Find brand name gifts at incredible bargains at Big Lots

COLUMBUS, OHIO, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Big Lots knows that no matter how much shoppers prepare for the holidays, they may find themselves out of gift ideas and turning to gift cards. But with Big Lots’ help, shoppers don’t have to give random or impersonal gift cards. Big Lots is the ultimate destination for gift shopping done right, a place where shoppers can be inspired to give thoughtful, real gifts to everyone on their list—at incredible bargains.

With its Create a Basket department, Big Lots makes it easy to design a personalized gift basket. Customers can build deluxe themed baskets that anyone will love, whether it’s a spa basket for a child’s teacher or a gourmet food basket for the mailman. These hand-picked Christmas baskets are simple,
personalized gifts that will brighten anyone’s holiday.

“Big Lots understands that moms want everyone to feel special during the holidays,” stated Andrew Stein, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, Big Lots. “Creating personalized experiences through our Create a Basket program allows Mom to purchase brand-name fragrances, toys or seasonal items and deliver an individual, hand-picked gift any time she wants, even at the last minute.”

Big Lots has brought #StandUpMom back to deliver funny and truthful thoughts on the holidays. They deliver with a real mom panache and a comedic wink that celebrates how Mom does the heavy lifting to make the holiday season the pinnacle of the year’s family festivities. And #StandUpMom knows she can count on Big Lots for everything to make the holiday shine—from what’s on the table to what’s under the tree.

With fewer than 24 days to Christmas, Big Lots has extended its shopping hours. Starting Dec. 5, customers will be able to shop as early as 8 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours vary by location. Customers can check the store locator to confirm the hours of their neighborhood Big Lots.

Big Lots stores will be closed for Christmas to allow its associates the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with their families. They will reopen at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26.

To learn more about Big Lots, speak with a company representative or arrange a store visit this holiday season, contact the Big Lots Media Hotline at 1-877-614- 1274.

About Big Lots, Inc.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) is a unique, nontraditional, discount retailer operating 1,496 BIG LOTS stores in 48 states with product assortments in the merchandise categories of Food, Consumables, Furniture & Home Décor, Seasonal, Soft Home, Hard Home, and Electronics &
Accessories. Our vision is to be recognized for providing an outstanding shopping experience for our customers, valuing and developing our associates, and creating growth for our shareholders. For more information, contact MediaRelations@biglots.com or visit www.biglots.com

Media Contact: Colleen Cleary—(631) 921-5320

M&S issued an update on the first six months of its sustainable business plan “Plan A 2020”

  • 63% of M&S products now have a Plan A attribute
  • M&S food delivery team adds 14 nitrogen trailers to its fleet
  • LED lighting to be rolled out to all Food Halls
  • 28 per cent of M&S cotton now grown to BCI standards
  • M&S Café raises £800,000 for Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee morning
  • 7,000 take part in M&S Emerging Leaders training
  • Marks & Start on target for busiest year on its 10th year anniversary
  • Clothes exchange launched in Czech Republic and Hong Kong

LONDON, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S, says: “It’s been an exciting first six months for Plan A 2020. Launched in June, the new 100 commitment sustainable business plan is making an impact on M&S operations across the world and engaging our customers, employees and partners in more sustainable lifestyles and ways of doing business.

“It is helping us stand up and take action on the sustainable retail challenges of today and tomorrow. Our products are becoming more sustainable, we’re testing new technology that could transform our future operations and we’re supporting causes that make a real difference to the future for our customers and the local communities we operate in.

“We’re also ensuring we share best practice and learn from others. Only through collaboration will business create meaningful change and our work with the Consumer Goods Forum is a great example of big companies coming together to make shops and products better for both people and planet.”

63% of M&S products now have a Plan A attribute
63 per cent of M&S products, almost two billion items sold every year, now have a Plan A attribute – an eco or ethical quality above the market norm. The figure puts M&S well ahead of its target to have 50 per cent by 2015 and on track for all M&S products to have an attribute by 2020.

Attributes make it easy for M&S customers to shop more sustainably and further embeds Plan A into every buying department.

