“12 Days of Inspiration”: Barnes & Noble announces its inaugural sales event showcasing exclusive offers this holiday season

Unwrapping Exclusive Daily Deals Both In-Store and Online at a Special Price Available for That Day Only

New York, NY, 2017-Nov-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller, today announced its first-ever “12 Days of Inspiration,” an inaugural sales event showcasing a variety of exclusive offers for shoppers this holiday season.

“At Barnes & Noble, we’re always thinking about how we can make shopping a seamless experience for our customers, whether they are buying from us in-store or online,” said Demos Parneros, Chief Executive Officer, Barnes & Noble, Inc. “We think they are going to be surprised and delighted by our ‘12 Days of Inspiration’ promotion, which features the most exclusive deals on books and other products to be found this holiday season, as curated by our expert booksellers.”

From December 1 through December 12, shoppers can visit a Barnes & Noble store or go online at BN.com/12Days each day for a new, exclusive item available at an incredible deal for 24 hours. The holiday sales event is the most exciting collection of gifts and products ever assembled by Barnes & Noble, and each day, a new item will be revealed at a special price, available on that day only. The offers will be available on the most exclusive, hottest holiday gift items of the season, easing the woes of holiday shopping.

With 52 percent of consumers taking advantage of promotional days1, Barnes & Noble is excited to continue celebrating the season with consecutive offers that are fit for the whole family.  Additionally, with 58 percent of consumers spending more during the holiday than planned1, these discounts help capture the perfect gift at an affordable price. Throughout the course of the 12 days, shoppers are encouraged to visit in-store and online daily to check out these special deals and promotions.

In celebration of the sales event, Barnes & Noble has partnered with Evette Rios, lifestyle expert and host of The Way Home on Lifetime and A&E, and Recipe Rehab airing on CBS, Z Living and Hulu, to help guide shoppers in the right direction this holiday season. “Holiday shopping can take its toll as you dash from store to store to cross gifts off your ever-growing list. It leaves many people wishing for the gift of more time and less stress,” said Rios. “This year, I’m proud to be partnering with Barnes & Noble, because its mission aligns with my values of sharing knowledge and a love of reading. Plus, Barnes & Noble stores are one-stop-shops, where consumers can get their holiday gift shopping done, and even wrapped, all in one place, for every person on their gift list, allowing them to balance the stress and excitement that the holiday season brings.”

Customers are invited to Barnes & Noble’s 632 stores nationwide and browse the “12 Days of Inspiration” at BN.com/12Days to discover the hottest books and other great gift items available this holiday season. And for even greater value, customers are invited to join the Barnes & Noble Membership program. Designed for Barnes & Noble’s most loyal customers, the Barnes & Noble Membership program gives Members 40 percent off all hardcover bestsellers and 10 percent off virtually everything else in Barnes & Noble stores throughout the year. Customers should speak with one of the knowledgeable booksellers at their local Barnes & Noble store to learn more about the Membership program and to get details on how they can join.

Customers are encouraged to join in the conversation on their social media channels by using the hashtag, #12Days.

1T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids & Money Survey

SOURCE: Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Mary Ellen Keating

Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
(212) 633-3323

Mei Sanchez
Manager, Corporate Communications
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
(212) 633-3579

Barnes & Noble unveils its lineup of free Storytime events for children and families for the holiday season

A Special Storytime Pajama Party Featuring Customer-Favorite The Polar Express

Free Children’s Storytimes Celebrate the Joy of Reading and a Family Holiday Tradition Throughout the Month of December

New York, NY, 2017-Nov-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller, today announced its lineup of free Storytime events for children and families, a holiday tradition designed to celebrate the joy of reading and the magic of the holiday season. This year’s lineup includes beloved holiday classics and introduces customers to new holiday stories that are sure to spread joy and wonder.

This month-long series of events kicks off with a special Storytime Pajama Party celebrating the beloved holiday classic, The Polar Express, on Friday, December 1, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. All aboard the Polar Express where children will receive complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, a Christmas ornament, and other fun giveaways to get them excited for the holiday season. Join us at this pajama party Storytime filled with lots of activities and tons of fun! Customers are encouraged to take pictures of themselves and loved ones and post to their personal social media sites using the hashtag #BNStorytime.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Storytime – On Saturday, December 2, at 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will host a special Storytime celebrating all things Grinch. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, this Dr. Seuss classic is a mainstay of the holidays, and the positive message is wonderful for children of all ages. Coloring and activities to follow.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Big Golden Book Storytime – On Saturday, December 9, at 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will celebrate Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Big Golden Book, based on Disney’s recently released Frozen holiday featurette. In this hilarious and charming story, loveable snowman Olaf and his pals Elsa and Anna are getting ready to celebrate the holidays, but not before Olaf sets out to find the best family tradition the sisters have ever seen! Coloring and activities round out the fun. Customers can enjoy free Godiva chocolates, which will be passed out at the Storytime, while supplies last.

River Rose and the Magical Christmas Storytime – On Saturday, December 16, at 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble stores celebrate a new story from the original Idol, Grammy® Award–winning singing sensation Kelly Clarkson, River Rose and the Magical Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve, and River Rose wants to stay up all night to hand-deliver a letter to Santa. She can’t wait to finally meet the man in red until… Oh no! River Rose and her dog, Joplin, have fallen asleep and been swept off on another magical adventure. This time, they’re off to the North Pole to let Santa know what River Rose really wants for Christmas. This joyous new holiday story perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday season. Coloring and activities to follow.

Santa’s Magic Key Storytime – On Saturday, December 23, at 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble stores nationwide invite children to unlock the magic with Santa’s Magic Key. Start a new family tradition with this unforgettable holiday story that celebrates the magic of the holidays and reveals how Santa can always spread gifts and joy on Christmas Eve by using his magical key. Coloring and activities to follow.

The Story of Ferdinand Storytime – On Saturday, December 30, at 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble stores nationwide introduce children to Ferdinand, the world’s most peaceful and beloved little bull, in The Story of Ferdinand, a true classic with a timeless message. Coloring and activities to follow.

Special Offers: Customers can purchase A Loud Winter’s Nap at the special price of only $7.99 (regularly priced $15.95) with the purchase of any Kids’ book. This offer end on December 25, while supplies last.

Additionally, through December 25, customers can buy two Dr. Seuss books and get the third free. This offer applies to titles on the in-store Dr. Seuss fixture only. The free book will be the least expensive book in the transaction.

