Argos: boxing equipment sales up by 59 percent year on year

Milton Keynes, UK, 2016-Apr-21 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sales of boxing equipment at Argos are on the rise, up 59 percent year on year, as Brits fancy themselves as the next Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan or David Haye.

Following Anthony Joshua’s big fight and win against Charles Martin, Britain has boxing fever. Sparring and upper cuts has swept the nation and looks set to continue. With the upcoming Amir Khan fight and the predicted fight against Tyson Fury later this year boxing is showing signs of being the latest fitness trend.

As well as purchasing boxing equipment and boxing related products to experience a taste of the boxing lifestyle, Argos customers are picking up key items to ensure a good cardio workout. HIIT, the high intensity workout which often incorporates boxing styles has proven popular recently as people such as Joe Wicks, the Body Coach encourages the nation to work out intensively but for short, sharp periods.

There’s a boxing set for everyone at Argos including the Everlast Womens Punchbag Set (£44.99) through to the RDX 4ft Punchbag with Gloves, Chains and Bracket (£59.99) or the RDX Junior Gold Punchbag with Gloves and Chains (£34.99).

Sports equipment buyer at Argos Vinny Iaciofano says, “Boxing is a great sport to increase strength, agility and for sharp, short bursts of intense activity. A great, fun sport for everyone, the trend for boxing at home is only set to continue to rise over the next few months, as the sport receives even more attention during the Rio Olympics.”

Visit for further information.


Notes to Editors:

Sales comparison is for Sunday 10th – Tuesday 12th April 2016 versus the comparative days last year.

For more information, please contact the Argos Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email:

Follow us on Twitter at @argos_PR.

About Argos
Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 60,000 products through, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argos continues to be the UK’s largest high street retailer online with around 121m customer transactions a year through its stores and over 900 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2015.  Customers can take advantage of Argos’ convenient Check & Reserve service available through its network of 844 stores and concessions across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In the financial year to February 2015, Argos sales were £4.1 billion and it employed some 29,000 people across the business.

Argos is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

SOURCE: Home Retail Group



Argos: boxing equipment sales up by 59 percent year on year

The unique blue composite panels installed on the new Renton, WA IKEA store scheduled to open in Spring 2017

RENTON, WA, 2016-Apr-21 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced that steel framing has advanced far enough that installation of the iconic blue composite panels has begun on the relocated Seattle-area store under construction adjacent to its current store in Renton, WA. Installing the blue panels is a key construction milestone that keeps the store on track to open in Spring 2017, and it reflects the unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide.

The 399,000-square-foot new Seattle-area store, including 1,600 parking spaces, is being built across the 29-acre IKEA parcel’s parking lot in Renton, near State Highway 167, approximately 11 miles southeast of downtown Seattle. Until the new store opens in Spring 2017, customers can continue to shop in Renton at the existing IKEA store. During the construction period, IKEA will be providing additional parking nearby on weekends for customers and shuttling them to the store. Customers can find detailed information about parking directions, shuttle plans and construction updates available at and @IKEA_Seattle.“With this newer version of our Seattle-area store taking shape and the blue paneling now going up, we continue to be on track for a grand opening next spring,” said Diedre Goodchild, store manager. “The progress is exciting. Once we are enclosed fully, we can begin transforming the building’s interior to look like an updated IKEA store.”

The new Seattle-area IKEA store will feature the same 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a larger restaurant for serving Swedish specialties. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the showroom, baby-care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking. In addition to the already 350 Renton coworkers as part of the global IKEA family and 500 jobs created during construction, IKEA will generate even more annual sales and property tax revenue to the city and local schools. IKEA also is evaluating potential on-site power generation to complement its current U.S. goal of a renewable energy presence at nearly 90% of its U.S. locations.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 380 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 41 in the U.S. IKEA has been included in rankings of “Best Companies to Work For” and, as further investment in its coworkers, has raised its own minimum wage twice in two years. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see, @IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Local Contact:

Annie Boeckman
(425) 656-4404, x 1342

Source: IKEA

43 charities across U.S. will be receiving IKEA makeover and product donations

Conshohocken, PA, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA U.S. is pleased to announce today that 43 charities across the U.S. will be receiving IKEA makeover and product donations as a result of winning this year’s IKEA Life Improvement Challenge. Additionally 77 other charities, who were first and second runner ups, will win an IKEA product donation.

IKEA wants to play a part in creating a better life for the many people, as well as communities touched by IKEA business. While IKEA works on a global level to improve the lives of people in developing countries, IKEA also wants to be a good neighbor in its local communities. The IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker challenge is one way to make a difference closer to home.

How the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge Works:
Each year, IKEA receives many inspiring proposals from IKEA co-workers as candidates for the campaign. Then the IKEA steering committee – at each store – selects up to three organizations for co-workers and customers to vote online (this year’s voting period was March 27- April 10). The charitable organization, from each store market, with the highest number of online votes becomes the winner, and the 2nd and 3rd place winners receive an IKEA product donation.

Two of this year’s 43 winners are listed below as good examples of just how meaningful these charities are as well as the impact of these makeovers:

Illumination Foundation, Costa Mesa, California
Illumination Foundation’s mission is to provide targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless clients to break or prevent the cycle of homelessness. The makeover would redesign the Stanton Children’s Recourse Center to ensure that the children are grouped according to their skill level in order to receive assistance tailored to their specific needs.

Warriors for Autism Inc., Tampa, Florida
Warriors for Autism’s mission is to enlighten, enrich, and empower the lives of families on the autism spectrum by offering inclusive programs and services that fit the ever growing needs of the community. The makeover would furnish the new facility opening in spring of 2016, which will be an adaptive fitness and sensory center for children and young adults on the autism spectrum.

IKEA U.S. started the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge in 2011, and since then over 200 local charities have received over $1 million in IKEA products, design expertise, and manpower.

For more information on the winners, read here:

Contact: Mona Astra Liss, IKEA Corporate PR Director,,
610.834.0180, ext. 5852

About IKEA Group
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 328 IKEA Group stores in 28 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 41 IKEA stores in the U.S. In FY 15, IKEA Group had 771 million visitors to the stores and 1.9 billion visitors to IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit,, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA,,,,


All fishing boats supplying Marks & Spencer to be certified by Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) by 2021

  • All fishing vessels supplying M&S to be RFS certified by 2021
  • All UK vessels to be certified by 2017*
  • Scheme promotes best-practice on crew welfare and responsible catching practices

LONDON, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) today announces an industry leading commitment to help promote best practice welfare and environmental standards in the fishing industry.

The aim is for all fishing boats supplying M&S to be certified by the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) by 2021, or be actively engaged in a time bound plan to achieve RFS certification. This applies worldwide, however UK boats will be required to gain the certificate or be actively engaged by the end of 2017.

M&S is the first retailer to make a worldwide commitment of this kind.

Andy Adcock, Director of Food at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re passionate about being a responsible retailer. We only buy fish from the most sustainable sources, a commitment we’ve worked tirelessly on for almost 20 years, and this pledge means our customers can shop with us knowing we’ve done everything possible to protect the marine environment and those working in our fish supply chain.”

The Seafish RFS scheme is the only scheme of its kind in the industry. It provides tangible evidence that the seafood caught by a fishing boat has been responsibly caught and handled and the boat has the highest standards on crew welfare, fair pay, health and safety and human rights.

Tom Pickerell, Technical Director at Seafish, said: “The commitment from M&S is another huge boost for RFS and it further marks the intent of the UK seafood industry to be recognised worldwide for its work on reducing social and welfare issues.

“There is a collective call for seafood to be socially responsible as well as environmentally sustainable and as a result we are working with fishermen at the heart of that supply chain to demonstrate adherence to best practice in crew welfare.”

RFS is a voluntary scheme and both the fishing boat and the training and welfare of its crew must meet RFS standards for a vessel to be certified. Once the boat owner and its skipper have applied for certification they are audited by an independent certification body.

