Ten military veterans compete for the opportunity to own 7‑Eleven® franchise without paying the franchise fee

Contestants’ videos on 7‑Eleven Facebook; Final Three to be Interviewed by Company’s CEO

DALLAS, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — And now there are 10. Ten military veterans or those soon to leave the U.S. Armed Forces are competing for the public’s favor and the opportunity to own a7‑Eleven® franchise without the expense of a franchise fee. The Facebook video competition for the semi-finalists in 7‑Eleven’s Operation: Take Command franchise giveaway starts today and runs through March 29.

Collectively representing all branches of military service, the 10 semi-finalists were selected from more than 1,700 applications received by 7‑Eleven between Veterans Day last November and Jan. 25. One especially qualified and talented military veteran will win a 7‑Eleven store. But now, it is up to the voting public to narrow the field.

As part of 7‑Eleven’s contest to win a franchise, the nine men and one woman have posted their “Why I Should Win Operation: Take Command” videos on 7‑Eleven’s Facebook page. To view the videos and vote, go tohttps://www.facebook.com/7ElevenFranchising  and click on OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND.

7‑Eleven is asking the public to choose the video and personal story they like the best, which will determine the top three contenders. These three finalists will then have one-on-one interviews with 7‑Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto, who himself is former military. DePinto will announce the winner of the contest in May.

Facebook voting runs from March 16-29.

To make the voting even more impactful, 7‑Eleven offers to contribute $1 for every vote cast, up to $50,000, to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that works with transitioning service members, veterans and spouses from military service into civilian success .To learn more about the organization, visit www.hireheroesusa.org.

“We have been amazed at the huge interest and outstanding quality of those who have applied for a franchise fee-free 7‑Eleven store in our Operation: Take Command contest,” said Greg Franks, 7‑Eleven vice president of franchise systems. “Choosing a winner will be tough because of the high caliber of these 10 individuals and we are counting on the public to make the decision on who advances to the final round.”

The winner will receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company’s 7‑Eleven convenience stores available in the continental U.S. at the contest’s culmination.

So who are these 10 people? Where are they and what motivates them to compete for a 7‑Eleven franchise?  Alphabetically, they are:

Mark Boussy from San Antonio, Texas – Boussy says it’s time to settle in San Antonio with his wife and three children. The military college graduate and battalion commander states he is trained in world-class customer service and hopes the next time video viewers see him he’ll be in a 7‑Eleven store running one of its franchises.

Stephen Darlow of Hampton, Va. –Darlow grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. He learned the importance of customer service and loved training others, having been the son and grandson of franchise business operators. A former air crewman and police officer, the Navy veteran is working toward his bachelor’s degree and ready to “take command” of his own future.

Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va. — Gautam served in the U.S. Army for 4 ½ years. When he came to the U.S., the Nepal native’s first job was with a 7‑Eleven store in northern California. His goals include mentoring others and providing financial support to assist veterans.

Robert Kemna from Miami, Fla. — A former Army captain, Kemna says it’s time to pass on what he has learned and stand up for his future. He lists his qualifications as being a talented hard worker with commitment and leadership skills.

Raymond Kempisty of Laurel, Md. — Kempisty, having achieved the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, comes from a family with a broad, strong military heritage. He’s ready to start a new family tradition of owning a 7‑Eleven franchise. Perched on a mechanical bull in his video and referring to his next phase of life, Kempisty says he’s “ready for the ride.”

Mark Page of Granbury, Texas – Page has served in both active and reserve duty with the Navy and has traveled a great deal in his current profession. He believes a 7‑Eleven franchise is just the ticket to be closer to home and family. He boasts that his strengths are being a proud veteran and loving family man with a passion to lead. His video is styled like a mini-movie, complete with closings credits and “Coming Spring 2015” teaser.

Justin Price from Charlotte, N.C. — Price also has a military-family heritage. His experience includes serving as an Army infantry leader and in supply chain optimization. He’s proud of his sales and leadership qualities. Price’s video shows him campaigning to win the store by showing his desire to help others advance and to work with youth organizations.

Maximiliano Powell from Woodbridge, Va. – Powell tells of his work ethic, at one time holding down two to three jobs while raising three kids by himself. He enjoys helping people and currently serves as a nurse. Having spent 12 years in the Army, he describes himself as a person of values, compassion and integrity possessing a “go-getter” attitude.

Vaughn Sullenberger of Virginia Beach, Va.. – Sullenberger is a Navy veteran with banking experience having managed 17 branches. He used the GI bill to support him during years of study to obtain a bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees. His dream is to partner with a successful company.  Should he win, his wife wants to dedicate the store to her father who once worked with 7‑Eleven.

