eradicating slavery and exploitation by ensuring their own supply chains meet the standards the Draft Bill sets for the wider Private Sector.”

Committee Chair, Frank Field MP, said: “I’ve been delighted by how involved and supportive the retail industry has been. They have offered an understanding of this issue that has been really valuable to the committee. The BRC has also been able to provide useful guidance on how to ensure the highest level of business engagement, which will be crucial in the on-going battle against slavery and exploitation.

“I now look forward to seeing the BRC take a lead role in pushing forward our proposal on requiring companies to report on the measures they are taking to eradicate slavery from their supply chains. This is a reform that will both help the Government achieve its goal of becoming a world leader in the fight against modern slavery whilst also positively protecting the reputation of British businesses and levelling the playing field for those who already perform well. Our report makes this clear, and after reading it and seeing that this is a reform supported by the BRC and British retailers across the country, I have no doubt that the Government will act accordingly.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

General Growth Properties: Zara to open store at Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles

Chicago, Illinois, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP) today announced fast-fashion retailer Zara will open a 35,000-square-foot store at Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles in 2015. The Spanish fashion retailer, known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, expertly and quickly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, and delivers original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

Zara joins a tenant mix of recently-opened retailers, including a 110,000-square-foot flagship Bloomingdale’s with Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Pirch, Bhindi Jewelers, BCBG Max Azria, Martier, Superdry, Penguin and others. Glendale Galleria’s retailer line-up also boasts long-time favorites Apple, Michael Kors, bebe, Hugo Boss and White House|Black Market, as well as expanded retailers Victoria’s Secret and Coach. Anchor tenants include Target, JCPenney and Macy’s.

Glendale Galleria completed a multimillion dollar renovation and remodel last November with the grand opening of the Bloomingdale’s wing and more than two dozen new retailers. The remodel included mall-wide flooring, lighting and soft-seating upgrades. On the exterior, a new outdoor plaza with a signature Glendale Galleria entrance welcomes an estimated 25 million shoppers a year. Glendale Galleria is located in the backyard of many movie and television studios, including Disney and Universal Studios.

ABOUT ZARA
Zara is one of the largest international fashion companies. It belongs to Inditex, one of the world’s largest distribution groups. The customer is at the heart of our unique business model, which includes design, production, distribution and sales through our extensive retail network. For more information, please visit the Inditex Group website: www.inditex.com.

ABOUT GGP
General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and developing high-quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

CONTACTS:

INVESTORS
Kevin Berry
(312) 960-5529

MEDIA
David Keating
(312) 960-6325

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: Consumer optimism remains steady in April even as gas prices rise

ALEXANDRIA, VA,  2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumer optimism remains steady in April, a period in which the ongoing spring transition to summer-blend fuel usually increases gas prices and reduces optimism. While gas prices increased nearly another dime over the past four weeks, 44% of consumers remain optimistic about the economy, the same figure as March, according the latest monthly NACS Consumer Fuels Survey that examines how gas prices affect consumer sentiment.

Last year, consumer optimism dropped 5 percentage points between January and March, when gas prices peaked. This year, optimism increased from 43% to 44% since the beginning of the year, despite a 25-cent increase in retail gas prices since January.

Strong demographic and regional variations could be seen in the latest survey results. A majority (54%) of younger consumers — those ages 18 to 34 — are positive about the economy, and fully half (50%) of those in the West are optimistic. Meanwhile, consumers in the winter-ravaged Northeast and Midwest are least optimistic, with only 41% in each area saying that they are optimistic.

There are a few areas of concern in the latest results. Nearly two in three consumers (63%) expect prices to increase over the next 30 days, the highest percentage expecting higher prices since July 2013.

Also, consumers may be getting closer to changing their behavior if prices continue to climb. The price at which consumers say that they would cut back on driving was $4.05 per gallon, or 50 cents from what they say prices are in their area. The price at which consumers would dramatically change their behavior is $4.90, or $1.35 from what consumers say prices are in the area. As these gaps narrow, the potential grows for changes in consumer behavior. Both gaps this month are one-cent from the lowest reported in the last year, meaning that further price increases could affect consumer behavior, as well as sentiment.

Consumers’ self-reported miles per dollar decreased again in April, dropping 3.3% to 6.71 miles per dollar, or 15 cents per mile. In 2014, NACS began tracking this metric to gauge how consumer perceptions about their self-reported mileage and gas prices might also affect their moods.

Gas Prices and Economic Optimism

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 April survey, n=2,007 gas consumers were surveyed from April 1-3, 2014. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/-2.19 at the 95% confidence interval and higher for subgroups. The OPIS weekly national average price for gas was $3.547 on March 31, 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 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

NACS appoints Jennifer Lipner as director digital content

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Jennifer Lipner has joined NACS in the newly created position of director, digital content.