Boats and their skipper(s) have to demonstrate best practice in five areas:

  • Safety, health and welfare;
  • Training and professional development;
  • The vessel and its mission (ensuring all legislation and voluntary agreements that apply to its fishing area, catch and gear type are followed);
  • Care of the catch (including provenance, traceability and high hygiene standards)
  • Care for the environment (including management of litter).

Anyone looking to find out more about RFS should visit the Seafish website –

– Ends –

For further information please contact 

Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer press office, 0208 718 1919


Denise Fraser, Seafish, 0131 524 8656

Notes to editors

* Or actively engaged in a time bound plan to achieve certification.

Further detail on the five areas vessels and skippers have to demonstrate best practice on to become RFS certified –

Safety, health and welfare

  • A commitment to generating a culture of integrity and respect (e.g. no forced labour) will be demonstrated;
  • Requirements established also draw from other relevant safety management and ethical and welfare initiatives to improve safety of the crew and promote decent working conditions.

Training and professional development

  • Covers accessible training for the key priority areas, especially safety;
  • Focus is on improving skills, knowledge and understanding;
  • Commitment to raise standards, open up new opportunities and cooperate with management authorities.

The vessel and its mission

  • Statement detailing vessel’s mission (e.g. fishing area, catch focus, gear type etc.);
  • The vessel and its gear are in compliance with all current legislation;
  • All legal with the right documentation in place;
  • Full cooperation with voluntary agreements in existence in the fishery.

Care of the catch

  • Focus on supplying safe, high quality, wholesome product with known provenance;
  • Hygienic handling and storage at appropriate temperatures;
  • Full traceability from catch to quayside;
  • Responsible capture & landing of live products;
  • Commitment to maintaining the value of the catch.

Care for the environment

  • Responsible practice & respecting the environment (management of litter, lost fishing gear recovery, wildlife interaction records);
  • Supporting fishery science (e.g. observers, science partnerships etc.);
  • Tie-in with other voluntary schemes.

About Plan A

Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s eco and ethical programme that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan has helped M&S send no waste to landfill, become carbon neutral and win over 200 industry awards. To find out more please visit the Plan A website –

About Seafish

Seafish was founded in 1981 by an Act of Parliament and aims to support all sectors of the seafood industry for a sustainable, profitable and socially responsible future. It is the only pan-industry body offering services to all parts of the industry, from the start of the supply chain at catching and aquaculture; through processing, importers, exporters and distributors of seafood right through to restaurants and retailers.

Seafish is funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood landed in the UK. Its services are intended to support and improve the environmental sustainability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the industry, as well as promoting sustainably-sourced seafood. These services include technical research and development, responsible sourcing initiatives, economic consulting, market research, industry accreditation, safety training for fishermen and legislative advice.


CVS Health to offer consumers a new level of seamless convenience in a deal with Curbside

WOONSOCKET, R.I., 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced a partnership with Curbside, a company perfecting the store pickup experience for retailers and consumers, to launch CVS Express, a digital solution offering consumers a new level of seamless convenience. CVS Health is also investing in Curbside, demonstrating the company’s commitment to driving further innovations that will help customers save time and money while pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

“Retail pharmacy is an exciting, competitive landscape that is ripe for digital innovation,” said Helena Foulkes, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy. “This partnership with Curbside allows CVS Health to offer new and more convenient ways for our customers to shop with us ultimately making it easier for them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in a way that works best for them.”

“We founded Curbside to help make shopping at neighborhood stores faster and easier than ever before,” said Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Curbside. “Our proprietary location technology ensures seamless, reliable order handoff at the moment a customer arrives and our console apppowers an efficient pick and pack operation for CVS Pharmacy colleagues to prepare orders in the store. In partnership with CVS Health we’ve created a fast, convenient new shopping experience that busy CVS Pharmacy customers are going to love.”

CVS Express is the industry’s first retail solution that integrates Curbside’s market-leading technology right into the CVS Pharmacy app. With CVS Express, customers can make mobile, in-app purchases from their local CVS Pharmacy and have those products delivered directly to them when they pull up to the store, all in about one hour with no markups or added costs for convenience. Created in less than three months in the CVS Digital Innovation Lab in partnership with Curbside, CVS Express embodies the digital mission of CVS Health to make healthy lifestyles more accessible and convenient for customers nationwide.

“We believe digital tools are the key to making health care convenient, personal and affordable for our customers, and CVS Express is a perfect embodiment of our digital mission,” said Brian Tilzer, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, CVS Health. “By working closely with our retail team and partnering with Curbside, who brought industry-leading technology to our platform, we rapidly developed a seamless and simple solution that creates a significant time savings for customers. We are committed to redefining convenience and this will be one of many steps on that journey.”

CVS Health will continue to redefine retail convenience during 2016 and beyond with an investment in Curbside as it develops the latest technology to evolve the retail shopping experience.

CVS Express is currently available in San Francisco, Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, and will begin rolling out to additional CVS Pharmacy locations later this year. It is applicable to all front store and over-the-counter items, with no added cost to the customer for utilizing the service.

For more information about CVS Express, please visit and join the conversation using #stayinthecar. For more information about Curbside, please visit

About the CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its approximately 9,600 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 75 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at

About Curbside

Curbside is perfecting the store pickup experience for both retailers and consumers. Curbside partners with top retailers to reinvent the local shopping experience for the era of instant mobile commerce. Its arrival detection software reliably tells store associates when customers are on approach, and enables a compelling, 20-second pickup experience for millions of products across thousands of retail locations. For consumers, Curbside makes it faster and easier to find, buy and pick up products at local stores than ever before, with no markup in price. Curbside was cofounded by Jaron Waldman, who founded Placebase which was later sold to Apple, and Denis Laprise, who founded Poly9 which was also acquired by Apple. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

Press Contacts

Erin Pensa
CVS Pharmacy
T: 401.770.4786

Adam Landres-Schnur
Access Emanate for Curbside
T: 415-844-6215



CVS Health to offer consumers a new level of seamless convenience in a deal with Curbside

CVS Health to offer consumers a new level of seamless convenience in a deal with Curbside

13 Scottish breweries secure new deals with Asda

Craft beer trend continues

  • Contract value totals £850k between the 13 breweries
  • Asda stores across Scotland will now stock over 75 Scottish beers, ales and ciders
  • New supermarket relationship with Craft Beer Clan

LEEDS, England, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — The trend for craft beer continues, and no more so than in Scotland, with 100 plus breweries, it’s clear the demand for Scottish real ale and craft beer is still bubbling away. Particularly for 13 Scottish breweries who are all celebrating after securing new deals with Asda to stock a variety of beers in stores across Scotland, with a contract value of £850k between them.

With a total of 25 new lines launching on shelves from the 13 suppliers, Asda aims to lead the way in supporting the Scottish brewing industry as the demand for craft beer continues in Scotland.

The new deal means that Asda stores across Scotland will now stock over 75 Scottish beers, ales and ciders, as customers look for more premium drinking experiences from local brands.

As well as working with Isle of Arran, Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and Kelburn breweries, the supermarket has also built a relationship with Craft Beer Clan to recruit the additional nine craft beer lines from; Deeside Brewery, Eden Mill Brewery, Jaw Brewery, Knops Brewery, Lerwick Brewery, Stewart Brewing, Loch Lomond Brewing, Wooha Brewing and WEST Brewery.

Asda has worked closely with the Craft Beer Clan, utilising their expertise in the market and Scottish brewery contacts to secure a range of flavoursome unique beers that offer customers drink experiences with authenticity. The final selection of beers was also made to ensure a strong geographical spread from all regions across Scotland.

For the following seven breweries; Isle of Skye, Jaw Brewery, Knops Brewery, Lerwick Brewery, Stewart Brewing, Loch Lomond Brewing and Wooha Brewing, this will be their first major supermarket retail listing.

More than half of the 13 breweries are also run by or in partnership with a woman, supporting recent industry figures that the number of professional women brewers is on the rise in the UK and they are becoming increasingly influential.

