ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping

83% of BTS Purchases Will Involve Physical Stores

NEW YORK, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Back-to-School (BTS) season is officially underway in the United States, and more than one-third (34%) of consumers have already begun shopping, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) BTS Consumer Spending Survey. Consumers still prefer physical stores for BTS shopping, with 83% of their purchases involving physical stores, including 7% of purchases that will be made online and picked up in-store. Of those who will order online and pick-up in-store, 79% said they are likely to buy additional items once in the store.

Driving in-store BTS purchases in 2015 are the 42% of respondents who still prefer the opportunity to physically examine merchandise before purchasing, while 37% like the convenience of one-stop shopping. The importance of omnichannel continues to grow significantly, as 79% of respondents plan to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for BTS.

Of those planning to use a mobile device while shopping in a physical store, 44% will use their phone to compare prices, 28% will use digital coupons, 26% will check ratings and reviews, 24% will check inventory and availability of items and 17% will email or text friends and family for a second opinion on an item. As expected, millennials are the most likely demographic to use their smartphones while shopping.

“Retailers are enjoying a strong start to the BTS shopping season after a sluggish first quarter of 2015,” said Jesse Ton, spokesman for ICSC. “While typically viewed as an essential expenditure, BTS shopping also highlights many of the trends occurring in the shopping center industry. As physical spaces merge with digital to further enhance the omnichannel experience, consumers are shopping in physical stores, participating in webrooming and using mobile technology at shopping centers. It’s good news as we progress into the all-important latter half of the retail calendar.”

The share of consumers expecting to spend more this year increased significantly year-over-year to 67%, compared to 50% of shoppers in 2014 and 39% who expected to increase spending in 2013.

When discussing why consumers plan to spend more this year, 29% of respondents stated it was because of a need to replace wardrobes and school supplies, while 30% cited a change in school requirements. Additionally, 12% of respondents plan to spend more to keep up with changing fashion trends.

BTS shoppers are planning to buy a variety of products, including school supplies (76%), apparel and shoes (75%), electronics – including computers, phones, accessories and wearables (53%), backpacks and bags (45%) and eyeglasses (22%).

Marketing, Deals & Trends are Driving BTS Shopping

Marketing appears to be the main driver of BTS shopping, as 74% of consumers report that they will likely start BTS purchasing when advertisements from major retailers begin to appear. While those cues from advertising play a major role in consumers’ decision to start BTS shopping, the survey found that nearly half (46%) of consumers believe they will get the best deals in August, compared to 30% in July and 15% of respondents who believe the best deals will be found Labor Day weekend or in September.

The results show August leading the BTS season, with 53% of BTS spending taking place in late summer, and the remainder of shopping split between June (10%), July (21%) and September (17%).

Discount Retailers Prevail, Apparel Specialty Stores Increasing in Popularity

ICSC found that discount stores are still the leading BTS shopping destination, with 77% of consumers turning to discount retailers for their BTS shopping needs. Another of this year’s winners is apparel stores, where one-quarter (25%) of consumers plan to shop this season.

Overall, BTS shoppers plan to shop at a variety of store types that also include office supply stores (40%), online-only retailers (29%), department stores (38%) and wholesale clubs (22%). Only five percent of respondents indicated they would use catalogues.

When choosing a retailer, the top three factors indicated were price (76%), convenience (48%) and quality (41%).

Beyond a Place to Shop

The survey found that most BTS shoppers (88%) plan to go to a mall or open-air shopping center during the BTS season, and many will do more than shop. More than half (53%) of shoppers surveyed plan to dine at the food court and nearly one-third (30%) plan to eat at a table-service restaurant, while 28% will see a movie and 17% will attend an event such as a concert, go to the gym or do an activity such as bowling.

About ICSC:
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. For more information, visit www.icsc.org orwww.thecenterofshopping.com.

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ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping

ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping

Dunkin’ Donuts signs multi-unit store development agreements with seven franchise groups to develop 51 new restaurants in Virginia and West Virginia

LEADING COFFEE AND BAKERY CHAIN CONTINUES EXPANSION WITH NEW LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE MID-ATLANTIC

CANTON, MA, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, announced today the signing of multi-unit store development agreements with seven franchise groups to develop 51 new restaurants in Virginia and West Virginia over the next several years.

The seven franchise groups and their development plans include:

  • Existing franchise group TBG Food Acquisition Corp., led by John Troiano and Peter Marrinan, plans to develop 22 new restaurants in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Blacksburg, Va. This team currently owns and operates 60 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants and six Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in New York and South Carolina, with an additional five Dunkin’ Donut locations presently in development. Their first Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Roanoke is planned to open by year-end, and the remainder by 2023.
  • New franchisees Atul and Aruna Patel plan to develop three restaurants in Harrisonburg, Va. Two restaurants will be traditional Dunkin’ Donuts locations, and the third will be a multi-brand with sister brand Baskin-Robbins. This husband and wife team have worked at and managed Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants for over a decade and have over 15 years of experience in the restaurant and retail industry. The duo’s first restaurant is planned to open in 2015, and the remainder by 2017.
  • Existing franchisees Gregory and Emil Nigro of Restaurant Services of the Outer Banks plan to develop ten restaurants in the greater Norfolk, Va. metropolitan area. This team currently operates 17 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants, and this past May signed a development agreement for 14 new locations throughout Richmond.
  • Existing franchise group The Heritage Group, LLC, led by Luis Cabral, plans to develop three restaurants in Richmond, Va. This team currently operates one Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant. Cabral’s next restaurant is planned to open in 2017, and the remainder by 2019.
  • Existing franchise group C+ Management, led by Masul Haque, plans to develop three restaurants in Gainesville and South Riding, Va. This group currently operates three Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Virginia, and their next restaurant is planned to open in 2016.
  • Existing franchisee Alpa Patel plans to develop five restaurants in Culpeper and Tyson’s Corner, Va. Patel is also part of a network that owns and operates Dunkin’ Donuts throughout Northern Virginia and Southern New Jersey. Her next Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant is planned to open in Spring 2015.
  • Existing franchise group Little General Stores, led by Greg Darby, plans to develop five new restaurants in Charleston and Beckley, WV. This team currently operates more than 60 quick-service restaurant concepts throughout West Virginia and owns more than 80 gas and convenience operations. Their next Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant is planned to open in 2016.