Lipner comes to NACS after several years serving in editorial roles at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) — most recently, the last ten years as senior managing editor. Prior to her time at ASID she worked as a researcher and writer at The Washington Post. Earlier in her career, she spent time at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Lipner earned a BA in English from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.  She also holds an I.I.E.F certificate from the Institute International des Etudes Francais in Strasbourg, France.

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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 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

SM Investments Corporation and its subsidiaries awarded on good corporate governance from Hong Kong publication Corporate Governance Asia

Pasay City, Philippines, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Leading Philippine conglomerate SM Investments Corporation (SM) and its subsidiaries garnered awards on good corporate governance from Hong Kong publication Corporate Governance Asia (CG Asia).

CG Asia is the most authoritative journal on Corporate Governance in the region. Published quarterly, it provides news and analysis on corporate governance issues, boardroom practices and shareholder activism since seeing print in 2002. CG Asia is read by 9,000 executives from Asia’s major public companies, regulators, institutional investors, fund managers, lawyers, accountants, academics, government financial institutions.

The 4th Asian Excellence Recognition Awards are designed to recognize excellence in investor communications, business ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental practices and financial performance. The recognition is based on scores from the data submitted by the publication’s readers and from interviews conducted with investors. These accolades are also for people who possess strong leadership in guiding the board of directors and the company’s management in growing/expanding the business, and at the same time in upholding the highest ethics in business practices. The awards also highlighted outstanding executive achievements in investor relations.

The publication cited SM and its subsidiaries, BDO Unibank, Inc. and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. during an awarding ceremony held on April 3, 2014 at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong.

The multiple awards received by the SM Group are as follows:

Asia’s Best CEO (Investor Relations)

Teresita T. Sy-Coson, Chairperson- BDO Unibank, Inc.
Hans T. Sy, CEO- SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Asia’s Best CFO (Investor Relations)

Jose T. Sio, Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer- SM
Jeffrey C. Lim, Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer- SM Prime

SM Investments Corporation

-Best Corporate Communications Team
-Best CSR
-Best Investor Relations Company
-Best Investor Relations Professional- Corazon P. Guidote

BDO Unibank, Inc.

-Best Corporate Communications Team
-Best CSR
-Best Investor Relations Company
-Best Investor Relations Professional- Luis Reyes, Jr.

SM Prime Holdings

-Best Investor Relations Company
-Best Environmental Responsibility

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For further information, please contact:

Ms. Corazon P. Guidote
Senior Vice President for Investor Relations
SM Investments Corporation
Email : cora.guidote@sminvestments.com
Tel. 857-0117

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(Clockwise from top left) SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) President Hans Sy with CG Asia Publisher and Managing Director Aldrin Monsod; SM Investments Corp. Chief Finance Officer Jose Sio and Mr. Monsod; BDO EVP and Head of Central Operations Group Dennis Velasquez, BDO SVP for Investor Relations and Corporate Planning Luis Reyes, Jr. and Mr. Monsod; and SM Prime EVP and CFO Jeffrey Lim

(Clockwise from top left) SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) President Hans Sy with CG Asia Publisher and Managing Director Aldrin Monsod; SM Investments Corp. Chief Finance Officer Jose Sio and Mr. Monsod; BDO EVP and Head of Central Operations Group Dennis Velasquez, BDO SVP for Investor Relations and Corporate Planning Luis Reyes, Jr. and Mr. Monsod; and SM Prime EVP and CFO Jeffrey Lim

Clyde W. Reynolds named director of engineering for the Defense Commissary Agency

Fort Lee, Va., 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Clyde W. Reynolds has been named director of engineering for the Defense Commissary Agency. His reporting date is April 21.

Reynolds fills the position left vacant by Boyce Bourland, who retired in January.

In his new position, Reynolds will be responsible for the planning, programming, design, construction, maintenance and repair of commissary facilities worldwide.

Reynolds comes to DeCA from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served as chief of its San Antonio office from 2012 to 2014. There, he supervised a mission that provided headquarters strategic-level support to various headquarters elements located at Joint Base San Antonio.

You can view his complete biography here.

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5–percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773
kevin.robinson@deca.mil

Chick-fil-A® to introduce new lineup of grilled chicken entrees for its nutrition-minded customers

ATLANTA, 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — For 17 years, the Chick-fil-A’s renegade Cows have entertained consumers with their desperate, self-preserving antics in an effort to convert beef eaters into chicken fans. TheChick-fil-A Cows and the “Eat Mor Chikin®” campaign have enjoyed such widespread public success that the chain has turned the theme into a highly successful, fully integrated marketing program.

Chick-fil-A® is introducing a new lineup of grilled chicken entrees that will give the chain one of the most nutritious and expansive grilled menus across the quick-service industry. On April 14, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain will officially roll-out three new entrees – the Chick-fil-A® Grilled Chicken Sandwich,Chick-fil-A® Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich and Chick-fil-A® Grilled Nuggets – in an ongoing effort to provide more flavorful and “craveable” grilled options for its nutrition-minded customers.

