Walmart and DirectHealth.com to launch in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options ‘Healthcare Begins Here’

Retailer Simplifies Access to Health Insurance Coverage Information with “Healthcare Begins Here”

BENTONVILLE, Ark., 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — Recent research proves that more than 60 percent of people have difficulty understanding their health insurance plan options and nearly 40 percent feel they picked the wrong plan after enrollment.* To bring transparency and simplicity to the changing health insurance market, Walmart is working with DirectHealth.com to launch Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options. DirectHealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site which is an independent licensed health insurance agency, will provide a resource that brings Walmart customers unprecedented access to health insurance information and enrollment support.

DirectHealth.com also manages relationships with licensed insurance agents, enabling customers to compare coverage options and enroll in the plan that is right for them whether that be a Medicare plan or Public Healthcare Exchange plan through online, phone and in-store services.

“Walmart has long been known for innovation in health and wellness, and we’ll never stop delivering new products and services to the 140 million people who visit our stores each week,” said Labeed Diab, senior vice president and president, Health & Wellness, Walmart U.S. “For years, our customers have told us that there is too much complexity when it comes to understanding their health insurance options. Healthcare Begins Here addresses that complexity by bringing clarity and increased choice to the insurance enrollment process through DirectHealth.com.”

Since 2005, Walmart has hosted insurance agents from individual insurers in stores to answer questions and enroll customers in specific healthcare plans. Healthcare Begins Here, through DirectHealth.com, takes this offering to the next level in response to customers who wanted more options to choose from.

For customers over 65:

  • DirectHealth.com offers access to more than 1,700 plans from 12 leading carriers including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.**
  • Customers can compare and enroll in health plans online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone at 888-383-2111.
  • 2,700 Walmart stores will be staffed by independent, licensed health insurance agents from DirectHealth.com that can help customers enroll in certain health insurance plans. Agents can also help provide education and guidance on other insurance options.
  • Enrollment can take place during the Medicare open enrollment period from Oct. 15, 2014 through Dec. 7, 2014.

For customers under 65:

  • DirectHealth.com offers access to thousands of Health Exchange plans from more than 300 leading carriers.
  • Customers can compare and enroll in health plans online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone at 888-327-0388.
  • 2,700 Walmart stores will be staffed by independent, licensed agents from DirectHealth.com who can help provide education and guidance about health insurance options.
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period takes place from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015.

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* According to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
**Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

About Walmart 
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

 About DirectHealth.com
DirectHealth.com is an insurance agency, contracted with TZ Insurance Solutions LLC.

About TZ Insurance Solutions, LLC
TZ Insurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of TRANZACT, a large company providing direct-to-consumer services in the insurance sector. Based in Fort Lee, NJ, TZ Insurance has 1,000 employees, of which more than 700 are licensed insurance agents across life, health and property and casualty insurances.

Walmart commits to create more sustainable food system

Company will focus on four pillars to advance the sustainability of its biggest product category

BENTONVILLE, Ark., 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — In front of hundreds of associates, suppliers and nonprofit organizations at its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, Walmart today announced its commitment to create a more sustainable food system. The company will reach this goal through four key pillars: improving the affordability of food for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain.

“The future of food is absolutely critical for both our society and for our business, which means we have a huge opportunity to make a difference here,” said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  “We’ve learned on our sustainability journey that we’re most successful when our initiatives create social and environmental value and business value at the same time.  Food is our number one category worldwide, and we are going to do even more in our grocery business in the years ahead.  Paving a sustainable future for food is necessary for society and our business.”