During all Barnes & Noble Storytime readings and activities, parents and guardians are encouraged to take pictures and post to their personal social media sites using the hashtag #BNStorytime.

Barnes & Noble Storytimes are free and open to the public. All events are subject to change. Customers should visit www.bn.com/storelocator for more information about events at their local store.

SOURCE: Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Mary Ellen Keating

Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
(212) 633-3323

Mei Sanchez
Manager, Corporate Communications
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
(212) 633-3579

Bon-Ton Stores president and CEO Bill Tracy: We are very pleased with our November sales results and our strong start to the holiday season

MILWAUKEE, 2017-Nov-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (OTCQX:BONT), today announced that comparable store sales for the four weeks ended November 25, 2017 increased 3.1%. Total sales increased 1.9% to $280.6 million in the current year compared with $275.3 million in the prior year period.

“We are very pleased with our November sales results and our strong start to the holiday season,” said Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer for The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. “We were well positioned heading into Black Friday weekend, and our new merchandising and marketing initiatives continue to generate positive initial results.  We experienced in-store traffic that was better than industry regional trends, particularly on Black Friday, and our investments in our online and mobile shopping experience are resonating with customers. We continue to execute with a sense of urgency and remain focused on a successful holiday season.”

The Company will provide additional details when it reports its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2017 periods ending February 3, 2018.

About The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 260 stores, which includes nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers, in 24 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.  The stores offer a broad assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings.  The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is an active and positive participant in the communities it serves.  For further information, please visit http://investors.bonton.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information included in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which may be identified by words such as “may,” “could,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “project,” “intend” or other similar expressions and include the Company’s fiscal 2017 guidance, involve important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect results in the future and, accordingly, such results may differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to: risks related to retail businesses generally; a significant and prolonged deterioration of general economic conditions which could negatively impact the Company in a number of ways, including the potential write-down of the current valuation of intangible assets and deferred taxes; risks related to the Company’s proprietary credit card program; potential increases in pension obligations; consumer spending patterns, debt levels, and the availability and cost of consumer credit; additional competition from existing and new competitors or changes in the competitive environment; inflation; deflation; changes in the costs of fuel and other energy and transportation costs; weather conditions that could negatively impact sales; uncertainties associated with expanding or remodeling existing stores; the ability to attract and retain qualified management; the dependence upon relationships with vendors and their factors; a data security breach or system failure; the ability to reduce or control SG&A expenses, including initiatives to reduce expenses and improve profits; operational disruptions; unsuccessful marketing initiatives; the ability to expand our capacity and improve efficiency through our new eCommerce fulfillment center; changes in, or the failure to successfully implement, our key strategies, including the store rationalization program and initiatives to improve our merchandising, marketing and operations; adverse outcomes in litigation; the incurrence of unplanned capital expenditures; the ability to obtain financing for working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purposes; the impact of regulatory requirements including the Health Care Reform Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; the inability or limitations on the Company’s ability to favorably adjust the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets; the ability of the Company to change its capital structure; and the financial condition of mall operators. Any sales results reported herein do not necessarily predict the company’s performance for the full 2017 holiday season or for the fiscal fourth quarter as a whole. Additional factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from those contained in these forward-looking statements are discussed in greater detail under Item 1A of the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Christine Hojnacki, 414-347-5329

Source: The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc./ GLOBE NEWSWIRE


RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust enters into an agreement with CT Real Estate Investment Trust for the sale of seven retail properties

TORONTO, Canada, 2017-Nov-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust(“RioCan” or the “Trust”) (TSX:REI.UN) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with CT Real Estate Investment Trust (“CT REIT”) for the sale of seven retail properties, all of which are anchored by a Canadian Tire banner, for a total sale price of $200 million. The annualized income based on the first nine months of 2017 for the portfolio is approximately $12 million.

The sale is the first transaction to be completed as part of RioCan’s previously announced plan to accelerate its portfolio focus in Canada’s six major markets through the sale of approximately 100 properties located largely in secondary markets across Canada.

Edward Sonshine Chief Executive Officer of RioCan, said, “We are very pleased to report good progress on the execution of our accelerated strategy in such a short time. This transaction reinforces the quality and anticipated value of the properties allocated for sale, which are largely highly stable assets that appeal to a wide range of buyers. We have been very pleased with the initial response to the announcement, and we are in various stages of negotiations on several transactions representing properties that we expect to be able to provide more details on in the first quarter of 2018. Overall, we are very confident in our ability to complete our disposition program and execute our strategic vision within our initial timelines provided.”

The sales are subject to normal closing conditions with the majority expected to close in December 2017, and the remainder to close in the first quarter of 2018. The net proceeds will be used to pay down debt, fund unit repurchases through RioCan’s Normal Course Issuer Bid program and fund the Trust’s development activities. Since the renewal of the program on October 20, 2017, RioCan has purchased 2,526,687 units at an average purchase price of $25.54.

The properties included in the agreement are:

Property Name Location Net Leasable Area (sf.)
Collingwood Centre Collingwood, ON 210,000
Goodlife Centre St. Catharines, ON 144,000
Orillia Square Mall Orillia, ON 318,000
Parkland Mall Yorkton, SK 264,000
Southwinds Crossing Oliver, BC 73,000
Sudbury Place Sudbury, ON 148,000
Upper James Plaza Hamilton, ON 126,000

As previously disclosed, RioCan’s accelerated strategy is intended to further enhance the quality, growth profile and resilience of the Trust’s portfolio of retail focused, increasingly mixed-use properties located in prime, high density, transit oriented areas where Canadians want to shop, live and work.

About RioCan
RioCan is Canada’s largest real estate investment trust with a total enterprise value of approximately $13.9 billion at September 30, 2017. RioCan owns, manages and develops retail-focused, increasingly mixed-use properties located in prime, high-density transit-oriented areas where Canadians want to shop, live and work. Our portfolio is comprised of 294 properties, including 16 development properties, with an aggregate net leasable area of approximately 45 million square feet. To learn more about how we deliver real vision on solid ground, visit www.riocan.com.

