Starbucks opens store at The Aupark Shopping Centre in Bratislava; its first in Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Aupark Shopping Centre in Bratislava is now home to the first Starbucks in the Central European country of Slovakia. Starbucks partnered with AmRest – the largest independent operator of restaurant chains in Central and Eastern Europe – to open the store recently (May 31).

“With this new store, AmRest celebrates its 250th Starbucks store in Central Europe,” said Rhys Iley, Starbucks vice president, licensed operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and UK retail. “We are very proud of our partnership with AmRest in the region and look forward to opening two more beautiful stores in Bratislava before the end of the year.”

The new location was designed to reflect the community it will serve and celebrate Starbucks history. At the entrance of the store is a line drawing of the first Starbucks® store at Pike Place Market in Seattle. The mythology associated with Starbucks Siren logo and Moby Dick heritage is also reflected in beautiful art work.

Custom-made coffee branch wallpaper, as well as black and white photographs honoring coffee agriculture are core design features in the store. Behind the coffee bar there is a quiet area with two community tables and a long countertop, to encourage greater connection between customers and partners (employees).

“We are delighted to bring Starbucks to the Slovak market and to Bratislava, a city with a long history of coffeehouses,” said Adam Mularuk, President of AmRest. “We hope local customers will love the unique experience and fantastic customer service offered by Starbucks, and share with us a passion for the highest quality coffee.”

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

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Starbucks opens store at The Aupark Shopping Centre in Bratislava; its first in Slovakia

Starbucks opens store at The Aupark Shopping Centre in Bratislava; its first in Slovakia

Starbucks opens store in the new Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort

  • First flagship store within a Disney resort in Asia, is expected to serve thousands of guests daily; design inspired by the craft of coffee and magic of Disney, bringing to life the Starbucks “Third Place” experience for customers 
  • New location is the twelfth Starbucks® store to be included as part of a Disney resort serving customers around the world joining the highly successful portfolio of stores including Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim and Walt Disney World, Orlando

SEATTLE and SHANGHAI, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today reiterated its commitment to elevating the customer experience in China by announcing the opening of its first flagship store within a Disney resort in Asia. Located in the new Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort, the Starbucks Disneytown flagship store will open on June 8 and be a destination for families and friends looking to relax and recharge with their favorite handcrafted Starbucks® beverage. Designed to be a respite in the customer’s day, the store and the nearly 110 partners (employees) working there, will bring to life the craft of coffee in an immersive environment which will include new menu ordering options through a variety of mobile devices. With the addition of this latest flagship store in Shanghai, China will be the only market in Starbucks China and Asia Pacific region to pioneer and operate four distinct flagship stores.

“China today represents the most significant and exciting opportunity ahead for Starbucks and our aspiration is to delight our customers and partners throughout China with an extraordinary store experience. We expect the Starbucks Disneytown flagship store to be one of our busiest stores globally, serving and bringing the unique Starbucks Experience to thousands of customers daily,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “We’re honored Shanghai Disney Resort has chosen Starbucks to greet its guests so prominently at its newest resort destination and we look forward to welcoming customers at our Starbucks Disneytown store when it opens. This store builds on our ongoing commitment to the China market, following the announcement of our plans to open a Starbucks Roastery and Reserve® Tasting Room in Shanghai late next year.”

Creating a First of its Kind Experience

Reflective of Starbucks unique, sophisticated and locally relevant design, customers will immediately recognize the two-story Starbucks Disneytown store located at the crossroads of the shopping, dining and entertainment district just outside the main entrance to the theme park, adjacent to the Wishing Star Park. Atop the store, a specially crafted wind vane will evoke the playfulness of Disney with the iconic Starbucks siren.

Upon entering through grand, castle-like doors customers will immediately be greeted by a Starbucks barista and a sweeping view of a warm, inviting environment created out of natural woods and materials reflecting the raw, agricultural roots of coffee. Seating will surround the café bar allowing families and friends to gather, creating connection and community as they immerse in the story of coffee.

The first and second floors of the store will be joined by gently terraced stairs, and the copper wall panels celebrate the different degrees of coffee roasting highlighting the proud coffees in Starbucks portfolio. Hanging from the ceiling is a delicately constructed piece of artwork designed from gold and white metal wiring inspired by latte art crafted by barista’s, while a mural of the Starbucks siren is made out of Starbucks cups. A centerpiece, this mural includes intricately designed silhouette scenes inside a handful of cups designed by local artists representing China’s cultural heritage.

Creating Convenience through Technology

For the first time in China, the traditional menu board is replaced by a digital menu. Customers can order their favorite beverages and food using a mobile handheld device available at the store or from their personal mobile device. This integration of technology offers a convenient experience that was inspired by Starbucks stores in the United States including its express format on Wall Street in New York and the Starbucks Roastery located in its hometown of Seattle, Washington.

“This new Starbucks Disneytown Flagship store will bring its own distinctive, unforgettable moments of connection while inspiring playful imagination for customers of all ages,” added Henry Xie, General Manager, President Starbucks Coffee Shanghai Co., Ltd.

This new Shanghai location is the twelfth Starbucks store joining the highly successful portfolio of stores as part of a Disney resort, serving customers around the world. Starbucks opened its first location at a Disney resort in 2009 in Disney Village at Disneyland Paris and in 2014, opened two company operated stores – Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif. and Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World, Resort in Orlando – both serving the company’s line of rare, limited availability Starbucks Reserve® coffees. In addition, the company also has worked with Disney to offer Starbucks® signature beverages and pastries at locations inside the theme parks including Disneyland Resort’s Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café at Disney California Adventure park and Market House at Disneyland park; as well as two locations at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida – Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom park and Fountain View at Epcot.

Mandarin Press Release

For more information on this news release, contact us

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Starbucks opens store in the new Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort

Starbucks opens store in the new Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort

DieHard brand to host “From the Start” fan contests

“From the Start” Fan Contest to Award “Diehards” with an Experience of a Lifetime

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — DieHard®, America’s most trusted auto battery brand, is on the hunt to find the country’s biggest, most passionate diehard fans across numerous categories through its “From the Start” contest. From now through December 11, the DieHard brand will celebrate the lovers of sports, music, cars, food and more by rewarding 14 individuals with their very own custom diehard fan experience.

To enter the DieHard From the Start contest, consumers are encouraged to visit DieHardFans.vote and submit their story, along with a photo, describing how they first became diehard devotees. The contest is open to fans from all walks of life, including music aficionados, sports fanatics, foodies, auto junkies, craft beer enthusiasts and collectors.

“The DieHard From the Start contest pays homage to fans who have been hooked since day one – whether it was the first time he or she set their eyes on a muscle car or the first time they became entranced by the ballpark – and have since shown years of unwavering passion,” said Tom Park, president of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands. “We couldn’t be more excited to reward those who go above and beyond to wear their fandom on their sleeve. We want to power their passion. For nearly 50 years, the DieHard brand has been equally fanatical about its products, providing durability and the highest performance to power our customers’ lives, even under the toughest of conditions.”

From June through December, the DieHard brand will host seven separate fan contests – one per month – and will select 10 finalists each month for whom the public will cast their vote. After a brief voting period, two grand prize winners each month will receive a $4,000 certificate redeemable towards the custom fan experience of their choosing. Travel packages within the U.S. may include hotel accommodations, air transportation, concert and/or game tickets and can be customized to the winners’ request.

The DieHard brand offers a full range of automotive and alkaline batteries, portable power products, phone cases, flashlights, high-performance work boots and more. In addition, Sears Auto Center is the home of DieHard, trusted by generations of American drivers to keep them on the road with a full range of services and products.  To learn more about the DieHard brand, visit http://www.DieHard.com. To follow the contest, find submission inspiration and official contest rules, visit DieHardFans.vote.

About the DieHard brand
Introduced in 1967, Sears designed the original DieHard automotive battery to produce 35 percent more usable starting power than other similar batteries. Featuring a revolutionary tough, thin-walled case of translucent polypropylene plastic, which was 50 percent thinner than conventional black rubber-type battery enclosures, the design’s extra room meant bigger plates, more acid and extra starting power. During testing, not a single failure was reported in over 26,000 starts in temperatures ranging from sub-zero to more than 100 degrees, hence the name “DieHard.” See more DieHard history and compelling “Battery Torture” Video at www.DieHard.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Larry Costello
Sears Holdings
847-286-9036
Larry.Costello@searshc.com

Patrick Roach
Zeno Group for DieHard
312-396-4396
Patrick.Roach@zenogroup.com

SOURCE DieHard

Netflix unveils The Binge Scale revealing which shows we devour and which we savor

Los Gatos, CA, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Members blow through Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black and The Walking Dead; are captivated by House of Cards, Narcos, Bloodline and Mad Men

Netflix members around the world are making their own rules when it comes to watching TV. Instead of one episode per week, Netflix members choose to binge watch their way through a series – that is, on average, finishing an entire season in one week. Though binge watching is clearly the new normal, not all series are enjoyed the same way. Today Netflix unveils The Binge Scale, revealing which shows we devour and which we savor.