“Our enthusiastic and dedicated franchisees contribute to our brand’s growth, which has helped solidify our position as one of the fastest growing brand’s by unit count in the quick-service restaurant industry,” said Grant Benson, CFE, vice president of global franchising and business development, Dunkin’ Brands. “We are thrilled these existing and new franchisees haven chosen to expand in the Virginia and West Virginia markets, and know these new restaurants will satisfy a growing consumer demand in the local communities they serve.”

In an effort to keep the brand fresh and competitive, Dunkin’ Donuts offers flexible concepts for any real estate format including free-standing restaurants, end caps, in-line sites, gas and convenience, travel plazas, universities, as well as other retail environments.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ new look includes four distinct restaurant design options for franchisees, each featuring variations in layout, color schemes, graphics, textures, furniture and/or lighting. The designs enhance the current restaurant appearance, environment and layout to serve people all day long. Unlike other quick-service restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts allows franchisees to select individual elements from any of the four options, creating a restaurant design that reflects their personal tastes and preferences, and best serves their specific restaurant size and location.

Since the 1950s, Dunkin’ Donuts has been a daily ritual for millions of people and has offered guests delicious food, beverages and friendly service at a great value. Dunkin’ Donuts offerings include hot and iced coffee, flavored coffees, lattes, hot and iced tea, Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup® Packs, Coolatta® frozen drinks, donuts, muffins, bagels, breakfast and bakery sandwiches, and a DDSMART® menu featuring better-for-you items.

To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DunkinDonuts) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/DunkinDonuts).

About Dunkin’ Donuts
Founded in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ Donuts has earned the No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for nine years running. The company has more than 11,300 restaurants in 37 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin’ Donuts is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Name: Jenna Kantrowitz
Phone: 954-893-9150
Email: jkantrowitz@fish-consulting.com

Name: Rachel Tabacnic
Phone: 954-893-9150
Email: rtabacnic@fish-consulting.com

BRC-KPMG RETAIL SALES MONITOR JUNE 2015: UK retail sales increased 1.8% on a like-for-like basis from June 2014

– UK retail sales increased 1.8% on a like-for-like basis from June 2014, when they had decreased 0.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.9%, against a 0.6% rise in June 2014. This is the strongest growth since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions and compares with a 12-month average of 1.6%. Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 4.2%.

– Total Food sales grew again in June for the seventh month in a row, excluding Easter distortions, ahead of their 0.3% decline over the last 12 months. Total Non-Food sales grew 2.6% over the 3 months to June, close to their 12-month average growth of 3.1%.

– Toys & Baby Equipment was the best performing category, helped by outdoor toys, particularly in the last week of the month, when the heat wave stimulated the sales of all seasonal items. Fashion categories were helped by several retailers going into summer sale earlier than last year.

– Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 17.6% in June versus a year earlier, when they had grown 10.6%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 18.4%, up from 16.9% in June 2014.

LONDON, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “The retail industry performed strongly last month, experiencing the best overall sales growth in eighteen months, excluding Easter distortions, albeit on the back of a weak June last year. Food sales grew for the seventh month in a row, while June also brought with it a boost for the non-food categories, with furniture doing particularly well. Fashion sales were also up, but this was likely helped by several retailers entering summer sales a little earlier this year. The last week of June ended the month on a high note, with seasonal items like outdoor toys in high demand.

“We saw welcome signs of growing consumer confidence, with people more willing to ‘trade-up’ and spend a bit more on big-ticket purchases, likely boosted by the growth in the supply of credit and other factors such as low inflation and rising real incomes. Some of the measures outlined by the Chancellor in last week’s budget are likely to help boost consumer confidence even further, with measures like the continued freeze in fuel duty and the increased personal tax allowance ensuring consumers have more money in their pockets to spend. We also welcome the Chancellor’s focus on increasing productivity. This is of crucial importance to enhancing retailers’ ability to continue to serve their customers better.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “As the Wimbledon tennis championships got underway, June served up an ace for sales of non-food items. After cooler May weather had dampened fashion sales, the glorious sunshine and some significant promotional activity this month lured consumers into a rush to update summer wardrobes. Men’s fashion and footwear sales were also given a particular boost as Dads were treated to something special on Father’s Day.

“Elsewhere, sales of Toys & Baby Equipment bounced up towards the end of the month with seasonal outdoor ranges such as paddling pools and trampolines soaring as consumers looked to make the most of June’s heatwave. The grocers continued to fight to make headway against a deflationary tide. The quarterly decline is distorted by the timing of Easter and I expect to see a better picture emerge next month.

“Moving into July, many eyes will be trained on sector share prices after the market reacted strongly to a number of surprise announcements, particularly around the living wage, in the Chancellor’s Summer Budget. However, with Murray-mania having once again swept the nation, another heatwave on the horizon, and school holidays imminent, retailers will be hoping that the nation’s feel good factor will continue all summer long.”

Food & Drink sector performance – Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said: “June’s food and drink sales were encouraging, especially if judged against the same time last year when the men’s football World Cup provided a brief boost to sales. The heatwave in the final week definitely helped this year’s performance.
“Wages have now outpaced inflation for eight consecutive months and although a quarter (26 per cent) of shoppers still expect their personal finances to deteriorate over the next 12 months, this is a big improvement on the 47 per cent predicting the same in June 2012. With deflation also easing, there are various reasons to believe that food retail sales might have turned a corner although optimism is tempered by the many uncertainties in the global economy.”