Forward Looking Information

This news release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. This information includes, but is not limited to, statements concerning RioCan’s disposition strategy, as well as statements with respect to management’s beliefs, plans, estimates, and intentions, and similar statements concerning anticipated future events or expectations that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may”, “will”, “would”, “expect”, “intend”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “plan”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. Such forward-looking information reflects management’s current beliefs and is based on information currently available to management. All forward-looking information in this News Release is qualified by these cautionary statements.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future events or performance and, by its nature, is based on RioCan’s current estimates and assumptions, which are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those described under “Risks and Uncertainties” in RioCan’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the period ended September 30, 2017 (“MD&A”), which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the forward-looking information contained in this News Release. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those related to: liquidity and general market conditions; tenant concentrations and related risk of bankruptcy or restructuring (and the terms of any bankruptcy or restructuring proceeding), occupancy levels and defaults, including the failure to fulfill contractual obligations by the tenant or a related party thereof; lease renewals and rental increases; the ability to re-lease and find new tenants for vacant space; retailer competition; changes in Ontario’s rent control legislation; access to debt and equity capital; interest rate and financing risk; joint ventures and partnerships; the relative illiquidity of real property, the timing and the ability of RioCan to sell certain properties; and the valuations to be realized on property sales relative to current IFRS values; unexpected costs or liabilities related to acquisitions and dispositions; development risk associated with construction commitments, project costs and related approvals; environmental matters; litigation; reliance on key personnel; unitholder liability; income, sales and land transfer taxes; and credit ratings.

Except as required by applicable law, RioCan undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Edward Sonshine, O. Ont., Q.C.
Chief Executive Officer
(416) 866-3018 | sonshine@riocan.com

Source: RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust/ GLOBE NEWSWIRE

Alshaya: Chef Johnny Di Francesco debuts his 400 Gradi Italian restaurant in the Middle East at The Avenues Bahrain

Alshaya: Chef Johnny Di Francesco debuts his 400 Gradi Italian restaurant in the Middle East at The Avenues Bahrain

Bahrain, Middle East, 2017-Nov-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Award-winning Australian chef Johnny Di Francesco has debuted his 400 Gradi Italian restaurant brand in the Middle East with the opening of the first restaurant at The Avenues Bahrain, in partnership with international retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co.

The opening of the first 400 Gradi restaurant outside Australia was celebrated by Mr. Domenico Bellato, Italy’s Ambassador to Bahrain; Ian Toal, the President of Alshaya’s Food Division; Nigel Doughty, the Vice President of Food Retail at Alshaya; and chef Di Francesco, the founder of 400 Gradi.

400 Gradi is a Naples-inspired Italian restaurant that was created by chef Di Francesco, the first Australian ever trained in Naples to the Associazione Verace (AVPN) and President of AVPN Australia. It offers a wide variety of deliciously handcrafted Italian cuisine, using the finest Italian ingredients to give guests the most complete Neapolitan experience outside of Naples.

In 2014, chef Di Francesco was named the ‘world’s best pizza maker’ during the World Championships in Italy for his authentic Napoletana-style pizza, which is cooked for only 90 seconds at a temperature of 400 degrees – hence the name 400 Gradi.

Along with this Napoletana-style pizza, the restaurant offers an array of freshly cooked traditional Italian dishes, including its famous handmade gnocchi, succulent lamb and pistachio cutlets, traditional artisan Italian gelato and delicious desserts.

Commenting on the new partnership, chef Di Francesco said: “This is a groundbreaking milestone for the Gradi Group. Expanding to the Middle East is an exciting step forward, especially with Alshaya, who are a pioneer in franchising international brands. We are delighted with this partnership and we look forward welcoming guests to enjoy the ultimate Italian dining experience.”

400 Gradi plans to expand to Kuwait, Dubai and other strategic locations in the GCC.

For more exciting news, follow 400 Gradi on Facebook and Instagram @400GradiME or call them on 17110616.

SOURCE: M.H. Alshaya Co. W.L.L.


+965 2224 2475
+965 2224 3626

Calvin Klein, Inc. announces global partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

NEW YORK, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Calvin Klein, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PVH Corp. (NYSE:PVH), today (Nov. 28, 2017) announced a multi-year partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Calvin Klein, Inc.’s financial commitment will support the foundation’s endowment from which it distributes grants sustaining the creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual art. In turn, Calvin Klein will be granted unprecedented access to the late artist’s works, including many that have not yet been published. The global partnership is effective through 2020 and will extend to licensing projects across various business lines and future activations within the CALVIN KLEIN brand portfolio.

“I am proud that through this licensing agreement with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Calvin Klein will be continuing its longstanding commitment to the celebration of American artists and their prolific work,” said Steve Shiffman, Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Klein, Inc. “I look forward to the global rollout of this partnership across multiple levels of the CALVIN KLEIN consumer experience.”

“I’ve come to realize that Warhol’s genius goes much deeper than cheerful Campbell’s Soup paintings,” said Raf Simons, Chief Creative Officer. “He captured all sides of the American experience, including sometimes its darker sides. Warhol’s art tells more truths about this country than you can find almost anywhere else.”

“Warhol’s legacy is not limited to the tremendous influence of his timeless concepts but also through the work of the foundation he established, which has become one of the pre-eminent funders of contemporary art having distributed over $275 million in grants since inception,” said Michael Dayton Hermann, Director of Licensing at theWarhol Foundation. “We are proud that Raf’s visionary work at Calvin Klein will unabashedly embrace all facets of Warhol’s work and generously contribute to the foundation’s endowment.”

The first iteration of the partnership was unveiled in September 2017, with Raf Simons’ Spring 2018 CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC runway show. The collection, which is available in stores in January 2018, incorporates a selection of Warhol artworks as placement screen prints. The body of work is intimately connected to the collection’s inspirations of cinema, the dream factory of Hollywood and its depictions of both an American nightmare and the all-powerful American dream. The pieces feature portraits of Warhol intimate and art collector Sandra Brant (1971) and movie star Dennis Hopper (1971), as well as Knives (1981–82), Electric Chair (1964–65), and Ambulance Disaster (1963–64) from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series. The collection also features pieces produced under license and in collaboration with Hopper Goods, a brand inspired by the life and spirit of actor, photographer, and iconoclast Dennis Hopper.

Andy Warhol’s links to fashion dated back to his first years as an artist, when his witty shoe pictures drew eyes to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In the 1970s, the connection became more personal when Warhol befriended a fresh generation of New York designers that of course included Mr. Calvin Klein himself. Klein had set out to capture a new, truly American essence in his creations, and that meshed perfectly with Warhol’s own interests.

Now, 30 years after Warhol’s death, Simons is setting out to renew the relationship between the great American fashion house of CALVIN KLEINand this greatest of American artists. Thanks to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Simons has been forging what he sees as a deep, thoroughgoing collaboration with the undying genius of Warhol, built on the creative ideals that they share. Like Warhol’s art, Simons’ designs for 2018 and beyond are committed to a fearless embrace of the place and the times that we live in.