Products recently awarded with Plan A attributes include boxes of Belgian chocolates (now made from 100 per cent UTZ certified chocolate), all Food-To-Go pasties (the Cornish factory where the products are made has received accreditation for energy and water efficiency) and all gift bags, gift wrapping and greetings cards (all made from FSC certified or recycled paper).

M&S food delivery team adds 14 nitrogen trailers to its fleet
The M&S food delivery team has added 14 trailers to its fleet that use Liquid Nitrogen to refrigerate the unit, rather than traditional diesel fuel.

The trailers, which operate out of M&S’ distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead and deliver to stores around London, are better for the environment, emitting 62 per cent less CO2 over their lifetime and zero at point of use. There is also a noise pollution benefit with the trailers running virtually silent.

The viability of the trailers to replace the 670 diesel fuelled trailers that the M&S food delivery team runs will be assessed over a number of years. It is estimated over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 (circa one per cent of M&S’ total emissions) could be removed from M&S’ carbon footprint if the vehicles are successful.

LED lighting to be rolled out to all Food Halls
M&S has announced that it will be rolling out LED lighting to every M&S Food Hall over the next two years.

100 M&S Simply Food stores will receive LED lights across the store and a further 300 Food Halls and Simply Food stores will receive LED lighting for their refrigeration units. LED lighting is more energy efficient and longer lasting than more traditional forms of lighting. It also better for customers, directly focusing light on shelves and products to give a better visual experience. As a result there are cost savings – uses less energy and maintenance costs are lower – and commercial benefits.

LED lighting was first trialled at the M&S eco store in Ecclesall Road, Sheffield back in 2011 – one of the first shops in the UK to use the technology. It has since been trialled in 12 other stores, proving the business case for a roll out to all M&S-owned Food Halls and Simply Food stores.

In the trial stores, energy was reduced by around 20 per cent.

LED is a key element of M&S’ strategy to meet the Plan A energy efficiency commitments to reduce energy usage by 35 per cent by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020 relative to square footage increase (against a 2006/7 baseline).

28 per cent of M&S cotton now grown to BCI standards
Almost a third of the cotton sourced by M&S is now grown to BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) standards. That’s a huge total of around 50 million products sold annually that support M&S’s commitment to source more sustainable cotton, including underwear, school uniform, dresses and bedding.

Better Cotton is kinder to the environment as it is grown using less fertiliser, less water and fewer chemicals and earns more money for the farmer by reducing input costs and helping them manage crops better.

M&S Café raises £800,000 for Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee morning
This year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event at M&S Cafes up and down the country raised a staggering £800,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Themed events took place in M&S Cafes on 26th September and throughout September 5p from every coffee sold and 20p from every Victoria Sponge was donated to Macmillan.

Downton Abbey and Mad Hatters tea parties both proved to be popular themes with employees and customers making a huge effort.

It was M&S’ biggest ever fundraising total since it started partnering with Macmillan for World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in 2010 and with the addition of funds from charity Christmas cards and employee fundraising efforts, total fundraising at M&S this year for Macmillan is expected to hit £1.2 million. The money raised helps fund Macmillan nurses and support workers throughout the UK.

7,000 take part in M&S Emerging Leaders training
7,000 workers from M&S suppliers and their local communities in Kenya and South Africa have taken part in the Emerging Leaders Training programme – a scheme designed to inspire people to become ‘leaders’ in their work, personal and community lives.

Post training feedback showed that 98 per cent of participants felt the course had a positive impact on their lives. 80 per cent set up an income generating activity post training and two thirds set up a community project. The results also showed a positive impact on suppliers with productivity going up, quality improving, reduced worker turnover and employee satisfaction improving.

The M&S Emerging Leaders training programme takes place on factories, farms and in local communities with the support of M&S suppliers. The training is intended to give participants the skills to take charge of their own situation, encouraging them to start entrepreneurial projects in the workplace, at home or in their own communities.

Marks & Start on target for busiest year on its 10th year anniversary
So far this year M&S has supported 2,477 people who face barriers to the workplace through its Marks & Start employability programme.

The figure includes 1,192 young unemployed through Make Your Mark (part of the Marks & Start scheme) with the support of The Prince’s Trust, 524 single parents with the support of Gingerbread, 672 people with disabilities with the support of Remploy and 89 homeless with Business in the Community.