Karen Woznicki of Grand Blanc, Mich. – Woznicki served two years in the Army where she learned that through great training and leadership, one can accomplish anything. She knows her way around convenience stores having successfully turned around many an operation over the years. Her video includes entertainment – she sings a song about 7‑Eleven, set to the tune of Tiny Bubbles.

To qualify for the contest, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, an honorably discharged veteran, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants went through the same qualification process as all 7‑Eleven franchise applicants including interviews, credit evaluation, a leadership test, preparing a business plan and budget.

To vote, Facebook member can go to 7‑Eleven’s Franchise Facebook page, click on theOperation: Take Command tab and “Like” the page. Anyone can vote and vote more than once – but only one time per day per Facebook account for as many days as they like through March 29.

7‑Eleven has been recognized by veterans’ organizations and publications for its military-friendly business opportunities, hiring practices and philanthropic support for military families. Military veterans serve in every level of the company from store sales associates to headquarters personnel.  The retailer also has supported military assistance organizations including Hire Heroes USA, the USO, Reserve Aid, Warrior Gateway and Operation Mend.

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 nearly 10,500 7‑Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 55,100 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 and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies for 2013; #1 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2014 Top Global Franchise list; #10 spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2015, and #3 in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 Franchises to Start. 7‑Eleven is No. 3 on Fast Company magazine’s 2013 list of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail.” 7‑Eleven places among Top Veteran-Friendly Companies for 2014 by U.S. Veterans Magazine and is among GI Jobs magazine’s Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014. Hispanic Magazine named 7‑Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 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

Sainsbury’s Q4 CSR Update: Commitment to sourcing with integrity reinforced through Dairy Development Group Cost of Production model

LONDON, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Commitment to sourcing with integrity reinforced through Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group Cost of Production model

  • Announced on Red Nose Day that our customers, colleagues and suppliers helped to raise £11.5 million for Comic Relief, with further funds still due to be collected.
  • Almost 400 own-brand products made with segregated certified sustainable palm oil. 95% of the palm oil used to make our own-brand products is now certified sustainable.
  • Donating £12,276 to the Forest Stewardship Council UK through the recycling of 88 tonnes of Christmas cards collected from our customers this year.
  • Recognised by Prime Minister David Cameron with a Big Society Award for our Active Kids scheme which encourages children to live healthier and more active lifestyles.
  • 23,900 colleagues have now been helped into work through our You Can programme, working with partners such as Mencap and Remploy.

Mike Coupe, Chief Executive, said: “This January, British dairy farmers were once again in the spot light, as the media highlighted the challenges they face due to declining milk prices.

I am proud to say that our Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group farmers are paid through a Cost of Production model, which the majority of the Group voted for nearly three years ago. The price they are paid is reviewed every three months based on the main input costs from their farms, which are feed, fuel and fertiliser. The farmers are not only protected against some of the most volatile market prices, they are rewarded for outstanding animal welfare and environmental standards. Data is collected by independent consultants on each farm and these results are presented back to the farmer through a scorecard which identifies areas for improvement and how to implement these. Some have achieved higher yields per cow through more efficient use of feed, or by managing their fertiliser and manure applications differently.

We and the farmers in the Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group benefit from a longer term relationship which enables both of us to have the confidence to invest in the future of British farming.

The Dairy Group was the first of our Farmer and Grower groups to be established back in 2007, since then we have worked with farmers that stretch the whole of the British Isles to set up a further nine groups spanning from eggs and cheese through to chicken and veal.”

Other highlights form the quarter include:
1. Best for food and health

  • Active Kids: To mark the launch of the 2015 Voucher Collection programme, ambassadorsDaniel Sturridge and Ellie Simmonds visited an Active Kids school to cook up a healthy meal for a PE class. We also partnered with The Beano for a storyline featuring Dennis The Menace and the Bash Street Kids, to highlight the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle in a fun way.
  • Healthier baskets: In January we broadened our range of My Goodness! products in our lunchtime offer to include sandwiches. We also launched a three week ‘healthier swap’ campaign on our groceries online site to encourage customers to swap to a healthier product, which removed more than 1.5 million calories from our customers’ baskets.
    Our spring ‘Love Your Freezer’ campaign encouraged people to use frozen ingredients to create quick, tasty and nutritious family meals, with a focus on using  fish, fruit and vegetables.
  • Product reformulation: As part of our commitment to reduce salt in our own-brand products, we reformulated our instant noodle range, removing 1.2 tonnes of salt annually, whilst expanding the range to include healthier, vegetable-rich lunch options, including pasta pots, grain pots and rice noodle pots.

