IKEA builds long-term partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world to break the cycle of poverty and give women in rural communities a brighter future

By empowering women the whole family and village benefits. IKEA is building long-term partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world, to break the cycle of poverty and give women in rural communities a brighter future. The latest result in store is the collection STADIGT, to be launched in selected countries March 2015.

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Since 2012 IKEA has been forming partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world. The social entrepreneurs IKEA works with gain access to a global marketplace, giving them a strong foundation for self-sufficiency and independence.

“These partnerships are a new way to make business where everyone wins. The social entrepreneurs gain access to a global marketplace and are able to provide the artisans with a job on their own terms, helping them stay in their village and at the same time provide for their families”, says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

The two social enterprises Rangsutra and Industree PT in India, use handicraft businesses to reduce poverty and to empower women by making them more financially independent. Many women in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka where Rangsutra and Industree PT operate are employed in vulnerable jobs which lack the protection of labor laws. Having an income gives women, and their children, in rural India new opportunities in life.

“For the most vulnerable members of society, earning an income opens up new opportunities. Women in rural communities often have little or no access to education, healthcare or a paid employment. Forming long-term partnerships with Rangsutra and Industree PT gives women in rural India a chance to independence and a better future”, says Vaishali Misra, Initiative Leader, IKEA of Sweden.

Through Rangsutra, around 600 women work with IKEA productions. Rangsutra gathers hundreds of artisans in small production cooperatives. By creating products using traditional handicraft techniques Rangsutra not only provides jobs but also helps to preserve an important part of the cultural heritage.

“Rangsutra is basically an attempt to generate sustainable livelihoods for rural artisans, building upon traditional skills they already had. By giving regular work, and income, to women they get a say in what the family decides. They also have some more money to spend on healthcare”, says Sumita Ghose, founder and Managing Director of Rangsutra.

About Rangsutra
Rangsutra creates livelihood for 3,500 artisans living in remote regions of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Around 600 women work with IKEA productions through Rangsutra. By creating products using traditional handicraft techniques, for example used in the STADIGT collection, Rangsutra not only provide jobs but helps to preserve an important part of the cultural heritage.

About Industree PT

Industree PT, founded in 1994, supports the livelihoods of thousands of rural producers and agricultural workers primarily in southern India. They work with self-help groups and co-operatives, where women are in majority, to provide an increased and sustainable income for their families. The production facilities are entirely run by the artisans and each employee is a shareholder in the company. The employees also put aside money as a group, and takes votes on how to best in invest them.

About IKEA Group

The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 28 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 40 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 14, IKEA Group had 716 million visitors to the stores and 1.5 billion visitors to IKEA.com. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit www.IKEA.com, facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA, http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/, www.youtube.com/IKEAUSA, www.theshare-space.com, www.theshare-space.com/en/Blog

Starbucks UK announces the 1000th graduate of its apprenticeship programme

LONDON, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — As National Apprenticeship Week begins, Starbucks UK is announcing the 1000th graduate of its apprenticeship programme that recruits, trains and retains young talent for the business.

Almost half of Starbucks partners are under the age of 24, an age group facing the most significant challenges around employment. Starbucks Apprenticeships, launched in the UK in the Spring of 2012, offer young people an opportunity to learn about a retail management career and to build the transferable skills needed to further their individual goals.

“We are proud of our apprenticeship programme, the first of its kind for Starbucks globally,” said Lisa Robbins, director of Partner Resources for Starbucks UK. “With 21 graduated apprentices now store managers, and 57 shift supervisors, it proves to us that apprenticeships for young people are a genuine alternative to academic study and are a real path to a retail career. We are passionate about the true potential for apprenticeships and want to bust the myth that a vocational route is not as credible as pursuing higher education.”

Robbins said the Starbucks team is “delighted to reach its two-year apprenticeship commitment, but they won’t be slowing down.” Starbucks UK plans to offer up to 450 Level 2 apprenticeships this year. Level 2 is a 12-month program that trains apprentices in artisan and customer service skills. In addition, 80 Level 3 apprenticeships will be offered. Level 3 is an advanced apprenticeship in leadership and management.

“I thought I wanted to go to university but it’s very expensive. A friend of mine was doing an apprenticeship at Starbucks and so I looked into it,” said Koey Huckerby, a Starbucks apprentice at Westfield.  “The prospect of working, gaining experience, and getting paid the same as other baristas while achieving a qualification really appealed to me.”