The four pillars outlined in Walmart’s sustainable food system commitment aim to address major issues and threats facing today’s global food system, including how to address the food needs of a growing population while reducing environmental impact; meeting an increasing consumer demand for greater food transparency; providing more options for healthier eating; and alleviating global hunger. While Walmart has already made significant progress across the four pillars, today’s announcement outlines new steps towards a more sustainable food system:

  • Affordable: Continuing to reduce the “true cost” of food.  Working collaboratively with suppliers, Walmart has the opportunity to lower the “true cost” of food – not only by providing everyday low costs for customers, but also by decreasing the environmental impact of agricultural practices. The company has already made enhancements in the area of sustainable agriculture, and will advance this work through the launch of its Climate Smart Agriculture Platform. The Platform is designed to provide increasing visibility over the next ten years to agricultural yields, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and water usage, while driving adoption of best practices in sustainable agriculture. Working with suppliers and others, these efforts will improve environmental outcomes, as well as the well-being of farmers and consumers.
  • Accessible: Fighting hunger by providing for those in need.  Walmart believes that everyone should have access to affordable, nutritious, sustainably-grown food.  That means making it easy for customers to buy food through the company’s network of thousands of stores around the world, and increasingly through home delivery and convenient collection points.  Yet for too many, even this access may be out of reach. Since announcing its “Fighting Hunger Together” commitment in 2010, Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities have donated more than 1.58 billion pounds of food, surpassing the initial goal of 1.1 billion over five years, a year early. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will elevate their commitment to accessibility by aiming to provide 4 billion healthier meals to those who need them in the U.S. over the next five years.
  • Healthier: Making eating healthy easier.  Walmart is committed to ensuring that eating healthier is easy and affordable.  The company has reduced sodium by 13 percent and sugar levels by 10 percent in Great Value, Marketside and nationally branded products, and launched its “Great for You” icon to empower consumers to identify healthier food options on store shelves. Moreover, to help more consumers to adopt healthier eating habits,starting in 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide nutrition education to 4 million U.S. households.
  • Safe and Transparent: Showing consumers where food comes from.  A transparent food chain fosters improved food safety, worker safety, and animal welfare. Walmart will work to provide more information and transparency about the products on its shelves so customers can see where an item came from, how it was made, and decode the ingredient label.

As with all of its sustainability initiatives, Walmart will continue to collaborate with its suppliers to track and report the progress of creating a truly sustainable food system, and will take additional steps in the years ahead to advance the affordability, accessibility, healthier eating, safety and transparency of the food supply system.

“Walmart has made major progress since we set out to achieve our three ambitious sustainability goals to create zero waste, be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and sell products that sustain people and the environment.  We believe it’s especially critical to focus our time and effort on advancing the sustainability of our food products and practices,” said McMillon.  “Grocery is a very personal category – it’s about what you feed your kids and how you take care of yourself.  It’s about your health and wellbeing.  And it all comes down to trust.  Customers have to trust us on food. When we focus on food, we are doing right by our customers, our communities, and our planet.”

For more details and to watch the replay of Walmart’s Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, please visit:http://news.walmart.com/events/global-sustainability-milestone-meeting.

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About Walmart 
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better — anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 250 million customers and members visit our 11,053 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

Argos gives ‘digital makeover’ to its Hammersmith store

Milton Keynes, UK, 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — Local residents in Hammersmith can now take advantage of the speed and convenience of online shopping on their local high street, thanks to Argos which has given the store a ‘digital makeover’.

The store, located on King Street, was selected from more than 700 Argos stores across the UK, and embraces online shopping while retaining the convenience of a physical store.

Research commissioned by Argos found that nearly half of London shoppers believe that one of the biggest benefits of online shopping is that it offers more choice. However, 65 per cent revealed that they still shop on the high street.1

The revamped ‘paperless’ store has a fresh and contemporary look, with tables of tablets replacing Argos’ traditional laminated catalogues, paper slips and pencils. Customers can use the tablets to browse for products to add to their digital shopping trolley, and access lots of extra product information, including extended ranges, videos, photography and customer reviews.

West London shoppers can benefit from new services such as the ability to browse and pay for goods online at home or on the move for speedy collection from a special Fast Track collection point in store.

Store staff have undergone special training to provide more help to customers on the shop floor using technology. New digital display screens and complimentary WiFi complete the digital transformation.