Netflix examined global viewing* of more than 100 serialized TV series across more than 190 countries and found when members are focused on finishing a series, they watch a little over two hours a day to complete a season. When organizing series in relation to this benchmark, interesting patterns emerge, ranging from high energy narratives that are devoured to thought-provoking dramas that are savored.

Series like Sense8, Orphan Black** and The 100 grab you, assault your senses, and as The Binge Scale shows, make it hard to pull away. The classic elements of horror and thrillers go straight for the gut, pushing the placement of series like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and The Fall towards the devour end of the scale. Likewise, comedies with a dramatic bent, like Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie and Grace and Frankie, seem to tickle our fancy and make it easy to say ‘just one more.’

It’s no surprise that complex narratives, like that of House of Cards and Bloodline, are indulged at an unhurried pace. Nor that viewers take care to appreciate the details of dramas set in bygone eras, like Peaky Blinders and Mad Men. Maybe less obvious are irreverent comedies like BoJack Horseman, Love and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But the societal commentary that powers their densely layered comedy paired with characters that are as flawed as they are entertaining allow them to be savored.

“As The Binge Scale indicates, the viewing experience of a series can range from the emotional to the thought-provoking,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix. “Netflix helps you to find a series to binge no matter your mood or occasion, and the freedom to watch that series at your own pace – whether that’s to appreciate the drama of Bloodline or power through Orange is the New Black.”

THE NETFLIX BINGE SCALE** (Based on global viewing data)

SAVOR

  • Irreverent Comedies:
    • Arrested Development, BoJack Horseman, Club de Cuervos, F is for Family, Love, Summer Heights High, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Wet Hot American Summer
  • Political Dramas
    • Homeland, House of Cards, Occupied, The Good Wife, The West Wing
  • Historical Dramas
    • Mad Men, Narcos, Peaky Blinders, The Americans
  • Superhero Drama
    • Gotham, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, The Flash
  • Crime Dramas
    • Better Call Saul, Bloodline, Fargo, The Blacklist, The Bridge, Twin Peaks
  • Dramatic Comedies
    • Flaked, Grace & Frankie, Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black, Parenthood, Rescue Me, Weeds
  • Action & Adventure
    • 24, Arrow, La Reina del Sur, Marco Polo, Outlander, Prison Break, The Last Kingdom, Turn, Vikings
  • Sci-Fi
    • Ascension, Between, Heroes, Orphan Black, Sense8, The 100, The 4400, Under the Dome
  • Horror
    • American Horror Story, Hemlock Grove, Penny Dreadful, Scream, The Walking Dead, Z Nation
  • Thriller
    • Bates Motel, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, The Fall, The Following, The Killing

DEVOUR

*METHODOLOGY

Netflix analyzed more than 100 serialized TV series across more than 190 countries between October 2015 and May 2016. The research examined member completion of the first season for all series. Data was only included for accounts that fully completed the season. Completion rates were organized into days and hours. The global median days to complete the first season of these series was five days. The median hours per session for completers overall was two hours and ten minutes. Series viewed less than two hours per day were identified as ‘savored.’ Series viewed more than two hours per day were identified as ‘devoured.’ Series were not restricted by launch dates, runtime or number of episodes. Where a series falls on The Netflix Binge Scale has no relation to viewership.

** Not all series are available in all countries

MEDIA CONTACTS

Erin Dwyer

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Netflix unveils The Binge Scale

Netflix unveils The Binge Scale

One of the most critically acclaimed film at this year’s Cannes film festival Divines coming to Netflix

Critic Favorite One Of Many Netflix Acquisitions At Recent Cannes Film Festival

AMSTERDAM, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Divines, one of the most critically acclaimed and talked-about films at this year’s Cannes film festival, will be available to Netflix members exclusively in most of the world later this year.

Described by critics as “one of the best young-adult films to come out of France in recent years,” the funny, often suspenseful and emotional drama tells the story of Dounia, a tough, but naive teenager who sees getting rich or dying trying as her most viable option. Set in a ghetto near Paris where drugs and religion reign supreme, Dounia is hungry for her share of power and success. Enlisting the help of her best friend she decides to follow the footsteps of a respected dealer. When Dounia meets a young sensuous dancer, her life takes a surprising turn.

Houda Benyamina’s directorial debut received rave reviews from critics and was awarded the Caméra d’Or, an award of the Cannes Film Festival for the best first feature film presented in one of the event’s selections. Critics heap praise on Oulaya Amamra’s “breakout” performance as Dounia.

“We saw Divines before it was award winning, praised by critics and received a standing ovation at Cannes, we immediately recognized it as an extraordinary film and acquired it early on,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix. “We’re passionate about bringing our members great films from around the world and thrilled to bring Benyamina’s debut film to our members.”

“Emotions bring people together and are a reflection of society. Thanks to Netflix, Divines will cross borders and the world will be able to enjoy this universal story of love and friendship,” said filmmaker Houda Benyamina. “I am very happy with the collaboration with Netflix.”

Netflix members everywhere, except France, will be able to watch Divines later this year. In France Divines won’t be available on Netflix until 2019 in accordance with French media chronology rules.

Other Netflix acquisitions at Cannes

Netflix aims to bring the best film, series, documentaries and kids programming from around the world to the world. We have already announced the acquisition of Wheelman, which stars Frank Grillo in a film directed by Jeremy Rush that will have a worldwide premiere on Netflix in 2017.

Another Cannes film prize winner Netflix members everywhere can look forward to is French director Sacha Wolff’s Mercenary (Mercenaire). The film tells the story of Soane, a young man of Wallisian origin from New Caledonia, who defies his father’s authority to go and play rugby in France. Left to his own devices on the other side of the world, his odyssey will take him on the path to becoming a man in a world where there is a price to be paid for success.

Further Cannes acquisitions Netflix members will be able to watch include:

Aquarius – A drama from Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho centered around Clara, a 65-year-old widow and retired music critic who is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story building, built in the 1940s, in the upper-class, seaside Avenida Boa Viagem, Recife. All the neighboring apartments have already been acquired by a company which has other plans for that plot. Clara has pledged to only leave her place upon her death. (Aquarius will be on Netflix in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Latin America (outside of Brazil) UK with other regions to be confirmed.)

The Day Will Come – A Danish drama directed by Jesper Nielsen developed and written by Søren Sveistrup, known from hit shows like The Killing. Set in the 1960s, The Day Will Come centers around two two inseparable brothers, Elmer and Erik, who are locked in a boy’s home and engage in a battle against the tyrannical Headmaster Heck to set themselves free. (Exact country availability to be confirmed.)

Very Big Shot – The feature debut of Lebanese directed Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya. The comedy deals with brothers Ziad and Joe who run a small but lucrative drug-dealing business out of their takeout pizzeria in one of Beirut’s working-class districts. With their youngest brother Jad about to be released from prison, Ziad and Joe plan to go straight, but their supplier isn’t keen to see his dealers retire.

Journey to Greenland – A French comedy directed by Sébastien Betbeder. Two thirty-something actors from Paris hit a rough patch and decide to leave the city and fly away to Kullorsuaq, one of the most remote villages of Greenlands. Among the Inuit community, they discover the local customs and their friendship is challenged.

Raman Raghav 2.0 – An Indian thriller from director Anurag Kashyap.Ramanna, a serial killer fascinated by a psychopath from the 60s, and Raghavan, a young policeman, are waging a battle without mercy. But who is really the one being chased?

Additional titles are still under negotiation.

About Netflix
Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 81 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Netflix announces new original series based on best-selling novel Sacred Games by Indian author Vikram Chandra

Mumbai, India, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Netflix Inc., the world’s leading Internet television network, today announced a new Netflix original series based on the critically-acclaimed best-selling novel Sacred Games by Indian author Vikram Chandra. Shot on location in India, this Hindi-English series will be produced in partnership with Phantom Films, one of India’s leading production houses, and be available to Netflix members globally upon completion.