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, running from March 9th – 15th, Starbucks UK will be offering buy one, get one free on all handcrafted drinks for apprentices with NUS apprentice extra cards.

About Starbucks Apprenticeships in the UK
Applications for Starbucks Apprenticeships can be made through notgoingtouni.com and apprenticeshipvacancy

The Starbucks Apprenticeship offers two levels of apprenticeships to enable career progression, each taking 12 months to complete. The first year of the programme sees apprentices gain an NVQ Level 2 in Barista Mastery and Customer Service – equivalent to 5 A-C GCSEs; whilst the second offers an NVQ Level 3 in Leadership and Management – equivalent to two A-Levels.

For more information on this news release, contact Clare Salter.

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Starbucks UK announces the 1000th graduate of its apprenticeship programme

Starbucks UK announces the 1000th graduate of its apprenticeship programme

Starbucks barista lands on preeminent list of bestselling books in the U.S.

SEATTLE, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Seven years after writing a book about dogs, a Starbucks barista landed on preeminent list of bestselling books in the U.S.

The New York Times expanded its number of bestselling book categories to include monthly selections on 12 specialized topics such education, fitness, and animals.

“I remember thinking I wish they would have had that list a few years ago because I’ve written several books about dogs, and maybe one of them could have received the ultimate recognition,” said Ken Foster, a Starbucks partner (employee) in New Orleans. “The timing didn’t seem to work out and I didn’t think I’d fulfill my childhood goal of becoming a New York Times bestselling author.”

That dream carried Foster to grad school in New York for a master’s degree in writing and to countless coffee shops in the Big Apple where he practiced his craft. Writers are generally solitary creatures. Although they work alone, they do like being around people. Years before he became a barista, Foster found the perfect writing environment in a Starbucks.

“There’s a positive pressure when you’re writing, surrounded by a mix of people. Lifting my head from my laptop from time to time I’d look around the coffee shop. Some of the characters in short stories were inspired by other customers,” he said. “Maybe writers enjoy coffee shops because everyone there is on their way to or from somewhere. They’re in the middle of their own story.

A deeper meaning to writing about dogs

With a passion for coffee and the Starbucks® store environment, Foster donned a green apron in May of 2014. He joined Starbucks for the company’s benefits and flexible scheduling. Foster also volunteers in New Orleans with a nonprofit he started, The Sula Foundation, which provides low-cost services for dogs, particularly pit bulls.

His most popular published books are “The Dogs Who Found Me,” “Dogs I’ve Met,” and “I’m a Good Dog.” That’s a lot of books from someone who wasn’t a dog owner initially. During a writing assignment in Costa Rica, Foster found companionship with a mutt that lived on a farm where he was staying. When he returned to New York he had trouble writing without a dog around. He adopted a pit bull from an online database of homeless animals, and later found himself sheltering and finding homes for many other dogs.

There’s a deeper meaning to Foster’s work writing about dogs. The former New Yorker describes in his memoir how animals helped him cope with the 9/11 tragedy, and with Hurricane Katrina after he moved to Louisiana.

“When I write about dogs, I’m always also writing about people.  Dogs are fascinating as a subject because they really do cross into all aspects of our lives and all cultures.  Particularly when we live in urban environments, they keep us connected to nature and the world around us—they help pull us out of our own problems,” said Foster. “Dogs may be more naturally social creatures than people are, so they make a great example to follow.”

Landing on the list

Last October, as he was heading to bed before an opening shift at Starbucks, Foster glanced at The New York Times monthly bestsellers list of animal books.

“There, at number five on the list was…me,” he said.

His book, “Dogs I Have Met and the People They Found,” made the list seven years after it was published because Amazon promoted an eBook edition of his work as a deal of the day for under $2.  To his credit, Foster’s book remained on the list even after the price went back up to just under 10 bucks.

The book is a compilation of true stories about “karmic canine rescues” that demonstrate the power of stray dogs to enrich the lives of people who open their homes to the animals.

After posting about his achievement on Facebook, Foster said he went back to check he wasn’t imagining what he saw. Thinking, “It couldn’t be real.”