Online % change
year-on-year
June 2015 17.6%
June 2014 10.6%
6m average 12.7%
12m average 12.6%

NOTE: More details about online sales can be found in the Online RSM published simultaneously with the RSM.

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

BRC-KPMG: Online sales of Non-Food products in UK grew 17.6% in June vs a year earlier

– Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 17.6% in June versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 10.6% over the previous year. This is the best online performance since August 2014 and outperformed the 3-month and 12-month averages of 14.6% and 12.6%, respectively.

– In June 2015, online sales represented 18.4% of total Non-Food sales, against 16.9% in June 2014, the highest penetration rate since January.

– Online growth in the Clothing and Footwear categories ranked among the top three in June, while Toys & Baby Equipment also had a successful month, reporting their fastest online growth since January.

– Online sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in June. Compared to Stores, Online now consistently contributes more to 3-month average Non-Food sales growth, and over the three months to June 2015, made its greatest percentage contribution since December 2013.

LONDON, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “Online retail sales have experienced the best growth since August 2014, largely driven by fashion promotions. As ever, websites are popular during the sales, providing greater clarity of stock availability for consumers. For retailers, online is an increasingly useful tool to reach customers selectively and showcase their offer. Online sales strength is also shown in the fact its contribution to three month non-food sales growth has reached its highest proportion since December 2013. This highlights the variety of digitally focused roles in the retail industry. It also shows the increasing demand for skilled people to develop sophisticated online operations and a seamless connection between physical and digital space.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “Non-food online sales soared to record levels in June, up 17.6% – the highest level of growth this year – as the real benefits of the virtual aisle shone through. With temperatures soaring, consumers chose to click for summer fashion and festival chic rather than swelter on the high street.
“Unsurprisingly online sales in the Health & Beauty sector saw a particular boost as shoppers topped up on sun cream and beauty essentials to stay safe from the sun’s rays.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

 

Topaz wins two of the key awards at the Irish Sales Champion awards 2015 in Dublin

Richard Stones crowned Field Sales Champion 2015

DUBLIN, Ireland, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Topaz, the country’s leading fuels and convenience retailer, picked up two of the key awards at the Irish Sales Champion awards 2015 which took place at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin recently.

Richard Stones, Topaz Dealer Business Manager NI/North East, picked up one of the main individual awards – Field Sales Champion (In-house) while the Sales Team won the award for Best Implementation of Sales Technology.

Commenting on the awards, Topaz Network Director Jonathan Diver said: “I’d like to congratulate our awards winners – Richard Stones and Sales Account Manager Sharon Butler who accepted the award on behalf of the sales team – for bringing these prestigious awards to Topaz. Richard is an extremely hard working salesman who is richly deserving of this award. The same is true of our dynamic sales team and in particular Sharon Butler who led our innovative approach to CRM. This approach and the implementation of sales technology ensures Topaz is the industry leader in Customer Relations Management”

The ISC Awards, which were set up in 2011, celebrate the ingenuity and tenacity of Irish sales personnel in three key areas: Sales consultants/representatives; Behind the scene sales support; Technology/Sales tools providers.

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Topaz wins two of the key awards at the Irish Sales Champion awards 2015 in Dublin

Topaz wins two of the key awards at the Irish Sales Champion awards 2015 in Dublin

US Foods announces the appointment of Steve Guberman as Chief Merchandising Officer

Rosemont, Ill., 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — US Foods today announced Steve Guberman will take on the role of Chief Merchandising Officer, effective immediately. Guberman previously held the role of Senior Vice President, Merchandising and Marketing Operations for the company.

“Steve has played an integral role in the implementation of all nationally led merchandising strategies and initiatives, and he is very well positioned for success as our Chief Merchandising Officer,” said Pietro Satriano, president and chief executive officer, US Foods.  “Steve brings a unique customer-oriented perspective to his role, as he began his career in restaurant management.  His leadership as well as his passion for excellent customer service and innovation will undoubtedly help us to fully realize the potential of our Food. Food People. Easy. strategy.”

Guberman brings over 30 years of industry experience to this important role.  Holding the role of Senior Vice President, Merchandising and Marketing Operations since January 2012, Guberman was responsible for the deployment and adoption of a range of merchandising and marketing strategies designed to accelerate profitable sales growth and help customers win.

Steve joined US Foods as part of the Kraft/Alliant Foodservice organization in 1991, accumulating a wide breadth of leadership experience in sales, procurement, marketing, national accounts, and category management before taking on the role of president of the US Foods Houston Division in 2006.

“I am very pleased and excited to take on this role as we launch this next phase of US Foods as an even stronger force in the foodservice industry,” Guberman said.  “I’ve had the chance to meet and talk with our customers and I know they count on US Foods to provide innovative products and services that help their businesses succeed.  I’m grateful to work with such a talented team and am looking forward to building on the foundation of innovation that helps our customers win.”

Discover innovative US Foods products and business solutions at www.usfoods.com. Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch our chefs in action on YouTube.

About US Foods
As one of America’s great food companies and leading distributors, US Foods is Keeping Kitchens Cooking™ and making life easier for customers, including independent and multi-unit restaurants, healthcare and hospitality entities, government and educational institutions. With approximately $22 billion in annual revenue, the company offers more than 350,000 products, including high-quality, exclusive brands such as the innovative Chef’s Line®, a time-saving, chef-inspired line of scratch-quality products, and Rykoff Sexton®, a premium line of specialty ingredients sourced from around the world. The company proudly employs approximately 25,000 people in more than 60 locations nationwide. US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., and jointly owned by affiliates of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. Discover more at www.usfoods.com.