Set in Mumbai, Sacred Games delves into the city’s intricate web of organized crime, corruption, politics and espionage that lie beneath India’s economic renaissance. It is an epic masterwork of exceptional richness and power that interweaves the lives of the privileged, the famous, the wretched and the bloodthirsty. .

“Over the last few years, I’ve watched with great excitement and pleasure as Netflix has transformed narrative television with its ground-breaking, genre-bending shows,” commented Mr. Chandra. “I’m confident that all the colour and vitality and music of the fictional world I’ve lived with for so long will come fully alive on the large-scale canvas provided by Netflix. I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix and Phantom Films.”

“We are very happy to start this journey with Netflix by producing Vikram’s outstanding story, set in Mumbai ” said Madhu Mantena of Phantom Films. “And we are extremely confident that, together we will create some exciting and groundbreaking Television content from hereon.”

“We are delighted to partner with creative powerhouse, Phantom Films, to bring Vikram Chandra’s epic novel to life with the best Indian and global film talent available today,” said Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix. “ Sacred Games reinforces our commitment to bring the authenticity of local stories to Netflix members across 190 countries worldwide.”

About Netflix
Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 81 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

About Phantom:
Phantom Films is India’s first ‘Directors’ Company’. It was formed by four young creative minds of the country, viz. Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena in 2011. Phantom has a distinct focus on fostering creative energies to create enduring and entertaining content. In the last 4 plus years of the company’s existence they have had 10 releases till now including films like Lootera, Hasee toh Phasee, Queen, Ugly, NH10, Bombay Velvet & Masaan, which won the Fipresci Award in the Un certain Regard category at Cannes last year. This year too, Phantom had its’ next film Raman Raghav 2.0 play at Director’s Fortnight and a huge multi-starrer film Udta Punjab up for worldwide release in June. Phantom has also partnered with Blumhouse Productions and Ivanhoe Pictures, to produce multiple horror films for the global market.

Media contact:

Netflix

Anne Wallin
Netflix PR
awallin@netflix.com

Vaishnavi Murali
Netflix PR / MSL Group India
vaishnavi.murali@publicisconsultants-asia.com

Phantom Films

Ranjan Singh
Phantom Films
ranjan@phantoms.in

Walgreens Boots Alliance announces changes to its senior management roles and responsibilities

DEERFIELD, Ill., 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Walgreens Boots Alliance today announced changes to its senior management roles and responsibilities as part of the next phase of evolution. This follows the successful integration of Walgreens and Alliance Boots to create Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA).

In order to provide even greater focus and collaboration and further streamline the management of the Company’s global operations, Alex Gourlay, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Walgreens, and Ornella Barra, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President and Chief Executive of Global Wholesale and International Retail, have been appointed to the role of Co-Chief Operating Officers.

In his new role, Gourlay will oversee Walgreens and Boots. In addition to her current responsibilities, Barra will supervise Global Brands, Human Resources and other business services. As a result, Ken Murphy, who becomes Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and Chief Commercial Officer and President of Global Brands, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer, will report to her.

Separately, Simon Roberts, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Boots, has decided at this time to pursue new opportunities and will leave the Company in July 2016. Elizabeth Fagan, currently Senior Vice President and MD International Retail, is appointed as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Boots.

“As we continue to work together to find simpler and more effective ways to manage our Company, I believe this is the right structure at the right time,” said Jim Skinner, Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Chairman. “The changes announced today will allow us to further enhance operating performance, while developing our Company for the longer term. I want to congratulate Ornella and Alex on their extended responsibilities. We are very fortunate to have these two world-class corporate executives working together in a senior management team that is very well positioned to guide our businesses across the world through the changing landscape of healthcare.”

Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Alex and Ornella will be instrumental in driving the operations of our Company in the next phase of its evolution now that our businesses have come successfully together after 18 months of integration. With the two Co-Chief Operating Officers overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Company and the continued support of George Fairweather (Executive Vice President and Global Chief Financial Officer), Marco Pagni (Executive Vice President, Global Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel) and the other leaders, I will be able to further focus on driving the growth strategy and development of Walgreens Boots Alliance.” Pessina added: “I would like to warmly thank Simon for his outstanding contribution and for the key role he played at Boots during the past 13 years of his career. We wish him the very best for the future. I also want to congratulate Elizabeth on her new position, where I am sure she will make a strong contribution.”

Notes to Editors:

About Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

The company was created through the combination of Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014, bringing together two leading companies with iconic brands, complementary geographic footprints, shared values and a heritage of trusted health care services through pharmaceutical wholesaling and community pharmacy care, dating back more than 100 years.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination in the USA and Europe and, together with its equity method investments*, employs more than 370,000* people and has a presence in more than 25* countries. Walgreens Boots Alliance is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail with over 13,100* stores in 11* countries. The company includes one of the largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution networks with over 350* distribution centers delivering to more than 200,000** pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year in 19* countries. In addition, Walgreens Boots Alliance is one of the world’s largest purchasers of prescription drugs and many other health and wellbeing products.

The company’s portfolio of retail and business brands includes Walgreens, Duane Reade, Boots and Alliance Healthcare, as well as increasingly global health and beauty product brands, such as No7, Botanics, Liz Earle and Soap & Glory.

* As at 31 August 2015 (without subsequent adjustment for business acquisitions or dispositions), including equity method investments

** For 12 months ended 31 August 2015 (without subsequent adjustment for business acquisitions or dispositions), including equity method investments

Contact(s)

Walgreens Boots Alliance
Media Relations
USA / Michael Polzin
+1 847 315 2935
or
International / Laura Vergani
+44 (0)207 980 8585
or
Investor Relations
Gerald Gradwell and Ashish Kohli
+1 847 315 2922

Home Retail Group publishes trading statement covering the 13 weeks from 28 February to 28 May 2016

Milton Keynes, UK, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer, today publishes a trading statement covering the 13 weeks from 28 February to 28 May 2016.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, commented:

“I am pleased with our performance in the first quarter. Argos delivered good total sales growth together with positive like-for-like growth, representing its strongest sales growth performance in eight quarters.  This was achieved against the challenging backdrop of constrained seasonal product sales due to poor weather, on top of a deflationary pricing environment.

“Many of the digital capabilities we are building, as we pursue the Transformation Plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader, are positively impacting our business. Internet sales grew 16% during the quarter, which is our strongest quarterly digital sales growth for over three years.  Digital sales accounted for almost 50% of total Argos sales in the quarter, including mobile commerce which now represents almost 30% of sales.  Argos’ customer experiences overall improved in the quarter, aided by Fast Track, a market-leading national proposition for both same-day home delivery and store collection.  Fast Track continues to build momentum and is achieving leading levels of customer satisfaction.

“Finally, we remain on track to complete the proposed transaction with Sainsbury’s in the third quarter of this calendar year.  Given the natural distraction that a transaction such as this can be for our colleagues, on top of the recent sale of Homebase, I am particularly pleased with our performance in the quarter.”

Q1
(13 weeks to
28 May 2016)
Argos
Sales £868m
Like-for-like sales change 0.1%
Net space sales change 2.5%
Total sales change 2.6%
Gross margin movement  Down c.100bps

Total sales at Argos grew by 2.6% to £868m.  Net new space contributed 2.5%, mainly as a result of store openings in the previous financial year.  There were two closures of digital concessions within Homebase stores in the quarter, reducing the store estate to 843.  Like-for-like sales increased by 0.1% in the quarter, however the cannibalisation impact from the new space added in the previous financial year was around 1% and therefore Argos’ underlying like-for-like sales increased by approximately 1%.

Sales grew in both electrical and non-electrical product categories during the quarter, with the growth in electricals principally attributable to the performance of TVs, mobiles, computers and tablets, partially offset by a sales decline in white goods.  The growth in sales of non-electrical products was largely driven by furniture and general sports, partially offset by weaker sales of seasonal products.

Internet sales grew by 16% in the quarter and represented 49% of total Argos sales, up from 44% for the same quarter last year.  Within this, mobile commerce sales grew by 17% to represent 29% of total Argos sales, up from 25% in the same quarter last year.

The approximate 100 basis point gross margin decline was principally driven by the anticipated impact of adverse currency and shipping costs and an adverse sales mix impact mainly attributable to the improved performance of margin dilutive electrical products.

Financial Services customer redress

In the course of implementing its new governance and risk management procedures, the Group’s Financial Services division identified that it had erroneously collected excess fees in relation to the late payment of amounts due from certain customers.  The Group took advice on this matter and based upon this advice it booked a charge in its FY16 financial statements.  The Group has subsequently been advised that a more extensive customer redress programme will now be required.  A detailed review exercise will now be undertaken, however a preliminary estimate has been prepared, which indicates that the existing customer redress provision may need to be increased by an amount in the region of £30m.

