Starbucks Community Tables are handmade and come from Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

SEATTLE, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — A group of Army Reservists in uniform sit around a community table in a Starbucks near a military base. With coffee cups close, they pour over planning papers. Their attention is focused on the task at hand; unaware the large table they’re using was handmade in the U.S.A.

The table, with a smooth maple top and sturdy steel legs, comes from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and is one of 27 Starbucks has purchased for its community stores. Though the order might seem small for a global company, it is one of the ways Starbucks exhibits its commitment to locally-relevant design using sustainable materials. And getting an order for a couple dozen handcrafted tables can make a big difference for a small company.

Sourcing managers with the Starbucks Global Store Development team are always looking for high-quality, handmade furniture. They discovered Charleston Forge a couple of years ago. The family-owned business employs about 40 people who design, fabricate and finish furniture using suppliers who are within a 100-mile radius of Boone, North Carolina.

“We love to see ‘outsiders’ take an interest in our businesses,” said Dan Meyer, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “One of our concerns here is underemployment. When companies like Starbucks support our businesses that enables families to provide for themselves for the generations to come.”

Charleston Forge is grounded in the persistence of its founders, Art and Susan Barber. In their 20s, after graduating from Appalachian State University, they opened a retail fireplace shop to cater to people who had homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains – the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River. Art hand forged a baker’s rack and other furniture pieces out of metal to help display the bellows and other fireplace equipment sold in their store.

In the mid-1980s, a customer suggested the Barbers take their handmade furniture to the High Point Market – the largest home furnishings trade show in the world, encompassing over 10 million square feet of display space, in High Point, North Carolina.

“To make a long story short”

“Well, actually I can’t make a long story short,” quipped Art. “I loaded my 1978 pickup up with furniture and got to High Point the night before the trade show opened. I was told ‘I’m sorry, you’re too late.’ And I was turned away.”

Art and Susan were in their 20s, $300,000 in debt, with a newborn baby at home at the time. Now what? Art “walked up and down the hall in a panicked state” thinking their dream of starting a furniture business had ended. With nothing to lose, Art found a tucked-away corner of one of the massive showrooms and began setting up his furniture on a rug he’d borrowed. He stood there for 10 days, hoping to attract the attention of buyers while avoiding security guards.

One buyer took notice of Art and purchased a baker’s rack. Six months later, a piece of furniture Art created was on the inside front cover of a preeminent catalog retailer, and Charleston Forge had its start.

“Some of the artisans who hand forge or hand paint and stain our furniture have been with us almost since the beginning,” said Susan. “Like many furniture companies we were hard hit a decade ago as overseas production took over. Over the past several years we’ve seen a return to American-made furniture because of the quality.”

Handcrafted furniture

Every piece of furniture Charleston Forge produces is handcrafted. From combining age-old blacksmithing techniques with new technology, to welding steel and applying premium finishes by hand, each piece is built to order in Boone, a college town of about 18,000 people. The company also mentors design students at one of the local colleges.

“We are always looking for unique pieces from suppliers who are able to bring opportunity into their communities by creating jobs,” said Michelle Lundell, senior sourcing manager for Starbucks Store Development. “Charleston Forge is also training people in hand craftsmanship skills that otherwise might be lost.”

With 18 in-house design studios, Starbucks is able to integrate local relevancy and sustainability into store designs around the globe.

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


Starbucks Community Tables are handmade and come from Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

Starbucks Community Tables are handmade and come from Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

Carrefour Belgium awarded Top Employer certification for the 3rd year in a row

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — For the third year in a row, Carrefour Belgium has been awarded Top Employer certification.

The Top Employer Institute – which operates all over the world – certifies the quality of the working conditions with which employers provide their employees. The institute uses nine criteria to assess each company, including company culture, training opportunities, careers development, etc.

Carrefour Belgium has excelled in all of these key areas, and has been found to be particularly exemplary in terms of the culture that it promotes within the company and its commitment to fostering talented young people.