About Calvin Klein

CALVIN KLEIN is a global lifestyle brand that exemplifies bold, progressive ideals and a seductive aesthetic. We seek to thrill and inspire our audience while using provocative imagery and striking designs to ignite the senses.

Founded in 1968 by Calvin Klein and his business partner Barry Schwartz, we have built our reputation as a leader in American fashion through our clean aesthetic and innovative designs. Global retail sales of CALVIN KLEIN brand products exceeded $8 billion in 2016 and were distributed in over 110 countries. CALVIN KLEIN employs over 10,000 associates globally. We were acquired by PVH Corp. in 2003.

About PVH Corp.

With a history going back over 135 years, PVH has excelled at growing brands and businesses with rich American heritages, becoming one of the largest apparel companies in the world. We have over 35,000 associates operating in over 40 countries and over $8 billion in annual revenues. We own the iconic CALVIN KLEIN, TOMMY HILFIGER, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Speedo*, Warner’s and Olga brands, as well as the digital-centric True & Co. intimates brand, and market a variety of goods under these and other nationally and internationally known owned and licensed brands.

*The Speedo brand is licensed for North America and the Caribbean in perpetuity from Speedo International Limited.

About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

As the preeminent American artist of the 20th Century, Andy Warhol challenged the world to see art differently. Since its founding in 1987 in accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, The Andy Warhol Foundation has established itself as among the leading funders of contemporary art in the United States having distributed over $275,000,000 in grants supporting the creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual arts, particularly work that is experimental, under-recognized or challenging in nature. The foundation’s ongoing efforts to protect and enhance its founder’s creative legacy ensure that Warhol’s inventive, open-minded spirit will have a profound impact on the visual arts for generations to come. Proceeds the foundation receives from licensing projects such as this contribute to the Foundation’s endowment from which it distributes grants. For more information please visit www.warholfoundation.org.

SOCIAL MEDIA: facebook.com/calvinkleincalvinklein.tumblr.com;google.com/+calvinklein;
snapchat: calvinklein
brand handle: @calvinklein

Alexandra Wagner
SVP, Corporate Communications

Amanda Peña
Director, Corporate Communications

Source: Calvin Klein, Inc.

SPAR Netherlands opens a SPAR City store and two new SPAR Express stores

Netherlands, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — SPAR Netherlands recently opened three new stores of two different formats — a SPAR City store and two new SPAR Express stores — one of which is the first SPAR Express store to open along a highway.

Rollout of SPAR Express stores

The two new SPAR Express stores, one in Tilburg and the other in Heemskerk, were opened at the beginning of November and bring a new convenience offering to these two Dutch towns located in the South and North of the country respectively.

The SPAR Express format was introduced to the Netherlands at the beginning of 2017 in partnership with the EG Group, the operating company of Texaco service stations. After three successful pilots on non highway locations, two other SPAR convenience stores have been added. These two stores are high traffic locations and Heemskerk is the first one to open along a main highway.

The product range at both stores focuses on grab-and-go items complemented by sandwiches, meals, salads and soups for take-away. The instore offering was decided on based on learnings from other SPAR countries where the format has been a great success.

Second SPAR City store in Breda

After the successful launch of the first SPAR City store in Breda in August 2016, a second store has now opened. SPAR City stores offer an extensive range of fresh and convenience products including freshly prepared baguettes, sandwiches, fruit salads, croissants, fresh juices and coffee – all available for eating in or taking away. The shop in Breda also boasts an extensive selection of meal deals for a quick breakfast, healthy lunch or easy dinner.

SPAR sees room for more than 100 SPAR City stores in the Netherlands. The first City store was opened in October 2010 in Rotterdam and it’s anticipated that by the end of 2017, the milestone of 50 SPAR City stores will be reached.


SPAR International
Email: info@spar-international.com
Tel: +3120 626 6749

Source: Spar International

SPAR Hungary partner wins numerous industry-recognised awards

Hungary, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — SPAR Hungary continues to invest in different areas of the business, from launching new product ranges to rolling out new stores. Here we take a look at a few recent initiatives that are helping to grow the brand and that have led to the partner winning a number of industry-recognised awards.

Five year anniversary SPAR Partner License Programme

SPAR Hungary first launched the SPAR partner format in 2012. Today, a total of 133 SPAR license stores are operated throughout the country, providing employment to almost 1,500 people. The annual turnover of SPAR license stores amounts to over HUF 32 billion (just over €100 million). SPAR Hungary has an agreement with 109 SPAR retailers throughout the country and continues to welcome new independent retailers to the network.

New SPAR plant in Üllő

Construction is underway of a new plant for the preparation of mayonnaise, salads and sandwiches on the site of the existing SPAR logistics centre in the town of Üllő in central Hungary. The investment of more than HUF 1.2 billion (€3.8 million) includes HUF 250 million (€800.000) spent on technology and equipment. The facility will feature two packaging lines and complies with the highest level of food safety standards. It is the company’s short-term aim to supply quality products made in Üllő to all SPAR, INTERSPAR and SPAR Partner license stores in Hungary.

New vegan products launched

SPAR Hungary has expanded its range of plant-based products under the popular Veganz brand. The selection of more than 60 different products includes delicacies found in dedicated SPAR stores such as organic vegetable milk, natural sweeteners, seed creams, high-concentration protein powders and various confectionery and biscuit items.

SPAR Hungary celebrates an array of awards

The ongoing investments being made by SPAR Hungary are paying off with the partner winning numerous awards, reflecting recognition from the industry and customers.

Most recently, SPAR Hungary received awards at three professional competitions one of which was the Superbrands title, which it took home for the ninth time. The Superbrands programme is one of the most important international brand evaluation awards and is currently carried out in 90 countries. The competition puts the focus on customer feedback. After professional and financial screening of brands and evaluation by the expert panel of judges, an additional online brand recognition and popularity survey is conducted by a Market Research Institute. The award gives positive feedback on the brand, highlighting the best based on professional considerations.

SPAR Hungary also received prestigious acknowledgement at the SuperStore competitionorganised by Trade magazine and Trade Marketing Club, in which the Érd INTERSPAR store was ranked first in the hypermarket category. The Érd Hypermarket also came in second at Mastercard’s ‘Retailer of the Year’ competition, in the category Best customer experience.

“These awards mean huge recognition and confirmation for us, meaning that our efforts and investments for providing top quality services to our customers have paid off. During the last years, we carried out numerous investments enabling our customers to visit modern stores every day. This year, we will invest more than HUF 23 billion (€73 million) in the development of our retail chain,” said Márk Maczelka, Head of Communications at SPAR Hungary.