Contact
Lisa Lecas, Manager
Corporate Communications, US Foods
Office: 847-720-8243
Lisa.Lecas@usfoods.com

IKEA announces the next leg of its successful “IKEA Home Tour,” kicking off this fall

Home Tour Squad Travels the Country to Transform Real Living Spaces with Simple Makeover Projects

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA announced today the next leg of its successful “IKEA Home Tour,” kicking off this fall. A team of IKEA design experts, the “IKEA Home Tour Squad,” will again hit the road, traveling from city to city in an effort to help Americans tackle everyday furnishing and design challenges with smart, simple solutions that make everyday life at home better. People can vie for a chance for IKEA to help them with a room makeover project, whether they’re struggling with a small space, have a tight budget, or need a complete design reset. Launched last Spring, the Home Tour has logged more than 9,400 miles and completed 22 makeovers in nine cities to date.

The Home Tour Squad will continue to document their whole journey by filming, producing, and sharing their makeover stories at www.IKEA-USA.com/HomeTour. Content will include before & after home transformations, design tips, and behind-the-scenes interviews. To date, IKEA Home Tour videos have racked up more than 18 million views.

“We’re always looking for ways to help people achieve their dream homes, and it’s often simple solutions that make the largest impact,” said Orela Suku, IKEA Home Tour project manager. “As the Home Tour Squad visits new families around the country, we’re looking forward to sharing even more of those solutions to help make everyday life at home better for as many people as possible.”

IKEA again recruited coworkers from within the company to assemble a group of five passionate home furnishing and design experts who will leave their regular jobs at IKEA stores around the country for a year to hit the road and serve as the Home Tour Squad. At each stop, the Squad will help evaluate room needs and challenges, develop a plan, and work together with homeowners to implement smart solutions using IKEA product offerings.

Homeowners in tour markets can apply for a chance to receive a makeover by submitting a video entry at www.IKEA-USA.com/HomeTourSubmit. On this leg of the tour, the Squad will visit:

  • Austin (Submission period 7/13 – 8/9) – OPEN NOW FOR SUBMISSIONS
  • Dallas (Submission period 8/10 – 9/6)
  • Kansas City (Submission period 10/5 – 11/1)
  • St. Louis (Submission period 11/30 – 12/27)
  • Detroit (Submission period 1/11 – 2/7)
  • Chicago (Submission period 2/22 – 3/20)
  • Minneapolis (Submission period 4/4 – 5/1)

Look for updates on the tour, including release of new videos, on Twitter (@IKEAUSA) with the hashtag #IKEAHomeTour. Also check out the Home Tour Pinterest board for before & after images and products used in the makeovers.

About IKEA
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 360 IKEA stores in 47 countries, including 40 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see IKEA-USA.com, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Media Contact: Kathy Boerner
646-935-3914
Kathy.Boerner@Ketchum.com

Sears Holdings appoints Joelle Maher as president and chief member officer for the Sears format HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.

Role critical to meeting needs of the Sears’ Shop Your Way members

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) announced today that Joelle Maher has joined the company as president and chief member officer for the Sears format. In this role, Maher will be responsible for developing the Shop Your Way®member-centric business strategy for the Sears format, managing the Sears P&L and aligning merchandising, marketing, pricing and selling with the needs of our members.

Maher comes to Sears Holdings from Gymboree Corporation, where she served as chief operating officer and was responsible for leading all operational aspects of the company, including stores, planning and allocation, real estate and construction, international, distribution and logistics, operational process and strategy, and information technology. Prior to Gymboree, Maher spent seven years at Levi Strauss & Company in various senior leadership roles including serving as executive vice president and president, Global Multichannel Retail. She also worked at Lucky Brand Jeans for seven years, and began her career in merchandising and planning roles at Old Navy, Macy’s East and Lord & Taylor.

“Joelle’s depth and breadth of retail and business experience and ability to achieve superior results in established organizations make her a strong fit for this member-focused role at Sears Holdings,” said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings Chairman and CEO. “She will work closely with me and our business unit leaders to lead our iconic Sears brand in its continued transformation as an integrated retail format.”

Maher received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University.

About Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve our members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Sears Holdings is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears and Kmart as well as with other retail partners across categories important to them. The company operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States. For more information, visit www.searsholdings.com.

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
Sears Holdings Public Relations
(847) 286-8371

SOURCE Sears Holdings

Starbucks partners with Taste Holdings for the opening of stores in South Africa, the first in sub‐Saharan Africa

  • Starbucks announces an exclusive licensed partnership with Taste Holdings for the opening of stores in South Africa, the first in sub‐Saharan Africa
  • First store will open in Johannesburg in the first half of 2016, with more locations to follow
  • Starbucks and Taste Holdings will design and build stores serving the entire range of Starbucks food and beverages alongside its advanced digital offer for customers
  • The partnership will deliver Starbucks great coffee, innovative design and job opportunities

Johannesburg, South Africa, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Starbucks Coffee Company and Taste Holdings today announced a licensed partnership that will see Starbucks stores open across South Africa. For the first time in Southern Africa, Starbucks will open full‐format stores bringing the entire range of its food and beverages, including its ethically‐sourced Arabica coffee, to South African consumers.

“We are proud to be bringing Starbucks to South Africa next year,” said Kris Engskov, president, Starbucks Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Working with Taste, our partner, we’re going to deliver a great Starbucks experience. The coffee market here is vibrant and growing fast – we want to be part of that growth, bringing the passion and energy of this remarkable country into the design of our first store and our first barista team. We can’t wait to get started.”

The license agreement sees Taste owning the exclusive rights to develop Starbucks retail outlets in South Africa. As Taste is the licensee, it will own and operate the stores directly.

“We are very excited to be Starbucks partner in Southern Africa. As we’ve visited numerous Starbucks markets and partners around the world we’ve come to realize that we share similar core values, including a commitment to localization and uplifting both direct and indirect partners,” said Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Taste. “Starbucks supports the development of local suppliers and is fully committed to our Changing Lanes program wherein we have provided employment to previously unemployed people and expose them to global training initiatives and skills. Overall we’re a good partnership match.”

The partnership will see direct job creation opportunities as each Starbucks store opens, in addition to opportunities at the Taste support office in Johannesburg. Taste expects that the indirect impact of skills transfer into South Africa, and the localization opportunities in the supply chain will be material. In addition, Starbucks and Taste have committed to continuing Taste’s Changing Lanes program, employing predominantly from currently unemployed youth directly from the communities in which they trade.