It puts Marks & Start on course for its busiest year since launching in 2004. Over the last 10 years, 12,420 disadvantaged people have been supported with an average in to work rate (the number of people that complete the scheme and go on to find full time employment) of 40 per cent.

Participants complete pre-placement training with the relevant charity partners and a four week training placement at a Marks & Spencer store or office. Each person is paired with a buddy and a coach, spending their placement working alongside their buddy who helps to give everyday support and coaching. Anyone that completes the training and is recommended by their coach can take any M&S vacancy in any store within a six month period without having to apply online or be assessed.

Clothes exchange launched in Czech Republic and Hong Kong
The Marks & Spencer Clothes Exchange, known as Shwopping in the UK, has been launched in M&S’ 20 stores in the Czech Republic and 17 stores in Hong Kong.

Customers can now donate used or unwanted items of clothing every time they shop at an M&S store in Hong Kong and the Czech Republic. M&S collects the clothes and distributes them to a local charity for recycling, re-use or re-sale. A successful three month trial earlier this year saw 35,000 garments donated.

In the UK M&S partners with Oxfam to run the scheme. Since launch 10 million garments have been ‘Shwopped’, worth an estimated £6 million to Oxfam. The exchange will be rolled out across more international markets next year.

Plan A 2007 – 2013
Plan A was launched in 2007 as a 100 commitment, five year eco and ethical plan to transform the way M&S operated and sourced its products. Ninety-four of the original commitments were achieved, five were not achieved and one was deleted due to changes in circumstances. In 2010 Plan A was extended and strengthened with 80 new commitments with 2015 and 2020 deadlines added to the original 100. Since launch Plan A has won over 200 awards.

– Ends –

Further information

Corporate media enquiries
Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer Press Office, 0208 718 1618
daniel.himsworth@marks-and-spencer.com

Consumer media enquiries
Liz Williams, Marks & Spencer Press Office, 0208 718 6369
liz.williams@marks-and-spencer.com

For images, please visit
http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/media/multimedia-library

IKEA’s new sustainable palm oil sourcing policy applauded by Greenpeace

Conshohocken, PA, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — On Friday, November 28th, Greenpeace applauded a new sustainable palm oil sourcing policy from IKEA. “The Swedish company uses the oil in its candles and in some food products and snacks — its new policy commits to ensuring that all palm oil from rainforest and peatland areas will be removed from the production chain by 2017. All palm oil found in IKEA products will be traceable all the way from the store shelf to the plantation, with care taken to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and workers, ” commented Greenpeace.

“IKEA’s decision to clean up its supply chain for products containing palm oil is good news,” said Joao Talocchi, Palm Oil Campaigner for Greenpeace USA. “Commitments over the past year from companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and General Mills have brought the palm oil industry to a tipping point. We’re now at the stage where it’s unacceptable for companies not to address rainforest destruction with their suppliers.”

This article appears at http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/supply_chain/sustainable_brands/trending_week_sustainable_palm_oil

H&M announces the finalists chosen from the world’s leading design schools for the H&M Design Award 2015

H&M is pleased to announce the finalists for the H&M Design Award 2015. The eight graduates, chosen from the world’s leading design schools, have been selected as some of the most promising talents of their generation. Now in its fourth year, the H&M Design Award underlines H&M’s strong commitment to encourage future talents who will help to push global fashion forwards.

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — “As a design-driven company, it is an honour for H&M to be able to support fashion’s future talents. The level of creativity, passion and technical skills we’ve seen for this year’s H&M Design Award is exceptional.” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s Head of Design for New Development.

Each of the finalists will present their sources of inspiration and collection to a jury of fashion experts, which will choose the overall winner. They will also be rewarded with a finalist prize sum of €5,000. This year’s jury will include Luella Bartley, Design Director of Marc by Marc Jacobs; Lucinda Chambers, Fashion Director of British Vogue; Paula Goldstein di Principe, Creative Director; Tommy Ton, Visual Journalist; Angelo Flaccavento, Freelance Fashion Critic; Justin O’Shea, Buying Director for Mytheresa.com; Lily Allen, Singer/Songwriter; Ann-Sofie Johansson, Head of Design, New Development, H&M and Margareta van den Bosch, Creative Advisor, H&M.