Walmart debutes online shopping portal on for products from suppliers that are leading in sustainability

Unveils online Sustainability Leaders shop at Global Milestone Meeting

SAN BRUNO, Calif., 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Walmart announced today the debut of its Sustainability Leaders shop, an online shopping portal on that helps customers identify and purchase products from suppliers that are leading in sustainability.

The launch of the Sustainability Leaders shop builds on the company’s ambition to provide customers more information about the products they purchase at Walmart. The new portal helps to advance Walmart’s goal to offer customers a way to choose products they can afford, and that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

The Sustainability Leaders shop is the customer-facing iteration of Walmart’s Sustainability Index, launched in 2009 in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), an independent, third-party organization of academic-based scientists and more than 100 member organizations that creates tools and strategies to drive more sustainable consumer products. Over the last several years, Walmart and TSC have worked with suppliers, several leading non-profit organizations and TSC to build the Sustainability Index.

“The Sustainability Leaders shop on is the first step in helping our customers identify which brands and suppliers are leading the way in sustainability,” explained Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce. “Our customers can trust us to work with suppliers who have an ongoing commitment to both sustainability and affordability.”

Until now, the Sustainability Index, which gathers and analyzes information about a supplier’s approach to managing its social and environmental impact on the full lifecycle of its products, had only been a tool for Walmart and its suppliers. Now, as part of the Sustainability Leaders shop, important insights from the tool are available to anyone.

The Sustainability Leaders shop takes information from the Index and translates it into an easy-to-understand format for Walmart customers. Products displayed with a badge indicate that their manufacturer ranks as best in class among other suppliers in that product category, based on their responses to detailed category surveys developed by TSC.  The badge symbolizes that the manufacturer of that product is ranked highest among its peers within its category; or in categories where there are many leading manufacturers, products made by any manufacturer that scores over 80 percent, will also qualify for a badge. Although the badge isn’t specific to the individual product’s environmental or social impact, the manufacturer and category level approach is intended to help customers identify companies leading in sustainability.

“We’ve done the heavy lifting to empower our customers to put their money where their heart is,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president of sustainability for Walmart. “The Sustainability Leaders shop gives customers the tools to make more informed choices, and it’s a great way for us to do good business.”

Depending on the product category, specific and pertinent factors are used to evaluate a company’s sustainability efforts.  The relevant social and environmental factors for a product are not always obvious, and the Index helps illuminate what matters most for each type of product. Customers can also better understand the issues that TSC has identified as the most important in evaluating sustainability in each product category through a series of fact sheets, also available through the Sustainability Leaders shop.

“TSC tools are used by hundreds of Walmart suppliers across sectors to drive sustainability in the supply chain, and now this information is being directed to Walmart consumers to help inform the choice of products they use every day,” stated Sheila Bonini, TSC CEO. “The Sustainability Consortium is also pleased to provide Walmart shoppers with important insights about what sustainability factors matter most for each product category through the library of fact sheets found in the Sustainability Leaders shop.”

To visit the Sustainability Leaders shop, please go to For more details on the Sustainability Index, please visit


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 11,453 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2015 revenues of nearly $486 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.2 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 on Facebook at and on Twitter at Online merchandise sales are available at and

Walgreens Top Ten DMAs with Flu Activity for the week of Feb. 24, 2015

DEERFIELD, Ill., 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Walgreens Flu Index™ is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. With the ability to generate hyper-local data that’s as specific as a single zip code, the Index aims to drive consumer awareness and prevention within communities, while also serving as a valuable resource for health departments, media and others at the local level.