The majority of the new lines will also be available in 33cl format, as the smaller single serve bottles and cans soar in popularity. It’s not as simple as transferring existing brands into smaller packaging; it’s about creating new, exciting and innovative products, which can be seen by the new variants being stocked on Asda shelves.

Brian O’Shea, Asda’s regional buying manager for Scotland, said: “The craft beer culture continues to grow, and it’s clear customers are trading up to more premium beers, particularly ones which come from local brands.

“The new lines we have launched are all premium quality and will give customers a new more local choice, with a variety of flavours to suit every palate and occasion.”

Heather McDonald, head brewster and owner of WooHa Brewing Company, commented: “We are delighted to have secured our first major supermarket listing with Asda thanks to our relationship with Craft Beer Clan. Although we’re currently one of the youngest microbreweries in Scotland having just celebrated our first anniversary, this new deal is a great example of the supermarkets commitment to supporting Scottish suppliers no matter how big or small the brand.

“Scottish provenance and taste is important, but what makes our lager and ales stand out from the rest is that we put a modern twist on traditional brewing by using scientific knowledge of microbiology to create modern hop strains, alongside state-of-the-art equipment.”

Chris Miller, director at the Craft Beer Clan of Scotland, said: “The Craft Beer Clan works hard to promote Scottish craft beer at home and abroad, and it’s fantastic we’ve been able to work with a major retailer such as Asda.

“The craft brewing sector is renowned for its collaborations, so to be able to bring so many new brand listings to the supermarket stores across Scotland has been a great opportunity as we continue to build on Scotland’s reputation as a world-class producer of drink.”

The new deal will see the following 25 beer lines stocked in almost all stores across Scotland from this month:

Deeside Brewery – Macbeth Scott Pale (500ml, 4.1%) and Laf Califor Steam (500ml, 4.1%). Based in Banchory, the independent craft brewery is run by husband and wife Mike and Annabel Bain.

Eden Mill Brewery – 19th Brew (330ml, 3.9%) and St Andrews Blonde (330ml, 3.8%). Based on the outskirts of St Andrews, and run by Scott Gowans – who creates his own recipes, the brewery specialises in using locally sourced products and people.

Jaw Brew – Brewery Glide (330ml, 4.6%) and Brewery Reef (330ml, 4.2%). The independent, Glasgow based real ale craft brewery is run by husband and wife Mark and Alison Hazell. This will be the first major supermarket listing for the couples’ ales.

Knops Beer Company – India Pale Ale (330ml, 5%) and California Common (330ml, 4.6%). This will be the first supermarket listing for the independent brewery based in East Lothian which specialises in beers which are full of flavour and refreshment.

Lerwick Brewery – 60 Degrees North Lager (330ml, 4.8%) and Skippers Ticket Shetland (330ml, 4%). Based in Shetland and run by Rhanna Turberville, who is part of an all-female team.

Stewart Brewing – Hollyrood (330ml, 5%) and Edinburgh Gold (330ml, 4.8%). Based in Edinburgh, the brewery is run by husband and wife team Steve and Jo Stewart, who have grown from a team of two to 25 since launching in 2004. This will be the award winning beers first supermarket listing.

Loch Lomond Brewing – West Highland Way (500ml, 3.7%), Bonnie n’Blond (500ml, 4%) and Ale of Leven (500ml, 4.5%). The family run business, comprising of brother and sister Fiona and Euan MacEachern, has its very own strain of yeast and uses water from Glen Finlas as the base for its beers. This is also the breweries first supermarket listing.

Wooha Brewing – Porter (330ml, 5%) and Wheat (330ml, 6.4%). Based in Nairn and led by an all-female management team, the micro-brewery has only been going for a year and is excited to celebrate their first supermarket retail listing.

WEST Brewery – St Mungo (330ml, 4/9%). Run by Bavarian-born and Glaswegian-adopted, Petra Wetzel, WEST is the only brewery in the UK to produce all of our beers in strict accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516, using simple raw ingredients of the highest quality.

Isle of Skye Brewing Co. Ltd. Skye Red (500ml, 4.2%) and Skye Gold (500ml, 4.3%). Skye Red – originally named Red Cuillin was the brewery’s first ale, Skye Gold- originally named Hebridean Gold is brewed using porridge oats, one of the first brewers to use this as an ingredient. This is also the brewery’s first major supermarket listing.
Isle of Arran – Brewery Dug (500ml, 5.5%),Red Squirrel (500ml, 3.9%) and Arran Guid Ale (500ml, 3.8%. The Arran Brewery has been brewing award winning craft beer for over a decade.

Loch Ness Brewery – LightNESS (500ml, 3.9%) and HoppyNESS (500ml, 5.0%). The beers are made using pure Highland water, our exclusive ‘Nessie’ yeast, malted barley and a secret blend of hops.

Kelburn – Cart Blanche (500ml, 5%). The small family run business is managed by Derek Moore, his son Ross and daughter Karen. The brewery exists solely to produce quality ales and is excited to secure its first permanent supermarket listing with a major retailer.


Chico’s FAS Chief Marketing Officer Miki Berardelli named chairwoman of the NRF CMO Council

WASHINGTON, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today announced that Chico’s FAS Inc. President of Digital Commerce and Chief Marketing Officer Miki Berardelli has been named chairwoman of the NRF CMO Council. Berardelli, who will serve a two-year term, succeeds Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Half Price Books.

“Miki has been very engaged as a member of NRF and the Council will benefit greatly from her dedication and leadership as chairwoman,” NRF Senior Vice President of Communities Vicki Cantrell said. “We have been very fortunate to have Kathy Doyle Thomas guide the Council and are thrilled to continue to broaden the council’s vision and efforts through Miki’s leadership.”

The council, established in 2013, is the premier retail industry association for C-level and senior marketing executives and serves as the primary marketing and advertising voice of the retail industry. The council provides unique networking opportunities and educational programming.

“I’m looking forward to serving as the Chairman of the NRF CMO Council. It’s an exciting time for retail marketers given the rapidly changing landscape and opportunities to deliver quality experiences that meet and exceed customer expectations,” Berardelli said.

The council is open to any NRF member retailer’s CMO or person holding the company’s top marketing position. Members of the council collaborate with other NRF groups including the CIO Council and to develop comprehensive research and connect with industry peers.

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.

Treacy Reynolds
(855) NRF-Press

243 shareholders attended Ahold’s AGM in Amsterdam

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today held its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) at het Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. The meeting was attended by 243 shareholders, representing approximately 794 million votes.

Shareholders adopted Ahold’s 2015 financial statements and determined the dividend over 2015 at €0.52 per common share, to be paid on May 4, 2016.

Shareholders in particular also adopted the following proposals on the agenda: the remuneration policy for the Management Board, and the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers Accountants N.V. as external auditor for the financial year 2016.

Click here for more information about the AGM 2016

Cautionary notice

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

Ahold CEO Dick Boer speech on the AGM 2016

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on April 19, 2016, included a speech by Ahold Chief Executive Officer Dick Boer. Following is the full text of the speech.

Once again, a very warm welcome here in Amsterdam for the second time this year. At today’s special meeting, which looks like it will be the last before Ahold merges with Delhaize, I would like to tell you a story about this great company and look back on our journey forward.

In 129 years, Ahold has grown from a family business with just one grocery store in the Dutch town of Oostzaan, to a leading retailer that serves millions of customers every day with more than 3,200 stores and, of course, our online businesses.

I don’t know about you, but the pictures you are seeing here in the Muziekgebouw today bring back a lot of memories for me. I have been with Ahold since 1998 and in the grocery business for 35 years already. I started in the eighties, right around the time when Albert Heijn introduced its slogan, “The nation’s largest grocer will start watching its pennies.” Perhaps you still remember this. Albert Heijn lowered prices on a large number of products. This was good for the customer, but I can tell you that it made times hard for competitors.

“What is right for the customer is also right for the business.” Right up to today, this has been the driving force behind our strong, local brands. Last month,, part of Ahold since 2012, won a major prize for being the best web store in the Netherlands. Here is a quote from the jury report: “ deserves this prize because it bases its choices on what customers find most important rather than what happens to be ‘cool’ in the industry.”