THE FINALISTS:

MAGDALENA BROZDA (Poland) – Magdalena took her MA at the Geneva University of Art and Design. Her collection is based on positive and celebratory ideas of death.

ANDREAS EKLÖF (Sweden) – Andreas took his Masters at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, Sweden. His nominated collection used taping to develop new ideas in outdoors wear.

GRAHAM FAN (Canada/Hong Kong) – An MA graduate from Central Saint Martins, London. Graham used hand-woven techniques to develop the complex textiles for his minimalist silhouettes.

ANDREA JIAPEI LI (China) – Andrea studied on the MFA program at Parsons, in New York. For her collection, she used the antithesis of her aesthetics to define herself and her work in a new way.

JAMES KELLY (UK) – James took the MA course at the Royal College of Art in London. His inspiration was photographic imagery of garments caught in movement.

LEONARD KOCIC (Serbia/Sweden) – Leonard studied at Beckmans College of Design in Sweden. His nominated collection is based on his memories of his mother.

XIMON LEE (Hong Kong) – Ximon studied menswear at Parsons, New York. His collection was inspired by the documentary “Children of Leningradsky”.

FIONA O’NEILL (Ireland) –  Fiona studied on the BA course at Central Saint Martins, London. Her inspiration for her nominated collection came from women painting pictures of other women.

The winner of H&M Design Award 2015 will be announced on January 27, 2015. He or she will receive a prize sum of €50,000, and their own catwalk show to present the winning collection at Fashion Week Stockholm. The winner will also receive mentoring and the chance to develop pieces from the winning collection to be sold at selected H&M stores.

For more information about H&M Design Award 2015 visit designaward.hm.com

#HMDA15

GLOBAL MEDIA INQUIRIES

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

Head of Communications
Kristina Stenvinkel
+46 8 796 39 08

Head of Media Relations
Camilla Emilsson Falk
+46 8 796 39 95

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

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H&M announces the finalists chosen from the world’s leading design schools for the H&M Design Award 2015

H&M announces the finalists chosen from the world’s leading design schools for the H&M Design Award 2015

Wincor Nixdorf’s new standard ATM software ProFlex4 enables banks to introduce new functions at ATMs and other self-service systems

ProFlex4: Add innovative service offers and user interfaces quickly, easily and cost-effectively

Paderborn, Germany, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — ProFlex4, Wincor Nixdorf’s new standard ATM software, enables banks to introduce a host of new functions at ATMs and other self-service systems. True to its motto ‘omni. easy. open.’ the omnichannel solution can be deployed easily and cost-effectively and is open to multivendor operation. Banks can use it to add up-to-date new offers to their ATMs themselves and design individual user interfaces. They can also turn to Wincor Nixdorf’s Software and Professional Services for development and integration. Either way, ProFlex4 opens up a new world of possibilities for banks to reach customers across all touch-points – swiftly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Whether they use Smartphones, tablet computers or automated teller machines (ATMs), consumers expect up-to-date and consistent user interfaces. Swiping or drag and drop have become intuitive standards across various devices – with the exception of ATMs. For financial institutions, this is an opportunity to differentiate themselves through innovative user interfaces and unique branding. With ProFlex4, banks can offer their customers a positive omnichannel experience and also to map a variety of offers on their ATMs and self-service terminals. The new software enables the production of innovative, individual user interfaces for ATMs, cash recycling systems, intelligent deposit systems and kiosk terminals from different manufacturers on the basis of the latest browser technologies.

New service concepts – such as cash withdrawals using a smart phone instead of a bank card, or personalized user interfaces – are easy to implement with ProFlex4. Some banks have already installed innovative service concepts that allow Smartphones to communicate with ATMs using an app, with authorization via NFC or a barcode. This new user concept enables banks to position themselves as modern financial service providers and allows consumers to make withdrawals much faster.

A further benefit of ProFlex4 is the opportunity for customers to customize their own ATM user interfaces according to their personal preferences: the touch display of the ATM will allow the user to change the size, color and layout of the functional elements on the screen. Customers who often deposit checks, for instance, can use touch and swipe to set up the menu for this function on their personal start screens, allowing them to move directly to this preferred transaction.