To read more news from SPAR Hungary, follow this link.

About SPAR Hungary

The first SPAR Supermarket opened in Hungary in 1992, following the acquisition by ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) of a majority stake in General Kereskedelmi Rt. Since its launch, SPAR Hungary has been actively involved in the development of the retail industry in the country.

The move to license independent retailers to operate the SPAR Brand has proven to be very successful for Hungary, with new stores meeting the needs of a larger number of shoppers.

Hungary is the largest SPAR market in Central and Eastern Europe with over €1.67 billion turnover.


SPAR International
Email: info@spar-international.com
Tel: +3120 626 6749

Source: Spar International

Doidge Building Centres Ltd. & Mahood Lumber Company will now bear the RONA banner on its six locations in Ontario

Doidge Building Centres Ltd. & Mahood Lumber Company joins the RONA network with six locations in Kincardine, Miller Lake, Bracebridge, Bradford, Welland and Fort Erie

Boucherville (Québec), 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lowe’s Canada is proud to announce that a new affiliate dealer, Doidge Building Centres Ltd. & Mahood Lumber Company Limited, has joined its network and will now bear the RONA banner on its six locations in Ontario.

Previously associated with a competing banner for over 20 years, the six stores vary in size from 6,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet of retail and yard sizes ranging from 2.5 acres to 12 acres per store. All locations have a strong mix of retail and back end PRO business.

Owner Dennis Doidge explains his reasons for the change: “Our decision to change banners was based on the fact that we felt we were falling behind in the areas of e-commerce, marketing and branding. After careful consideration and discussions with all the major buying groups in the industry, we concluded that RONA was the one company that could give us the tools we need to better compete in this ever changing industry”.

Dennis and his wife Kathryn purchased the Miller Lake location in 1997 and since then have added five locations to their business. “The synergies between the six stores work very well. Whether it is shared trucking, purchasing or staffing, the efficiencies are there. We look forward to working with RONA to continue my expansion into additional stores and new markets”.

The entire management team takes great pride in the fact that the Kincardine location is a past recipient of the Hardlines “Outstanding Retailer Award” for Best Building Supply Home Centre Under 10,000 square feet.

“We are very happy to see that RONA not only brings us the branding we require, but also allows us our independence. This will enable us to compete on a national and regional basis. We look forward to the positive changes with our stores as RONA assists us to move into the future of retailing”.

“We are horoured to welcome Doidge Building Centres & Mahood Lumber Company, allowing us to expand our RONA network of independent affiliated dealers. Their dedication to the business and their retail focus is a strong asset and we are proud they chose the RONA banner to pursue their development and future expansion projects,” mentioned Philippe Element, Divisional Vice President, RONA Affiliate Dealer Sales and Services.

About RONA

Created in 1939, RONA is a banner of Lowe’s Canada, one of Canada’s leading home improvement company. Spanning the entire country, its vast network of more than 430 stores includes both corporate stores and independent affiliated dealers. Known for its large in-store and online product selection as well as for its installation services, RONA also provides expert support and advice to its retail and pro customers for their building and renovation projects. For more information, visit rona.caor follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

About Lowe’s Canada

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving more than 17 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With fiscal year 2016 sales of $65.0 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 290,000 people. Based in Boucherville, Quebec, Lowe’s Canadian business, together with its wholly owned subsidiary, RONA inc., operates or services more than 600 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores in a number of complementary formats under different banners. These include Lowe’s, RONA, Réno-Dépôt, Marcil, Dick’s Lumber and Ace. In Canada, the companies have more than 25,000 employees, in addition to nearly 5,000 employees in the stores of RONA’s independent affiliate dealers. For more information, visit Lowes.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Valérie Gonzalo
Lowe’s Canada
Tel 514.626.6976

Source: Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Visa releases travel and spend data timed with the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

Visa, the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, releases travel and spend data timed with the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

SAN FRANCISCO, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — In celebration of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Visa (NYSE: V), the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, released travel and spending data for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Throughout official FIFA venues, Visa will enable a cash-free fan experience by implementing point-of-sale terminals that accept a Visa credit or debit card and a range of digital payments, such as those made via phone or watch.

These enhancements ensure official FIFA venues are equipped with the latest in payment innovation and are ready for the increase in expected international visitors to Russia. Based on spending trends and insights from Visa, it is projected that Russia will host an additional 300,000 to 500,000 international visitors1 during the months of June and July 2018, on top of a baseline average of 4.3 million total international visitors2 to Russia during that same time period over the past four years.

Based on historical data1 from the previous four FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, Visa projects foreign visitors to Russia will represent a 6 to 10 percent increase in foreign visitors to the country in June and July 2018. The largest share of non-native travelers to Russia are forecast to come from:

  • Europe (69 percent)
  • Asia Pacific (12 percent)
  • Americas (8 percent)

Based on historical data3 from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Visa anticipates Russia can expect to see an increase in per traveler spending. On average, visitors attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ spent 31 percent more3 per card than regular tourists in Brazil. Visa projects this difference was a result of FIFA World Cup™ fans spending:

  • Over 25 percent more at restaurants
  • Over 10 percent more on transportation
  • Close to 10 percent more on lodging

“As the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, Visa is excited for fans all over the world to join us in Russia,” said Ekaterina Petelina, country manager, Visa Russia. “From unveiling the latest payment innovations to upgrading payment terminals to allow for contactless cards and digital payments, such as those made via phone or watch, throughout official venues, Visa will continue to elevate the fan experience. Visa provides simple and secure payment options for those in attendance, so they can get back to their seats quickly and focus on the match.”

Global ticket sales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ continue to perform well, as FIFA recently reported4 that:

  • Close to 800,000 tickets have been sold so far to the FIFA World Cup global fan base.
  • Nearly 50 percent of the ticketing demand is coming from the host country, Russia, with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States making up the largest number of international requests.

To ensure fans have a seamless and secure payment experience when attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Visa developed the following recommended travel tips that fans can take advantage of.

Know Before You Go to Russia

  • Notify your issuing bank or financial institution of anticipated travel plans, including use of Visa debit, credit or prepaid cards abroad to avoid any issues while processing transactions. Issuing banks can also provide information about travel-related benefits for Visa account holders, including opt-in mobile services, such as Mobile Location Confirmation through your bank’s mobile app or Visa’s Travel Authorization Tag.
  • Register for SMS notifications with your specific bank, or the bank’s transaction notification service, to track purchases made on your Visa accounts as you travel.
  • Set up automatic bill pay for any credit cards to give you some peace-of-mind that your account will be current while traveling abroad.
  • Make two copies of important travel documents, namely your passport, in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a friend or relative and carry the other separate from your original documents. You can also take a photo with your cellphone of important documents.