“What did I do after I found out my book was on The New York Times bestseller list? I went to bed early so I could be at Starbucks for work early the next morning. Maybe that’ll change one day if I have a book that’s a bigger success, but for now I’m happy to be involved with two things I love – coffee and writing.”

Foster is working on a book about a different kind of animal, a deer, and a family in Michigan who has raised it to be a pet.

This is Ken Foster’s Starbucks story. What’s yours? Starbucks partners and customers, share your story newstips@starbucks.com

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

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Starbucks barista lands on preeminent list of bestselling books in the U.S.

Starbucks barista lands on preeminent list of bestselling books in the U.S.

Ahold updates stakeholders on the progress it made during the year on its Responsible Retailing Report 2014

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today published its Responsible Retailing Report 2014, updating stakeholders on the progress it has made during the year on its five priority areas – healthy living, community well-being, our people, responsible products and care for the environment. Responsible Retailing is one of the six strategic pillars supporting Ahold’s ambition to grow as part of its Reshaping Retail framework.

The report offers stories from across Ahold’s businesses about how associates are working towards the company’s current 2015 targets.

Ahold CEO Dick Boer said: “We want to bring our customers great value, high quality and affordable fresh products, and to do so in a responsible way. We cannot do this in isolation and will continue to work closely with our partners and stakeholders. I am very pleased with the progress in this area we are reporting today.”

Herewith some key highlights of Ahold’s 2014 accomplishments:

Healthy living

  • Healthy products accounted for 24.4% of total food sales at Ahold.
  • Ahold increased its assortment of products with a healthy-choice logo or shelf tag by over 500, to a total of 9,341.
  • Ahold USA piloted a new fresh produce department, offering local, exotic and organic fruits and vegetables and ready-to-eat products, and supported by specially trained associates. It will be rolled out to additional stores in 2015.

Community well-being

  • With programs in the U.S., the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Ahold continued to support food banks through direct donations and food collection drives coordinated from its stores.
  • Ahold’s health education programs reached over 720,000 kids in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Ahold USA was awarded Progressive Grocer’s prestigious 2014 Retailer of the Year award in recognition of its community support.

Our people

  • 1 out 10 associates took part in healthy living programs around the globe.
  • 40 Albert Heijn stores in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, offered free homework tuition classes to help part-time associates who also attend school, the program is now being rolled out to other cities.
  • Albert stores in Czech Republic rolled out its “Favorite” program to 70 stores, helping associates to engage better with customers to become the favorite supermarket in town.

Responsible products

  • 83% of Ahold’s own-brand coffee was sourced according to accepted industry certification standards.
  • 97% of Ahold’s own-brand food suppliers in Europe had been certified against Global Food Safety Initiative recognized standards, compared to 94% of own-brand food sales in the U.S.
  • In the U.S, the company’s supermarkets were the first in the country to introduce own-brand UTZ certified sustainable chocolate bars, following Albert Heijn’s initiatives.

Care for the environment

  • Ahold achieved 18.5% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to 2008, by switching to LED lighting, eco-friendly refrigerants and natural gas delivery trucks.
  • The Ahold USA divisions succeeded in cutting back the number of disposable bags distributed in their stores by 547 million since 2011, as part of their Billion Bag Reduction Program.
  • “Young Ahold Best Idea” winners opened Instock restaurant in Amsterdam, tackling food waste.

As the current five-year targets under the Responsible Retailing strategy expire at the end of 2015, Ahold is currently finalizing new ambitions for 2020, which will be shared in the second half of the year.

Read more in the Responsible Retailing Report 2014.

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements as to Ahold’s current 2015 targets in its five responsible retailing priority areas. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by law. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

Ahold commenced the €500 million share buyback program announced on February 26, 2015

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today commenced the €500 million share buyback program announced on February 26, 2015 and expected to be finalized within 12 months.

The purpose of the share buyback program is to return value to shareholders. The program will be executed by intermediaries allowing the execution of share repurchases in the open market during open and closed periods.

The program will be executed within the limitations of the existing authority granted at Ahold’s 2014 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders and, if granted, the authority proposed to shareholders at Ahold’s 2015 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on April 15, 2015.

Ahold may cancel all or part of the common shares acquired through the program. Ahold will provide updates on the progress of the program by means of weekly press releases.

Cautionary notice

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, the execution and duration of the share buyback program and the use of treasury shares, for employee share-based compensation and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, as mostly detailed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Ahold does not undertake any obligation to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, also presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or “Ahold”.