The basis for the coexistence of traditional functions and switch-independent business services is the open, Web-based software architecture of ProFlex4. It enables both independence from screen or download limitations and the use of additional services and functions, while also reducing the bank’s network costs.

ProFlex4 tooling allows fast and easy introduction of new services and functions, such as bill-paying or check deposit. As these tools ensure the integrity of individual changes, less software testing is needed. Standard transactions like cash withdrawals can be handled as in the past using the familiar NDC or DDC host protocols while new functions are processed via Web services, for example with Wincor Nixdorf’s ProClassic/Enterprise server. “ProFlex4 makes banks more independent of IT infrastructures and allows them to introduce innovative services more quickly to ensure a seamless omnichannel customer experience. That’s what we mean by: omni. easy. open.” says Stefan Wahle, Vice President, Software Solutions at Wincor Nixdorf.

Wincor Nixdorf offers in-depth information on ProFlex4 in a White Paper, available here:
http://www.atmmarketplace.com/whitepapers/proflex4-the-fastest-way-to-an-omnichannel-customer-experience/

Ingles Markets Incorporated to host online webcast of its fourth quarter earnings conference call on December 8, 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C., 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMKTA) will provide an online, real-time webcast and rebroadcast of its fourth quarter earnings conference call on December 8, 2014. Ingles plans to release earnings for its fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014, on December 8, 2014.

The live broadcast of Ingles Markets’ quarterly conference call will be available on-line at:  www.ingles-markets.com on December 8, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time).  The online replay will follow immediately and continue for 90 days.  To hear the Company’s conference call live, dial 719-325-2464. A replay will be available from 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on December 8, 2014 until 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on December 16, 2014.  To listen to the playback, call 719‑457‑0820, reservation number 9967310.

Ingles Markets, Incorporated is a leading supermarket chain with operations in six southeastern states. Headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, the Company operates 202 supermarkets. In conjunction with its supermarket operations, the Company operates neighborhood shopping centers, most of which contain an Ingles supermarket. The Company also owns a fluid dairy facility that supplies Company supermarkets and unaffiliated customers. The Company’s Class A Common Stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market’s Global Select Market under the symbol IMKTA. For more information, visit Ingles’ website www.ingles-markets.com.

Ingles Markets, Incorporated – Post Office Box 6676, Asheville, NC 28816 – http://www.ingles-markets.com

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Rite Aid Corporation to release financial results for its Fiscal 2015 Q-3 ended Nov. 29, 2014 on Dec. 18, 2014

CAMP HILL, Pa., 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) said today that it will release financial results for its Fiscal 2015 Third Quarter, which ended Nov. 29, 2014, on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The company will hold an analyst call at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time with remarks by Rite Aid’s management team. The call will be broadcast via the Internet and can be accessed through the websites www.riteaid.com and www.StreetEvents.com.

A playback of the call will be available on the Internet at www.riteaid.com and www.StreetEvents.com starting at 12 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, December 18. The playback will be available on both sites until the company’s next conference call.

A playback of the call will also be available by telephone beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 18, 2014 and ending at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 20, 2014. The playback number is (855) 859-2056 from within the U.S. and Canada or (404) 537-3406 from outside the U.S. and Canada with the eight-digit reservation number 38826492.

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

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Contact:

Investors: Matt Schroeder 717-214-8867 or investor@riteaid.com

Media: Susan Henderson 717-730-7766

Fall 2014 United Way checkout scanning campaign donations totaled $23,704 at five Wegmans stores in the Southern Tier of New York

ROCHESTER, NY,  2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — During the fall 2014 United Way checkout scanning campaign at five Wegmans stores in the Southern Tier of New York, donations totaled $23,704, a 23% increase over the fall 2013 total.

“These donations directly benefit United Way programs and services in the local community,” said Patty Kaminski, Wegmans’ district manager of the Southern Tier stores. “We’re so grateful to our customers and employees for their continued generosity this fall.”