Top Ten DMAs with Flu Activity
Week beginning 2/23/2015
1. Oklahoma City, Okla.
2. Jackson, Miss.
3. Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.
4. Little Rock – Pine Bluff, Ark.
5. El Paso, Texas, (Las Cruces, NM)
6. Tulsa, Okla.
7. Knoxville, Tenn.
8. Huntsville – Decatur (Florence), Ala.
9. San Antonio, Texas
10. Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa), Ala.
Top Ten States with Flu Activity
Week beginning 2/23/2015
1. Oklahoma
2. Arkansas
3. Mississippi
4. Alabama
5. Louisiana
6. Texas
7. Tennessee
8. South Carolina
9. Kansas
10. Nebraska
Top Ten DMAs Flu Activity Gains
From week beginning 2/16/2015 to 2/23/2015
1. Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa), Ala
2. Chattanooga, Tenn.
3. Atlanta, Ga.
4. Paducah, KY – Cape Girardeau, MO- Harrisburg, Ill.
5. Green Bay – Appleton, Wis.
6. Colorado Springs – Pueblo, Colo.
7. Champaign, Springfield – Decatur, Ill.
8. Denver, Colo.
9. Greenville – Spartanburg – Anderson, SC; Asheville, N.C.
10. Dayton, Ohio
Top Ten State Flu Activity Gains
From week beginning 2/16/2015 to 2/23/2015
1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Colorado
4. Illinois
5. Mississippi
6. Ohio
7. Indiana
8. Michigan
9. Pennsylvania
10. Minnesota


The Walgreens Flu Index™ is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 20 retail locations.

The Flu Index™ is not intended to illustrate levels or severity of flu activity, but rather, illustrate which populations are experiencing the highest incidence of flu.

© Copyright Walgreen Co. 2015. All rights reserved

About Walgreens
Walgreens (, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, constitutes the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,229 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes,,, and Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.


Jim Cohn, (847) 315-2950
Kelli Hartsock, (312) 981-8553

Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah returned to the former Olympic Stadium to launch the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games

LONDON, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Double Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m Champion Mo Farah returned to the former Olympic Stadium to launch the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, which is due to take place in the iconic venue at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 24-26th July.

The world’s best athletes are set to head to the Park for the three-day athletics spectacular, including a two-day Diamond League meeting on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th July, with the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final taking place on Sunday 26th July.

Farah said: “It’s fantastic that the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games is planning to return to the former Olympic Stadium this summer and I can’t wait to get back on this track to compete, at what will be a stunning celebration of athletics.

“The atmosphere will be amazing and I’m sure it will bring back the memories of London 2012 and the inaugural Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in 2013.

“I hope the British public will be as excited as I am about this event, and will come out to support the athletes. I’m sure it will be the best outdoor meet this year and a great send off to the World Championships.”

Supporters are invited to register now for tickets which are planned to go on sale at the end of April. The Stadium is currently closed as work continues to transform it into the new national competition centre for British Athletics in 2016 and the permanent home of West Ham United FC. A major construction project is underway and on schedule for the stadium to host a number of world class sporting events later this year including the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games and five matches of the Rugby World Cup.

British Athletics have won the right to host athletics in the Stadium for one month every year for the next 50 years from 2016.

British Athletics Chief Executive, Niels de Vos said: “The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games this summer will mark the start of new athletics legacy at the former Olympic Stadium.

“For one month a year the Stadium will be the beating heart of athletics in this country and we want the nation to get excited about it and be part of it.

“As well as hosting the best international competitions in the world we need to create a two, three or four-week festival where that Stadium is buzzing with athletics and fans every day.”

Tara Hewitt, Head of Sponsorship at Sainsbury’s, said: “Seeing the likes of Mo Farah return to the Olympic Stadium for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games will be one of this year’s monumental sporting events. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun day out or a sporting enthusiast looking to see elite action, there will be something for everyone.”

Paralympic stars from all over the world are expected to compete on Sunday 26th July at the Stadium and the London Aquatics Centre, with many London 2012 Paralympic champions returning to the place where they won gold. The events will be part of National Paralympic Day, a celebration of the Paralympic movement and an opportunity for people in the UK to come together to relive the wonder of London 2012, and will also include the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “I am excited to announce that National Paralympic Day will be returning this year with elite sports competitions in both Swimming and Athletics, as well as lots of fun, family-friendly activity on the Park.