Haggen opens the first of 20 stores in Oregon it plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015

Regional grocery chain takes ownership of first acquired store in Oregon at 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 20 

Bellingham, Wash., 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — West Coast regional grocery chain Haggen will take ownership of the Albertsons store at 16199 Boones Ferry Road in Lake Oswego, at 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 20. The new Haggen is scheduled to open its doors to Lake Oswego shoppers at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.  The store is the first of 20 stores in Oregon it plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015.

Once the acquisition is completed, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. The 26 Washington store conversions began in mid-February, and 83 California store conversions will begin in mid-March. The Nevada and Arizona stores will be the last to convert in the late spring. Each week, between one and 12 stores will be converted.

John Clougher, Haggen CEO Pacific Northwest, said, “We’re excited about the changes we’re making to enhance these stores, and we’re confident customers will like the new look, the new offerings, and their new full-service grocery destination.”

Haggen will take ownership and convert the 20 stores across Oregon in March, April, May and June, based on the following tentative sequence and schedule:

March

  • Lake Oswego (16199 Boones Ferry Road; former Albertsons)
  • West Linn (1855 Blankenship Road; former Albertsons)
  • Milwaukie (10830 SE Oak; former Albertsons)
  • Beaverton (8155 SW Hall; former Albertsons)
  • Tigard (14300 SW Barrows Road; former Albertsons)
  • Tigard (16200 SW Pacific Hwy; former Albertsons)
  • Clackamas (14800 SE Sunnyside Road; former Albertsons)
  • Sherwood (16030 SW Tualatin Sherwood Road; former Albertsons)
  • Springfield (5415 Main Street; former Safeway)

April

  • Keizer (5450 River Road N; former Albertsons)
  • Eugene (3075 Hilyard Street; former Albertsons)
  • Eugene (1675 W 18th Avenue; former Albertsons)
  • Grants Pass (1690 Allen Creek Road; former Albertsons)
  • Klamath Falls (211 North Eighth Street; former Safeway)
  • Klamath Falls (2740 S 6th; former Safeway)
  • Grants Pass (340 NE Beacon Drive; former Albertsons)
  • Ashland (585 Siskiyou Boulevard; former Safeway)

May

  • Bend (61155 S Hwy 97; former Albertsons)
  • Bend (1800 NE 3rd Street; former Albertsons)

June

  • Baker City (1120 Campbell Street; former Albertsons)

NOTE: The conversion schedule is subject to change.

The conversion schedule for each store will follow a similar timeline. The Safeway or Albertsons store will close down at 6 pm. Haggen will take ownership of the store just after midnight and begin the conversion. Both interior and exterior signage will change at all locations and every store interior will receive a fresh coat of paint.  Then about two days after the closure, the store opens as Haggen.

Clougher noted that the store offering will also change. “Haggen has built its 81-year-old business on providing excellent, locally sourced, fresh produce and high quality meats and seafood. That focus will definitely be reflected in the new stores.”

Opportunity for Communities to Meet Haggen Leaders

Haggen’s commitment to being local extends beyond its sourcing and into the communities around its stores. To get to know its neighbors and these neighborhoods better, Haggen is inviting community members that are interested in partnering with the brand to meet with company leaders soon after the conversions of the acquired stores. At these informal, public meetings, local farmers and producers can discuss selling their wares on Haggen’s shelves, non-profit organizations can learn about Haggen’s community giving, and small businesses can explore co-marketing programs.

“We hope community members will join us for a fun evening to learn about how we can work together to strengthen our community,” said Clougher.

Additionally, with each grand opening, Haggen plans to partner with five local non-profits, donating $1,000 to a single organization on the first day the store opens and 2% of daily sales to four additional organizations on four consecutive Saturdays.

Clougher said, “We have a long history of giving back to the communities we serve. We want to demonstrate that commitment as soon as we open our doors.”  

About Haggen
Founded in 1933 in Bellingham, Washington, Haggen has built its business on providing guests the freshest and most local products with genuine service, while supporting the communities it serves. The company currently operates stores in Washington and Oregon, and is in the process of acquiring an additional 146 stores. With this acquisition, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. Throughout its eight decades in business, the company has supported regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses, creating a lasting and sustainable local food economy. The company remains focused on building local, sustainable food economies as it expands. For more information about what’s happening at Haggen, visit haggen.com.