“Young people are the key to our success. The majority of our workforce is aged between 17 and 25 so talented youth has always been a priority and we will equip our new partners with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s economy. We look forward to using our partnership to leverage Taste’s strong track record of creating jobs and developing great people,” said Engskov. “Starbucks sources a considerable amount of its global, high‐quality coffee from farms in sub‐Saharan Africa, in partnership with our network of farmer support and agronomy centers in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. We are proud to be able to offer some of the best African coffees in the world to more customers in the region.”

“We’re looking forward to bringing the entire Starbucks experience to South Africa for the first time. That includes 100% ethically sourced Arabica coffee, Starbucks full menu offering and of course beautiful coffee houses,” Gonzaga concluded.

About Starbucks
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 22,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. Read more at www.news.starbucks.com.

About Taste Holdings
Taste Holdings is a South African-based management group and a leading licensor of global brands in the Southern African region. It owns and licenses a portfolio of franchised and owned, category specialists, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and retail brands currently represented in five countries in Southern Africa. Its food division has a 30-year master license agreement for Domino’s Pizza in Southern Africa. It also owns, operates and franchises Zebro’s Chicken, The Fish & Chip Co, Maxi’s Restaurants, Scooters Pizza and St Elmo’s Woodfired Pizza. The food Cardivision is vertically integrated; it owns retail outlets; it manufactures sauces, spices, premixes, added value meat products as well as fresh dough. It then distributes these and most other products from its own distribution centers using its own fleet of multi-temperature vehicles. Its luxury goods division is underpinned by three owned retail brands – NWJ, Arthur Kaplan and World’s Finest Watches. It too is vertically integrated, owning more than 60% of the retail outlets as well as a design studio and jewellery manufacturing and distribution facility that manufactures approximately 40% of NWJ Jewellery. NWJ is the third largest national jewellery chain by store numbers in the region. Arthur Kaplan and World’s Finest Watches are, together, the leading retailers of luxury Swiss watch brands in the region. This includes watch brands such as Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Tag Heuer, Longines and Rado. Arthur Kaplan also retails luxury fine jewellery in collections under the Arthur Kaplan brand. Taste is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) under the symbol “TAS”. www.tasteholdings.co.za

For more information on this news release, contact us.

 

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Starbucks partners with Taste Holdings for the opening of stores in South Africa, the first in sub‐Saharan Africa

Starbucks partners with Taste Holdings for the opening of stores in South Africa, the first in sub‐Saharan Africa

More than a dozen leading US companies to create the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people

  • Top U.S.-Based Companies Create Pathways to Economic Opportunity for Young Americans
  • Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart Come Together With the Goal to Create the Nation’s Largest Employer-Led Coalition to Hire or Train 100,000 Opportunity Youth   
  • First Opportunity Fair & Forum Coming to Chicago on Aug. 13, Hosted by Common

Chicago, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — More than a dozen leading, U.S.-based companies today announced the formation of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which has the goal of being the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people.  The coalition has the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth – 16-24 year olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and both part-time and full-time jobs. Additionally, the coalition will leverage existing collaborative efforts on the ground in a handful of cities to partner in building these pathways. The founding companies include Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

Chicago to Host First Opportunity Fair & Forum

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will accelerate the coalition’s hiring commitment with an employer initiated Opportunity Fair & Forum for Opportunity Youth in Chicago on Aug. 13, where the participating companies expect to collectively train more than 2,000 youth and make at least 200 on-the-spot job offers, delivering immediate impact for their businesses, the Chicago community and many participating candidates. By partnering with local workforce leaders, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative expects to hire at least 1,000 youth in the Chicago area over the next 18 months. Over the next 30 days, the growing coalition will continue to welcome the participation of new companies who share a commitment to hiring Opportunity Youth. This initial event will serve as a catalyst for hiring and training efforts across the nation with the collective goal of engaging 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018.

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, working with LeadersUp, will serve as an aggregator and intermediary for the initial event in Chicago.  The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will also engage a broad collaboration of community based organizations to provide resources including on-the-spot mentorship and feedback, mock-interviews and skills training for job readiness, college prep, volunteer opportunities and internships.

“The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is creating a meaningful pathway to opportunity for thousands of young people – starting here in Chicago. With the right tools and resources, the next generation of Chicagoans can make a measurable impact in our community through civic engagement and strengthen our City’s economy. I am pleased that Chicago was selected to host the first hiring event, and I look forward to working with these companies to help solve a critical issue facing our neighborhoods and the young people who live there today,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Opportunity Forum will be hosted by Grammy and Academy Award winning performing artist and actor Common who will lead an open discussion with more than 2,000 young people and their support networks focused on economic opportunity in America. Joining Common on stage will be special guests, entertainers and speakers.

“I believe in the talent that lies within our young people, and I know that when we give them a real chance, they will achieve and soar. I am excited to be a part of bringing jobs and opportunities to our great city,” said Common.

The Opportunity Ahead

In the U.S. alone, there are currently 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and not working.  At the same time, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. Jobs that do not require a four-year degree – sometimes called middle-skill jobs – make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States. For employers looking to fill these jobs, young, motivated workers are a vital and untapped resource.  However, young people are often unaware that these opportunities are available, nor are they aware of the steps they need to take to pursue and secure these jobs. At the same time, employers often do not have clear strategies to effectively recruit, train and retain young workers.

In response, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is committing to create the pathways young workers need to build skills, attain credentials and ultimately secure a job. Companies engaged in the coalition will help to launch careers for young people who are just entering the workforce through internships, apprenticeships and on the job training, as well as to develop the potential of youth who have some work experience but are looking to gain new skills that will lead to a successful career.  These companies have joined together and are operating with the belief that with the right skills and training, Opportunity Youth represent an unrealized pipeline of talent and an economic engine that can be ignited.