2. Sourcing with integrity

  • Certified sustainable palm oil: We have almost 400 own-brand products that are made with segregated certified sustainable palm oil, ranging from steak and kidney pie through to hand soap. We are also the first major UK retailer to launch a washing up liquid made using palm oil from a mass balance certified sustainable source. 95% of the palm oil used to make our own-brand products is now certified sustainable.
  • Fairtrade Fortnight: As the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade products, we supported the Fairtrade Foundation in celebrating their 20 year anniversary. This included featuring in a press advert, as well as tweeting throughout the campaign to highlight how Fairtrade supports farmers and workers to build a better future. In the build up to Fairtrade Fortnight we sold over 84,000 bunches of Fairtrade roses during the week of Valentine’s Day.
  • British milk: Following a majority vote in 2012, our Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group (SDDG) farmers benefit from a cost of production model. This sets a price that directly reflects their costs on the farm, builds in a profit, as well as rewarding outstanding animal welfare and environmental standards. The current price is 31.60p per litre, this is reviewed every three months to accommodate for the most volatile elements of costs: feed, fuel and fertiliser and ensure a fair deal for the farmers involved.

3. Respect for our environment

  • Positive waste: Our Christmas card recycling scheme continues to form a key part of our seasonal recycling offer. This year we collected 88 tonnes of cards from our customers, which is over 30% more than last year. An output of this activity sees us donate £12,276 to the Forest Stewardship Council UK to support their work promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
  • Sugar power: Our Portishead store became the first to showcase fridges powered by waste from our sugar beet suppliers. The gas, developed in conjunction with our supplier A-Gas, marked an important step for the industry towards innovative, cleaner refrigeration.
  • Energy efficiency: Our work installing Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) received the Lighting for Building Performance Award from the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers. So far we have installed over 70,000 LEDs, saving 40 million kilo-whatt hours, just one way we are improving the energy efficiency of our stores and depots.

4. Making a positive difference to our community

  • Comic Relief: Customers, colleagues and suppliers really got behind the Red Nose Day 2015 appeal, which was themed: ‘Make your face funny for money’. On Red Nose Day itself we announced we had raised £11.5 million, with further funds still due to be collected.
  • Partnership with British Athletics: Sainsbury’s Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix saw Mo Farah break the two mile world record, and former Sainsbury’s School Games athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson break the British long jump record. We also held an event withMo Farah at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to mark ticket registration for this summer’s Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.
  • The Royal British Legion: The total funds raised from our biggest ever Poppy Appeal andour Christmas campaign in partnership with the charity amounted to approximately £7 million, an increase of around £2.5 million since last year.
  • Active Kids: Our voucher collection scheme has been recognised by Prime Minister David Cameron with a prestigious Big Society Award. It was granted for our work encouraging thousands of children across the UK to live healthier and more active lifestyles.

5. A great place to work

  • Helping people into work: We have now helped 23,900 colleagues into work through our You Can programme, working with partners such as Mencap and Remploy to help those who may have faced barriers to employment into the workplace. Since January, we have recruited 189 colleagues through the programme.
  • Training and skills: We trained 4,389 colleagues in food safety workshops accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health during our 2014-15 financial year. In January, we held special workshops for 670 store trainers to equip them to train others in essential retail and teamwork skills.
  • Diversity and inclusion: We celebrated our continued support for the Government’s Disability Confident campaign, with our Head of Talent and Performance Deborah Dorman giving a speech about our work at a Department for Work and Pensions event at the House of Commons.
  • Gender equality: Over 450 women at Sainsbury’s have participated in the ‘Inspiring the Future’ campaign, to help young women with mentoring and career advice. Organised through the chairty, Education and Employers, Sainsbury’s colleagues have dedicated hundreds of hours to talk to young women in schools about the amazing opportunities there are in retail as well as the entry routes into these jobs.

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Sainsbury’s Q4 CSR Update: Commitment to sourcing with integrity reinforced through Dairy Development Group Cost of Production model

Sainsbury’s Q4 CSR Update: Commitment to sourcing with integrity reinforced through Dairy Development Group Cost of Production model

Sainsbury’s: Volume and like-for-like transactions increase across the business as new customers discover our great value

LONDON, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Positive response to price investment as volume and like-for-like transactions increase

  • Total Retail sales for fourth quarter down 0.3 per cent (excl fuel), down 2.7 per cent (inc fuel)
  • Like-for-like Retail sales for fourth quarter down 1.9 per cent (excl fuel), down 3.9 per cent (inc fuel)
  • Over 1,100 prices reduced since we announced our £150 million price investment
  • Volume increases across the business as new customers discover our great value

Mike Coupe, Chief Executive, said, “The trading environment remains challenging and the decisions we have taken to improve our competitiveness are reflected in our quarterly performance. Since we announced our Strategic Review in November we have lowered the regular prices of over 1,100 products, ensuring our price position relative to our major competitors has never been stronger. In addition, we have absorbed record levels of food deflation in categories where we trade most strongly1 – produce, dairy, fresh ready meals, meat, fish and poultry – allowing customers to continue to Live Well for Less at Sainsbury’s.