Media Contact
Deborah Pleva
deb@weinsteinpr.com
(503) 250-4750

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Haggen opens the first of 20 stores in Oregon it plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015

Haggen opens the first of 20 stores in Oregon it plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015

7-Eleven rewards customers with free beverage for every six cups purchased with the launch of 7Rewards on its mobile app

‘Buy 6-Get 7th Free’ Includes Coffee, Big Gulp®, Slurpee®, Chillers® Drinks

DALLAS, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — 7‑Eleven, Inc. wants its customers to drink up … because the more often they do, the more FREE coffee, Big Gulp®, Slurpee® and Chillers® drinks they’ll earn. Just launched on the 7‑Eleven® mobile app is 7Rewards, an expanded customer loyalty platform that rewards customers with a free beverage for every six cups purchased.

Best of all, 7Rewards counts every 7‑Eleven beverage – hot or cold – served in a 7‑Eleven cup toward the seventh free. That means any six cups – any size and any drink – whether it’s a large Chillers Iced Coffee or a small Slurpee drink.

“7‑Eleven is a beverage destination for millions of Americans, with over 60 percent of our customers including a beverage with each purchase,” said Laura Gordon, 7‑Eleven vice president of marketing and brand innovation. “We know that millennials like to have plenty of choices and, hands down, 7Rewards offers more beverage variety than any other rewards program.”

To participate in the new 7Rewards program, customers must use 7‑Eleven’s mobile app, available in the iTunes App Store or Google Play, and register as a member. In anticipation of 7Rewards, 7‑Eleven updated its app to move the member’s scannable barcode and digital punch card to the home screen for easier use.

Every time a customer purchases a cup, the cashier will scan the barcode in the app, and a “punch” will automatically appear within the app. Each purchase earns a punch that shows up as a star icon in the app. After receiving six punches, or stars, a “You earned a free cup” notification appears in the app. The punchcard process starts over once the free beverage is redeemed. Links to Facebook and Twitter on the app’s home screen let the user tell their friends about their rewards.

“We have customers who come in every morning, like clockwork, for a fresh-brewed cup of 7‑Eleven coffee, while others regularly treat themselves to a Slurpee or Big Gulp drink,” Gordon said. “If you come in every day, scan your 7Rewards app barcode, you can get one free drink a week or even more, and that’s our way of saying ‘thanks’ to our customers and letting them get more of what they want at 7‑Eleven.”

Coffee was 7‑Eleven stores’ first venture into serve-yourself beverages. The retailer was also the first to introduce self-serve soft drink fountains and is the exclusive retailer of the iconic, thirst-quenching Slurpee beverage.

7 REASONS WHY 7REWARDS IS THE BEST WAY TO EARN FREE DRINKS

  1. Buy 6-Get 7. Only six cups to get one free … not 10, not 12, not 711.
  2. Any cup, any drink. Mix and match your favorite 7‑Eleven drinks – all of them. Like Coffee-Slurpee-Big Gulp-Chillers Iced Coffee-Slurpee-Slurpee … 7th drink FREE! Or Coffee-Coffee-Coffee-Coffee-Coffee-Coffee … 7th drink FREE!
  3. Any cup, any size. Mix and match cup sizes too, no restrictions. Like Small-Small-Small-Small-Small-Super Big Gulp … 7th drink FREE!
  4. Every cup counts. Not one per shopping trip or one per day. Coffee in the morning, Big Gulp at lunch, Slurpee after school, a Chiller later on – all count. Buy six cups at once and the next time, it’s free. Heck, bring seven drinks to the register at one time and the seventh one is on the house.
  5. Refills count too. Have a refillable coffee or Slurpee mug? Each refill counts as one punch.
  6. That free drink? Also any cup, any size, any drink. So what if you bought six small Slurpee drinks. That seventh free cup can be an extra-large coffee or the biggest of Big Gulps. And if you have earned a free beverage and check out with both a small cup and a big cup, the free one will be the one with the greatest value.
  7. It’s easy. The 7‑Eleven smartphone app does all the work. When the 7‑Eleven cashier scans the member’s 7Rewards barcode in the 7‑Eleven app for each cup purchased, it tabulates the number of cups toward the free one and notifies when a 7Rewards drink is earned. The number of cups – and 7Rewards – adds up fast.