I am proud of that. This focus on the customer is the common thread that runs through our history and that connects all our brands.

Pioneering, responding to what is happening in society, as well as anticipating and bringing about change in the supermarket sector. This is also a common thread running through our history. The Heijns, along with the founders of our other brands, were retail pioneers. Take the founders of Giant Landover in the United States, who opened the first mass-merchandised supermarket in 1936. Skeptics said that “supermarkets” would never catch on, but they were wrong. Later on, Mr. Albert Heijn was inspired by the large stores he saw on a trip to the United States. If he had not decided to invest in the supermarket formula then, and open the first self-service store in 1952, our supermarket landscape and our business would look very different now.

I should also mention 1981, when Albert Heijn started to roll out the franchise formula. This company realized the value of having a good balance between company-owned stores and local entrepreneurship. That still applies today, and we are very proud of all these motivated entrepreneurs.

Change is in our DNA, and that has also brought us much with regard to online., by far the largest online supermarket in the Netherlands, traces its roots back to 1987, when Ahold operated the home shopping service James TeleSuper. In the late eighties, Peapod in the United States – part of Ahold since 2001 – was the first e-commerce-only company in the world. And since its launch as an online bookshop in 1999, has grown into the largest online department store in the Netherlands and Belgium.

At the time when I took the helm as CEO of Ahold, we had not really utilized the leading positions of and Peapod enough. The assumption was that customers wanted the physical store online. But my team and I saw tremendous opportunities for this sleeping beauty in our group. In 2011, when we presented our Reshaping Retail strategy with omni-channel as a key element, it really got its place in our organization and picked up steam. In 2012, joined the group, which was a crucial step. They did not think in terms of the limitations of physical shops, but in terms of the infinite possibilities of online. They really infused Ahold’s DNA with online.

Two years later, in 2014, we presented our omni-channel ambitions to the market. We are well on track to achieving our goal of €2.5 billion in online consumer sales in 2017. In 2015, we were at €1.8 billion.

At the time, we said that we would invest to achieve this growth, based on the conviction that digitization is changing our industry irreversibly.

You have to fully commit to be successful – you have to be the first mover and be able to scale up quickly. is a great example of this, with sales growth of more than 25% in 2015. This year, their consumer sales are on track to exceed €1 billion, thanks to investments in areas such as product range, product information and delivery options. This is almost three times as much as in 2012. currently has a service area of 86% of the Netherlands for home delivery. Or Peapod: though it is not growing as fast as, it managed to grow new customers and sales by 45% in the fourth quarter in the New York area, a key growth market.

I told you about our stores: brick-and-mortar and online. But the listed company, Ahold, also has a history worth mentioning. In 1948, Albert Heijn was the first retailer listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. In 1973, Ahold N.V. was established and Albert Heijn became part of the holding, which was able to expand abroad. In 1987, when Albert Heijn celebrated its 100th anniversary, Ahold received the predicate “Royal.” We are very proud that Ahold Delhaize will also use the predicate after the intended merger.

We are looking back at our journey forward. And let me be clear, we have also had some tough times along the way. I don’t need to remind you, our often longstanding shareholders, of that. After a period of very rapid global expansion, we were dealt a hard blow in 2003. I will personally never forget the shock wave that hit us back then. What will also stay with me is how we, as a team, put our shoulders to the wheel to put the business back on track, together with our associates and suppliers. Ahold sold many business units and we reinvented ourselves as a focused company with leading positions in our markets.

I was CEO of Albert Heijn at that time. Inspired by conversations I had with Mr. Albert Heijn after I was appointed, my team and I developed the slogan that helped put the Albert Heijn brand on the road to recovery after 2003: “Everyday products affordable and special products attainable.” We went back to a clear focus on the customer.
Because what is right for the customer is also right for the business. I mentioned this motto already. It is reflected in our formats, in our product range and in how we do business. We are seeing a shift in what our customers want. They want to be able to shop how, when and where they want. They are demanding better quality, more value for money. They want responsibly sourced and healthy food. They want to know where the products come from. And affordability is key – basically, they want it all.

Ahold is constantly taking steps in this area, too. As a large employer, as a producer and a customer, as a neighbor and as a place where people come to do their daily grocery shopping, we see a role for ourselves in tackling a number of the major challenges in society, including health, food security, diversity, responsible consumption and production, and so on.

In 2011, we clearly set out a number of ambitions in our Responsible Retailing strategy. Last month, in our Responsible Retailing Report, we showed that we had achieved most of the goals we had set ourselves in five years.

Let me mention just a couple:

Healthier products make up an increasing portion of our sales. We have achieved this, among others, by reducing the price of fruit and vegetables, by changing product formulation and by offering more and more choice, but also by making it easier for customers to find and understand the healthy options we offer.

Let me take this opportunity to talk about our successful organic brands, too. Albert Heijn was one of the first supermarkets in the Netherlands to launch a line of own-brand organic products in 1998 and now is the supermarket with the most organic products in the Netherlands. In the U.S., we introduced our Nature’s Promise brand in 2004, with great success, and a growing assortment — with more than 800 products currently, including food but also non-food items such as detergents.

We want to be a better neighbor, and many of our efforts are aimed at children (though – as you know – we never forget about the elderly). Almost one million children took part in our educational programs on healthy living, such as the Passport to Nutrition Program in the U.S. and the “Ik eet het beter”’ program in the Netherlands.

We also made important progress in the field of sourcing. We analyze the supply chain, from farmer to customer, and continuously take steps to ensure food safety, sustainable production and good working conditions.

We have established deep and long-standing relationships with many of our suppliers of fresh products, whom we consider our partners. We have been working with some of them for more than 50 years. See, for instance, Albert Heijn’s cucumber farmer in the next video clip.

In 2007, the Albert Heijn Foundation was established – a partnership of Albert Heijn, ICCO and Fair Match Support to improve the circumstances and future prospects of African vegetable, fruit and flower farm workers.

And one final example: I am very pleased to report at this meeting that Ahold USA has joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program, dedicated to delivering responsibly sourced tomatoes and improving the lives of farm workers in the U.S.

And very importantly, our people. Mr. Albert Heijn was already aware decades ago that associates were the company’s true capital. And this is still the case. In 2015, we had 236,000 associates. It is their daily interactions with our customers, their entrepreneurship and creativity that makes us successful. We want to offer them a working environment that encourages initiative and where they can continue to build a future with Ahold or in the next phases of their career, with competitive remuneration and other benefits. We are proud that so many people are able to take the first steps on their career paths in our stores.

We are forging ahead as a Responsible Retailer. As we are about to merge, we will present our joint plans and ambitions as Ahold Delhaize in the fourth quarter. Both companies were included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2015 – for Ahold it was the seventh straight time – a clear recognition of our efforts in this field.

I am convinced that collaboration in the industry is also essential if we are to have real impact, for example, in the Consumer Goods Forum, of which both Ahold and Delhaize are members, along with around 400 retailers, producers and other stakeholders globally.

And now it is time for a few words about the recent past, 2015. Our CFO, Jeff Carr, will shortly be talking about our financial performance in more depth, so I will just mention a couple of highlights.

We can look back on a strong year in which we have challenged ourselves to innovate more quickly, to find new ways of offering our customers fresher products and to create more value. We reported sales of just over €38 billion driven by strong performances in our stores, particularly during the holidays in December, and very strong growth in online sales. And, of course, also helped by the U.S. dollar.

In the U.S., sales, excluding gasoline sales, grew by more than 4%, adjusted for an additional week in 2015. We saw an improvement in price perception across our brands.

This is an important driver of sales and a key goal of our local strategy, which is aimed at investments in price and quality. As part of this program, we have rolled out improved fruit and vegetable departments in more than 500 stores. And we are now tackling the bakery departments. Earlier this month we announced a next round of price decreases, on about 1,000 products in our stores.