There will be a conference call for analysts and investors to discuss this statement at 8.30am this morning.  The call can be accessed as a live webcast on the Home Retail Group website www.homeretailgroup.com.  An indexed replay will also be available on the website later in the day.

Disclosure requirements of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Code”)

Under Rule 8.3(a) of the Code, any person who is interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of an offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror (being any offeror other than an offeror in respect of which it has been announced that its offer is, or is likely to be, solely in cash) must make an Opening Position Disclosure following the commencement of the offer period and, if later, following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. An Opening Position Disclosure must contain details of the person’s interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror(s). An Opening Position Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(a) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the commencement of the offer period and, if appropriate, by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. Relevant persons who deal in the relevant securities of the offeree company or of a securities exchange offeror prior to the deadline for making an Opening Position Disclosure must instead make a Dealing Disclosure.

Under Rule 8.3(b) of the Code, any person who is, or becomes, interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror must make a Dealing Disclosure if the person deals in any relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror. A Dealing Disclosure must contain details of the dealing concerned and of the person’s interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror, save to the extent that these details have previously been disclosed under Rule 8. A Dealing Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(b) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the business day following the date of the relevant dealing.

If two or more persons act together pursuant to an agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, to acquire or control an interest in relevant securities of an offeree company or a securities exchange offeror, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3.

Opening Position Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company and by any offeror and Dealing Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company, by any offeror and by any persons acting in concert with any of them (see Rules 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4). Details of the offeree and offeror companies in respect of whose relevant securities Opening Position Disclosures and Dealing Disclosures must be made, can be found in the Disclosure Table on the Panel’s website at www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk, including details of the number of relevant securities in issue, when the offer period commenced and when any offeror was first identified. You should contact the Panel’s Market Surveillance Unit on +44 (0)20 7638 0129 if you are in any doubt as to whether you are required to make an Opening Position Disclosure or a Dealing Disclosure.

Rule 26.1 disclosure

A copy of this announcement will be available on Home Retail Group’s website at www.homeretailgroup.com/investor-centre by no later than 12 noon (London) time on 10 June 2016.

The content of the website referred to in this announcement is not incorporated into and does not form part of this announcement.

Further information
This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or issue or the solicitation of an offer to buy or acquire securities of Home Retail Group or any of its affiliates in any jurisdiction or an inducement to enter into investment activity.

Information in this announcement is based upon unaudited management accounts.  In addition, certain statements made are forward looking statements. Such statements are based on current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from any expected future events or results referred to in these forward looking statements.

Forward looking statements typically include words such as “targets”, “plans”, “believes”, “expects”, “aims”, “intends”, “will”, “may”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “projects” or words or terms of similar substance or the negative thereof.  All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement may be forward looking statements. Except as required by law, Home Retail Group undertakes no obligation publicly to update or revise any forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Enquiries:

Analysts and investors (Home Retail Group)
Richard Ashton, Finance Director 01908 600 291
Mark Willis, Director of Investor Relations

Media (RLM Finsbury)
Rollo Head, 020 7251 3801

The Michaels Companies announces financial results for the first quarter ended April 30, 2016

  • Total net sales increased 7.5% to $1.16 billion, or 8.1% on a constant currency basis
  • Comparable store sales increased 0.9%, or 1.4% on a constant currency basis
  • Operating income increased 0.9% to $145.3 million; adjusted operating income increased 6.3% to $153.0 million
  • Diluted EPS increased 6.3% to $0.34; adjusted diluted EPS increased 12.5% to $0.36

IRVING, Texas, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Michaels Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIK) today announced financial results for the first quarter ended April 30, 2016.

“I am pleased with our overall financial performance for the first quarter,” said Chuck Rubin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “From a comparable store sales standpoint, the quarter got off to a strong start. We saw a very positive customer response to our Easter and Spring assortment before trends softened in April, resulting in a comp shortfall for the quarter versus our initial expectations.  Despite this, we expanded gross margins and leveraged expenses in the core Michaels business, driving adjusted earnings per share to the upper end of our guidance range, representing a 12.5% increase over the prior year. In addition we made progress against each of our initiatives, including the integration of Lamrite West, and we continued to make strategic investments in support of our Vision 2020 strategy.”

First Quarter Highlights

  • Net sales increased 7.5%, or 8.1% on a constant currency basis, to $1.16 billion, from $1.08 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  The increase was primarily a result of the acquisition of Lamrite West in February 2016 and sales from 24 additional stores (net of closures) during the quarter.  Comparable store sales increased 0.9%, or 1.4% on a constant currency basis.
  • Gross profit increased 5.2% to $464.8 million, from $441.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  As a percentage of net sales, gross profit decreased to 40.1% compared to 41.0% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The decrease, as a percentage of net sales, was due to the acquisition of Lamrite West, including: the impact of Lamrite West’s wholesale business, which has a lower gross margin rate than the Michaels business; $3.6 million of net non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting adjustments; and the timing of profit recognition for the product Michaels procures through Lamrite West.
  • Selling, general and administrative expense, including store pre-opening costs, (“SG&A”) increased 7.3% to $319.4 million, from $297.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The increase in SG&A was primarily due to $19.3 million associated with the acquisition of Lamrite West, including $4.1 million of integration expenses; expenses associated with operating 24 additional stores (net of closures); and increased advertising expense.  This increase was partially offset by lower professional fees.  As a percent of net sales, SG&A was flat compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2015.
  • Operating income increased 0.9% to $145.3 million, from $144.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  As a percent of net sales, operating income decreased 82 basis points to 12.5% compared to 13.4% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The decrease was primarily due to the acquisition of Lamrite West. Excluding net non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting adjustments and integration expenses associated with the acquisition of Lamrite West, adjusted operating income increased 6.3% to $153.0 million, or 13.2% of net sales.
  • Interest expense decreased $5.6 million to $32.2 million, from $37.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 due to the early redemption of $180.9 million of the 7.50%/8.25% PIK Toggle Notes during the second quarter of fiscal 2015 and a voluntary principal payment of $150.0 million on the Restated Term Loan Credit Facility in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.
  • Net income increased 6.0% to $70.8 million, from $66.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Excluding net non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting adjustments and integration expenses associated with the acquisition of Lamrite West, adjusted net income increased 13.2% to $75.5 million.
  • Diluted earnings per share increased 6.3% to $0.34, from $0.32 in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  Excluding net non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting adjustments and integration expenses associated with the acquisition of Lamrite West, adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 12.5% to $0.36.
  • During the first quarter of fiscal 2016, the Company opened 11 new Michaels stores and one new Pat Catan’s store and closed three Michaels stores and two Aaron Brothers stores, compared with ten new Michaels store openings, one Michaels store closure and two Aaron Brothers store closures in the first quarter of 2015. At the end of the first quarter, the Company operated 1,204 Michaels stores, 115 Aaron Brothers stores, and 33 Pat Catan’s stores.
  • The Company ended the first quarter of fiscal 2016 with $171.9 million in cash, $2,785.9 million in debt and $585.5 million in availability under its asset-based revolving credit facility. In May 2016, the Company entered into an amended and restated credit agreement to amend various terms of its Restated Revolving Credit Facility (“Amended Revolving Credit Facility”). The Amended Revolving Credit Facility provides for senior secured financing of up to $850.0 million maturing on May 25, 2021.
  • Inventory at the end of the first quarter increased 7.3% to $1,057.6 million, compared to $985.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  The increase in inventory was due to $82.0 million in additional inventory from the acquisition of Lamrite West.  Average Michaels inventory on a per store basis, inclusive of distribution centers, in transit and inventory for the Company’s e-commerce site, decreased 2.8% to $787,000, compared to $810,000 at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  This decrease in inventory per store was primarily a result of higher inventory in fiscal 2015 resulting from the early receipt of seasonal merchandise in an effort to mitigate the impact of West Coast port issues in early 2015.
  • Capital expenditures for the quarter were $14.7 million, compared to $35.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  The decline in capital expenditures was primarily due to the timing of new and relocated stores and the timing of capital investments in existing stores as compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2015.
  • During the quarter, the Company purchased $59.3 million, or 2.3 million shares, under its share repurchase authorization. The total remaining authorization for future repurchases is approximately $141 million.  The share repurchase program does not have an expiration date, and the timing and number of repurchase transactions under the program will depend on market conditions, corporate considerations, debt agreements, and regulatory requirements.