The United Way checkout scanning campaign, which ran during October and early November, allowed customers at Wegmans stores in Corning, Elmira, Hornell, Ithaca, and Johnson City to donate $1, $2 $3, $5 or any other amount at checkout. All proceeds go directly to the community fund at the United Way of the Southern Tier, the United Way of Broome County, and the United Way of Tompkins County.

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Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 85-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is recognized as an industry leader and innovator. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 17 consecutive years. In 2014, Wegmans ranked #12 on the list.

Contact Information:  Jo Natale, director of media relations, 585-429-3627

Carrefour appoints Gérard LAVINAY Chairman of ERTECO FRANCE (ex-Dia France)

Boulogne-Billancourt, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Gérard LAVINAY is appointed Chairman of ERTECO FRANCE, the new name of Dia France following its acquisition by Carrefour.

His appointment is effective today.

Gérard LAVINAY, 53 years old, began his career at Euromarché in 1980 and held various positions within this hypermarket chain, which was acquired by Carrefour in 1991.

In 1998, he joined Carrefour Greece as Head of Fresh Produce and Logistics, before being appointed Director Systems Organization & Logistics in 1999, and subsequently Director of Supermarkets.

He became Executive Director of Carrefour Chile in 2003, before returning to France in 2004 to become Group Director Systems Organization & Supply Chain. In 2008, he was appointed head of French supermarkets.

Gérard LAVINAY joined Carrefour Belgium in 2009 as Executive Director and CEO.

Since October 2013, he has overseen Carrefour’s activities in Northern Europe (Belgium, Poland and Romania).

About Carrefour
The Carrefour Group is the leading retailer in Europe and the second-largest retailer in the world, employing nearly 365,000 people. With more than 10,600 stores in more than 30 countries, it generated revenues of €100.2 billion under banners in 2013.

As a multi-local, multi-format, and multi-channel retailer, Carrefour is a partner for daily life. Every day, it welcomes more than 10 million customers around the world, offering them a wide range of products and services at fair prices.

For more information: www.carrefour.com, @GroupeCarrefour on Twitter

Carrefour Contact Group Communications: Tel: +33 (0) 1 41 04 26 17

Food Network star Duff Goldman to emcee the 2015 National Grocers Association (NGA) Best Bagger Championship this February in Las Vegas, Nevada

Arlington, VA, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Food Network star, Duff Goldman will emcee the 2015 National Grocers Association (NGA) Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by PepsiCo, and held at The NGA Show this February in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We are thrilled to have Duff join us as our emcee for this very exciting event,” said Peter J. Larkin, NGA President & CEO. “Duff’s creativity and enthusiastic personality will certainly bring another energetic component to the Best Bagger Championship, and we look forward to having him there with us to crown the 2015 Best Bagger Champion.”

Added PepsiCo’s Lisa Walsh, SVP Sales, “We are delighted to be sponsoring NGA’s Best Bagger competition for the third year.  Having Duff emcee Best Bagger will add a new level of excitement and awareness in this incredible event.  We view the Best Bagger event as a great way to support and acknowledge the importance of independent grocery retailers and wholesalers which are the backbone of their local communities.”

The NGA Best Bagger Championship will be held Monday, February 9, from 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. (PST) in the Grand Ballroom at the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

Now in its 29th year, the NGA Best Bagger Championship is the culmination of contests held across North America, in which one contestant who has won their statewide competition is eligible to compete in the championship and vie for “bagging rights.” Nearly 30 baggers will compete for the 2015 Best Bagger Champion title and the grand prize of $10,000. Contestants will be judged by speed of bagging, proper bag-building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance.

Duff Goldman graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with degrees in history and philosophy, and went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. He worked at several acclaimed culinary destinations, including the French Laundry, the Vail Cascade Hotel and Todd English’s Olives before returning to Baltimore in 2000 to become a personal chef.

In March 2002, Duff quit his day job and opened Charm City Cakes. There, he was able to show off his creativity, which comes from a long line of artistic genes. The bakery became a household name on the hit Food Network show Ace of Cakes, which aired for 10 seasons. More recently, Duff and his team opened a second bakery location, Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles.

Registration for The NGA Show is available at www.theNGAshow.com. For more information on the NGA Best Bagger Championship, visit www.bestbagger.com.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

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