“In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young people doesn’t just help the individual workers – it benefits entire communities and the economy at large. The corporate leaders championing the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative recognize that promoting career opportunities for youth is a win-win, and I hope more employers will follow their lead. I’m pleased to see the Chicago Cook Workforce Board leveraging public workforce system capacity to connect young people with employers, training, and good jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

Leadership and Commitment to Hiring Opportunity Youth

The Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions will act as an intermediary for the initiative, building upon the existing work of its national Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF).   The OYIF currently supports collaborative efforts focused on Opportunity Youth in 21 communities around the country. The Aspen Institute will provide direct leadership, technical assistance, and programmatic support to launch the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in a handful of those cities. Funders participating in the initiative include: Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Starbucks, Walmart Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Alaska Airlines: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), has a singular focus on youth and education, and is committed to building education and career pathways for youth in the communities it serves. By focusing on ways to expose youth to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers through targeted giving, mentorship and other programs, Alaska is engaging the leaders of tomorrow and developing talent for the aviation industry. In its home state of Washington, Alaska has given $2.5 million to fund the Alaska Airlines Aerospace Education Center at the Museum of Flight to inspire the next generation of aerospace leaders, $1.5 million to Port Jobs for career development for airport workers, and $236,000 to the Highline School District for grants to teachers who help students excel in technical training. In the state of Alaska, Alaska Airlines has made a 3-year, $1 million commitment to the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, an organization with the mission of providing native Alaskan students with the support they need to be successful in higher education and in science and engineering careers.

CVS Health: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with more than 200,000 colleagues nationwide, has an ongoing commitment to train and hire young people. The company has longstanding partnerships with the U.S. Department of Labor and White House’s Summer Jobs+ initiative and was the first employer to launch a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program for pharmacy technicians. Through that program, CVS Health has placed more than 1,500 colleagues in Registered Apprenticeship career tracks in retail pharmacy and management and has committed to doubling that number over the next five years. Another notable program is Pathways to Health Care. More than one million young people have participated in the program since it began in 2000. Serving students in more than 40 cities across the United States, the program has awarded over $4 million in summer internship wages and continues to be a valuable tool for high-school and college-aged students.

Hilton: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

As one of the largest global hospitality companies in the world, Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) has committed to impacting one million young people by 2019.  Through a series of apprenticeships, internships and job opportunities, Hilton is supporting the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in the U.S. by committing to hire at least 15,000 young people in its offices and owned and managed hotels over the next three years, providing them with a wealth of skills and training to be successful in the world of hospitality and beyond. Visit jobs.hiltonworldwide.com and youth.hiltonworldwide.com for more information.

Microsoft: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Microsoft YouthSpark, through partnerships with nonprofit organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Junior Achievement, Year Up, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, annually connects approximately one million youth in the United States with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Through YouthSpark, Microsoft is committed to supporting even more young people in the future, providing opportunities to learn computer science — one of the most in-demand fields—through programs such as Technology, Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), which placed technology professionals as volunteer teachers into more than 130 high schools across the country during the past school year.

Starbucks: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

As one of the world’s leading youth employers with nearly 80 percent of its workforce being millennials, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has committed to hiring at least 10,000 Opportunity Youth in the U.S. over the next three years, many of whom will be eligible to participate in the company’s full slate of benefits including the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which provides full tuition reimbursement for an online bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. By hiring these purpose-driven young people, Starbucks believes it can create real pathways to opportunity for these new hires while driving its business forward and strengthening the communities it serves. Starbucks, the Schultz Family Foundation and YouthBuild USA have also launched the Customer Service Excellence Training (CSET) program, which gives students an opportunity to learn customer service skills – based on the same training Starbucks store partners (employees) receive – through classroom and on-the-job experience in retail or café settings.

Taco Bell: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Taco Bell changes lives and makes a positive impact on the communities it serves. As the employer of more than 1MM teens since its founding, Taco Bell sees today’s youth as the heart and soul of its brand. They are the reason why Taco Bell, the Taco Bell Foundation and Taco Bell franchisees have invested $75 million in scholarships, programming and grants to develop the next generation of leaders. Education and skills development are one of the most powerful ways Taco Bell is building communities, and the brand is committed to creating more jobs that are compatible with going to school. Between now and 2022, the brand expects to create more than 50,000 new jobs of which one in four will go to hiring teens, adding to the 175,000 jobs held by team members today. Taco Bell’s vision of seeing 100 percent of high school students graduate is supported in part by programs such as Taco Bell’s Career Online High School, which the brand launched to provide team members the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and career certificate through the nation’s only accredited online school district. Taco Bell team members also have access to a variety of online options, including fully accredited GEDs through the National GED Testing Service; Associate’s, Bachelor’s or graduate degrees offered at a 40 percent discount through a partnership with Excelsior College; and programs where associates can earn nearly 50 percent of the credits needed to earn a college degree just by working at Taco Bell.

Target: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Target has always worked to create shared value—doing what is good both for its business and for broader society. Since 1946, Target has given five percent of its profits back to communities, which today equals more than $4 million a week. One of the cornerstones of the company’s commitments has long been education. In 2015, Target will achieve its goal of giving $1 billion to education, helping kids reach their full potential while creating an educated workforce and leaders for the future. Target’s team is a source of pride for the company, and leaders focus on creating a diverse and engaged workforce supported by an inclusive culture. Target strives to be locally relevant to the guests and communities it serves, which includes creating jobs and inspiring team members to give back. In 2014, Target team members donated more than a million volunteer hours to projects they’re passionate about and with organizations that make an impact in the communities where they live and work – and are on track to do the same in 2015.