Executive Management Update

The Company announced today that Charles M. Sonsteby has been named to the newly created role of Vice Chairman of The Michaels Companies, Inc.  Mr. Sonstebycurrently serves as Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer.  In this new role, Mr. Sonsteby will assume executive responsibility for the growth and continued integration of Lamrite West, in addition to his current responsibilities.  The Company has launched a search for a new Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. Sonsteby will continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer until a successor has been named.

Second Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Outlook:

“As we turn to the balance of the year, we’ve seen nothing that warrants a change in our annual outlook,” concluded Mr. Rubin.  “While we face some unique, but anticipated, headwinds in the second quarter, we continue to expect to see the beneficial results of our strategic investments on profitability as we move through the second half of fiscal 2016.”

For fiscal 2016, the Company continues to expect:

  • Comparable store sales to increase 2.2% to 2.7%;
  • Total net sales growth, including revenues from Lamrite West, of 8.0% to 9.0%;
  • Approximately 1.3% sales growth from 26 net new store openings, including 3 new Pat Catan’s stores;
  • Lamrite West to generate $225 million to $250 million in revenues;
  • Operating income to be in the range of $761 million to $786 million, excluding approximately $11 million to $12 million of integration costs and net non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting entries;
  • Annual interest expense to be approximately $129 million;
  • The effective tax rate to be approximately 37.0%;
  • Diluted earnings per common share to be between $1.89 and $1.97, based on diluted weighted average common shares of approximately 209 million; and
  • Capital expenditures of between $125 million and $135 million.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2016, the Company expects:

  • Comparable store sales growth of 0.4% to 1.4%;
  • Approximately 3 net new store openings;
  • Operating income of $87 million to $93 million;
  • Interest expense to be approximately $32 million;
  • The effective tax rate to be approximately 37.1%; and
  • Diluted earnings per common share of $0.16 to $0.18, based on diluted weighted average common shares of 208 million.

The outlook for fiscal 2016 includes approximately $0.015 of favorable earnings per share impact related to 2.3 million shares repurchased in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 and includes the impact of unfavorable Canadian exchange rates.

Conference Call Information

A conference call to discuss first quarter financial results is scheduled for today, June 7, 2016, at 8:00 am Central Time. Investors and analysts interested in participating in the call are invited to dial (877) 303-9132, conference ID# 98562042, approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. The conference call will also be webcast at http://investors.michaels.com/. To listen to the live call, please go to the website at least 15 minutes early to register and download any necessary audio software. The webcast will be accessible for 30 days after the call.  A telephone replay will be available until June 14, 2016, by dialing (855) 859-2056, conference ID# 98562042.

Non-GAAP Information

This press release includes non-GAAP measures including Adjusted EBITDA, operating income excluding integration benefits and costs and non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting entries related to the acquisition of Lamrite West (“Adjusted operating income”), net income excluding integration benefits and costs and non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting entries related to the acquisition of Lamrite West (“Adjusted net income”), and earnings per share excluding integration benefits and costs and non-recurring, inventory-related purchase accounting entries related to the acquisition of Lamrite West (“Adjusted earnings per share”).  The Company has reconciled these non-GAAP financial measures with the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures in a table accompanying this release. The Company believes that these non-GAAP financial measures not only provide its management with comparable financial data for internal financial analysis but also provide meaningful supplemental information to investors. Specifically, these non-GAAP financial measures allow investors to better understand the performance of the Company’s business and facilitate a meaningful evaluation of its quarterly and fiscal 2016 diluted earnings per common share and actual results on a comparable basis with its quarterly and fiscal 2015 results.

In evaluating these non-GAAP financial measures, investors should be aware that in the future the Company may incur expenses or be involved in transactions that are the same as or similar to some of the adjustments in this presentation. The Company’s presentation of non-GAAP financial measures should not be construed to imply that its future results will be unaffected by any such adjustments. The Company has provided this information as a means to evaluate the results of its ongoing operations. Other companies in the Company’s industry may calculate these items differently than it does. Each of these measures is not a measure of performance under GAAP and should not be considered as a substitute for the most directly comparable financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. Non-GAAP financial measures have limitations as analytical tools, and investors should not consider them in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of the Company’s results as reported under GAAP.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes forward-looking statements which reflect management’s current views and estimates regarding the Company’s industry, business strategy, goals and expectations concerning its market position, future operations, margins, profitability, capital expenditures, share repurchases, liquidity and capital resources, and other financial and operating information. The words “anticipate”, “assume”, “believe”, “continue”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “forecast”, “future”, “guidance”, “imply”, “intend”, “may”, “outlook”, “plan”, “potential”, “predict”, “project”, and similar terms and phrases are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. The Company cannot assure investors that future developments affecting the Company will be those that it has anticipated. Actual results may differ materially from these expectations due to risks relating to the effect of economic uncertainty, risks associated with our substantial outstanding indebtedness of $2.8 billion, changes in customer demand, risks relating to our failure to adequately maintain security and prevent unauthorized access to electronic and other confidential information, increased competition including internet-based competition from other retailers, risks relating to our reliance on foreign suppliers, risks relating to how well we manage our business, risks related to our ability to open new stores and increase comparable store sales growth, damage to the reputation of the Michaels brand or our private and exclusive brands, risks associated with executing or integrating an acquisition, a business combination or major business initiative, and other risks and uncertainties including those identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission(“SEC”), which is available at www.sec.gov, and other filings that the Company may make with the SEC in the future. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if any of the Company’s assumptions prove incorrect, the Company’s actual results may vary in material respects from those projected in these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by the Company in this news release speaks only as of the date on which the Company makes it. Factors or events that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all of them. The Company does not undertake and specifically disclaims any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by any applicable securities laws.

About The Michaels Companies, Inc.:
The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America’s largest specialty provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator.  As of April 30, 2016, the Company owned and operated 1,352 stores in 49 states and Canada under the brands Michaels, Aaron Brothers, and Pat Catan’s.  The Michaels Companies, Inc., also owns Artistree, a manufacturer of high quality custom and specialty framing merchandise, and Darice, a premier wholesale distributor in the gift and decor industry.  The Michaels Companies, Inc. produces a number of exclusive private brands including Recollections®, Studio Decor™, Bead Landing®, Creatology®, Ashland®, Celebrate It®, Art Minds®, Artist’s Loft®, Craft Smart®, Loops & Threads®, Make Market®, Foamies®, LockerLookz®, and Sticky Sticks®. Learn more about Michaels at www.michaels.com.

Investor Contact:
Kiley F. Rawlins, CFA
972.409.7404
Kiley.Rawlins@michaels.com

ICR, Inc.
Farah Soi/Anne Rakunas
203.682.8200
Farah.Soi@icrinc.com/Anne.Rakunas@icrinc.com

or

Financial Media Contact:
ICR, Inc.
Michael Fox/ Jessica Liddell
203.682.8200/ 203.682.8208
Michaels@icrinc.com

 

Source: Michaels Stores Inc.

The Michaels Companies to participate in the 2016 Barclays High Yield Bond & Syndicated Loan Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 9, 2016

IRVING, Texas, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Michaels Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIK) today announced that it will participate in the 2016 Barclays High Yield Bond & Syndicated Loan Conference, which will be held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chuck Sonsteby, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, is scheduled to present on Thursday, June 9, 2016, at 1:25 p.m., Mountain Time.

The audio portion of the presentation will be webcast live at http://investors.michaels.com/, and an archived replay will be available for 30 days.

About The Michaels Companies, Inc.
The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America’s largest specialty provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator.  As of February 27, 2016, the Company owned and operated more than 1,340 stores in 49 states and Canada under the brands Michaels, Aaron Brothers and Pat Catan’s.  The Michaels Companies, Inc., also owns Artistree, a manufacturer of high quality custom and specialty framing merchandise, and Darice, a premier wholesale distributor in the gift and decor industry.  The Michaels Companies, Inc. produces a number of exclusive private brands including Recollections®, Studio Decor™, Bead Landing®, Creatology®, Ashland®, Celebrate It®, Art Minds®, Artist’s Loft®, Craft Smart®, Loops & Threads®, Make Market®, Foamies®, LockerLookz®, and Sticky Sticks®. Learn more about Michaels at www.michaels.com.

Investor Contacts:
Kiley F. Rawlins, CFA
972.409.7404
Kiley.Rawlins@michaels.com

ICR, Inc.
Farah Soi/Anne Rakunas
203.682.8200
Farah.Soi@icrinc.com/Anne.Rakunas@icrinc.com

or

Financial Media Contacts:
ICR, Inc.
Michael Fox/Kristina Jorge
203.682.8200
Michaels@icrinc.com

 

 

Source: Michaels Stores Inc.