During the quarter we have seen volume growth across the food business and an average uplift of over three per cent on the 1,100 products where we have made price reductions.

We have implemented our Value Simplicity programme, which is designed to replace one-off promotions with every day, lower prices. For example our ‘3 for £10’ offer on key meat, fish and poultry lines has been replaced by regular lower prices on each individual product. This has been well received by our customers and allows them to budget and shop more conveniently.

As we have reduced prices and simplified our promotional offer, we have seen like-for-like transactions grow in the quarter as new customers are discovering the great value we represent.

We consistently outperform our major peers on product quality2. To enhance these credentials further, we announced in November our commitment to improve the quality of over 3,000 products. We are making good progress with this programme – we have recently rolled out improvements to our fresh salmon and Taste the Difference crisp ranges – and the rate at which we launch these innovations will increase in the new financial year. Our store operational standards remain high with four Grocer 33wins in the ten weeks and record levels of availability.

Our strategy to deliver a broad range of products and services through our increasingly multi-channel offer is also progressing well. During the quarter our general merchandise and clothing businesses performed strongly, up more than six per cent on last year. Growth in our convenience business remains strong at 14 per cent and in the quarter we opened 23 convenience stores. Our groceries online business saw order numbers increase by 14 per cent, with a record week of 245,000 orders. By the end of 2015 our customers will be able to Click and Collect their online grocery orders from 100 sites. This is yet another way for us to serve our customers whenever and wherever they want. Sainsbury’s Bank grew sales of its loans by 21 per cent and we also announced the opening of Argos digital stores in ten of our supermarkets.

We expect the market to remain challenging for the foreseeable future. Food deflation is likely to persist for the rest of this calendar year, and competitive pressures on price will continue. However, we believe that the great value and quality of our products, combined with a strong focus on developing our multi-channel offer, will enable us to outperform our supermarket peers.”

  1. Nielsen Panel – % Spend Share of Total Grocery (ex T&K & FS) & Index vs Top 4
  2. HPI Brand & Communications Tracker – Per period – Total sample (c.1,000)
  3. All sales figures contained in this trading statement are stated including VAT and in accordance with IFRIC 13
  4. Like-for-like sales include the impact of extensions as follows:

Notes to editors

1. Nielsen Panel – % Spend Share of Total Grocery (ex T&K & FS) & Index vs Top 4

2. HPI Brand & Communications Tracker – Per period – Total sample (c.1,000)

3. All sales figures contained in this trading statement are stated including VAT and in accordance with IFRIC 13

4. Like-for-like sales include the impact of extensions as follows:

Q1 Q2 H1 Q3 Q4 H2 FY
Retail sales growth including fuel (%)
Total (0.3)% (2.3)% (1.4)% (2.5)% (2.7)% (2.6)% (2.0)%
Like-for-like (2.4)% (4.1)% (3.4)% (3.9)% (3.9)% (3.9)% (3.6)%
Retail sales growth excluding fuel (%)
Total 1.0% (0.8)% (0.0)% (0.4)% (0.3)% (0.4)% (0.2)%
Like-for-like (1.1)% (2.8)% (2.1)% (1.7)% (1.9)% (1.8)% (1.9)%
Included in like-for-like sales (%)
Net contribution from extensions 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2%

5. Store investment programme 2014/15:

Q1 Q2 H1 Q3 Q4 H2 FY
Supermarkets
New 2 2 4 4 6
Replacements 1 1 1 1 2
Extensions 1 3 4 1 1 5
Refurbishments 3 2 5 7 1 8 13
Closures (1) (1) (1) (1) (2) (3)
Convenience
New 27 23 50 25 23 48 98
Closures (1) (1) (1) (1) (2)
Refurbishments 12 10 22 7 14 21 43

At the end of the quarter, Sainsbury’s had 597 supermarkets and 707 convenience stores

6. Certain statements made in this announcement are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any expected future events or results referred to in these forward-looking statements. Unless otherwise required by applicable law, regulation or accounting standard, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise

7. Sainsbury’s also released today its Fourth Quarter Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability update. This is available at www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/investor-centre/results-and-presentations/

8. A conference call will take place at 8:30am.  To listen to the audio webcast we recommend that you register in advance.  To do so please visit www.j-sainsbury.co.uk prior to the event and follow the on-screen instructions.  To view the transcript of the conference call go to www.j-sainsbury.co.uk and follow the on-screen instructions in the fourth quarter trading statement section

9. Sainsbury’s will announce its Preliminary results for 2014/15 on 6 May 2015, and the First Quarter Trading Statement on 10 June 2015

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Sainsbury’s: Volume and like-for-like transactions increase across the business as new customers discover our great value

Sainsbury’s: Volume and like-for-like transactions increase across the business as new customers discover our great value

Belk relocates its store at Regency Square Mall to a new 95,000-square-foot fashion store at Atlantic North Shopping Center in Jacksonville, Fla.

