Albert Heijn: well-known Dutch actor Harry Piekema to leave after ten years playing the key role in our TV commercials

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Well-known Dutch actor Harry Piekema, who plays the key role in our TV commercials as the Supermarket Manager Mr. Van Dalen, is leaving Albert Heijn after ten years because Harry wishes to focus on other acting and directing opportunities. Harry has meant a lot to our customers and to our company.

Our successful collaboration with Harry deserves a fitting finale. That is why Albert Heijn has today launched a final campaign that includes a farewell TV commercial, YouTube and Facebook postings, and live chat sessions with Harry and customers via Facebook.


Rite Aid wellness+ members to earn rewards for every $50 spent in stores on participating products now through January 24

Rite Aid wellness+ Members Earn Exciting Rewards for Every $50 Spent on Participating Products

Camp Hill, Pa., 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid is ringing in the New Year by offeringwellness+ members the opportunity to receive lifestyle and entertainment rewards for every $50 spent in stores on participating products now through January 24.

To participate, members of the free wellness+ loyalty program can look for the red “Buy & Earn” symbol on store shelves. Once wellness+ members purchase $50 of qualifying products, they will receive a Unique Reward Code on the bottom of the register receipt. Customers can make multiple visits and purchases to reach the reward thresholds of $50, $100, $150, $200 and $250 receiving a new code at each threshold up to a total of 5.  The codes may be used individually or added together to redeem for bigger and better rewards.

“We wanted to offer something special to our most loyal customers – wellness+members – as we enter the New Year, as a way to thank them for their business,” said John Learish, Rite Aid senior vice president of marketing. “By participating in ‘Happy You Year,’ our customers have the opportunity to earn a reward of their choosing, and with rewards ranging from an evening out with the family to a fitness class or a day at the salon, there’s something for everyone.”

Over 16,000 products are participating in the promotion such as select:

  • Over-the-counter medications including allergy, cold and pain relief
  • Skincare, cosmetics and beauty products including nail polish and fragrances
  • Hair products including shampoo, hair dryers, accessories, shavers and trimmers
  • Household supplies including air fresheners, laundry detergent, paper towels and pet food
  • Variety of vitamins and supplements
  • Food and beverage selections of cereal, cookies and sports drinks

This year’s bigger and better rewards include items such as a free round of mini golf, exercise classes, beauty treatment, personal training session, movie tickets, hotel stays and more. For a complete list of rewards available, promotion details or to redeem codes, visit

Reward codes must be redeemed before 12:00AM PT, February 25, 2015. After creating an account, add the Unique Reward Codes received on the receipt and redeem credit towards your selected reward. Redemptions can also be processed over the phone at 1-844-579-1644, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. EST or Saturday 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. EST.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) 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

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Media: Kristin Kellum 717-975-5713

Starbucks summarized the 10 ways it supported its partners, customers and communities in 2014

SEATTLE, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — “What is the role and responsibility of a public company?”

Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo, posed that question early in the year during the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. In the months that followed, Schultz and Starbucks partners (employees) have answered the question by demonstrating what it means to be a company that is performance-driven through the lens of humanity. Here are 10 ways Starbucks supported its partners, customers and communities in 2014.

1. Starbucks Hometown

After a massive landslide engulfed the tiny community of Oso, Washington, rescue workers faced the daunting task of finding signs of life in a 300-acre area strewn with trees, boulders, obliterated buildings and debris as deep as a seven-story building. Rescue crews eventually recovered the bodies of 43 people.

Jen Bilow manages the Starbucks store in Arlington, 20 miles west of the disaster zone. Twice a day store partners delivered food, hot water, and 40 gallons of coffee to firefighters, police and rescue crews. “We all wanted to help and we jumped in to help because that’s the kind of people Starbucks hires,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do for our neighbors.”

As supporters of the Seattle community, Starbucks and the Seahawks teamed up again to raise money for A Better Seattle (ABS), an initiative founded by Head Coach Pete Carroll. ABS partners with YMCA’s Alive & Free street outreach program to connect high-risk youth with programs and services that support them in making choices to reach a better future.

For more than ten years, Starbucks has also supported music and arts programs for youth in Seattle through a partnership with the Seattle Theatre Group. One result of that partnership is Little Big Show, a concert series created to benefit Seattle’s arts organizations. Little Big Show’s mission is to identify non-profits that focus on youth arts education and feature them as the show’s beneficiary receiving 100% of the ticket sales revenue.  To date, Little Big Show has raised more than $130,000 for nine local initiatives.