“Over 50,000 people have taken up the chance to come to the Park to be part National Paralympic Day over the past two years and relive the wonder of the London 2012 Paralympics. This year, tickets will be available to see an outstanding selection of world-class sport and fans will get to see our amazing athletes in action once more.”


Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah returned to the former Olympic Stadium to launch the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games

Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah returned to the former Olympic Stadium to launch the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games

Sainsbury’s supplier story: Charlie and the perfect steak (video)

LONDON, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — At Sainsbury’s we strive to build close relationships with farmers in our supply chain like Charlie, who are dedicated to working with us to produce some of the best tasting products.

Charlie joined us four years ago on our quest to find the perfect steak. Using the most efficient farming methods, Charlie has undertaken several farm trials to test our thinking and further our findings.

We’ve supported Charlie by providing him with improved farm technologies which have allowed him to record input and performance data accurately and easily. We’ve also employed specialist nutritionists and vets to ensure the data is interpreted correctly and that the cattle perform to their optimum potential.

We strongly value the farmers in our supply chain and the efforts they go to daily to ensure we have a consistent supply of cattle.

This is a short video to bring to life the work we’ve been doing with Charlie over the last couple of years to produce the best tasting steak for our customers.



Thousands of bags and accessories from over 80 brands at’s new shop now offers customers the perfect bag for every occasion through their new shop opened today. They can choose from thousands of bags and other accessories from no less than 80 brands, including handbags of every type but also luggage and backpacks as well as laptop, camera and diaper bags.

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — also provides inspiration with an overview of the latest trends, and an extensive search function that lets customers select by brand, price, material, bag type and style, among others, to find the right bag for their taste and budget. Customers can zoom in to see product photos more closely and read reviews from other users to help make a choice from the wide collection.

Customers can already choose from over 30,000 beauty and fashion items on, including makeup and perfume, jewelry, watches and sunglasses. By now adding bags and accessories, widens its lifestyle product range even further.

The collection will be expanded in the future with new brands and sales partners.’s bags and accessories store is directly accessible at: (in Dutch only)


Target: all online orders of $25 or more now qualify for free shipping

MINNEAPOLIS, 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) announced today that, effective immediately, all online orders of $25 or more now qualify for free shipping, with virtually no exclusions. The new minimum, decreased from $50, makes Target’s new free shipping threshold among the most compelling offers in online retailing.

“Lowering the free shipping threshold from $50 to $25 is one more way Target is putting guests first and making it easier for them to shop Target when and where they want,” said Jason Goldberger, president of and Mobile. “We saw an enthusiastic response to our free shipping offer over the holidays. Now, whether guests are stocking up or doing fill-in shopping, we’ve enhanced our year-round shipping offer to be one of the best in all of retail.”

Target’s new $25-minimum is just one of its free fulfillment options, including always-free in-store pickup for eligible products – with more than 80% of orders ready in one hour – and free shipping on virtually all online purchases when using a Target REDcard.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Target’s strong digital performance during the 2014 holiday season. set new sales records on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, while mobile accounted for 60 percent of traffic. Cartwheel, Target’s award-winning digital coupon app, also added 2 million new users. Cartwheel has surpassed $1 billion in promotional sales since it launched in 2013.

To support Target’s online sales growth, Target began shipping a portion of orders from select stores late last year. Early results have been positive, with shorter shipping times for guests and improved inventory management for Target. Additionally, this year Target plans to open two new online fulfillment centers – in Memphis, Tenn., and York, Penn., – to further enhance shipping for guests.

Complete details on Target’s shipping offer are available here.

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,790 stores and at Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, that giving equals more than $4 million a week. For more information, visit For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.

Dollar Tree, Inc. to participate in the Raymond James 36th Annual Institutional Investors Conference on March 2, 2015

CHESAPEAKE, Va., 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), North America’s leading operator of discount variety stores selling everything for $1 or less, today announced its participation in the Raymond James 36thAnnual Institutional Investors Conference on March 2, 2015. Bob Sasser, Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Wampler, Chief Financial Officer, and Randy Guiler, Vice President – Investor Relations, will attend this conference.