Belk at Regency Square Mall will relocate to new 95,000-square-foot store March 11, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Belk is relocating its store at Regency Square Mall to a new 95,000-square-foot fashion store at Atlantic North Shopping Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Atlantic North Shopping Center, a new 61-acre, open-air, mixed-use development, is located at the intersection of Atlantic and Kernan Boulevards. The store will offer premium brands of apparel, shoes, accessories and home merchandise.

The project’s developer began construction in the fall, and the remaining construction will be completed before the store’s grand opening date on March 11, 2015. The store will be identical to the company’s Denham Springs, La. location which opened in fall 2015.

Academy Sports Outdoors, Earth Fare and LA Fitness already anchor the center at Atlantic North. A variety of additional retail and specialty stores unique to the market are also anticipated to locate at the development. The Fountains is designed to accommodate 385,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

“We’re pleased to be opening a brand new store at Atlantic North to better serve our customers in Jacksonville and surrounding areas,” said Dave Penrod, chair, Belk Southern Division based in Atlanta, Ga. “The store will represent the best of the Belk brand and our modern, southern, style. We look forward to providing the top brands, the best in service and a deep commitment to this community.”

The new Belk store represents a $9.6 million investment and will incorporate the latest in retail design, lighting, merchandise presentation and décor. It will offer expanded assortments of the top premium brands, exclusive Belk private brands, the latest styles of fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the whole family, plus a large selection of cosmetics, that includes:

Ladies Apparel:  Better collections and sportswear by Ralph Lauren, Cynthia Rowley, Crown and Ivy, Lucky Brand, CK Jeans, VAC, Jessica Simpson, Under Armour, Columbia and many more.

Men’s Apparel: Nautica Loungewear, Chip & Pepper, Happy Socks and more.

Modern Jewelry: Watches by AX, Coach, Diesel and Kenneth Cole, and jewelry by Givenchy and Vince Camuto.

Designer Handbags: Michael Kors, Brahmin, Dooney & Bourke, Lucky, Hobo and Kate Spade gifting.

Kids: Under Armour, Red Camel, Salt Life and a Polo boys shop.

Home: Southern Tide, Croscill, Tommy Hilfiger and Croscill cookware.

Cosmetics: MAC, Skincare shop, Clarisonic, Philosphy, Somod, and intensifications of already-offered brands such as Lauder, Lancome, Clinique and fragrances.

The Belk store at Regency Mall will continue to operate until mid-February 2015. Belk has served the Jacksonville community since 1990 and has operated at Regency Square Mall since 1998. It also operates stores in the Jacksonville area including the Avenues Mall, Roosevelt Mall, Orange Park and St. Augustine.

About Belk, Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) is the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 297 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its belk.com website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Belk Blog, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

For further information: Jessica Graham, jessica_graham@belk.com, 704-426-8333

Belk opens new 50,000 square foot men’s and kids store at the Cool Springs Galleria in Franklin, Tenn.

Opening of a new 50,000 square foot men’s and kids store

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Belk announced today that its new standalone men’s and kids store at the Cool Springs Galleria will open on March 11.

Belk’s $12.6 million investment in the Cool Springs Galleria project includes the new 50,000-square-foot men’s and kids store on the first level of the former Sears building as well as a major renovation of the current two-level main store. Selling space in the main store formerly used for men’s and kids will be reallocated to expand women’s apparel, shoes, accessories and cosmetics. The main store remodel will be completed in October 2015.

“We are excited to be opening a men’s and kids store in this mall, which will increase the space and enhance the selling environment for our customers,” said David Luoma, Chairman of the Belk Inc. Western Division. “We are committed to meeting the needs of our customers and believe that the expanded square footage, selection of merchandise, new premium brands and upgraded amenities will exceed their expectations.”

The store will offer new brands in men’s and kids apparel and including Bonobos, Perry Ellis, Michael Kors Sportscoats, Tallia neckwear, Austin Reed tailored clothing and Under Armour for boys and girls. Selections of Polo, Tommy Bahama, Nautica, Columbia, men’s Under Armour, Lucky denim and Seven for All Mankind will be intensified.