2. Global Month of Service

Somewhere in the world, nearly every day of the year, a Starbucks partner is volunteering in his or her neighborhood. Community service is a year-round commitment for Starbucks, with a special emphasis placed on making a difference through volunteer projects in April – the company’s Global Month of Service.

During the month of April in Beijing for example, over 900 partners and community volunteers completed dozens of projects. Along with painting murals, they planted a vegetable garden for 50 elderly families and taught classes on environmental education and personal safety for more than 500 students.

In April, Starbucks partners, customers and nonprofit groups united to work on 1,691 projects in one month. Together they spent more than 232,244 hours volunteering on projects that impacted an estimated 1.4 million people.

3. Starbucks College Achievement Plan

Starbucks has a long history of wanting to do more for its partners; it was one of the first U.S. retailers to offer affordable and comprehensive health coverage to part-time employees. In the summer of 2014, it announced another major benefit – the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

An innovative collaboration with Arizona State University creates an opportunity for eligible Starbucks partners to finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement through ASU’s top-ranked online degree program.  Junior and senior year students get full tuition reimbursement and freshman and sophomore students get a partial tuition scholarship and access to need-based financial aid.

About 1,000 Starbucks partners started classes through ASU’s online program. In December the program had its first graduate – Kaede Clifford, an almost 13-year partner who finished her BA in Mass Communications and Media. TheStarbucks Newsroom will share Clifford’s story in January.

4. Partner Pride

For the first time, Starbucks raised the Pride Flag atop its Seattle headquarters. The 38-feet wide by 19-feet tall rainbow flag flew during the week leading up to the city’s Pride Parade. Members of Starbucks Partner Pride Network Alliance Network led the flag-raising effort. The affinity group has been around for about 15 years and in 2007 it became an official partner network. The company’s support for LGBT partners and customers goes back even further.

“Given our public stance on diversity and inclusion of all people, particularly on this issue, it makes sense to raise the flag in celebration,” said Lucy Helm, Starbucks executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. “Being open, inclusive and forward-thinking is at the core of what Starbucks is about.”

5. Solutions City

As Americans around the country grow increasingly frustrated with the partisan gridlock in Washington, a few mayors are looking to neighborhood Starbucks stores to help spark local action.

Through the Solutions City℠ initiative, mayors in five cities – Sacramento, Baltimore, Columbus, Orlando, and Phoenix – are bringing together constituents and other local leaders for town hall meetings in their neighborhood Starbucks store. They’re identifying and tackling civic challenges around three key issues: providing access to education, supporting veterans, and empowering opportunity youth (young people who aren’t in school or employed for a variety of reasons, but want to improve their futures).

Over the arc of one year, they will solve community problems identified through the community meetings. While Starbucks will serve as the arena for these community conversations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors will lend its network of dedicated mayors from around the country to help share best practices and spark greater impact.

6. Retail Excellence Training Program

For the past 10 years, Starbucks and the Schultz Family Foundation have supported a barista skills training program for opportunity youth. Nearly 500 young adults have graduated, with 70 percent securing jobs in the retail and customer service sectors.

In 2014, Starbucks, the Schultz Family Foundation and YouthBuild USA launched a national version of this effort called theRetail Excellence Training Program. This national program gives students an opportunity to learn customer service skills based on the same training Starbucks store partners receive. The instruction includes classroom learning and on-the-job experience in retail or café settings. In addition to Seattle, the Retail Excellence Training Program is available in Gulfport, Mississippi and Harlem, New York at YouthBuild sites in those communities. About 170 students graduated this year.

7. Todos Sembramos Café

Over the past several years, challenging growing conditions in Chiapas, Mexico have created a climate where coffee rust has taken hold and decimated some coffee farmers’ harvests. Coffee rust is a fungus that damages coffee plants when not properly managed through proper growing techniques and integrating coffee varietals that are more rust resistant.

Recognizing the impact that rust is having on farmers, Starbucks Mexico launched a program called Todos Sembramos Café, which means “we all grow coffee.” Through the program, 100 percent of the profits from Shade Grown Mexico Whole Bean Coffee sold in Starbucks Mexico stores from June through December will be donated to purchase rust resistant coffee plants for Chiapas coffee growers who need assistance renewing their plots.