Travel Tips for Fans in Russia

  • When paying by card, pay in “local currency” for a competitive exchange rate.
  • Use a credit or debit card for purchases. Visa offers security, convenience and ease when paying abroad. It is safer than carrying cash.
  • Whenever possible, pay through a chip-activated terminal when using your credit or debit card for enhanced security.
  • Look for the Visa or PLUS logo at any point-of-sale terminal to ensure international payment cards are accepted.

As the Official Payment Service Partner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Visa will be celebrating the spirit of football in Russia and is looking forward to showcasing the future of digital payments with fans from all over the globe. For additional information on Visa’s sponsorship of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, visit www.visa.com.


Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform is a proprietary model that combines Visa’s cardholder data with publicly-available cross-border arrival statistics. The database provides a comprehensive view into high-frequency cross-border travel flows, currently encompassing the top 82 origin and destination countries, which collectively account for more than 80 percent of global travel. VISIT combines unique counts of Visa cardholders that register a face-to-face transaction at a merchant outside their home country in a given calendar month with other transaction data such as average spend per cardholder, card usage patterns at lodging merchants and others. Visa uses this data to econometrically model official arrival statistics compiled by various government sources and to generate estimates that fill in the large gaps existing in the cross-border travel data.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/aboutvisavisacorporate.tumblr.com and @VisaNews.

1 Estimate based on the Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform, 2002-2014.

2 Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform, four-year average, 2014-2017.

3 VisaNet 2014.

4 See FIFA.com/tickets for more information about ticket sales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

Sheerin Salimi

Source: Visa Inc.

Amazon Web Services announces powerful new features for AWS Marketplace

  • New Enterprise Contract and Private Image Build features for AWS Marketplace make purchasing software and running applications on AWS even easier for buyers and sellers
  • New AWS Solution Provider Program, AWS SaaS Factory, and AWS SaaS Accelerate Program help increase cloud adoption and APN Partner success
  • New Competencies recognize APN Partners with demonstrated expertise in Machine Learning and Networking and enable AWS customers to select the right partners to fit their needs

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Nov. 28, 2017) at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), announced powerful new features for AWS Marketplace to further simplify the purchasing and deployment of third-party software on AWS. AWS also introduced new APN programs to increase Consulting Partner success and aid ISVs in building their SaaS businesses on AWS, as well as new APN Competencies in Machine Learning and Networking to help customers select APN Partners with the right expertise. For more information, visit http://aws.amazon.com/partners.

“As businesses of all sizes continue to move to AWS, the majority of the Fortune 500 companies and over 90 percent of the Fortune 100 utilize APN Partners for specialized technology and expertise,” said Terry Wise, Vice President of Global Alliances for Amazon Web Services. “In fact, in the past year we have added more than 10,000 new APN Partners to the APN, and more than 160 thousand active AWS customers are using software from AWS Marketplace. To support this growth, we are continuing to invest heavily in the APN Program to ensure that AWS customers have access to the best software and services for AWS and so that our partners can continue to build successful cloud businesses on AWS.”

AWS Marketplace

With more than 4,200 software listings from more than 1,280 software sellers across 35 categories, the AWS Marketplace is the cloud industry’s most utilized one-stop-shop to find, buy, deploy, and manage software solutions, including SaaS applications, for AWS. Today, customers around the world are using over 480 million hours a month of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to run the technology solutions offered through the AWS Marketplace. Recently, AWS Marketplace added SaaS Contracts to enable the most popular cloud-based business applications running on AWS to provide customers with flexible subscription options for annual and multi-year contracts. AWS Marketplace also recently added Seller Private Offers, which enable sellers to offer specific pricing and end user license terms, including volume discounts, through the online marketplace. AWS Marketplace sellers can provide their customers all the benefits of consolidated billing, cost analysis, and subscription management while also offering individual customers privately-negotiated prices and terms that are visible only to them in the AWS Marketplace.

Today, AWS is introducing the preview of yet another new enterprise feature for sellers and buyers in the AWS Marketplace: the Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace. Designed by a working group of 30 enterprise software buyers and sellers, the Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace is an agreed upon standardized contract template between enterprise software buyers and sellers that resolves challenging terms including liability, dispute resolution, IP protection, warranty, and more across multiple vendors. Participating customers using Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace are able to eliminate lengthy procurement negotiations that can delay projects for months. Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace is currently available in preview to interested enterprise customers and will be generally available to all sellers and enterprise buyers who choose to accept the standardized enterprise contract terms in the first quarter of 2018. Participating software companies in the preview are AppDynamics, Barracuda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Checkpoint, Chef, F5, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, Pitney Bowes, Snowflake, and Trend Micro.

According to Arien Malec, Senior Vice President R&D, Change Healthcare, “Enterprise software contracting, particularly in a regulated environment like healthcare, is hard. Combining the cloud-deployment advantages of AWS Marketplace, which we already use, with a new streamlined pre-negotiated contractual set of terms, will speed innovation in our industry. We are pleased to endorse and support the use of Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace.”

Also introduced today, Private Image Build enables customers to build and run custom Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that combine their own IT-approved base operating system images with installable software provided by AWS Marketplace sellers. By running third-party software on their own private images, customers can better comply with their organizations’ specific IT policies and internal security requirements, while still taking advantage of all the conveniences of AWS Marketplace, including consolidated AWS billing, AWS Marketplace pricing and licensing models, and rapid, automated deployment. AWS Marketplace’s Private Image Build is currently available in preview to AWS Marketplace customers.

AWS Partner Network (APN)

The AWS Partner Network (APN) provides technical, business, and marketing support to tens of thousands of APN Partners across the globe to help them build their cloud businesses with AWS. Today, AWS introduced the AWS Solution Provider Program for APN Consulting Partners and new programs for Technology Partners to build and grow their AWS-based SaaS offerings.

The AWS Solution Provider Program, which will be available in early 2018, replaces the Channel Reseller Program and offers a new, tiered incentive structure that rewards APN Consulting Partners who are innovating on behalf of their customers with proven solution capabilities and have achieved competencies in the areas of Migration, Managed Service Provider (MSP), and/or DevOps. The program also provides more flexible contracting and support options for APN Partners in key competency areas.