The grand opening of the men’s and kids store on March 11 begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and gift card giveaways for the first 75 customers. In addition, individuals who attend the grand opening event will have the opportunity to win two tickets to the SEC Basketball Tournament Championship game on Sunday, March 15 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The grand opening of this new store will be celebrated with several additional events:

  • Thursday, March 12 – Girls Night Out (main store)
  • Saturday, March 14 – Engagement Party  (main store)
  • Saturday, March 28 – Kidfest (men’s and kids’ store)
  • Thursday, April 2 – Shoe Party
  • Saturday, May 2 – Charity Sale

Attendees at any of the store’s events can use the hashtag #BelkScene @belk to tag event photos and posts. For more information about the store and upcoming events, please contact the store manager Becky Blair at becky_blair@belk.com.

About Belk, Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) is the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 300 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its belk.com website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Belk Blog, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

For further information: Jessica Graham, jessica_graham@belk.com, 704-426-8333

The H&M Conscious Foundation makes a second donation to the victims and the families affected by the Rana Plaza collapse two years ago

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — The H&M Conscious Foundation, an independent non-profit global foundation, today makes a donation to the victims and the families affected by the Rana Plaza collapse two years ago. This is the second donation from the H&M Conscious Foundation. H&M has never had any production at any of the factories situated in Rana Plaza, so the H&M Conscious Foundation bases the decision for donation on humanitarian grounds. The donation of USD 100,000 will go exclusively to further support the victims and their families through the fund managed by the UN body the International Labor Organization.

The mission of the Foundation is to drive long lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. In case of natural disasters in countries where H&M operates, the H&M Conscious Foundation can provide emergency relief. The H&M Conscious Foundation has for instance earlier supported victims of the Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines in 2013, flood victims in India in 2013 as well as flood victims in Nepal, India and Bangladesh in 2014.

H&M will continue its work with fire and building safety issues, as these questions are very important to the company. H&M has worked pro-actively with its suppliers for many years and was also the first company to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in May 2013. Over 190 brands in the textile industry have now signed the Accord to work together with the ILO, global unions IndustriALL and UNI Global as well as Bangladesh trade unions for a more safe industry.

GLOBAL MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Only press enquiries
Phone: +46 8 796 53 00
Email: mediarelations@hm.com

All other enquiries
H&M switchboard +46 8 796 55 00
Email info@hm.com

Head of Communications
Kristina Stenvinkel
+46 8 796 39 08

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

NRF called on the Senate to reject legislation that would impose data security rules designed for the banking industry on nonbank businesses

NRF Sends New White Paper to Senate Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today called on the Senate to reject legislation that would impose data security rules designed for the banking industry on retailers and other nonbank businesses, citing a new white paper by two former Federal Trade Commission officials who said doing so would be a “poor fit.”

“Broad expansion of data security standards similar to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act guidelines to virtually every unregulated business in the U.S. economy would be a serious error,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in a letter to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “We support a standard, but it must be a general standard appropriate for the broad array of businesses it would cover.”

NRF commissioned the white paper in response to a number of proposals before Congress to expand the ability, authority and responsibility of the FTC to oversee data security for nonbank businesses, ranging from dry cleaners to taxi drivers. The authors, former FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection officials Joel Winston and Anne Fortney, laid out three main arguments against extending GLBA guidelines to non-financial businesses:

  • The FTC’s role as a law enforcement agency rather than an oversight regulator
  • Overly burdensome obligations on nonbank businesses that have little or no authority to implement changes to payment cards
  • The FTC’s own objections to expanding GLBA requirements to retailers

“When it issued consumer information privacy and safeguards rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the FTC considered applying the rules to retailers that accept bank credit or debit cards and declined to do so,” Winston and Fortney wrote. “We believe that determination remains equally justified today.”

While banks work extremely closely with federal regulators on data security, the FTC only obtains compliance from businesses after initiating a law enforcement investigation and review of an event after it happens, the paper noted.“

Safeguards designed for closely supervised banks that issue credit and debit cards are a poor fit for the vast array of entities that accept credit cards and debit cards as payment,” the white paper said. “The FTC lacks supervisory examination authority and lacks the resources to provide the specific guidance and ongoing oversight that would be necessary to effectuate guidelines-type rules covering the huge diversity of nonbank entities.”

Additionally, unlike banks and credit card companies that require merchants to maintain certain data security obligations, retailers lack any authority over the payment cards, the paper said. For example, while many merchants would like to see new credit cards being issued incorporate both a computer microchip and a personal identification number (PIN) to reduce fraud, banks and card issuers plan to issue chip-only cards, and merchants have no power to mandate the extra security that would be provided by a PIN.