News Provided by Acquire Media

IKEA U.S. announces results of the third annual IKEA Life at Home Report

Survey Results Indicate that Home Extends Beyond the Physical Space and that People Consider the Home Primarily a Place for Relationships

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA U.S. announced today the results of the third annual IKEA Life at Home Report, which explores the life at home of people all over the world. Surveying more than 12,000 people in twelve cities across the globe, this year’s Life at Home Report explores people’s definition of what makes a home from four basic perspectives: Space, Things, Relationships and Place. The results reflect global perceptions, both anticipated and surprising, of what ingredients form a home, what is happening within these areas, and how people really think and feel about their homes.

“We are always curious about people’s lives. In a world that is constantly changing, it becomes increasingly important to understand more about new ways of living and what is important for people’s perception of a good life at home. IKEA wants to be a catalyst for change by having an even better understanding of people’s emotional and personal attachment to their homes,” says Mikael Ydholm, Research Manager at IKEA of Sweden.

One of the major learnings from the 2016 Life at Home Report is that what makes a home is being redefined. As opposed as just being defined as a physical place (20%), the survey shows that people primarily define home as a place for relationships. Almost half of the respondents (48%) say that they think of home aswhere they have their most important relationships. Spending time with friends and family at home is what people do most (63%) to create the feeling of home. However, the survey also shows that social relationships need to be balanced with time spent alone – more private space is what people want most of all to increase their well-being at home (29%). We need our homes to be flexible enough to provide privacy and to foster relationships

Another key finding from the survey is that home is extending outside the four walls – especially among the younger generation. 38% of respondents consider theirneighborhood as part of their homes and nearly one in three (29%) wouldrather live in a smaller space in a neighborhood they love than in a larger space in a neighborhood they don’t care about. And only 37% of Millennials (18-29) feel most at home in their actual residence.

Additionally, technology and compact living influence people’s feelings and behaviors when it comes to relationships at home. Virtual connections can now enable us to be alone, together. Almost one in four (23%) think that it is more important to have good Wi-Fi than to have social spaces in the home in order to nurture their relationships. Additionally, nearly one in five (19%) feel that it ismore important to keep in touch with friends and family online than to invite them to their homes. However, the main barrier for relationships at home is that people use their devices to a greater extent, indicating that technology can both limit and enable relationships at home.

“Understanding life at home is at the core of our business. We use insights about people’s real needs, dreams and aspirations in our design and product development. We’re on a journey to gain greater insights into how we can help make people’s home lives better and more meaningful,” says Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA of Sweden.

The IKEA Life at Home Report aims to increase awareness of and spark conversation about what better everyday living in the home actually means. Previous reports took a closer look at morning routines and at how people meet and eat in and around the kitchen. This year’s survey was carried out in April and May 2016 in 12 cities: Berlin, London, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto and Zurich. The survey resulted in more than 12,000 responses.

Click the link to explore the IKEA Life at Home Report 2016.

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. here are currently more than 385 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 42 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: Stephanie Glessner
646-935-4244
Stephanie.Glessner@Ketchum.com

Eco and Ethical Programme: Marks & Spencer releases its 2016 Plan A Report

2015/16 Plan A highlights

  • Charity donations help reduce food waste by 9%
  • Plastic microbeads removed to help protect marine life
  • Clothing and food suppliers detailed on interactive supply chain map
  • Only certified sustainable palm oil used in M&S products
  • Nearly three quarters of M&S products have an eco or ethical quality
  • 90% of Sparks card holders have chosen a charity to support and donations set to pass £1 million mark
  • Store and warehouse energy use down 39%, water use down 31%
  • First M&S Human Rights Report published

LONDON, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer today reports more good progress on Plan A, its eco and ethical programme, in its 2016 Plan A Report. A further 22 commitments were achieved in 2015/16 and good progress was made in engaging its 32 million customers in Plan A.

The first report under new CEO Steve Rowe pledges to go even further on customer engagement by putting the customer at the heart of the plan.

Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer’s Chief Executive said: “We are putting customers right at the heart of our business. That includes Plan A as much as any other part of our business and that’s why Plan A is now part of our customer and marketing team. It is a crucial part of how we engage with our customers, gain their trust and make every moment special for them. We know that Plan A is a win-win approach – a simpler, more efficient, less wasteful business is better for the planet and our bottom line – so we’ll chase that even harder.”

Highlights from the new report include nearly three quarters (73%) of all M&S products now have an eco or ethical quality (up from 64% last year) notable progress on improving UK and Ireland store and warehouse energy efficiency (energy use down 39%) and water efficiency (water use down 31%) and several firsts including the launch of an interactive supply chain map and the publication of the M&S Human Rights report.

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, said: “2015 was an important year for sustainable business and Plan A. Yet again we’ve achieved tough and stretching targets. The successful Paris Climate negotiations and the launch of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals have created a long-term direction of travel for the global economy and companies need a bold vision and comprehensive plan to make sure they are aligned with these important agreements. Under Steve’s leadership we’ll continue to play our part and crucially put the customer at the heart of everything we do, nurturing the strong trust they have in us and inspiring them with new and innovative solutions to more sustainable living that feels personal and local to them.”

2015/16 Plan A highlights in more detail

Charity donations help reduce food waste by 9%

Food waste reduced by 9% per 1,000 sq ft of food selling space, achieved through improved systems leading to better sales estimation and the nationwide roll out of an unsold food redistribution scheme with social network Neighbourly.com. The scheme has seen M&S owned stores work with 500 charities such as food banks and community cafes.

Plastic microbeads removed to help protect marine life

Plastic microbeads from wash-off personal care products were removed in April 2015, almost a year ahead of the 2016 Plan A target. Plastic microbeads are harmful to marine life and end up in our oceans when washed into the water system.

Clothing and food suppliers detailed on interactive supply chain map

Customers and stakeholders can now see where M&S clothing and home products are made and food products are produced on the M&S supply chain interactive map.  690 clothing and home and 540 Food suppliers are listed.

Only certified sustainable palm oil used in M&S products

All palm oil used in M&S products in 2015/16 was Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified. 99% was a mix of segregated and mass balance (last year 82%), with the remaining one per cent covered by the purchase of GreenPalm certificates to encourage the transition to sustainable supplies (last year 18%).

Nearly three quarters of M&S products have an eco or ethical quality

73% of M&S products sold (based on volume) had at least one Plan A quality above and beyond the market norm in 2015/16 (64% in 2014/15). Examples include the UNICEF shopping bag made from up-cycled hotel linen, the Limited London clothing collection made from sustainable fabrics in eco factories and the launch of Active Health – cholesterol lowering prepared meals.

90% of Sparks card holders have chosen a charity to support and donations set to pass £1 million mark 

90% of customers that hold a Sparks membership card have chosen one of nine charities to support. M&S donates a penny to the customer’s chosen charity every time they shop at M&S and donations are set to pass the £1 million mark next week (week commencing 13th June). Charities benefitting include Macmillan Cancer Support, Great Ormond Street and Shelter.

Store and warehouse energy use down 39%, water use down 31%

Total energy use across UK and Ireland stores, warehouses and offices was down 39% and water use was down 31% (both figures against a 2006/07 baseline) as continued investment in technology and people engagement paid dividend.

First M&S Human Rights Report published 

In recognition of the growing, global focus on Human Rights and the role business plays in protecting them, M&S has joined the UN Global Compact and today published its first ever Human Rights Report. The report outlines M&S’ approach to respecting human rights both within its own business operations and throughout its supply chain.

Plan A in numbers

Plan A in numbers

For the full report please visit – http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/

– Ends –

Further information
Corporate media enquiries
Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer Press Office, 0208 718 1618
daniel.himsworth@marks-and-spencer.com 

###

Plan A Ambassador Joanna Lumley with Sparks card

Plan A Ambassador Joanna Lumley with Sparks card

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB presents the six-month results for 2016 on Wednesday 22 June

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB presents the six-month results for 2016 at a press conference on Wednesday 22 June at 9.30 CET. There will also be a telephone conference in English at 13.00 CET the same day.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The six-month results for the period 1 December 2015 to 31 May 2016 is released at approximately at 8.00 CET on 22 June and thereafter published on hm.com.

The press conference starts at 9.30 CET in “Ljusgården” in H&M’s premises on Mäster Samuelsgatan 49, 3rd floor, in Stockholm. H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson and Head of Investor Relations Nils Vinge will present the six-month results followed by an open Q&A session. The press conference is held in Swedish.