Walgreens: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Since its founding as a single store in Chicago in 1901 to its presence today in virtually every demographic community in the country, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) has understood the importance of developing our nation’s youth by creating employment opportunities. Through its robust job shadow, internship and employment opportunities for local youth around the country, Walgreens provides exposure to a variety of careers from store management to supply chain to corporate careers, including more than 100,000 hours of training and mentorship to thousands of young people annually. Each year, the company donates more than $1 million to the nation’s pharmacy schools to improve diversity among pharmacy students. In addition, high school students can gain Walgreens pharmacy experience through its job shadow program. The company’s pharmacy technician training program, which focuses on young people, is accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). In recent years, Walgreens formalized programs aimed at hiring those in underserved employment populations. Hundreds of young Americans with mental or physical disabilities have found employment at Walgreens in distribution centers and stores through its Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) program. Walgreens also works with a New York youth agency to create internships for those in the foster care system. For more information, visit careers.walgreens.com.

Walmart and Walmart Foundation Retail: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide support to this initiative through their Retail Opportunity Initiative, announced in February, 2015, which includes a $100 million investment over the next five years to create meaningful pathways for advancing people – including youth – in the retail sector overall.  In addition to helping to support the Aspen Institute in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will work with local organizations in Chicago and other cities to remove barriers to advancement.  The ongoing work includes philanthropic investments in career path mapping, pre-employment training, placement programs, upskilling, and credentialing, along with engagement in cross-sector partnerships such as this one.

Leaders Quotes

“At Alaska, we are committed to creating valuable career path opportunities in the communities we serve, through our support of education and job training initiatives for youth,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. “An example in Washington State is our support for career advancement though initiatives like Port Jobs, that provide training and tools for workers at early stages of their career.”

“Expanding access to the American Dream is one of the most important issues confronting our democracy. The Aspen Institute is proud to partner with so many major companies to create greater access to opportunity for low income youth and young adults in America’s cities. Thanks to this coalition, thousands more young people will have a chance to fully participate in civil society,” said Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

“By bringing together the energy of world-class organizations, we can make meaningful progress toward improving the training and employment options for Opportunity Youth across America,” said Scott Farmer, CEO of Cintas Corporation. “With 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and not working, we need to join hands and take action across industries.  The Initiative is exciting and important for the future of Opportunity Youth and our Nation.”

“This is a key investment we can make for the success of our youth,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “We need to continue investing in programs and initiatives such as 100,000 Opportunities to strengthen our youth workforce, especially for our low-income and disadvantaged youth. I am again calling upon employers, large and small, across the region to join us in supporting the future of our young people by creating meaningful employment opportunities for our youth.”

“CVS Health is pleased to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative as part of our company’s ongoing commitment to connecting talented young people with meaningful apprenticeships, internships and jobs,” said Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health. “At CVS Health, we know that today’s youth are the business leaders, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and health care professionals of tomorrow. That’s why we’re focused on introducing young people to careers in health care and pharmacy, two significantly expanding fields, and ensuring that they are armed with the skills they need to achieve success in not only their careers, but also in life. By training and hiring young people, we are not only building a strong workforce, but also stronger communities.”

“As one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, we are in a unique position to leverage our size, scale and expertise to close the opportunity gap for young people in a meaningful way,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide. “The life skills and on-the-job training offered in hospitality create a strong foundation for young people to build lifelong careers at Hilton and throughout our industry. By participating in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, we continue to work toward our global commitment to prepare, connect and employ one million young people by 2019.”

“We are very excited to be part of this 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to hire Opportunity Youth. While this initiative will help young Chicagoans find valuable employment, it will also be a great opportunity for us to identify and hire talented youth that will enrich our workforce and ultimately the customer experience we strive to deliver,” said Steve Johnson, President and CEO of HMSHost. “We look forward to working alongside our fellow employers to bring the goal of 100,000 Opportunities to reality.”

“As one of America’s largest department stores, we’re honored to be a founding partner of this important initiative,” said Marvin Ellison, President and CEO-designee of JCPenney. “A job in retail can be the start of an exciting career path with a variety of opportunities for anyone who is passionate about delivering great products and exceptional customer service. We look forward to helping the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative achieve its goal by placing young people in positions at JCPenney stores where the possibilities for growth are endless.”

“At Microsoft we are passionate about empowering every person on the planet to achieve more and that means supporting strong pathways for education and employment for youth,” said Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation. “We are honored to be a part of The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to help empower thousands of young people across America.”

“We are excited and honored to be working alongside other successful companies that are committed to empowering America’s youth,” said Matt Ehrlichman, Chief Executive Officer of Porch.com. “As a startup, I can attribute a lot of our early success to the smart, ambitious, and young talent base we have. At the heart of every durable company and community is empowerment. When you combine that with opportunity, you can literally change the world. We look forward to the road ahead and the opportunities we will provide as our business and the home service industry grows.”

“We simply hire nice people and teach them the Potbelly way,” said Aylwin Lewis, Chairman, CEO and President of Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to be a founding funder in the 100,000 Opportunity Initiative,” saidJudith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Years of research have showed us time and again what works and what doesn’t work when tackling youth unemployment, and solutions with an explicit and defined commitment from employers is the way we will achieve sustained impact.  Getting young people into new jobs is just the beginning.  We all must work together to ensure they enter the right jobs, retain them, and ultimately grow from them.  Today’s effort is an important first step, and I commend the corporations that are on the front lines of hiring thousands of these qualified young people.”

“By using our scale to create pathways to affordable education and meaningful employment for these young men and women, we’re strengthening both our workforce and our economy” said Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks and co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “As business leaders, I believe we have a critical role to play in hiring more Opportunity Youth and offering these young people excellent training, and the chance to dream big and reach their aspirations. The rules of engagement for philanthropy are changing. It’s not just about writing a check; rather, our approach is focused on creating a coalition of like minds with local knowledge, expertise on-the-ground and the ability to scale the social impact of an initiative like this to create pathways of opportunity for the literally millions of young people who can benefit from this program.”