Argos has been committed to serving customers in Hammersmith for 20 years, having opened the local store in 1994. It employs 27 workers in the King Street Store.

Alessandra Cenci, Argos Store Manager for Hammersmith, said: “Shoppers’ expectations are changing and they want products quickly and easily. We are proud to say that we can give our customers in the local Hammersmith area access to the things they want in an instant.

“Our local customers have been really positive about the fresh, modern look of the new store, and the introduction of the tablets and digital screens. Our store team have also welcomed the opportunity to learn new skills and be involved with the digital changes.”

Argos found that the changing expectations of customers in London mean value for money is more important than ever, with 71 per cent of shoppers saying they are savvier now than they were five years ago. In addition, 54 per cent admitted to checking the price of an item online before purchasing it.¹

The new digital stores equip Argos for the online revolution, as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online via PCs, tablets and other mobile devices, while still wanting the immediacy of a local store to pick up their purchases. Around 44 per cent of Argos’ total sales now start online. Sales from mobile phones and tablets represent 18 per cent of the total sales.²

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

1Research conducted on behalf of Argos by Opinion Matters in July 2014.

2Home Retail Group Annual Report 2014

For more information, please contact the Argos Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email: media.relations@argos.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter at @argos_PR.

View details about Hammersmith Argos opening times here:

https://www.argos.co.uk/stores/Hammersmith

About Argos
Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 43,000 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 around 123m customer transactions a year and 738 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2014. Customers can take
advantage of Argos’ convenient Check & Reserve service available through its network of 734 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In the financial year to February 2014, Argos sales were £4.1 billion and it employed some 29,000 people across the business.

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

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IKEA U.S. to sell new living room storage series REGISSÖR with innovative technique for faster and easier furniture assembly

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — Starting this month, IKEA U.S. will begin selling a new living room storage series called REGISSÖR that uses an innovative technique for faster and easier furniture assembly.

Customers can assemble the new REGISSÖR series – which includes a bookshelf, cabinets and a coffee table, using a new IKEA-developed solution that was designed on the factory floor together with suppliers. Featuring special wedge dowels, furniture pieces assembled using this technique require no tools and have no loose pieces; you can put them together using only your hands. Click HERE to see a video [NOTE: You can click the Closed Caption (CC) button in YouTube to view English subtitles during Swedish language sections of the video].

The new assembly technique will be used in an additional storage units slated for spring 2015 and is already being used in select pieces from the STOCKHOLM range (sideboard and cabinet). REGISSÖR is the first product where the new assembly solution is used in full-scale production.

“The new solution gives consumers more choices,” says Janice Simonsen, Design Spokesperson, IKEA U.S. “By making it even easier to assemble our furniture, we want to give people who may find it challenging a new reason for choosing IKEA.”

REGISSÖR also includes a new board-on-frame technique, allowing IKEA to use fewer raw materials and still offer a product with great quality at an affordable price.

PRESS CONTACT:
Janice Simonsen, IKEA (Janice.Simonsen@IKEA.com)

Follow us here:

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IKEA U.S. to sell new living room storage series REGISSÖR with innovative technique for faster and easier furniture assembly

IKEA U.S. to sell new living room storage series REGISSÖR with innovative technique for faster and easier furniture assembly

Lowe’s and six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to fund the reconstruction of three area school gyms destroyed by the 2013 tornado in Oklahoma

Six-time NASCAR champ takes break from Chase to join Lowe’s for ribbon-cutting in Moore

MOORE, OKLA., 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — As part of its continued commitment to assist the communities impacted by the deadly 2013 tornado in Oklahoma, Lowe’s teamed with six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to fund the reconstruction of three area school gyms destroyed by the storm. On Thursday, Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, joined more than 40 Lowe’s employees at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Highland East Junior High to celebrate the opening of the gyms.