Participants in the telephone conference are kindly asked to register at https://eventreg2.conferencing.com/webportal3/reg.html?Acc=855720&Conf=222216 to receive log in details for the telephone conference. Registration can be made from 8 June until the telephone conference is complete 22 June.

Presentation material will be available at hm.com under Investor Relations at approximately 10.30 CET on 22 June and a recording from the telephone conference as of 23 June.

Welcome!

Only press enquiries

Phone: +46 8 796 53 00
Email: mediarelations@hm.com

Sonic Corp to release results for the quarter ended May 31, 2016 on June 23, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today announced that it will release results for the quarter ended May 31, 2016 after the market close on June 23, 2016. The company will host a conference call to review financial results on Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 5:00 PM ET.

The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing (888) 438-5525 or (719) 325-2428 for international callers. A replay will be available one hour after the call and can be accessed by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517 for international callers; the conference ID is 746719. The replay will be available until Thursday, June 30, 2016. An online replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the live broadcast. A link to this event will be available on the investor section of the company’s website, www.sonicdrivein.com.

About Sonic
SONIC, America’s Drive-In is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local business men and women. Over more than 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. Since the 2009 launch of SONIC’s Limeades for Learning philanthropic campaign in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, SONIC has donated more than $5 million to public school teachers nationwide to fund essential learning materials and innovative teaching resources to inspire creativity and learning in today’s youth. To learn more about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM: SONC), please visit sonicdrivein.com and please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about SONIC’s Limeades for Learning initiative, please visit Limeadesforlearning.com.

 

Sonic Corp.
Corey Horsch
Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer
(405) 225-4800

Source: Sonic Corp.

News Provided by Acquire Media

15 Haggen Northwest Fresh stores begins operation as standalone business unit in the Albertsons Companies family of banners

Bellingham-based company will continue to offer freshest local products to western Washington communities

BELLINGHAM, WA, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Albertsons Companies and Haggen announced that the 15 core Haggen Northwest Fresh stores will begin the first day of operation today as a standalone business unit in the Albertsons Companies family of banners. Haggen will continue its commitment to provide the best in fresh and local products to its guests in western Washington as it has throughout its eight decades in business.

“Founded in Bellingham in 1933, Haggen is here to stay in the Northwest,” said John Clougher, who will continue to lead the 15 Haggen stores as GVP and General Manager. “Our friendly employees are as passionate as ever about providing our guests the highest quality local products and exceptional service. Our support for regional farms, ranches and fisheries underpins our commitment to a sustainable local food economy. We look forward to serving our loyal guests and inviting our neighbors in to see how we will continue to evolve and invest in these communities.”

As a decentralized organization, Albertsons Companies invests in its local operations and empowers them to make decisions locally while still leveraging the scale of a large company. This strategy has produced great stores for Albertsons Companies and the banners that have joined its family, including respected names like Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Star Market, the United Family of Supermarkets and, most recently, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Randalls and Vons.

“We are committed to investing in Haggen’s brand and stores, and applying our proven playbook to foster continued growth of its deep roots in the Northwest,” said Bob Miller, Albertsons Companies Chairman & CEO. “This is a great opportunity to grow a brand that shares many of our values, including offering exceptional service and the best in fresh, local products.”

The following Haggen Northwest Fresh store locations will comprise the core stores that will operate as a standalone business unit:

Address City
2814 Meridian Bellingham
757 Haggen Drive Burlington
1406 Lake Tapps Parkway East Auburn
1401 12th Street Bellingham
1313 Cooper Point Road SW Olympia
210 36th Street Bellingham
2900 Woburn Street Bellingham
26603 72nd Avenue NW Stanwood
1301 Avenue D Snohomish
1815 Main Street Ferndale
17641 Garden Way NE Woodinville
2601 East Division Mount Vernon
8915 Market Place NE Lake Stevens
3711 88th Street NE Marysville
31565 Sr 20 #1 Oak Harbor

 

Albertsons Companies also announced in March that it signed an agreement to acquire 14 Haggen stores that will transition back into its Seattle and Portland operating divisions under the Albertsons banner in the coming weeks; these stores were acquired by Haggen from Albertsons in 2015.

 About Haggen
Founded in 1933 in Bellingham, Washington, Haggen has built its business on providing guests the freshest and most local products with genuine service, while supporting the communities it serves. Throughout its eight decades in business, the stores have supported regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses, creating a lasting and sustainable local food economy.

About Albertsons Companies
Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, with both a strong local presence and national scale. We operate stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 18 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market and Carrs.

Media Contacts:

Haggen
Deborah Pleva
503-908-4250 press@haggen.com

Albertsons Companies
Teena Massingill
925-226-5820
teena.massingill@Albertsons.com

ALDI launches its first full line of baby products, Little Journey

Grocer Announces Baby Photo Contest and $30,000 Cash Prize to Find the “Face” of New Product Line

Batavia, Ill., 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — ALDI understands the joy, love and excitement parenthood brings – and how action-packed life becomes when caring for little ones. To help today’s busy moms and dads along their parenting journey, ALDI announced today its first full line of baby products, Little Journey, is set to hit all stores in August. From newborn diapers to training pants, cleansing wipes to gentle baby wash, formula to organic pouches, Little Journey will feature nearly 50 high-quality, affordably priced everyday essentials parents and little ones need.

“Our ALDI customers spoke, and we listened. The Little Journey product line is another way we’re using our shoppers’ feedback to make grocery shopping as simple and convenient as possible,” explained Liz Ruggles, director of marketing, ALDI, and a mom. “With Little Journey we’re able to better support and grow with our shoppers and their families – from those first smiles to the first day of preschool and beyond.”

Say “Cheese,” Babies!
ALDI helps shoppers embrace life’s honest moments – the good, the bad and the messy. So, to commemorate the Little Journey launch, ALDI is hosting a baby photo contest on Facebook* in search of its first, real-life Little Journey star. ALDI aims to celebrate those real baby moments with photos of babies showcasing the personality, expressiveness and enthusiasm behind life’s littlest adventures.

Starting today, June 1, and continuing through June 22, 2016, parents and legal guardians of children up to 24 months or younger can visit ALDI USA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ALDI.USA) to upload sweet snaps of their adorable little ones for the chance to see their child become the first “face” of Little Journey and star in online and in-store marketing materials. On June 22, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. CST, photo submissions will close and public voting will begin.

From June 22 – 29, 2016, fans of ALDI USA on Facebook will be invited to help choose 10 finalists by voting for their favorite baby photo submissions online*. From the 10 frontrunners, a panel of ALDI judges will choose the baby whose photo best meets the brand criteria to become the first Little Journey star and participate in a fun-filled photoshoot in the winner’s hometown. In addition to the photoshoot, the lucky contest winner will receive $500 in baby products from the Little Journey line and a $30,000 cash prize to help support the winner’s journey towards higher education. The nine finalists will also each be awarded a prize of $100 in baby products from the Little Journey line.

Big Expansions for Small Bundles
As one of America’s favorite grocers**, ALDI is known for providing the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices and the Little Journey line is no exception. Every Little Journey product is tested to meet or beat the national brands on quality, durability and taste. And, with affordably priced diapers, snacks, wipes and more, the Little Journey line will help ALDI parents save money today so there’s more to invest in their children’s futures.

The Little Journey product line was developed to grow with and meet the varying needs of the littlest ALDI fans – from infants to toddlers. And, recognizing every child’s journey is unique, the Little Journey line includes products for every giggle, gurgle, grin (and epic meltdown) along the way:

  • Changing time: It may not be glamorous, but diaper changing and parenting go hand in hand. ALDI has parents and little ones covered with the Little Journey full line of changing essentials, including gentle cleansing wipes, diapers and training pants.
  • First feedings: ALDI knows every feeding journey is different and a baby’s nutritional needs evolve over time. That’s why Little Journey includes four infant powder formulas and one toddler formula to provide expert-recommended nutrition for little tummies.
  • Toddler tastings: The Little Journey infant-to-toddler snacks make healthy eating easy with yummy foods– including infant cereals, organic puree pouches, Little Munchers® baked whole grain corn snacks, Yogurt Bites and whole grain Puffs– little ones will love, made from ingredients parents will feel good about.