We tested a new format, named bfresh: smaller stores aimed at city customers with a focus on fresh food and local convenience. We also added 25 former A&P stores in the interesting New York Metro market area.

In the Netherlands, sales momentum remained strong, with a 3.2% increase in identical sales. The recovery at Albert Heijn continued, after a couple more difficult years. We re-invented ourselves as a market leader that knows how to touch customers’ hearts and minds – and that makes me very proud. It is a compliment to the Albert Heijn team and all associates.

They launched new products, inspired our customers and introduced popular savings and collectibles campaigns. As an example, over the past few weeks, we have distributed more than 47 million “grow-your-own garden” kits here in the Netherlands, which I’m sure won’t have escaped your attention. They help tell customers the stories behind the products they buy.

Or look at the Albert Heijn to go team, who can develop an idea into a product on the shelves in just a month. Very importantly, customers showed their appreciation. Albert Heijn’s market share grew to 35% in the past year.

In the Czech Republic, we now have more than 330 stores, including the SPAR stores we acquired last year. Most of these are supermarkets and they reported strong identical sales growth thanks to a new store concept we rolled out.

I have already talked about our strong growth in online. Our investments over the past couple of years paid off, with online consumer sales of €1.8 billion. accounted for half this figure, following an excellent, record-breaking holiday period. At a peak moment right before Christmas, they received 11 orders every second. Peapod and were also leaders in online food.

Our free cash flow remained strong at €1.2 billion this year. This enables us to continue to invest. Today, we are proposing a dividend of 52 cents, more than 8% higher than last year. And, as approved last month, we will return about €1 billion in capital to you, Ahold’s shareholders, prior to the completion of the proposed merger with Delhaize

On our way forward, we have brought together a portfolio of strong, local brands on which we continue to build. A lot happened in this area in 2015. Etos and Gall & Gall here in the Netherlands launched new logos, with a strong link to core values in their past. The Albert brand in the Czech Republic, considerably bigger thanks to the acquisition of the SPAR stores last year, was also repositioned.

Our U.S. stores are running the tagline “My Giant helps me save money, save time, and eat well” – or “My Stop & Shop,” or “My Martin’s” of course. This helps them to communicate more clearly to the customer what they stand for.

And, as you may have already seen online or in the media, Albert Heijn has also launched a new campaign that harks back to the mottos and key drivers of its founders: Authenticity, innovation, what matters, commitment. It started out as an internal movement, shared with associates in the stores, in the distribution centers and in the office. And it is now finding its way to the outside world.

In 1911, Albert Heijn launched the first own-brand products, next to other brands, of course, as the customer always wants a balance. In the Netherlands, more than half the products we sell are now own brand. In the United States, this figure is 38% and in the Czech Republic it is one-third. I’m proud of these figures as this too, is a strategic choice within our Reshaping Retail framework.

Before I finish, I would like to make a confession that touches upon this. During my career, I have worked in several countries so my family has lived in different places. In all these places we had one constant factor, which was our favorite chocolate spread, and that was from the own brand of … Delhaize.

Of course there is a reason why I am making this personal confession. Delhaize’s experience with its own brand in various countries is one of the areas in which we can learn from our future merger partner.

We, on the other hand, bring in our expertise with regard to omni-channel. And together we will be stronger with our shared vision on corporate social responsibility.

One month ago, you gave us the go-ahead to merge with Delhaize. So, I no longer need to convince you of the reasons behind this transaction. Still, I would like to emphasize once more the opportunities we see to further build our strong, local brands together. What is right for the customer is also right for the new business.

Since the Extraordinary General Meeting, we have received approval from the Belgian Competition Authority. With that, the antitrust reviews in Europe are complete. The review by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. is still underway. I cannot comment on that further but what I can say is that we are on track to finalize the merger in mid-2016 and kick off with the new company.

At next year’s meeting, I hope to be able to talk about the results of our first trading period as Ahold Delhaize. A new milestone. In 2017, Delhaize will be celebrating its 150th anniversary, and Ahold, its 130th. This will be the next step on our shared journey forward, on which we will become an even stronger international retailer, driven by great brands.

I would like to end with a few words of thanks. To our customers, who come to us for their daily groceries and inspire us to continue improving. To our associates, and our franchisers. And of course, I would like to thank you, our shareholders, for your support and your confidence in the future of Ahold, and Ahold Delhaize.

Click here for more information about the AGM 2016

Cautionary notice

The Dutch version of this press release is leading in case of inconsistencies.


This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or other similar words, phrases or expressions.

This communication contains Ahold forward-looking statements as to, amongst others,

Ahold tackling major challenges in society as to, amongst others, health, food security, diversity and responsible consumption, its Responsible Retailing Strategy, which covers, amongst others, organic products, being a better neighbor, sourcing and people, capital repayment, strong local brands and the intended merger between Ahold and Delhaize.

Many of the risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Therefore, investors and shareholders should not place undue reliance on such statements, which include but are not limited to Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of any change, event or development that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; the risk that the necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained or may be obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; failure to satisfy other closing conditions with respect to the transaction on the proposed terms and timeframe; the possibility that the transaction does not close when expected or at all; the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction; Ahold’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the benefits from Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated; the effect of the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction on the ability of Ahold to retain customers and retain and hire key personnel, maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally; litigation relating to the transaction; the effect of general economic or political conditions; Ahold’s ability to retain and attract employees who are integral to the success of the business; business and IT continuity, collective bargaining, distinctiveness, competitive advantage and economic conditions; information security, legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks; and product safety, pension plan funding, strategic projects, responsible retailing, insurance and unforeseen tax liabilities.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statement in this communication to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this communication, except as may be required by applicable laws.

Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

National Safe Place Network CEO Laurie Jackson featured in Convenience Matters episode “Convenience Stores as Safe Places”

​ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — National Safe Place Network President and CEO Laurie Jackson talks about how convenience stores and other community businesses are helping youth in distress — and how more can join them — in the latest Convenience Matters podcast.

Jackson is featured in the episode “Convenience Stores as Safe Places,” which can be downloaded on iTunes by searching for “Convenience Matters.” It also is available at

“Convenience stores — such as QuikTrip that has been active with Safe Place since 1991 — are literally changing lives,” said podcast co-host Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “These stores provide a safe place where runaways and at-risk youth can come in off the street, receive food and drink and wait for a volunteer from a Safe Place agency partner to connect them with professional help or a place to stay until their situation is resolved.”

Convenience stores are a great fit for programs such as Safe Place because they are intensely local businesses: 90% of Americans say a convenience store is within 10 minutes from their home. Cumulatively, the U.S. convenience store industry serves 160 million customers per day — meaning that, on average, more than half of the U.S. population is at a convenience store every day.

Both QuikTrip and NACS serve on the National Safe Place Network Board of Directors.

“Unfortunately, young people face troubling issues in today’s world and it’s up to all of us to offer solutions, places where youth can go to connect to immediate help. Convenience stores are an essential thread in the national safety net for youth as each store has the opportunity to serve as a community leader providing compassion, support and attention to young people in need,” said Jackson.

The NACS Convenience Matters podcasts debuted in February 2016. New episodes are released weekly, focusing on topics related to convenience retailing.


Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS ( is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard.

Gap Japan supports in the ongoing emergency relief efforts following recent earthquakes in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — In response to the devastation caused by recent earthquakes in Japan, today Gap Japan, K.K., a subsidiary of Gap Inc., announced its support in the ongoing emergency relief efforts. The company will donate approximately 60,000 units of clothing to help Japan relief efforts. This follows a cash contribution of $50,000 from Gap Foundation to International Medical Corps, an organization providing on-the-ground humanitarian relief in the affected areas. In addition, the company is matching all employee donations to the organization dollar-for-dollar.

“On behalf of our employees in Japan and around the world, our hearts go out to the people impacted by these earthquakes, especially those who have lost loved ones, homes and belongings. We are working with the local government and relief partners to deliver clothing to those who need it most,” said Erin Nolan, representative director for Gap Japan K.K.