Lowe’s and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation funded the new gyms at Highland East, Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary in Moore. The work was completed in time for all three gyms to be ready for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We’re extremely grateful to Lowe’s and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation for the generous donations to help us rebuild these gyms for nearly 1,600 students this year and for all those in the years to come,” said Dr. Robert Romines, superintendent of Moore Public Schools. “Without their donations, the school district would not have been able to complete these projects.”

Since the tornado touched down on May 20, 2013, Lowe’s has been assisting tornado victims across the region. Lowe’s donated $1 million to support immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts. While Lowe’s disaster relief partners provided search and rescue assistance at Plaza Towers, Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers fanned out into area neighborhoods to donate relief supplies and help local families clear their properties.

“In the weeks following the storm, Lowe’s and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation reached out to officials to find out what we could do to help rebuild Moore,” Dennis Knowles, Lowe’s executive of U.S. stores, said at the ribbon-cutting. “We’re proud to help these three schools and their students rebuild, move forward and move past the damage inflicted by the tornado.”

Johnson, who opens the Contender Round of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, returned to Moore to offer his continued support for rebuilding efforts. After last year’s tornado, Johnson teamed with Lowe’s to host a relief event at Lowe’s of Moore. Johnson and Lowe’s employees distributed a truckload of food and cleaning supplies and comforted local families.

On Thursday, Johnson met with students at Plaza Towers and Highland East. After the ribbon-cutting, he spoke with the Highland East girls and boys basketball teams about the importance of teamwork and applauded their resilience.

“After the tornado last year, it was so hard to see all of the devastation that Moore suffered. As a parent, I couldn’t imagine what the families were going through, knowing their children were in school and knowing that schools were hit,” Johnson said. “I was proud to partner with Lowe’s to help and excited that we had the opportunity to do more this year for the schools and students in Moore.”

About Lowe’s in the Community
Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 100 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects.  Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $200 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and LowesInTheCommunity.tumblr.com.

About the Jimmie Johnson Foundation
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006. Johnson, the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS in NASCAR’s top series. The mission of the foundation is to assist children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The foundation has committed more than $7.7 million to various charities. The foundation currently focuses on K-12 public education. For additional information on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, please visit www.JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.

About Moore Public Schools
The Moore Public School District, also known as Moore Public Schools, is the third largest school district in the state of Oklahoma, after Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools, with an enrollment of 23,400 as of September 2014. For more information, visit www.mooreschools.com.

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Lowe’s and six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to fund the reconstruction of three area school gyms destroyed by the 2013 tornado in Oklahoma

Lowe’s and six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to fund the reconstruction of three area school gyms destroyed by the 2013 tornado in Oklahoma

Sigma Pharmaceuticals to dramatically enhance their Ambassador line-up

Victoria, Australia, 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — Sigma Pharmaceuticals and the company’s flagship pharmacy brands Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian have decided to dramatically enhance their Ambassador line-up to reflect the company’s growing commitment to offering a broader range of professional health services and exclusive beauty products.

Respected and high profile television medical expert Dr Andrew Rochford joins the Amcal brand as its Professional Services Ambassador. Sigma have also added successful model and television presenter Rachael Finch as a new Beauty Ambassador across its entire retail network, signalling the company’s future focus on building private and exclusive beauty brands such as its successful Colour Theory range.

Sigma today also announced Dr Cindy Pan would continue as Guardian Pharmacies’ brand Ambassador due to the overwhelmingly positive response to her role over the past two years.

“Professional Services and Beauty have become an integral part of the long-term Sigma strategy. It was imperative to align our ambassadors to represent our brands in order to ensure they are relevant and still right for our retail brands and our strategy of becoming ‘Australia’s partner of choice for health, beauty and wellbeing’,’’ said Gary Dunne, Sigma’s Chief Operating Officer.

The Sigma Brand Ambassadors
Dr Andrew Rochford – Amcal Health Ambassador
Amcal are very pleased to announce well-known doctor and TV presenter Dr Andrew Rochford as the brand’s new Amcal Health Ambassador. Andrew’s specific areas of medical interest and training include Emergency medicine, trauma and critical care, public health and preventative medicine promotion, as well as health innovation and technology.