The Company’s 30-minute presentation will begin at 8:05 a.m. EST on March 2, 2015. A webcast of the presentation will be available on the Company’s website at, and an archive of the webcast will be accessible for seven days.

Dollar Tree, a Fortune 500 Company, operated 5,282 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of November 1, 2014. Stores operate under the brands of Dollar Tree, Dollar Tree Canada, and Deals. To learn more about the Company, visit

Dollar Tree, Inc.
Randy Guiler, 757-321-5284
Vice President, Investor Relations

Frozen food month during March at DeCA

FORT LEE, Va., 2015-2-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Great savings on frozen food items highlighted by specially decorated frozen food departments can mean only one thing for commissary shoppers. It’s March – frozen food month!

“Our customers love Frozen Food Month,” said Tracie Russ, DeCA’s sales director. “They have good reasons to stock up on frozen foods and other items because of the great prices and exciting promotions going on throughout their commissary.”

The annual NCAA basketball tournament is also bouncing around commissaries during March in the form of super savings and giveaways. It’s all made possible by DeCA’s industry partners – vendors, suppliers and brokers – offering discounts beyond everyday savings.

Overseas stores may have substitute events for certain promotional programs. Customers are asked to check their local commissary for details on dates and times for the following promotions:

  • Unilever presents Road to the Final Four specials March 19-April 8. Check out the International Section for exceptional discounts on Jose Ole, Tai Pei and Ling Ling entrees and appetizers. The entire line of VIP frozen fruit and vegetable items will be designated Commissary Value Brands.
  • ConAgra Foods presents “Real Food – Real Frozen Rewards!” From March 5 to April 8, a $5 coupon will be offered by purchasing $15 in frozen products from ConAgra Foods’ participating brands simply by scanning a copy of your receipt. For more information about this event, go to ConAgra Commissary Deals.
  • Sunkist soda and Mott’s participating brands are sponsoring the “March Madness Giveaway” from March 19 to April 8. Shoppers can enter to win a Sunkist basketball backboard valued at $200.
  • Kraft Foods Group is offering “Slam Dunk Savings” from March 5 to April 8. At stateside commissaries, Kraft will give away a full size basketball hoop and gift baskets full of Kraft products and coupons. There will also be a single service member contest where a PlayStation®4 will be given away. Overseas stores will have similar giveaways and coupons. Look for “Hoops n’ Hops” displays in your commissary.
  • General Mills “Salute to Savings” runs March 5-April 8 featuring in-store coupons in addition to online Commissary Rewards Card coupons and premium giveaways. Look for the red, white and blue General Mills displays in your local commissary.
  • “Breakfast. It’s Good for You” with Quaker & Tropicana. In support of National Nutrition Month, Quaker and Tropicana are offering in store coupons, nutritional recipes, and more specials online at This event is worldwide from March 5 to April 8.
  • Procter & Gamble presents its annual NFL ProCamps. From March 19 through April 8, commissaries stateside will compete for a 2-day football camp that provides instruction, games and challenges along with motivational talks from NFL players. These camps are geared for grades kindergarten through 8th grade. Stop by your commissary beginning March 19 and look for displays promoting this contest. The more participating P&G products purchased, the better the odds of your military community winning a ProCamp this summer. For more information, go to Exclusive Savings page and click on the Family Unit link after March 19.
  • Operation Inspiration. The Eckrich Mobile Sampling Tour features afternoon events (noon to 4 p.m.) providing high value coupons, samples of Eckrich Smoked Sausage and Nathan’s Hot Dogs, giveaways, and a gift-for-purchase offer. The following stores are included in the first part of this year-long program: MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. – March 1; Randolph Air Force Base, Texas – March 4; Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. – March 4; Fort Sam Houston, Texas – March 5; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas – March 6; Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. – March 6. Check with your local commissary for more event dates in March.

“There’s a lot going on at your commissary between Frozen Food Month and the NCAA basketball tournament,” Russ said. “Don’t miss these savings in March … It’s definitely worth the trip!”

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

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773