“As a company that gives many young Americans their very first job, Taco Bell proudly invests in developing its next generation of leaders through education, job and life skills, and a culture that promotes growth,” said Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell Corp. “Taco Bell is a workplace where today’s driven youth can flourish. We empower our team members with practical skills that set them up for success on the job and beyond, and provide the resources and encouragement to stay in school and earn a degree so they can follow their passions. For over 20 years we have paved the way for teens to gain the confidence they need to tackle challenges, make an impact on the world and reach their full potential. We are honored to extend support for this impressive generation by participating in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative.”

“At Target, we seek innovative ways to fuel our growth, improve people’s lives, and make a sustainable difference in the world. Our team members are our greatest asset, and it is through their contributions that we continue to surpass our guests’ expectations every time they shop with us. Being a founding member of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will connect Target with motivated, high potential young people that help ensure our workforce is as diverse as the guests we serve,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corp. “For more than a century, Walgreens has grown its business on a tradition of recruiting young talent and building professional career paths that can take them to the company’s highest ranks,” said Alex Gourlay, President of Walgreens. “We are proud to join with other great American brands to broaden opportunity for young men and women and provide access to the training, skills development and experience needed to build a strong workforce and growing economy.”

“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation work to improve the lives of millions of people through creating economic mobility and strengthening communities,” said Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO. “Through our Opportunity initiative, we are working in partnership with others to address the fundamental challenges facing the retail and related industry workforces and create opportunities through job training that will allow for clear career advancement. We are pleased to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to prepare youth for successful and rewarding careers in retail.”

“We are pleased to support the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to put more young people on a promising road toward economic security,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Partnering with employers to build strong pathways to quality jobs and important supports like employment training and employee wellbeing policies is essential. We believe this will help more young people — especially those disconnected from opportunity who have been continuously and structurally left out of the economic engine — move up the career ladder and provide a better future for their families.”

How to Engage

For companies interested in joining the effort, please visit www.100kOpportunities.org for more information. For young people interested in participating in the Opportunity Fair & Forum, please visit www.100kOpportunities.orgf or information about participating agencies.

About the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has the goal of creating the nation’s largest employer-led private sector coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for young people. Companies engaged in the coalition will help to launch careers for young people that are just entering the workforce, including internships, apprenticeships and on the job training, in addition to developing potential in youth that have some work experience but are looking to gain new skills that lead to a successful career.  For more information, please visit www.100kOpportunities.org.

For more information on this news release, contact us.

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More than a dozen leading US companies to create the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people

More than a dozen leading US companies to create the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people

Shopify’s Build a Business Competition winners announced; they will spend five days with Sir Richard Branson on his private island

All six winners will spend five days with Sir Richard Branson on his private island

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Shopify Inc. (“Shopify”) (NYSE: SHOP, TSX: SH), — a leading cloud-based commerce platform, today announced the winners of its Build a Business Competition. Over the course of eight months, tens of thousands of new businesses were created, generating over 4 million orders, and resulting in more than $250 million in sales. This year’s products ranged from a GPS-enabled suitcase, to a wearable that zaps users to reduce bad habits, to an innovative mattress.

“We knew that for our fifth year, we had to go bigger and better, which is why we chose to work with Sir Richard, one of the most accomplished and inspirational entrepreneurs in the world,” said Harley Finkelstein, the Chief Platform Officer of Shopify. “We knew that the grand prize of spending a week on a private island, getting advice and mentoring from the likes of Sir Richard, Seth Godin, and Tim Ferriss, would motivate people to kickstart their ideas into actual businesses and I’m amazed at this year’s group of entrepreneurs, businesses and products.”

To be eligible in the Build a Business Competition, entrepreneurs had to start an entirely new company and sell their products using the Shopify platform. The contest ran from October 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015, and at the end of the competition, the top six stores that sold the most, over a two-month period were named the winners. The grand prize includes a trip on a private jet to Necker Island, to spend five days of mentorship with some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world, including Sir Richard Branson, Daymond John, Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo and Seth Godin.

Here is a summary of the six winning businesses, their innovative products, and the entrepreneurs themselves:

Leesa: David Wolfe’s goal was to tap into the lucrative mattress industry by creating a high quality but affordable mattress that could get shipped directly to the consumer. Leesa is just that — a luxury mattress for under $1,000.

Trunkster: After living out of their suitcases while travelling for business, Jesse Potash and Gaston Blanchet had an idea for a piece of luggage that was zipperless, with a built-in GPS, scale, and mobile charger. After raising $1.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign, Trunkster was born.

Shore Projects: Based in London, England, Shore Projects was founded by three serial entrepreneurs who had never designed, manufactured and sold a product before. Taking influence from the British seaside, they chose to create a watch that was a timeless, quality product that could be worn every day.

PAVLOK: After experimenting with various ways to increase productivity, Maneesh Sethi realized that there were dozens of wearables tracking behavior but not one that actually changed behavior. Based on the work of psychologist Ivan Pavlov and 80+ years of clinical research, Sethi created PAVLOK, a wearable that uses classical conditioning to break bad habits. Customers have used PAVLOK to quit smoking, nail biting, overeating, drinking, thinking negative thoughts, and more.

Little Letter Lights Co.: Based out of Adelaide, Australia, Lucy Nourse and her husband Rob wanted to start a business so that she could spend more time with their kids by working from home. She knew she wanted a product for children that was unique, safe, and affordable so she created her letter lights.

Coco White: Based out of London, England, Jonny Teeling and Will Peirce were looking to start a new business venture. They honed in on two key trends: the desire for an all natural teeth whitening product, and the concept of oil pulling. After drawing up some unique packaging designs and testing out different prices, Coco White was ready for market.

For more details on this year’s Build a Business winners, visit www.shopify.com/blog. For more information on Build a Business Competition, visit www.shopify.com/build-a-business.

About Shopify

Shopify is a leading cloud-based commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Merchants can use the software to design, set up and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. This provides a merchant a single view of their business. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, using enterprise-level technology made available to businesses of all sizes. Shopify currently powers over 165,000 businesses in approximately 150 countries, including: Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Wikipedia, LA Lakers, GoldieBlox, and many more.