The new AWS Software as a Service (SaaS) Factory provides a comprehensive set of enablement content and collateral for APN Technology Partners with SaaS offerings. The program includes reference architectures with best practices for building SaaS solutions on AWS, AWS Quick Starts which automate deployments for key workloads on AWS, and SaaS on AWS Training that delivers prescriptive guidance on building a SaaS business on AWS.

The new SaaS Accelerate Program aids Technology Partners in driving increased profitability with go-to-market support for their SaaS solutions including funding for lead generation and customer proof-of-concepts, and resources for joint sales support. The AWS SaaS Factory and SaaS Accelerate Program will be available in early 2018.

AWS Competencies

The AWS Competency Program identifies APN Partners who have demonstrated technical proficiency and customer success in specific workloads, industries, or solutions. The AWS Competency Program includes 17 categories in solution areas such as IoT, DevOps, Big Data, as well as industry verticals such as Education, Financial Services, Government, and Healthcare/Life Sciences. Based on customer demand, AWS is expanding the AWS Competency Program with two new competency areas for Networking and Machine Learning. For more information and a complete list of awarded partners visit: https://aws.amazon.com/partners/competencies.

New AWS Premier Consulting Partners

The AWS Premier Consulting Partner tier highlights the top APN Consulting Partners globally that have significant AWS investments. These APN Partners have extensive experience in deploying customer solutions on AWS, have a strong bench of trained and certified technical consultants, and have a healthy revenue-generating consulting business on AWS. Today, AWS is announcing the following 15 new AWS Premier Consulting Partners: eCloudvalley, Deloitte, Flux7, ITOCHU, Silver Lining, Relus Cloud, HCL, Sturdy Networks, Stelligent, Contino, Datacom, VirtUSA, Linke, Cloud Kinetics, and Powerupcloud. For a complete list of all 67 AWS Premier Consulting Partners visit: https://aws.amazon.com/partners/premier/.

About Amazon Web Services

For more than 11 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 100 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, and application development, deployment, and management from 44 Availability Zones (AZs) across 16 geographic regions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world–including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies–to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit https://aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

Media Hotline:

Source: Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Amazon Web Services announces AWS PrivateLink

  • New managed service allows SaaS application developers who build on AWS to offer private endpoints as an additional option for accessing their service, increasing security for end customers by eliminating the need to expose data to the public Internet
  • Aqua Security, Autodesk, CA Technologies, Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud, Dynatrace, Salesforce, SigOpt, Snowflake, and Twilio are among the SaaS providers who are or will be using AWS PrivateLink to enhance the security, privacy, and performance of their applications running on AWS
  • AWS PrivateLink also makes it easy for customers to connect services across different accounts and VPCs within their organization to simplify their network architecture

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Nov. 28, 2017) at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), announced that customers can now use AWS PrivateLink to access third-party SaaS applications from their Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) without exposing their VPC to the public Internet. Customers can also use AWS PrivateLink to connect services across different accounts and VPCs within their own organizations, significantly simplifying their internal network architecture. To get started with AWS PrivateLink visit: https://aws.amazon.com/vpc/details/.

Since the introduction of Amazon VPC in 2009, AWS customers have been able to define and control private, secure networks without having to invest in and manage a VPN infrastructure. The vast majority of Amazon EC2 instances now run in Amazon VPCs, and many customers rely on the ability to limit access to their VPC from the Internet as a critical component of their security. However, this presents a challenge when using third-party SaaS applications, as customers often have to make a choice between allowing Internet access from their VPC in order to access these SaaS applications, or not using them at all. With AWS PrivateLink, customers can now connect their VPCs to third-party services in a secure and scalable manner. Earlier this month, AWS introduced the ability for customers to access AWS services over AWS PrivateLink. Now, AWS has extended AWS PrivateLink to support non-AWS services so that customers no longer have to choose between using a third-party SaaS offering or exposing their critical data to the Internet. Traffic between a customer’s VPC and a AWS PrivateLink-powered service stays within the AWS network and doesn’t traverse the Internet, reducing threat vectors such as “brute force” and distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Services supported on AWS PrivateLink are delivered using private IP connectivity and security groups, and function like services that are hosted directly on a customer’s private network.

“We have seen a growing desire from our enterprise customers to move from traditional on-premises applications to SaaS offerings hosted in the cloud. However, we have also heard that adoption of many SaaS offerings is limited by customers’ desire not to expose their data to the Internet. With AWS PrivateLink, customers now have a way to access third-party services over their dedicated AWS network,” said Matt Garman, Vice President, Compute Services, AWS. “With AWS PrivateLink, it has never been easier or more secure for our customers to use SaaS applications within their AWS environment.”

When customers use AWS PrivateLink to connect to SaaS applications like Twilio or Snowflake, their exposure to common security threats is significantly reduced. “At Twilio, we care about the security of our customers. As part of our Twilio Interconnect offering, AWS PrivateLink will provide another option for our customers, whether they are running on AWS or on-premises, to establish secure and private connections directly to the Twilio cloud,” said Richard Seiersen, CISO and VP of Trust, Twilio. “AWS PrivateLink complements the investments we have made to meet the security and compliance needs of our customers.”

“Snowflake continues to drive innovation by offering fast, affordable and secure data warehouse solutions,” said Matt Glickman, Vice President of Product Management, Snowflake. “One of the key concerns our enterprise customers have is how to securely transmit data in the cloud. By embracing AWS PrivateLink, Snowflake can now offer customers an end-to-end solution to securely access their data without ever having to go over the public Internet.”

Combining the developer experience coders love with the trust and infrastructure services big companies need, Heroku is the leading platform for building transformative enterprise apps, fast. “Customers are increasingly building applications that span both Heroku and existing AWS resources – all while leveraging AWS to extend Salesforce deployments,” said Adam Gross, SVP of Heroku at Salesforce. “AWS PrivateLink is a secure new way for joint Salesforce and AWS users to harness customer data and build applications with speed and speed.”

Using AWS Marketplace, customers can easily discover SaaS products that support AWS PrivateLink. AWS Marketplace features a wide range of AWS PrivateLink-enabled products, many of which are available today with many more coming soon. Sellers that will be supporting AWS PrivateLink include Aqua Security, CA Technologies, Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud, Dynatrace, and SigOpt.