“Andrew’s experience, not only as a doctor, but as a husband and father of three, makes him a reliable and trusted source of expert health advice for all Australians. With a professional focus central to the future of Amcal, Andrew is well positioned to assist Australians navigate the confusing and sometimes daunting world of health and medicine,’’ said Mr Dunne.

Andrew is delighted to be joining the Amcal brand as a Health Ambassador. “There is an ever growing amount of new health news and information every day. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to know what to trust. I am looking forward to another great new opportunity to deliver reliable health and medical information to help encourage Australians to take control and actively seek a better understanding of their own health,” Dr Rochford said.

Rachael Finch – Beauty Ambassador
Rachael Finch has also signed on as Sigma’s Beauty Ambassador. One of Australia’s favourite media personalities, Rachael has dedicated herself to the promotion of active and healthy lifestyle choices. She has endeared herself to the Australian public through her work as a fashion, health and beauty correspondent for Channel 7.

Balancing her time between work, study and motherhood, Rachael has a strong connection with many pharmacy shoppers, particularly in the beauty space. “Rachael has established herself as a prominent personality who is personally committed to Health and Wellbeing. We feel that Rachael is a fantastic fit to be our beauty ambassador, given the new direction our branded stores are taking,” said Mr Dunne.

“I am very excited to be the new Beauty Ambassador for Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian Pharmacies. There are some very exciting initiatives happening under the Colour Theory, Beauty Theory and Skin Theory labels which I can’t wait to share with you,’’ Rachael Finch said.

Dr Cindy Pan – Guardian Health Ambassador
Guardian Pharmacies are very happy to have signed Dr Cindy Pan for another year as the brand’s principal Ambassador.

“Cindy has been the Guardian Health Ambassador for the last two years in a successful association we are delighted to continue. As a well-respected medical practitioner, media commentator and mother, Cindy embodies and provides a very clear connection to the values that both Guardian and Australians feel are important when it comes to professional advice and genuine care,’’ said Gary Dunne, Sigma’s Chief Operating Officer.

“There are few things in life more important than health and each individual’s alliance with their caring GP and pharmacist is such a crucial one. As a GP, it is an honour to work with Guardian Pharmacies to promote health and health awareness with an emphasis on tailored, individualised care and professional advice,” Dr Pan said.

For more information please contact:
Sigma Pharmaceuticals
Gary Woodford
Corporate Affairs Manager
Ph: 0417 399 204
Email: gary.woodford@signet.com.au

About Sigma:
Sigma is a full line wholesaler and distributor of pharmaceuticals products across Australia, with sales in excess of $3 billion. Sigma employs over 1,000 people, has 15 distribution centres Australia wide delivering in excess of 600,000 products daily, and owns the largest pharmacy-led network in Australia.

The South Dakota Retailers Association and NRF launch new campaign to drive public awareness of the positive impact retailers have on the communities they serve

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — The South Dakota Retailers Association and National Retail Federation have joined forces to launch a new “This is Retail: South Dakota” campaign to drive public awareness of the positive impact retailers have on the communities they serve. The joint statewide effort seeks to highlight the retail industry’s strong support for careers, communities and innovation.

“Retailers are a driving force in the well-being of the state and its local communities,” SDRA Executive Director Shawn Lyons said. “They create opportunities for employment, give back to their communities, work hard to meet the needs of customers, and look for ways to continually improve their businesses.”

Nationwide and in South Dakota, one in four jobs are supported by retail. In South Dakota, the retail industry employs nearly 96,000 in direct retail employment, and supports more than 127,000 total jobs. Retail accounts for 17 percent of South Dakota’s gross domestic product and generates 16 percent of wages.

The “This is Retail: South Dakota” campaign is launching with a series of videos produced by NRF, which feature documentary-style interviews with South Dakota retailers and merchants. Each video highlights a different aspect of retail. To complement the initiative, SDRA plans to build on the campaign with additional content and material from retailers across the state.