The program is part of Starbucks ongoing, comprehensive commitment to supporting coffee farmers around the world. Over the past forty years, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities including C.A.F.E. Practices, farmer support centers, farmer loans and forest carbon projects.

8. Partner Experience and Investments

Starbucks continuously engages in discussions with its partners to determine how to make their experience better and more valuable. In a letter to partners this fall, Starbucks chief operating officer Troy Alstead announced several improvements to the partner experience. One example is an updated dress code policy which allows visible tattoos for the first time. In January 2015, Starbucks will begin rolling out the first phase of a multi-year investment in the partner experience by making enhancements in three areas: performance and pay, recognition and benefits.

Starbucks chairman, president and ceo Howard Schultz held an impromptu meeting on December 10th in company’s Seattle headquarters that many partners said was “the most emotional, powerful discussion” they’ve ever been a part of. For more than an hour, Starbucks partners representing various ages, races and ethnicities passed a microphone and shared personal experiences regarding racial issues in America. “The current state of racism in our country is almost like humidity at times. You can’t see it, but you feel it,” said one partner.

Schultz intends to continue the conversations across the country through a series of partner-only forums beginning in January. The meetings will be held in Oakland, St. Louis and New York City.

9. Heroes Among Us

Starbucks iconic green aprons added three new colors this year for partners who are veterans or military spouses – red, white and blue. A small flag has been added to spark conversations between partners and customers, and to honor the partners’ service and sacrifice.

In addition, Starbucks announced plans to open 12 Military Family Stores near military bases in fiscal 2015 and Starbucks has hired 1,048 new partners as a direct result of its multi-year hiring and career development strategy. The company has committed to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018. Of the new hires in 2014, the majority are beginning their Starbucks careers in stores as baristas, shift supervisors, store managers, district managers and regional directors. In addition, about 60 are working in 18 corporate departments including store development, global operations and supply chain operations. Starbucks partners who’ve joined the company since the announcement of the veterans hiring initiative represent 48 states.

Inspired by the military men, women and families he’s met in the past year, Schultz co-wrote a book in 2014 called “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice.” In the book, Schultz and Washington Post senior correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran highlight the post-military careers of veterans serving their communities in extraordinary ways, and offer compelling accounts of valor displayed by service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a first-of-its-kind event, HBO, Chase and Starbucks also staged “The Concert for Valor” to raise awareness of issues affecting veterans.

10. Starbucks Partnership with RED

Alone and scared, Josephine couldn’t understand why her family abandoned her when she was five years old. The little girl in Rwanda also didn’t know why she was sick all the time. She eventually learned the reason for both. She had contracted a virus from her mother in utero; HIV- the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. Josephine is one of approximately 35 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. Now in her twenties, she receives medical treatment and counseling. Her care is supported in part by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

The Global Fund finances programs delivering prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services in more than 140 countries. It receives financial contributions from (RED)®, a charity organization founded in 2006 to engage businesses in the fight against AIDS. Starbucks partnered with (RED) in 2008 and since then the company and its customers have generated more than $12 million for the Global Fund.

“Being able to help people in another part of the world is a powerful thing, and it’s humbling to observe the impact from these donations,” said Lindsey Austin, a Starbucks brand manager who works in the company’s headquarters and has been involved with the (STARBUCKS)RED program since its inception.

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom.


Starbucks summarized the 10 ways it supported its partners, customers and communities in 2014

Starbucks summarized the 10 ways it supported its partners, customers and communities in 2014

10 special coffees featured on the Starbucks Newsroom in 2014

SEATTLE, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — It has always been and always will be about quality. Since 1971, Starbucks has been passionate about ethically sourcing and blending only the finest arabica coffee beans and roasting them with great care. The company’s passion for coffee is rivaled only by its love of sharing it with customers. Here are 10 special coffees featured on the Starbucks Newsroom in 2014:

1. Hacienda Alsacia

Hacienda Alsacia is a coffee farm resting Starbucks owns on the slope of the still-active Poas volcano. More than 300,000 pounds of coffee were harvested in the farm’s first year under the guidance of Starbucks (Starbucks purchased 396 million pounds of green coffee in fiscal year 2013).  Instead of selling the first crop of coffee from Hacienda Alsacia to customers, Starbucks gave a bag of the special coffee to each of its partners.