Furthermore, many GLBA requirements “simply are not relevant” to nonbank businesses or would impose “unreasonable obligations,” the paper said. “It is unclear what additional benefit to the public would gain by subjecting nonbanks to specific requirements of the guidelines.”

Although NRF opposes expansion of GLBA requirements to nonbanks, it has testified in support of a uniform national data breach law that would apply a reasonableness standard modeled after state law under Section 5 of the FTC Act that would cover all entities.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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

NACS published new primer defining 10 key areas of the convenience store business

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — NACS has published a new primer defining 10 key areas of the convenience store business. “How Convenience Stores Operate and Their Contributions to Communities” provides a starting point for retailers who seek to define their businesses before communities groups and addresses issues including jobs, property values, overnight hours, traffic and community engagement.

“During zoning hearings, opposition to convenience store permitting — whether for ground-up stores or remodels — often centers on general misperceptions about the value convenience stores deliver to the communities that they serve. This primer addresses these common concerns and helps retailers tell their stories about their commitment to their communities,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.

The primer is the latest deliverable from the NACS reFresh initiative that addresses ongoing industry perceptions by providing convenience retailers with tools to evolve their in-store offer and elevate their image. The reFresh initiative currently focuses on three distinct elements:

  • Creating tools that address NIMBY (not in my backyard) issues by educating the public about the contributions convenience stores make to their communities;
  • Sharing facts and data that demonstrates the evolution of the industry and corrects an outdated reputation; and
  • Forming partnerships/relationships with credible nutrition- and community-focused groups.

The 18-page “How Convenience Stores Work and Their Contributions to Communities” can be downloaded here. Additional topics and updated metrics will be added throughout the year.

The primer is the third in a series of tools developed to help retailers tell the industry’s positive story. Last week, “Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores” was released by NACS and United Fresh, providing analysis of industry and consumer trends with practical ideas to develop an enhanced produce offering in stores.

In late 2014, NACS also posted more than 100 Ideas 2 Go video segments that showcase exceptional convenience retailing.

NACS will publish two additional toolkits in the coming weeks.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Sir Philip Green: Retail Acquisitions Ltd takes over BHS Group Ltd

London, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sir Philip Green announces that BHS Group Ltd has been acquired by Retail Acquisitions Ltd with control passing today.

Sir Philip says: “I am pleased that we have found a buyer in Retail Acquisitions Ltd who wants to develop the BHS brand. Having acquired the business nearly 15 years ago in May 2000, one of my clear objectives in identifying a purchaser was ensuring their desire to take the business forward.

The business is handed over in a sound financial position with significant cash balances and banking facilities in place. I am confident that Retail Acquisitions Limited have a platform to grow the business and return it to profitability.

Most of the senior management have been with BHS for a long time and know the business very well – I am confident that they will work seamlessly with the new owners to achieve the very best for BHS.”

Sir Philip adds: ”BHS has a strong portfolio of 171 store sites throughout the UK, significant assets, long-standing and loyal suppliers and great international franchise partners. I am deeply proud of the work ethic displayed by the very many people I have worked with for so long at BHS, both within our Head Office and across the stores.  I would also like to thank the very many loyal and dedicated customers who shop with BHS, visit our cafes and use our website on a regular basis, and hope that they will continue to do so.”

The Chairman of Retail Acquisitions Ltd, Keith Smith comments: “This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand. We are convinced that with strategic and focussed support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.

By backing the existing management and investing in their plan, we are confident that we can build upon many of the initiatives already in place. In addition, Retail Acquisitions Ltd will appoint a BHS chairman with significant retail experience and further retail turnaround experts in due course. ”

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For further information from Arcadia and Sir Philip Green – please contact:

Tania Foster-Brown – Group PR & Communications Director on 0207 927 1720 tania.foster-brown@arcadiagroup.co.uk

For further information from Retail Acquisitions Ltd – please contact:

Gavin Davis – Bell Pottinger on 07910 104660 gdavis@bellpottinger.com

Clinton Manning – Bell Pottinger on 07711 972662 cmanning@bellpottinger.com

Notes to Editors:

BHS GROUP LTD

There are 171 BHS stores in the UK of which 14 are dedicated Home Stores.

BHS.co.uk has 5 million unique users per month and hosts 15,000 product lines with approximately 200,000 orders a month being delivered throughout the UK.

The average selling space for a store is 28,000 square foot with the flagship store on Oxford Street trading 47,000 square foot.

BHS Food currently trades in 3 stores, with the opportunity to do this in a further 140.

There are 88 BHS International Franchise stores operating in key territories such as Malaysia, Russia and the UAE.

BHS employs 11,000 staff

RETAIL ACQUISITIONS LTD

Retail Acquisitions Ltd is a company established in England in order to make acquisitions in the UK retail space.