Since 1995, when it opened its first Gap store in Japan, Gap Japan K.K. has expanded to 269 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brand stores across the country, including 20 in the earthquake-affected area.

The press release can be found on Gap Japan K.K.’s site (Japanese language).


Athleta launches ‘The Power of She’ campaign and Athleta Girl line inviting women and girls to stand together to put an end to undermining

The brand debuts highly-anticipated Athleta Girl line

PETALUMA, Calif., 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (April 18, 2016), Athleta is unveiling “The Power of She,” a bold campaign inviting women and girls to stand together, collaborate and put an end to undermining. Through the launch of this campaign, the brand aims to create a sisterhood of women and girls fueled by the core belief that alone we are strong, but united we thrive.

With the brand’s new Athleta Girl line, the brand will continue to encourage healthy, active lifestyles and instill a strong sense of confidence in the next generation of girls. Starting April 26, multiple generations of women and girls can shop together for beautiful, versatile high-quality products with the debut of Athleta Girl’s first collection, truly bringing Athleta’s brand mission to life.

“We believe in the limitless potential of women and girls, and we are passionate about the power of women coming together – it’s in our DNA,” said Nancy Green, president, Athleta. “As we enter the girls’ activewear category with the launch of Athleta Girl, we feel a responsibility to create a campaign that can teach and inspire the next generation of women and girls about the power of collaboration.”

“The Power of She” is a long-term effort that aims to inspire women and girls to join forces and empower one another. Starting today, all are invited to visit to learn more about the campaign and take a pledge committing to:

  • Living on the healthy side of competition
  • Lifting their fellow sisters
  • Realizing their own limitless potential
  • Putting an end to undermining

Once the pledge is taken, consumers will be able to share their commitment across their social media channels, along with a customized personal image. Additionally, Athleta is assembling an incredible force of notable women who will take the “Power of She” pledge, while also bringing their unique and powerful voices to this important conversation.

“The Power of She,” also marks Athleta’s television debut. Created in partnership with YARD, a strategic and creative agency, the anthemic video features inspiring women and girls playing and working out together across various sports and activities. Another powerful element of the campaign is a four-part video series highlighting “sister groups” that exemplify women supporting women from the worlds of surf, running, dance, and yoga. Each group speaks to their individual experiences, realizing their full potential and the importance of sisterhood. The campaign will be felt and seen across every touchpoint of the brand, including online, catalog and in each Athleta store.

“Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. Now is the time to start an important conversation that inspires collaboration and brings awareness to the issue of undermining,” said Elisabeth Charles, senior vice president of Marketing, Athleta. “With the launch of ‘The Power of She’ and Athleta Girl, we hope the next generation will feel inspired to join together to achieve active, happy and full lives.”

Through “The Power of She,” Athleta will continue and enhance its commitment to its national charity partner, Girls on the Run, an organization with a similar mission around empowering the next generation of girls and creating opportunities for women to participate and volunteer on the local level. Through the campaign’s digital hub, customers can get involved, volunteer and donate to the organization.

Athleta has been the premier fitness apparel brand exclusively for women since 1998. With female athletes as its designers, Athleta creates versatile and fashionable performance and lifestyle apparel for the fitness-minded woman who lives life on the go. Offering products that move with her throughout the day, Athleta strives to help her look as amazing as she feels. Athleta offers apparel and gear for a range of activities from yoga and run to strength training and hike as well as seasonal sports, including ski and tennis. Athleta apparel is sold in retail stores across the country and online at


General Growth Properties to release first quarter 2016 financial and operational results on Monday, May 2, 2016

CHICAGO, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP) will report financial and operational results for the first quarter 2016 after the close of business on Monday, May 2, 2016, and host a conference call for investors and other interested parties at 8:00 a.m. Central (9:00 a.m. Eastern) on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The information to be discussed during the call will be contained in the earnings release and supplemental financial package which will be available on the Investors section of the company’s website at

The conference call will be accessible by telephone and through the Internet. Interested parties can access the call by dialing 877.845.1018 (international 707.287.9345). A live webcast of the conference call will be available in listen-only mode in the Investors section at Interested parties should access the conference call or website 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the call in order to register.

For those unable to listen to the call live, a replay will be available after the conference call event. To access the replay, dial 855.859.2056 (international 404.537.3406) conference ID: 72648905.

General Growth Properties, Inc.
General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high-quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.


General Growth Properties, Inc.
Kevin Berry, SVP Investor & Public Relations
(312) 960-5529

Earth Day celebration: Increase in sales of organic produce at Wegmans Food Markets

ROCHESTER, N.Y., 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — The countdown has begun to the next Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2016. Earth Day organizations around the world expect more than one billion people in 192 countries to participate in outdoor programs that teach children about taking care of our planet for future generations.

At Wegmans Food Markets, families are buying more organic foods every year as sales of organic produce have increased annually by double digits. Customers often cite environmentally-friendly organic farming methods, which don’t use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, as a key reason for purchasing.

“When we talk with customers who buy organic produce about why they choose it, they often give several reasons,” says Bill Brauchle, Wegmans organic partner farm merchant for Pa., N.J. and New England stores. “Some think organic produce tastes better, and many talk about what they see as the environmental benefits.”

More growers across the country are devoting acreage to organically farmed fruits and vegetables, and as the availability has increased, the price for organic has come closer to that of conventionally grown produce, Brauchle says.

It was clear by the early 2000s at Wegmans that customer appetite for ultra-fresh organic produce grown near the stores was very strong, says Amy Cimino, Wegmans organic partner farm merchant for N.Y. stores. “Everyone loves the freshness of vegetables harvested just hours before you buy them, and that means those vegetables must be grown nearby.  We began by talking internally about what we could do to satisfy that appetite.”

Wegmans approached the challenge from several directions. In 2007, the company opened Wegmans Organic Farm as a real-life laboratory for trying out the best organic farming methods and product varieties. The farm overlooks Canandaigua Lake in New York State’s Finger Lakes region and the harvest helps supply three Wegmans stores in Canandaigua, Pittsford, and Ithaca.

At the same time, the company encouraged its grower partners who were already supplying stores with fresh produce to transition more acreage to organics.

“We wanted to develop and share best practices with our grower partners, so we could learn together what worked well and which varieties were popular with customers,” says Cimino. “By working as partners with growers like Mason Farms in Williamson, N.Y. and Spiral Path Farm in Central Pa., we could make it a ‘win’ for customers who wanted more regionally grown organic produce and a ‘win’ for the growers who could count on a market for their crops.”

One way to make local farms more economically sustainable is to make the land productive nearly all year round, not just during the warmer months.  In the Northeast, that means growing crops in the late fall or early spring that tolerate very cool temperatures, such as baby leaf greens. “We’ll have greens such as baby kale, baby spinach, baby romaine, baby field greens, and arugula by mid-April, in time for Earth Day,” says Brauchle.

By Memorial Day, he believes, the first cherry tomatoes of the season should be ready for harvest.  All of these will be organically grown.

In its stores, Wegmans makes the farm-to-fork journey a smooth one by placing “organic ambassadors” in the produce department from May to November. These ambassadors find out which harvests will be arriving soon and they gather ideas from Wegmans’ culinary team about delicious, easy ways to prepare those items. Then the ambassadors pass along those dinner table ideas to customers and listen to feedback about what customers like and want most.

“Customers like the transparency of knowing where their food comes from, how it was grown,” says Cimino, “and they are happy to be trying out new ideas at the dinner table.  Our grower partners benefit because they have fresh information about what our customers like and want more of – and they plant accordingly, knowing that there’s a reliable demand for what they are growing.”

Sustainability is an important focus at Wegmans, says Brauchle, and the emphasis on organics is a natural fit. “We are always looking at how we do things and asking if there are better, more earth-friendly ways of accomplishing our goals. Our commitment to sustainable practices applies to hundreds of different practices across our company, from recycling to packaging to energy use. But when it comes to growing food, we believe that over the long term, organic farming methods are best for the Earth and best for preserving the fertility of the soil.”


Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 88-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2016.