Chick-fil-A’s new recipe features an unmatched backyard grilled taste. Each grilled chicken breast is freshly marinated with a blend of sea salt, lemon, garlic and savory herbs, and cooked on a state-of-the-art, proprietary grill developed by Chick-fil-A. The technique creates a tender, juicy filet with just the right amount of smoky flavor.

To make this menu enhancement possible, Chick-fil-A invested seven years of testing and more than $50 million to reinvent its grilled chicken recipe. The largest portion of the investment came as the company worked with Garland Grills to create a proprietary grill. This grill sears chicken perfectly on cast-iron grates like it was cooked on a backyard grill, only faster.

“We started with a mission to create a best-in-class grilled sandwich, and after testing 1,200-plus recipes, we landed on a taste so remarkable that we decided to extend the flavor into a full grilled line,” said David Farmer, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of product strategy and development. “Our previous grilled entrees were good, but not remarkable. We wanted a grilled chicken recipe that is just as ‘craveable’ as our original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich.”

Following is more information on Chick-fil-A’s new grilled lineup:

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich: The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a boneless, 100 percent pure breast meat chicken, marinated with a special blend of seasonings and grilled for a tender and juicy backyard-grilled taste. It is served on a new toasted, multigrain bun with green leaf lettuce and tomato and served with a side of Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce. It is priced starting at $4.29 with just 320 calories and 5 grams of fat, making it one of the most nutritious grilled entrees in the quick-service industry.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich: Building on the improvements of the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, the Club adds a kick of flavor with Colby-Jack Cheese and Applewood smoked bacon. It is priced starting at $5.49 and has 440 calories and 14 grams of fat.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets: Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets, which were first introduced in 2012 as a Kid’s Meal entrée, have been reinvented and offer the new grilled flavor in bite-sized pieces of pure boneless breast of chicken that are great as a meal or a snack. Customers can order Grilled Nuggets in 8-count (140 calories, 3 fat grams) or 12-count (200 calories, 4.5 fat grams) with their choice of dipping sauce. Grilled Nuggets are made without gluten-containing ingredients and are free of trans fats, with prices starting at $3.79 and $5.59, respectively.

Chick-fil-A’s new grilled chicken recipe also enhances the chain’s line of other grilled chicken entrees, including the Chick-fil-A® Grilled Market Salad, Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap® and Chick-fil-A® Chicken Salad Sandwich.

“Chick-fil-A is more committed than ever to providing our customers with a ‘menu of choice’ that not only tastes great, but is great for them,” Farmer added. “Whether our customers are counting carbs, fat or calories, or eating food made without gluten-containing ingredients, we offer a number of menu options to suit their dietary needs and preferences. To keep them informed, we make our nutritional information easily accessible for all guests, including an online meal calculator, calorie counts posted on our menu boards, nutrition panels and pamphlets in our dining rooms, and order-specific nutrition information printed on receipts by request.”

On Feb. 11, Chick-fil-A announced that it will serve chicken raised without antibiotics in all its restaurants nationwide within five years. The move marked the first time a quick service restaurant has committed to a 100 percent “raised without antibiotics” standard for poultry. In late 2013, the company removed yellow dye from its chicken soup, and is testing the removal of high fructose corn syrup from all dressings and sauces, artificial ingredients from its bun, and TBHQ from its peanut oil. Also in 2013, Chick-fil-Aoverhauled its salad line by introducing three new premium salads, as well as a new wrap, touting locally sourced greens and premium fruits and vegetables. Chick-fil-A is actively working to reduce sodium across its menu, including a 25 percent sodium reduction in breads and 10 percent sodium reduction in dressings and sauces.

For more information on Chick-fil-A’s latest grilled menu additions, visit GrilledLove.com.

Purina and Harris Teeter invite Dog lovers to cast votes online, April 7-21, for the “Top Dog” of the 2014 Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival

Matthews, N.C., 2014-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Dog lovers may cast votes online, April 7-21, for the “Top Dog” of the 2014 Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival presented by Purina and Harris Teeter. Go to www.parkandrec.com and click on the Bark in the Park logo to vote.

Contestants submitted photos of their canine companions in March, and an independent panel of judges selected three finalists based on cleverness, originality and a written essay. Finalists include:

Eli: 2-year-old Goldendoodle
Graycie: 8-year-old Weimaraner
Ray: 4-year-old Jack Russell/Bassett Hound

The “Top Dog” winner will be announced at the Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival. The winning dog will receive a year’s supply of dog food worth nearly $300 from Purina as well as ‘wagging’ rights for the entire year.

The 2014 Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival is Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., at Historic Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road in Huntersville. The festival is free to attend and features contests for dogs, vendors, performances by the Ultimate Air Dogs and much more!

For more information, visit the Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival web page.

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