Whole Foods Market opens its first store in The Woodlands on Wednesday, March 18

Store opens March 18 at Hughes Landing

HOUSTON, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — The first Whole Foods Market store in The Woodlands will open Wednesday, March 18, following a 7:30 a.m. bread-breaking ceremony with remarks from company and local officials.

During the ceremony, Jerry Brown, the store’s team leader, and Nona Evans, Whole Kids Foundation, will award six garden grants to area schools: Ann K. Snyder Elementary, Bozman Intermediate, Coulson Tough K-6 School, Galatas Elementary, Oak Ridge Elementary and Sam Houston Elementary. Whole Kids Foundation, founded by Whole Foods Market, supports schools and inspires families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness.

“We are so excited about the opportunity these grants provide for our students,” said Conroe ISD Superintendent Don Stockton. “Healthy eating and nutrition are foundational elements to success in school.”

Brown will also present a check to HOPE, The Will Herndon Research Fund as part of the opening day ceremonies.

In celebration of its grand opening, the store will hold tastings and special sales, and will offer live music and activities for all ages. Additionally, the first 500 shoppers will receive a free Whole Foods Market reusable shopping bag. The Allegro Coffee Bus will be on site from 7a.m. to noon, serving complimentary coffee drinks.

As part of Whole Foods Market’s commitment to the community, the store will hold a series of community giving days on Wednesdays during the first five weeks the store is open. Guests can support a different local nonprofit each Wednesday, simply by shopping.

The following organizations will receive 1 percent of sales:

• March 18 – Interfaith of The Woodlands
• March 25 – The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council
• April 1 – The Woodlands Children’s Museum
• April 8 – Operation Pets Alive
• April 15 – Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch

“Whole Foods Market has been in Houston for more than 20 years, but we know that for The Woodlands community, that wasn’t close enough,” Brown said. “We are delighted to finally be right here in The Woodlands and to be able to support all of the wonderful nonprofit organizations that help make up the vibrant fabric of this community.”

More information is available at

wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/woodlands
Facebook – Whole Foods Market The Woodlands
Twitter & Instagram – @WholefoodsHOU

Store address:
Whole Foods Market The Woodlands
1925 Hughes Landing Blvd. Suite 100
Woodlands, TX 77380
Store Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Phone: 832-246-5600

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Harris Teeter donates $100,000 to 20 local elementary, middle and high schools to encourage active lifestyles among students

Company to Give $5,000 to 20 North, South Carolina Schools

MATTHEWS, NC, 2015-3-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, Harris Teeter announced it will donate $100,000, in increments of $5,000, to 20 local elementary, middle and high schools in an effort to encourage active lifestyles among students.

Through this partnership, the company worked each school’s administration teams to design unique plans to fund programs which promote physical activity. Programs included playground improvements, new weightlifting and gym equipment and athletic field enhancements.

“Harris Teeter is excited to present this opportunity to further its commitment to youth wellness as well as education,” said Danna Jones communication manager for Harris Teeter. “Active lifestyles and education are fundamental for the development of our youth and Harris Teeter is happy to play a role in encouraging both.”

Each school is located in the Carolinas and is an active participant in Harris Teeter’s Together in Education (TIE) program. TIE is a fundraising initiative through which schools can earn unlimited funds based on purchases made by shoppers whose VIC card that is linked to their specific TIE code. The company has donated over $22 million through this program since 1998.

Harris Teeter will celebrate each school with a check presentation scheduled to take place throughout the month of March.

Schools receiving a $5,000 donation:

School Location
Davis Drive Middle School Cary, NC
Green Hope High School Cary, NC
Ardrey Kell High School Charlotte, NC
Ballantyne Elementary School Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Latin School Charlotte, NC
Community House Middle School Charlotte, NC
Elon Park Elementary School Charlotte, NC
Endhaven Elementary School Charlotte, NC
Mckee Road Elementary School Charlotte, NC
Southwest Middle School Charlotte, NC
Gold Hill Middle School Fort Mill, SC
Indian Land High School Fort Mill, SC
Orchard Park Elementary School Fort Mill, SC
Hopewell High School Huntersville, NC
Saint Mark Catholic School Huntersville, NC
Indian Trail Elementary School Indian Trail, NC
Antioch Elementary School Matthews, NC
Sun Valley High School Monroe, NC
Ebinport Elementary School Rock Hill, SC
Sullivan Middle School Rock Hill, SC

The Company is a longtime supporter of youth wellness, and – in fact – extensively supports youth sports organizations among other primary areas of giving which include feeding the hungry, education (k-12), disaster relief and United Way.

To learn more about Harris Teeter’s giving programs, please click here.