Contact Information:  Jo Natale, vice president of media relations, 585-429-3627

Wegmans to host “Celebrate Organic” event on April 23, 2016

ROCHESTER, NY, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ —

WHAT: “Celebrate Organic” at all Wegmans Food Markets. At this fun event our employees will teach our customers about the best of organics and offer samples of our favorites.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday April 23, 2016

WHERE: All Wegmans Food Markets stores

Wegmans offers over 3,000 organic items throughout the store – from popcorn to mushrooms and chicken to hand soap – customers are invited to explore the variety of organic products available and learn the benefits of buying organic. The “Celebrate Organics” passport will guide customers throughout the store toward tasting and cooking demo stations. Live recipe prep will highlight the benefits of organic products and give customers the option to try products before they buy them. Customers can also enter a drawing to win a gift bag filled with more than $30 worth of organic products. Children can also join the fun with a special farm coloring page and temporary tattoos.

Samples will be offered in a variety of departments, some of the highlights include:

Organic Mushroom Blend:  A mix of white, portabella, and shiitake mushrooms, this convenient pre-sliced blend is perfect for sautéing as a side dish, adding to a stir fry, or grilling in a grill basket. Find them in Produce.

Organic Lemon & Garlic Marinated Chicken: Our great-tasting, naturally juicy organic free-range chicken comes from the Sechler family in Fredericksburg, Va. Try a sample in Meat.

Organic Super Greens Salad: A perfect salad for enjoying on its own or paired with soup, a sandwich, or sushi. Look for the demo in Prepared Foods.

E.U. Organic Shrimp: This meaty, sweet shrimp is raised in mostly inland ponds on a family-owned farm in Ecuador. Have a taste in Seafood.

Wegmans Organic Kefir: Available in five flavors, this healthy smoothie has 12 live and active cultures, is high in calcium and vitamin D, supports digestive and immune system health, is an excellent source of protein and is naturally 99% lactose free. Look for it in Dairy.

Sonoma Organic 5 Year Cheddar: This organic, aged cheddar has a rich creamy texture with a nutty and buttery taste. Grab a sample in the Cheese Shop.

Wegmans Organic Costa Rican Coffee: Costa Rican coffee has mild fruity-berry notes and lower acidity. It is a light roast with a light body to make a sweet, smooth coffee drink. Take a sip in Nature’s Marketplace.

Organic Body Wash and Organic Hand Wash: Love your skin! Aloe Vera is the number one ingredient in these indulgent body and hand wash products. Seek them out in the Health & Beauty Care department.


Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 88-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2016.

Contact Information:  Jo Natale, vice president of media relations, 585-429-3627

Whole Foods Market: value is about more than just price

Austin, TX, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — We take issue with any price comparison story that compares unlike items— it like comparing apples and oranges! The bottom line here is that we simply want a fair, balanced article with accurate pricing and accurate product comparisons that don’t confuse readers. Stories that compare the price of organic items from Whole Foods Market to non-organic items from other retailers isn’t a true comparison. There are other important product attributes left out when our products are being compared just on price, like our Non-GMO Project Verified products. Or the fact that all products sold at Whole Foods Market are formulated without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and all the meat we sell is raised without antibiotics or added hormones. At Whole Foods Market, we believe that value is about more than just price – our industry-leading quality standards and the ingredients you won’t find in the products need to be part of the conversation for a true comparison.



Wegmans to open stores in Midlothian and Short Pump, Richmond VA

RICHMOND, VA, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — In advance of Wegmans opening stores in Midlothian and Short Pump, the Richmond region already sees benefits from the grocery chain’s new jobs, commitment to community improvement and their local United Way partnership.

On April 7, James L.M. Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg and United Way Board Chair-Elect Anthony Conte, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo met with Wegmans Midlothian Store Manager Jerry Shelly and Short Pump Store Manager Todd Strassner in front of the 115,000-square-foot Midlothian store, set to open May 22.

The $12,883 donation combines a $2,000 corporate gift with $10,883 given by Wegmans’ Midlothian and Short Pump employees. Each store will employ approximately 550 employees, 500 of whom will be new to the company and hired locally.

”We’re committed to making a difference in every community we serve,” said Shelly. “Giving to the United Way provides an opportunity for us to begin serving the Richmond community even before our stores open for business.” Wegmans focuses on five key giving areas: Feeding the hungry, helping young people succeed, encouraging healthy eating and activity, enriching store neighborhoods, and supporting United Way initiatives.

“We’re excited to welcome Wegmans to our region. We thank them for their commitment to community and United Way initiatives. This gift represents a combined first step towards improving lives of the individuals we both serve,” said Taylor.


Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 88-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2016.

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg – United Way serves 11 localities: the cities of Colonial Heights, Petersburg and Richmond, and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan. By focusing on the building blocks of a good life – education, income, and health – United Way works in partnership with others to create opportunities for those most in need and improve the quality of life for all.

Contact Information:  Wegmans Foods Markets: Jo Natale, vice president of media relations, 585-429-3627
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg: Jason Bethke, director of donor retention, 703-203-5402

Whole Foods Market intends to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney regarding cake issue

Updated from April 18th statement:

Austin, TX, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — After a deeper investigation of Mr. Brown’s claim, we believe his accusations are fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney. Here’s what we know:

  • Our bakery team member wrote “Love Wins” at the top of the cake, which was visible to Mr. Brown through the clear portion of the packaging. That’s exactly how the cake was packaged and sold at the store. Whole Foods Market has a strict policy that prohibits team members from accepting or designing bakery orders that include language or images that are offensive.
  • Mr. Brown admits that he was in sole possession and control of the cake until he posted his video, which showed the UPC label on the bottom and side of the box.
  • After reviewing our security footage of Mr. Brown, it’s clear that the UPC label was in fact on top of the cake box, not on the side of the package.  This is evident as the cashier scans the UPC code on top of the box, which you can view here.
  • We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and we appreciate the team members and shoppers who recognize that this claim is completely false and directly contradicts Whole Foods Market’s inclusive culture, which celebrates diversity.

Yours Truly, Whole Foods Market


Team Members, Whole Foods Market Lamar Store, Austin, TX

Team Members, Whole Foods Market Lamar Store, Austin, TX

James Weidenheimer named to SUPERVALU’s newly-created position of Executive VP, Corporate Development and Chief Innovation Officer

  • Company announces additional executive role changes and renaming of Independent Business segment to Wholesale

MINNEAPOLIS, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE:SVU) today announced that veteran wholesale executive James Weidenheimer, 57, has been named to the newly-created position of Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Innovation Officer, reporting to SUPERVALU President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Gross. Weidenheimer joins the Company after having spent the last 16 years in senior leadership positions with C&S Wholesale Grocers. He is expected to start in his new role by April 25, 2016.

In this position, Weidenheimer will work closely with SUPERVALU’s Wholesale and Retail teams to develop and execute on market opportunities, including new business development, cross-channel merchandising and promotions, and integration of logistical/delivery solutions for key SUPERVALU customers.

“I’m thrilled that Jim will be joining SUPERVALU and serving on our executive leadership team,” said Gross. “Jim and I have worked together in different capacities over the past 20 years. Jim has a wealth of industry knowledge and extensive expertise in procurement, distribution and logistics and is able to draw on all this experience when considering how to best structure new offerings for a customer. I’m confident that he’ll bring instant credibility to this role and innovation to our business. We believe there are significant opportunities to grow our business with existing customers and also to add new ones and Jim will be an excellent addition to help us achieve these goals.”

Weidenheimer’s background includes serving as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for C&S Wholesale Grocers from 2008 to January 2016 when he retired from C&S. Prior to C&S, Weidenheimer served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the wholesale division of Richfood Holdings. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas.

SUPERVALU today also announced additional changes to Gross’s executive leadership team. Bruce Besanko, the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has added the responsibilities of Chief Financial Officer, a position he held from August 2013 to October 2015. In his role as both Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Besanko will continue to oversee SUPERVALU’s five regional Retail banners, the Company’s merchandising, marketing and pharmacy functions, and the Finance function, as well as add oversight of SUPERVALU’s Human Resources function. Additionally, the Company announced that Susan Grafton will serve in the position of Senior Vice President, Finance, and Chief Accounting Officer, reporting to Besanko. Grafton will oversee accounting and certain finance functions. These changes to Besanko’s and Grafton’s roles are effective immediately.