2. Costa Rica Geisha

Six years ago, in partnership with a local cooperative, Starbucks director of global agronomy planted a special coffee on the La Ines farm. The team was looking for the perfect union of disease tolerance, high yield and exceptional taste. “This truly was a labor of love,” said Carlos Mario Rodriguez. “We selected only two plants each out of lots of 20 and then nurtured the plants for six years.” The result is Starbucks Reserve® Costa Rica Geisha La Ines. Geisha takes its name from the village in Ethiopia where it was first discovered before being brought to Central America.

3. Kati Kati

In Swahili, Kati Kati simply means “between.” Starbucks Kati Kati Blend® tells a vivid story about the coffee grown between Kenya and Ethiopia. It is an example of the art of blending and roasting in action. The blend of these iconic East African origin coffees highlights the balance between citrus and spice notes from Kenya and subtle floral aromas and crisp acidity from Ethiopia, embodying the carefree nature of the summer season that is Kati Kati.

4. Colombia Nariño

Starbucks® Colombia Nariño coffee comes from a region in southeast Colombia on the border with Ecuador known as Nariño. Nariño’s unique characteristics create an exceptional coffee growing climate. The mountain area gets more than 70 inches of rain per year and plenty of sunshine. The region’s volcanic soil has a high percentage of organic material. “For us, the heart of Colombian coffee sits in the mountains of Nariño,” said Leslie Wolford, Starbucks senior green coffee specialist.  “Coffee grows at elevations higher than 6,500 feet, where warm tropical days and cool nights let the beans develop slowly.”

5. Tribute Blend

Starbucks created Tribute Blend® to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, to honor customers and partners, and to recognize the accomplishments of the coffee producers and roasters. Tribute Blend® combines four of customers’ all-time favorite coffees from all three growing regions. The Sun-Dried Ethiopia coffee, with an exotic flourish of dark cherry, is from Africa. Aged Sumatra comes from the Asia/Pacific region, featuring deep notes of cedar and sweet. Also originating from the Asia/Pacific area is the Papua New Guinea coffee, a deep-toned coffee with juicy herbal taste. Colombia coffee, with balanced and nutty tasting notes, hails from Latin America.

6. Single Origin Coffees

Single-origin coffees are beans sourced from one country, a region within a country, or sometimes even just a single estate or farm. Starbucks® Guatemala Laguna de Ayarza Single-Origin Coffee is one of three coffees made available in grocery stores in 2014. Starbucks has been purchasing coffee from Guatemala since the early days of the company. Laguna de Ayarza is a double caldera lake formed thousands of years ago in a volcanic mountain range in the northeast part of Guatemala. The coffee trees thrive in the rolling hills and mild climate, and roots grow deep in its volcanic soil rich in minerals.

7. Reserve Coffees

There’s a story in every cup of Starbucks coffee. From the qualities of the soil, to the fragrances and tastes of nearby crops, to the length of time it was left to ripen on the tree – each coffee expresses its own sense of place and conveys the way it was grown and nurtured. Starbucks Reserve® coffees help bring these individual stories to life with an ultra-premium line of coffees that are the most rare, limited availability coffees from around the world. “Starbucks is one of the few companies that can send coffee buyers to dozens of countries each year and taste hundreds and thousands of cups of coffee,” said Leslie Wolford, senior coffee specialist at Starbucks. “Every so often we come across a coffee that dazzles. We help their exceptional qualities shine as a Starbucks Reserve coffee.”

8. India Estates Blend

Launched as part of the first anniversary celebrations in 2013, the Starbucks® India Estates Blend captures the essence and rich heritage of Indian coffee history and draws inspiration from the finest arabica beans which have been carefully selected by Starbucks coffee experts from Tata Coffee’s estates across Coorg and Chickmagalur, the birth place of coffee in India. This single origin blend creates a fine balance between herbal and chocolate notes. The blend has been named to represent the origin of the coffee and the packaging has been carefully created to reflect traditional Indian designs, and this year the coffee was made available throughout 14 countries.

9. Gold Coast Blend

When Starbucks opened its first stores outside of Seattle, in 1987, it wanted to introduce a blend to honor one of its new locations in Chicago.  Starbucks master coffee blenders brought together the heft of beans from Latin America and Indonesia with a bit of sweetness from our dark Italian Roast. This created a taste every bit as sophisticated as the neighborhood it is named after – the Gold Coast Historic District. Starbucks Gold Coast Blend® is the epitome of the high art of blending because no single flavor element dominates this lush and lavish coffee.