“We are proud to join the South Dakota Retailers Association to launch this campaign,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “In a state blessed with bountiful land and beautiful monuments, it is easy to overlook the important role that retail plays in the South Dakota economy. We hope this effort sheds a positive light on the retail industry and how South Dakota retailers work every day to build a stronger and more vibrant state.”

“I have traveled to every part of this state and have spoken with retailers in every type and size of business,” Lyons said. “They will tell you with pride how they started at the bottom of the ladder and worked their way up, and how rewarding it is to continually strive to find new ways to serve their customers and grow their businesses. Their message is that whether you want to work in retail or become a retail entrepreneur, it’s a great lifelong career choice.”

South Dakota is one of six states chosen by NRF to initiate the “This is Retail” campaign at the state level in 2014, along with North Carolina, Washington, California, Ohio and Illinois.

About the South Dakota Retailers Association:
The South Dakota Retailers Association is a 3,700-member statewide nonprofit trade association founded in 1897. The organization represents retailers in the legislative and regulatory process; provides information and education to businesses; and offers money-saving member services such as credit card processing, group health insurance and workers comp insurance. SDRA represents members of all sizes, ranging from small mom and pop businesses to multi-unit franchises. SDRA is one of the five largest state retail associations in the nation, representing more than 160 categories of businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, clothing stores, hardware stores, motels, jewelry stores, lumber yards, book stores, gift shops, convenience stores, auto repair shops, pharmacies, and implement dealers. For more information, visit www.sdra.org

About the National Retail Federation:
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 $2.6 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

Stephen E Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Ahold’s U.S. internet grocer Peapod celebrates an impressive 25 years in business

Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States, 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — This year, our U.S. internet grocer Peapod celebrates an impressive 25 years in business – the company’s founders truly invented the online grocery industry and continue to build on their success today, as part of Ahold’s omni-channel offering in partnership with our U.S. divisions.

Looking back at the early days

Before there was e-commerce of any sort, there were two brothers, Thomas and Andrew Parkinson, who in 1989 were developing a new way to shop. With DOS programming software, dial-up modems and floppy disks, they created Peapod.com, and shopping from a computer for home-delivered goods was born. Peapod was, indeed, the first online grocery service, giving customers first in Chicago and later in 23 other U.S. markets the convenience and value of shopping on their own terms – anytime, anywhere.

“We wanted to fundamentally improve people’s lives by making it easier to shop,” said Andrew Parkinson, president, CEO and co-founder of Peapod, who also served as delivery driver along with his brother and their wives in the early Peapod days. “We did that by bringing an interactive shopping experience to a broad customer market.”

Peapod today

Today, Peapod is 25 years young and 1,500 employees strong. Peapod offers more than 15,000 items in its digital aisles, has filled more than 29 million grocery orders across 24 U.S. markets, and continues to leverage its relationship with our U.S. divisions and America’s finest supermarkets: Stop & Shop, Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle. That kind of growth and success has not gone unnoticed as more and more e-stores enter the grocery space, from digital giants to locally based start-ups. However, Peapod remains focused on cutting-edge advancements in mobile technology to continue pioneering the space and making shopping in Peapod’s complete grocery store via smartphones and tablets the most convenient, indispensable way to go.

Andrew continued, “First and foremost, Peapod is a grocer. And we are proud to partner with some of the premier supermarkets in the country. By leveraging the food expertise of Ahold’s retail companies and combining it with Peapod’s dedication to innovative mobile technology and improving the digital customer experience, we are uniquely positioned to offer our customers options to shop for their groceries how, where and when they want. We pack a one-two punch that places us at the top of the pack of online grocery retailers.”

Mobile solutions for savvy shoppers

“A large segment of our customers is time-starved, tech-savvy Millennial moms – always on the go, never without their smart phones,” said Andrew. “Our aim is to bring convenience to their lives, and we recognized early on that that means putting mobile first.”