About 7‑Eleven, Inc.
7‑Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7‑Eleven operates, franchises or licenses some 10,500 7‑Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 55,000 7‑Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2013, 7‑Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.5 billion. 7‑Eleven has been honored by a number of companies, organizations and publications. Recent accolades include: Entrepreneur magazine ranked 7‑Eleven as #1 on its 2014 Global Franchise Rankings list and #10 on its “Top 10 Franchises” for 2015, #2 on Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies for 2013; and #3 in Forbes magazine’s 2012 Top 20 Franchises to Start list. 7‑Eleven is No. 3 on Fast Company magazine’s 2013 list of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail,” among the Top Veteran-Friendly Companies for 2013 by U.S. Veterans Magazine and on GI Jobs magazine’s Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014. 7‑Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at www.7‑Eleven.com.

Contact:
Margaret Chabris
7‑Eleven, Inc.
972-828-7285
margaret.chabris@7-11.com

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7-Eleven rewards customers with free beverage for every six cups purchased with the launch of 7Rewards on its mobile app

7-Eleven rewards customers with free beverage for every six cups purchased with the launch of 7Rewards on its mobile app

Whole Foods Market earns spot on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 consecutive years

AUSTIN, Texas, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) has once again earned a spot on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Whole Foods Market has made the list for 18 consecutive years.

America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™ ranked No. 55 on this year’s list, and is one of just 12 companies to make the list every year since its inception in 1998. Of those 12 companies, Whole Foods Market is noted as the top job creator, with a 784 percent increase in number of employees since the list began.

“This award is a credit to the tens of thousands of Whole Foods Market team members that bring our brand to life every day in our stores,” said Mark Ehrnstein, global vice president of Team Member Services. “Our strong culture contributes to low turnover and high morale, which helps create that great grocery shopping experience unique to our business.  We’re particularly proud that we’ve been able to maintain our strong culture while our business continues to grow, adding new stores and hundreds of team members every month.”

FORTUNE cited Whole Foods Market’s mission-driven culture and dedication to a higher purpose as a key differentiator, as well as employee perks like store discounts and healthy lifestyle programs. Whole Foods Market ranked fifth overall among retailers, seventh among other companies headquartered in Texas and 17th overall for diversity. It is the only company headquartered in Austin, Texas, to make this year’s list.

Last week, Whole Foods Market once again earned a spot on FORTUNE’s “Most Admired Companies” list, and was also named as the most reputable company in the food and drug store industry.

Whole Foods Market has earned a number of best workplace honors over the past year:

Austin American-Statesman Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 13 for large companies
The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 10 for large-sized companies
Boston Globe Top Places to Work 2014 – No. 20 for large companies
Dallas Morning News Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 14 for large companies
Denver Post Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 16 for large companies
Hartford Courant and FOXCT Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 1 for large companies
Houston Chronicle Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 9 for large companies
Indianapolis Star Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 13 for midsize companies
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 35 for midsize companies
Oklahoman Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 5 for large companies
Philly.com Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 2 for large companies
Star Tribune Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 19 for large companies
Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces 2014
Tennessean Top Workplaces 2014 – No. 5 for large companies

The “100 Best Companies to Work For” list and related stories appear in the next issue of FORTUNE, which will be available on newsstands on Mar. 9 and at www.fortune.com.

Whole Foods Market is always looking for great people who are passionate about food, the communities they live in and making a positive impact on the environment. Those interested in a career at Whole Foods Market are encouraged to visit the Company’s Careers page at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wholefoodsmarketcareers.

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Whole Foods Market earns spot on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 consecutive years

Whole Foods Market earns spot on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 consecutive years

Giant Food of Landover, Md. and the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore kicked off their 5th annual in-store giving campaign to support military families

Organizations Partner for a Fifth Year Supporting Military Families

Landover, Md., 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, Giant Food of Landover, Md. and the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore kicked off their fifth annual in-store giving campaign to support members of the military and their families. Throughout the month of March, all 169 Giant stores will sell CareOne Care Packages for service members and their families, and customers will also have the opportunity to donate $1 at the register to help support USO-Metro programs.