The Company also announced the renaming of its Independent Business segment to Wholesale, as wholesale serves as this segment’s primary function, which is to distribute consumable products to retail stores for final sale. Mike Stigers, Executive Vice President, Wholesale, will continue to lead this renamed segment and will report directly to Gross.

“I’m very thankful to have a smart, highly-driven team of executives who have helped me quickly assimilate into my role with SUPERVALU,” said Gross. “I value their contributions and I’m pleased they will be a part of helping me drive the growth of this Company going forward.”

SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. with annual sales of approximately $18 billion.SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of 3,407 stores composed of 1,871 independent stores serviced primarily by the Company’s food distribution business; 1,336 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 883 are operated by licensee owners; and 200 traditional retail grocery stores (store counts as of December 5, 2015). Headquartered in Minnesota,SUPERVALU has approximately 40,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit


Investor Contact:
Steve Bloomquist, 952-828-4144

Media Contact:
Jeff Swanson, 952-903-1645


Winners of Rite Aid’s 2015 Vote for Your Favorite Pharmacy Team Member Contest announced

  • Michigan Pharmacy Technician and Maryland Customer Each Win $2,500 Rite Aid Gift Card in Customer Service Contest

CAMP HILL, Pa. , 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid is proud to announce the two winners of the 2015 Vote for Your Favorite Pharmacy Team Member Contest. Sharon Balser, a Rite Aid pharmacy technician from Milford, Mich., and Theresa Forrest, a loyal Rite Aid customer from Gwynn Oak, Md., were both selected at random from more than 11,000 unique entries. The contest was designed to recognize Rite Aid pharmacy associates for their commitment to providing excellent customer service.

To enter, customers submitted mail-in nominations and online ballots during American Pharmacists Month in October. The names of one customer and one pharmacy team member were each randomly drawn to receive $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards. All nominated Rite Aid pharmacy team members will be recognized with a Favorite Pharmacy Team Member lapel pin and a letter of commendation from CEO of Rite Aid Stores and President of Rite Aid Corporation Ken Martindale and Executive Vice President of Pharmacy Jocelyn Konrad.

“We are excited to celebrate the Rite Aid pharmacy teams who are continuing to provide caring moments of service to loyal customers across the country,” said Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy. “With more than 11,000 entries, it’s phenomenal to see the appreciation our customers have for their local pharmacy associates, and I’d like to thank each nominated team member for championing Rite Aid’s promise to deliver outstanding customer service – With us, it’s personal.”

Sharon Balser, Rite Aid’s winning Pharmacy Team Member, has been a pharmacy technician for nearly 30 years at the store in Milford, Mich. and was nominated six times this year. Balser is known for her kindness and her ability to consistently help customers while making them feel appreciated.

“With more than 30 years at Rite Aid, Sharon is the perfect example of what it means to provide excellent service with a personal touch,” said Rony Foumia, Rite Aid pharmacy district manager. “I’m thrilled that her hard work and dedication are being recognized as she is truly an exceptional pharmacy technician.”

Rite Aid’s winning customer is Theresa Forrest of Gwynn Oak, Md. She participated in the program by nominating a pharmacy technician at her local store in Baltimore.

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2016 annual revenues of $30.7 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at


Media: Kristin Kellum, 717-975-5713

Source: Rite Aid

Meijer expands its partnerships with healthcare providers and hospital systems

  • Retailer partners with healthcare providers, hospital systems to meet people where they are with in-store clinics

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Meijer is expanding its partnerships with healthcare providers and hospital systems, which includes adding a relationship with a health system in Wisconsin and a fourth health system in Michigan, to increase community access to services through in-store and store campus medical clinics.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer’s current in-store clinics are located:

  • Bronson FastCare Clinic at the Portage, Mich. Meijer
  • Beaumont FastCare at the Royal Oak, Mich. Meijer
  • Reid Health Ready Care Walk-in Clinic at the Richmond, Ind. Meijer
  • Family Quick Care at the Normal, Ill. Meijer

This year, Meijer will join forces with Milwaukee, Wis.-based Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network to open in-store clinics at the Waukesha and Sussex Meijer stores, and Sparrow Health System in Lansing, Mich. to open similar clinics at Meijer stores in the Lansing area. The clinics will offer convenient, affordable access to care for many minor health problems, such as cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, and ear, sinus and urinary tract infections, Meijer Health and Wellness Director Jacquelyn DeBruler said.

The effort is the latest way Meijer is strengthening its commitment to health and wellness by providing its customers with opportunities to lead healthier lifestyles through access to service and care.

“Meijer is committed to expanding convenient access to health care providers,” DeBruler said. “These partnerships give us an opportunity to connect local providers and patients, ultimately meeting people where they are.”

Illnesses rarely present themselves at convenient times, DeBruler said and these medical clinics provide a great solution for customers. The clinics are staffed by the partnering healthcare provider or hospital systems’ physicians or physician assistants, and offer a variety of clinical and acute care services.

The retailer began establishing these types of partnerships several years ago, which resulted in four in-store medical clinics, seven hearing centers and 75 optical centers. A full fact sheet on the retailer’s enhanced healthcare services can be found here.

“We know that access to immediate medical care is very important to our community,” said Florence Steinberg, Director of Business Development for Bronson Healthcare. “That means making sure we are doing all we can to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Having Bronson FastCare inside a Meijer store helps area families get expert medical attention quickly and without having to go out of their way.”

“Patients constantly praise how quickly we are able to see them and how convenient it is to have us right there in the store,” said Melanie Harrison, FNP-C, Practice Manager for Reid Urgent Care and Reid Ready Care Clinic. “Many patients have their family members do the shopping while they are at our clinic. They also love that they can leave our clinic and take a few steps to the pharmacy to get their prescriptions filled.”

Additionally, Meijer partnered with Spectrum Health in November 2015 to open a full-service Meijer retail pharmacy on-site at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spectrum Health has also purchased property from Meijer in front of its stores in Ionia and Grand Haven to build medical centers. Construction on the center in Ionia is slated to conclude this spring.

About Meijer:
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 223 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, garden centers and electronics offerings. For more information, please visit Follow Meijer on Twitter or become a fan


Christina Fecher

Source: Meijer

Meijer customers can co-star in its TV commercial

  • Retailer launches social media photo contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Meijer is offering customers across the Midwest a chance to co-star in an upcoming television commercial that will debut later this summer.

All customers need to do is submit photos showing how Meijer supports their home team – from Little League to the big leagues – through a contest application on the Meijer Facebook page. Ten winners will receive $100 Meijer gift cards and all photos have the chance to appear in the commercial, announced Nicole Laughlin, vice president of brand development and marketing.

“Meijer is a Michigan company that’s committed to making the communities we serve better places to live, work and play,” Laughlin said. “We are pleased to support thousands of athletic programs across the Midwest, including hundreds in Michigan, through sponsorships of scoreboards, uniforms, sports equipment and concession stands. We look forward to sharing those partnerships in our advertising.”

The commercial is scheduled to debut later this summer, and will feature images of athletic teams the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer supports. The Home Team contest is open through May 1. Entries can be submitted at

This is the second time in 2 years that Meijer has enlisted its customers to submit photos to appear in a commercial. In 2014, Meijer selected 28 photos – out of more than 3,200 submissions – for a 30-second commercial featuring the retailer’s iconic penny pony, Sandy. Four additional youngsters were chosen for a 60-second version that lived online.

About Meijer:
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 223 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, garden centers and electronic offerings. For additional information on Meijer, please visit Follow Meijer on Twitter and or become a fan at


Christina Fecher

SOURCE: Meijer


Meijer customers can co-star in its TV commercial

Meijer customers can co-star in its TV commercial