The free Peapod smart phone and tablet app released in 2010 was the first of its kind. Today 40% of the company’s total sales come from mobile devices, and 70% of its mobile sales are from apps. What’s next? “We’re not developing technology for technology’s sake,” Andrew added. “Our direction is to further develop and amplify the digital experience and, frankly, continue to re-engineer the way we used to shop.” For example, Peapod allows shoppers to sort groceries according to nutritional needs, so instead of scanning every product’s nutrition label for dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, etc., Peapod serves up only those products that meet the shoppers’ requirements.

Spearheading the continued mobile innovation are members of Peapod Propulsion Labs, a digital innovation center in downtown Chicago launched by the Parkinsons in early 2014. “The idea is for the advancements to be exciting but relevant to multiple generations and to make sure we are well positioned to serve the future wave of digital natives,” said Thomas Parkinson, Peapod’s Chief Technology Officer and co-founder.

From DOS to Digital

When the Parkinson brothers started Peapod in 1989, it was a two-person operation based out of the family garage. Customers were required to have RAM space on their original Macintosh desktops, a dial-up modem and a floppy disk drive – a far cry from today’s mobile app, iCloud storage and easy-click checkout.

“If you look back at our first instructional video and compare it to the technology we have now, it’s pretty amusing,” said Thomas.

A customer placed grocery orders online using Peapod’s software, and the brothers would hand-pick the desired items themselves at a local grocery store and deliver them to the customer’s home.

Fast forward 25 years, and Peapod operates sophisticated fulfillment centers, most with distinctive climate controlled zones, including several zones specific to produce type. Peapod’s friendly delivery drivers arrive promptly at customer homes and businesses or on-the-go customers swing by convenient Pick-Up locations to collect their orders in under five minutes. Its transportation fleet of its familiar green delivery trucks seeks to use the most environmentally friendly fuel and technology available.

25 years young

With 25 years behind it, Peapod is just getting started. Momentum continues, as Peapod continues to use a mix of innovative supply chain options to meet dynamic and growing customer demand. In addition to Peapod’s traditional home delivery service, more than 200 Pick-Up locations were launched in two short years, most in locations connected to the supermarkets operated by our U.S. divisions. Exciting partnerships with local artisans and small-batch vendors continue to come online, expanding Peapod’s product diversity, particularly in the areas of organic and sustainable foods.

“At 25, we’ve come into our own. We’re the best of a grocery store plus more,” said Andrew. “We’ll celebrate this milestone by continuing to deliver the most convenient shopping experience, with the most diverse selection of products, at the best value, to our customers.”

25 Years of Firsts

In 1989, Peapod was the world’s first total e-commerce company. Since then, there have been a number of additional milestones.

  • The first to handle client service online (1990)
  • The first to sort by price and unit price (1991)
  • The first to offer targeted and personalized ads (1995)
  • The first to establish shopping centers equipped with eight different temperature zones (2001)
  • The first to go mobile (2010)
  • The first in the U.S. to launch virtual grocery stores, installing more than 100 virtual shopping

AHOLD REPURCHASED 1,875,308 AHOLD COMMON SHARES FOR € 23.51 MILLION BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 29 AND OCTOBER 3, 2014

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-10-6— /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold has repurchased 1,875,308 Ahold common shares in the period from September 29, 2014 up to and including October 3, 2014

The shares were repurchased at an average price of € 12.5374 per share for a total consideration of € 23.51 million. These repurchases were made as part of the € 500 million share buyback program announced on February 28, 2013 as increased by € 1.5 billion to a total amount of € 2 billion announced on June 4, 2013.

The total number of shares repurchased under this program to date is 139,892,375 common shares for a total consideration of € 1,816.79 million.

During the share buyback program, Ahold publishes a press release every Monday with a weekly update. Click here to view all the relevant information of these these weekly updates. Separate weekly press releases are available upon request. Please send an email to communications@ahold.com if you would like to receive one or more of these weekly releases.

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