About ALDI Inc.
A leader in the grocery retailing industry, ALDI operates more than 1,500 US stores in 34 states. More than 32 million customers each month save up to 50 percent*** on their grocery bills, benefiting from the ALDI simple and streamlined approach to retailing. ALDI sells the most frequently purchased grocery and household items, primarily under its exclusive brands, which must meet or exceed the national name brands on taste and quality. ALDI is so confident in the quality of its products, the company offers a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any ALDI food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the purchase price. ALDI was honored with the 2015 Supermarket News Retail Achievement Award, recognizing the company for its ongoing business expansion and product evolution. For more information about ALDI, visit aldi.us.

*For official contest rules and conditions please visit https://blog.aldi.us/aldi-little-journey-baby-photocontest/.
**According to a survey of US consumers conducted in March 2016 by Market Force Information.
***Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.
Contacts:

Kim Morrison
(312) 988-2244
kmorrison@webershandwick.com

Jodie Kehoe
(312) 988-2230
jkehoe@webershandwick.com

Discount Drug Stores honours Johnson & Johnson with Supplier of the Year award

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Johnson & Johnson was awarded Supplier of the Year at the Discount Drug Stores (DDS) National Conference in Sydney last week.

Discount Drug Stores Executive General Manager said the award recognises the strength of the partnership which has been built between Discount Drug Stores and Johnson & Johnson.

“The retail industry is forever changing, which means strong supplier partnerships are necessary in order to meet changing market trends and maximise business opportunities. This award in particular honours and highlights the commitment the J&J team has to working with our team to deliver results, every single day.”

Johnson & Johnson also won the Health & Lifestyle Supplier Award and Medicines Supplier Award.  L’Oréal was named Beauty Supplier of the Year, while Proctor & Gamble took out the General/Front Shop Supplier Award.

Mr Kuskopf-Dallas said the awards are a way to recognise and thank suppliers for their role in the great results the business achieved in 2015, which saw DDS grow their sales and dollar GP well ahead of the market.

“Discount Drug Stores prides itself on our strong partnership approach with all our suppliers, which sees benefits to all of our businesses and maximises sales as a result. We look forward to working with all our supplier partners and continuing to build on those results in 2016.”

The evening was themed “A Splash Of Colour”, and took place amid the Vivid Festival Of Lights in Sydney.

For more information, visit Discount Drug Stores online at: www.discountdrugstores.com.au

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Amcal launches Chinese language version of its website

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amcal today launched a Chinese language version of its website. This will be managed in partnership with Azoya – a local distributor and Chinese e-commerce specialist providing on-the-ground customer support in China.

The new Chinese language site marks the first time Amcal has entered the international retail market from its Australian base.

Products on the new Chinese language site will be sourced from Australia. All fulfilment operations will remain in Australia.

“This is a very important milestone in Amcal’s history and we are proud that this great Australian brand will now be launched internationally, starting with China. Sigma recognised the rapid growth in e-commerce in China, but also the demand for quality Australian pharmacy branded products including vitamins, beauty accessories and a range of other health and wellbeing products. That’s why the company has taken this landmark step to launch this site and offer customer support in China. We have chosen Chinese-based Azoya Group as our partner to launch this venture, due to their local knowledge and expertise in cross-border eCommerce in China.” – Gary Dunne, Sigma Chief Operating Officer.

Don Zhao, co-founder and Executive Director of Azoya group commented:

“The launch of the Amcal China site will make Amcal one of the leading overseas retailer brands in the China market, and we are confident to make that happen. Also, it’s been a great experience working with the great team from Sigma. We look forward to further and deeper cooperation in the future.”

The site offers a wide range of health, beauty and wellbeing products from a range of different suppliers, as well as a selection of Sigma’s own Pharmacy Care branded products.

“We believe that China could be just the first of a targeted international expansion plan for Amcal and Sigma leveraging our existing partnerships. Australia has a great reputation when it comes to the quality of our health, wellness and beauty products.” Gary Dunne said.

The Chinese (Mandarin) language version of Amcal’s main online site will be found at: cn.amcal.com.au

 

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Amcal launches Chinese language version of its website

Amcal launches Chinese language version of its website

The Discount Drug Stores recognises Balwyn North Discount Drug Store with Pharmacy of the Year Award

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Discount Drug Stores (DDS) award for top store goes to Balwyn North Discount Drug Store.  They received the Pharmacy of the Year Award at the DDS National Conference in Sydney last week.

DDS Executive General Manager Douglas Kuskopf-Dallas said this recognises the exceptional customer service Balwyn North Discount Drug Store offers its customers.

“Our brand values and core mission at Discount Drug Stores is about making a positive difference to our customers’ and community’s well-being, and no store embodies or exemplifies those values more than the team at Balwyn North Discount Drug Store.  It’s this dedication to their customers and to providing their community with quality healthcare services which has seen them beat over 140 other stores in our network to win the Pharmacy of the Year Award.”

Other store category award winners were:

Sunny Park Discount Drug Store received the National Professional Services Award.

Waikiki Discount Drug Stores took out the National Marketing Excellence Award.

Kings Langley Discount Drug Store won the Service Excellence Award.

For the first time, individuals were recognised at the event:

Trang Quach of Kings Langley Discount Drug Store won Pharmacist of the Year.

Mary Martella of Mandurah Discount Drug Store received Pharmacist Assistant of the Year.

Rhonda Tilley of Toongabbie Discount Drug Store is Retail Manager of the Year.

Mr Kuskopf-Dallas said the awards are a way to celebrate the achievements of both stores and individuals :

“These awards recognise and honour the diligence and commitment of both stores and individuals who go beyond the call of duty to provide excellence in service, retailing and marketing. We are proud to be working with such dedicated teams, and look forward to an even stronger year ahead in 2016.”

The evening was themed “A Splash Of Colour”, and took place amid the Vivid Festival Of Lights in Sydney.

For more information, visit Discount Drug Stores online at: www.discountdrugstores.com.au

 

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The Discount Drug Stores recognises Balwyn North Discount Drug Store with Pharmacy of the Year Award

The Discount Drug Stores recognises Balwyn North Discount Drug Store with Pharmacy of the Year Award

Discount Drug Stores announce customer service transformations to maximise their professional services offering

Rowville VIC, Australia, 2016-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Discount Drug Stores (DDS) announced a host of customer service transformations at their 2016 national conference in Sydney this week. These included new initiatives to maximise their professional services offering, and dispensary workflow innovations allowing pharmacists to spend more time with customers.

Having achieved year-on-year growth in its dollar GP, against a market trend of decline and despite PBS reform, DDS sees improvements to customer service as an opportunity to build on their success in 2015.

Discount Drug Stores Executive General Manager Douglas Kuskopf-Dallas says it has been a challenging year for the pharmacy industry but DDS is adapting its service offering and embracing innovation and technology to better serve their customers.

“We have always placed significant emphasis on our professional services to deliver strong healthcare advice to our customers, and with the recent PBS reforms putting more focus onto professional services, we will continue to help our pharmacists find new ways to spend more time with our customers,”

The company is investing in a Nostra Data analytics platform to help report store performance, and announced a partnership with Next Level, which offers dispensary workflow training and innovations, designed to enable pharmacists to spend more time on the shop floor with their customers.

The company also announced an extensive marketing push to be rolled out this year, offering franchisees a strong pharmacy brand with both buying power and media spend backing their investment.

“Discount Drug Stores is one of a handful of true retail pharmacy brands who are comprehensively marketing to consumers. This is a distinct difference to the many banner groups who are either not marketing to consumers at all, or are actually pulling back on what little marketing spend they do invest in. We continue to invest heavily not just in traditional avenues like our new TV campaigns, but are also diversifying our marketing mix and introducing new channels such as YouTube, magazine, and retargeted advertising.” Mr Kuskopf-Dallas said.

Mr Kuskopf-Dallas said with the strength of Sigma behind them, they have also been able to explore innovative marketing opportunities such as their successful InfoHealth TV campaigns, and provide franchisees with access to a host of new business services.

“Sigma’s backing enables us to provide corporate services including financing, human resources and learning and development expertise to Discount Drug Stores franchisees, providing vital business support so franchisees can spend less time in the books and more time on providing excellent service to customers,”
“We’re also delighted through the Sigma corporate strength to launch a new sleep apnoea service to members, in partnership with APSS.” Mr Kuskopf-Dallas added.

As well as transforming customer service, DDS donated over $37,000 to charity and announced the sponsorship of two new puppies for Assistance Dogs Australia, having already raised over $237,700 for charities since 2012.

For more information on Discount Drug Stores, please visit www.discountdrugstores.com.au.

 

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Douglas Kuskopf-Dallas presents at the conference

Douglas Kuskopf-Dallas presents at the conference