The CareOne Packages will contain a Giant brand nutrition bar, pretzel bar, drink sticks, fruit snacks, bottled water, and CareOne hand sanitizer. This year, Giant will also provide stickers on which customers can personalize the packages with their names to let recipients know who donated their snack packs.

“Last year, our March giving campaign resulted in a donation of $100,000 to the USO and 17,000 care packages for military service members and their families,” said Jamie Miller, Manager of Public and Community Relations for Giant Food of Landover, Md. “We are proud to continue our support for service members, as well as our partnership with USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore—a true leader in our community. This year, we are aiming to surpass this goal, with help from our customers.”

“All of us at USO-Metro are so touched by the amazing support of Giant and their employees,” said Elaine Rogers, President and CEO of the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore. “Giant’s CareOne Packages are a huge hit, especially among the thousands of traveling troops who take refuge at our USO Airport Lounges when their flights are delayed due to bad weather like we’ve experienced this week. These amazing healthy snack packs clearly demonstrate the enormous support of the American people and companies including Giant for our nation’s troops and their families.”

At the end of the campaign, USO-Metro will distribute Snack Packs to service members and their families across the Mid-Atlantic region.

About Giant Food
Giant Food LLC, headquartered in Landover, Md., operates 169 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 20,000 associates. Included within the 169 stores are 159 full-service pharmacies. Giant opened the first supermarket in the nation’s capital on February 6, 1936. Giving back to the community is a cornerstone that was instilled by the founders more than 79 years ago. The company’s core areas of giving include hunger, education, health and wellness, and supporting service members and military families. In 2013, Giant’s monetary and in-kind contributions exceeded $13 million, and the nation’s capital grocer helped partners provide 64.6 million meals. For more information on Giant, visit www.giantfood.com.

About USO of Metropolitan Washington
USO-Metro is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress, and dedicated to “Serving those who serve, and their families” in Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. It is through the generous financial support of individuals and organizations in the local community that USO-Metro is able to fulfill its mission. With the help of nearly 5,000 devoted volunteers, USO-Metro provides programs and services for active duty troops and their families at area military hospitals; through its Mobile USO program; at five USO Centers, four USO airport lounges and through Operation USO Care Package. For more information please visit www.usometro.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Giant Food: Jamie Miller
(301) 341-8776; jmiller@giantfood.com
USO of Metropolitan Washington: Michelle Shortencarrier
(703) 696-4839; michelle@usometro.org

New Zealand: New World Browns Bay to open on Tuesday 17 March at 8.15am

The team at New World Browns Bay are completing the finishing touches, as the eagerly anticipated replacement supermarket gets ready to open on Tuesday 17 March at 8.15am.

Auckland, New Zealand, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — “We are thrilled to bring a brand new New World offering to Browns Bay,” says Angela Bull, Foodstuffs North Island General Manager, Property Development. “We have been part of the Browns Bay community for 43 years and have had incredible support and interest right from when our plans to build a replacement store were first announced. We are so excited to be able to open the doors to the 2,610sqm modern New World for our customers to enjoy. With 81 car parks, and access from both Anzac and Inverness Roads, the supermarket will allow our customers to do all their fresh food and grocery shopping in a modern and convenient environment.”

Garry Christini, owner-operator of New World Browns Bay is looking forward to opening the new supermarket.

“I can’t wait to open the doors to our new store and bring Browns Bay a brand new New World experience; giving our customers better supermarket choice and competition. I’ve loved getting to know the Browns Bay community through the Bute Road store and this is a great investment in the community. The store looks fantastic, with plenty of car parking and easy access. We’ll have plenty of natural light, with wide aisles, a greater range of fresh food and grocery products, and all the great prices and personal service our customers enjoy while shopping at New World,” says Christini.

The new supermarket will employ 130 staff, creating 70 new jobs in the community.

The supermarket, located at 21-23 Anzac Road in Browns Bay, will be officially opened on Tuesday 17 March 2015 at 8.15am by the Hon Murray McCully, MP for East Coast Bays. Members of the public are welcome to attend the opening and be amongst the first people to shop at New World Browns Bay.

CONTACT DETAILS
Foodstuffs North Island Support Centre (Auckland)
Address:
60 Roma Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland 1041
PO Box 27-480, Mt Roskill, Auckland 1440
DX Box CX 15021, Mt Roskill, Auckland 1440
Phone: +64 9 621 0600
Fax: +64 9 621 0601