10. Pantheon

To celebrate the opening of Starbucks® Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, the company created an exceptional new coffee exclusive to the Roastery. Pantheon™ Blend is a blend of Starbucks® Reserve coffees from Guatemala, Colombia and West Java with tiered flavor notes of lemon, dark chocolate and brown sugar. The result is an exceptional cup that is complex and sophisticated as espresso and brewed coffee. The Starbucks Newsroom will feature the story behind Pantheon in January.

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom.


10 special coffees featured on the Starbucks Newsroom in 2014

10 special coffees featured on the Starbucks Newsroom in 2014

Carrefour China now with 233 stores in the country

Boulogne-Billancourt, France, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — On 20 and 23 December, Carrefour China opened two new Carrefour stores. The country now has a total of 233!

On 20 December in the Shanghai region, a store with a sales area of more than 9400 m² opened to the public. The Carrefour Shanghai Cao Ying Store is surrounded by a car park with space for 1100 cars. 28 checkouts are available to customers.

The second store – the Wuhan Nanhu Wuchangfu store – has been trading since 23 December. With a sales area of 7900 m², it has 28 checkouts and a car park with space for 500 cars.


PT. Matahari Putra Prima Tbk opened its 107th Hypermart in East Bekasi, Indonesia

Lippo Village, Tangerang, Indonesia, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — PT. Matahari Putra Prima Tbk (MPPA), a modern multi-format retailer in Indonesia, which operates Hypermart, Foodmart and Boston Health & Beauty, opened its 107th Hypermart. The new Hypermart is located at Bekasi Trade Center City, a business center located in East Bekasi. This is the 5th Hypermart in Bekasi.

Also during the opening ceremony, collected customer infaq funds was presented to Dompet Dhuafa in the amount of Rp. 1,438,128,016. The donation had been collected during the period of 14th June to 31st August 2014. The presentation was made by the General Manager of Marketing Hypermart, Yoelius Gary Saputra to the Program Director of Dompet Dhuafa, Dr. Imam Rulyawan.

Danny Kojongian, Director of Communications and Public Relations stated, “The opening of the new Hypermart in Bekasi is in line with MPPA’s expansion to address the changing needs of customers and provide an exciting new shopping experience.”

About PT Matahari Putra Prima Tbk (MPPA)
PT Matahari Putra Prima (MPPA) operates Hypermart, Foodmart and Boston Health & Beauty. Total 2013 Gross Sales amounted to Rp 12.6 Trillion (audited), a growth of 11.1% from 2012. Net Income 2013 amounted to Rp 445 Billion, which grew 85.8% from Rp 239 Billion in 2012. Hypermart has the widest store network among hypermarket operators in more than 60 cities ranging from Tanjung Balai (Medan) to Jayapura (Papua).

MPPA continues to receive both domestic and international acknowledgement with several awards such as:
2013 Retail Asia – Gold Award, 2011-2014 Superbrand Indonesia, 2013 Best of The Best 50 Performing Companies by Forbes Indonesia, Top Brand Awards, 2013 and 2014 Indonesia Most Admired Companies by Warta Ekonomi, 2013 Excellent Service Experience Award and 2013 Customer Satisfaction Award by Roy Morgan.

For further information, please contact :
PT. Matahari Putra Prima, Tbk
Danny Kojongian, Director Communications and Public Relations
Fernando Repi, Head of Public Relations
Mobile : 081511181187

Saudi Arabia: SASCO updates on Ministry of Finance’s decision to cancel contract of one of its leased Gas Station in port Al Batha

Saudi Arabia, 2014-12-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — SASCO refers to its previous announcement on October 26, 2014 regarding the Ministryof Finance’s decision to cancel SASCO lease gas station in port Al Batha border and hand over the site no later than 30/12/1435 H. per their previous letter dated 25/09/1435 H. and company had handed over the site on 01/01/1436 H accordingly.

The latest developments, the company had received on December 22, 2014 a letter from the Ministry of Finance stated completing the compensation procedures which has been valued at (7,804,950 SR) based on the item No. (16) of the lease which states on “lessee shall hand over the site to the ministry in the case of the public interest for this site, and in this case the ministry of Finance will return the value of the remaining term of the lease and compensate for buildings and facilities were built on-site per regular financial regulations”.

The financial impact of such compensation is estimated gain of almost (1,8 Million SAR), which will be displayed within the company’s financial results for the fourth quarter of 2014 after receipt the compensation check from the ministry and reduce the book value of the buildings & facilities and clear all necessary settlements.