SigOpt is a SaaS optimization platform that amplifies research by taking customers’ research pipeline and tuning it, right in place, from machine learning and data science to manufacturing and process engineering. “Last month, we announced the availability of SigOpt on AWS,” said Scott Clark, Co-founder and CEO, SigOpt. “Today, we are doubling down on our collaboration with AWS through AWS PrivateLink. With AWS PrivateLink, customers can now use SigOpt from a custom, secure endpoint within their Amazon VPCs. This allows SigOpt to function as if the service were available in customers’ own networks, while maintaining all of the benefits that make our SaaS solution so great.”

AWS PrivateLink will make it easier for customers like Autodesk to manage their growing network as a series of smaller and interconnected VPCs. “At Autodesk, we have hundreds of developer teams using their own accounts and VPCs for building products and services,” said Reeny Sondhi, Chief of Product Security, Autodesk. “AWS PrivateLink will give our developers an easy, secure, and scalable way to enable private connectivity for shared services and microservices across different accounts and VPCs. We are excited to use a solution that will deliver higher agility in product development and improved security posture at the same time.”


AWS PrivateLink is generally available today in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), US West (N. California), EU (London), EU (Ireland), EU (Frankfurt), Canada (Central), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific(Tokyo) and South America (São Paulo) regions.

About Amazon Web Services

For more than 11 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 100 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, and application development, deployment, and management from 44 Availability Zones (AZs) across 16 geographic regions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit https://aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Media Hotline:


Source: Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Amazon Music launches “The U2 Experience” available to U2 fans from U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria

  • Amazon to Launch an Exclusive Broadcast of New and Archived Interviews from U2, Including Live Recordings of Songs from the Band’s Upcoming Album “Songs of Experience”
  • Available to Amazon Music Account Holders in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria via Amazon Music on Web, Mobile, and Amazon Echo Devices Where Available For a Limited Time; Launching Simultaneously Across Multiple Time Zones on November 29 at 6pm EST
  • Prime Members and Amazon Music Unlimited Subscribers Just Ask, “Alexa, Play the U2 Experience”

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amazon Music today (Nov. 28, 2017) announces “The U2 Experience”: a first-of-its-kind broadcast for Amazon Music designed with the voice experience in mind. Launching simultaneously across multiple time zones on November 29 at 6 pm EST, “The U2 Experience” is a new type of radio, filled with historical and new exclusive content produced by Amazon Music and available to U2 fans who tune in from the U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria, ending just before the release of the band’s upcoming album, Songs of Experience, on December 1. Only available during its one-time broadcast and exclusively on Amazon Music, “The U2 Experience” will be available at www.amazon.com/theu2experience and on the Amazon Music mobile app and Web Player for iOS, Android, Mac, and PC. In a new way of listening, the broadcast will also be available to all Prime members and Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the U.S. and UK through Alexa, on Amazon Echo devices, simply by asking, “Alexa, play The U2 Experience.”

“I hope you don’t need to know anything about U2, or anything about the context, to enjoy [Songs of Experience],” says U2 guitarist, The Edge. “I think it’s an album of just classic songs, great melodies great hooks, great lyrics. I think there’s very few bands in the history of rock and roll that have been around and made as many albums as we have with the same lineup…that perspective is unique, you know? On the last record [Songs of Innocence] we wrote about where we came from. How this band came together, Dublin of the late 70s early 80s, and this new record is the companion album. But it’s from this current perspective now… So many years later, what have we learned?”

For a limited time, fans will be able to drop into the broadcast and begin listening wherever the unique audio is currently in progress. “The U2 Experience” features a chronology of the band’s career, including commentary surrounding the significance behind iconic songs and legendary stories from the road, as told through live broadcast interviews with the band spanning nearly 40 years. Also included are some of the legendary rock group’s biggest hits, and live recordings of songs from The Joshua Tree and Songs of Experience, recorded during The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. The immersive audio show also includes a new and exclusive interview with U2 and Amazon Music’s global head of programming, Alex Luke, which took place during a stop in Sao Paolo, Brazil on tour this Fall.

“Few bands have as storied a career as U2, and we saw an incredible opportunity to build a broadcast for their fans,” said Luke. “This all goes back to voice innovation, and what we’ve built is an immersive, ephemeral listening experience for our customers, with a wealth of interviews and content going back nearly 40 years.”

In a brand-new format for Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Prime members and Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the U.S. and UK can simply ask, “Alexa, play The U2 Experience,” and will immediately be dropped into the broadcast, wherever the unique audio session is currently in progress. “The U2 Experience” is available to listen on the mobile app and Web Player in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria, to all customers with an Amazon Music account, with or without an Amazon Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, available only before the launch of U2’s new album, Songs of Experience, on December 1. Immediately following the show, the band’s new album, Songs of Experience, will be available to purchase on Amazon Music and stream for Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.

“The U2 Experience” is the latest feature to launch within Amazon Music’s personalized natural language voice controls powered by Alexa, which has reimagined how customers experience music. When paired with Alexa, customers can ask for music by lyrics, mood, genre, era, and activities, simply by voice. Learn more about Amazon Music by visiting: www.amazon.com/music.

Start Times for “The U2 Experience”:

  • UK: Wednesday, 29 November 23:00
  • U.S.: Wednesday, 29 November 18:00 EST / 15:00 PST
  • Germany/Austria: Thursday, 30 November, 12:00am

From “The U2 Experience”:

Interview with Bono, 2017:

“Songs of Experience is kind of a rhyme. Your world view when you’re 17 or 18, contrasted with where you are now. I was very strict, very black and white, with the way I saw the world, whereas now I’m not. I see it in very different terms. When I was a kid – I saw the world as us and them. I think Edge was the same. But now I realize that the biggest obstacles you come up against in your life are probably not what you thought they were. It’s probably you.” – Bono

Interview with The Edge, 1987:

“‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ is a great example of why I love being in a band, as opposed to trying to be a solo artist. And it’s because, when Adam [Clayton] started playing that bass part… it is something I never, ever would have come up with in a million years. I think it is his greatest-ever bass part. He changed that piece of music, utterly, and made it what it is. The bass is of something totally different and unique.” – The Edge

Interview with Adam Clayton, 1981:

“I suspect we’ve always had this sound. We’ve always been U2. And you know, U2 is a thing that evolves constantly. And maybe a year from now, the sound will be slightly different from the sound on Boy. It’s impossible to tell because it’s a natural evolvement, all the time.”- Adam Clayton

About Amazon Music

Amazon Music is the destination for customers to have the most choice in how to access and listen to all their favorite music. In addition to streaming with Amazon Music Unlimited (standalone, on-demand music streaming service) and Amazon Prime Music (included in Prime memberships), where available, Amazon Music offers a wide selection of CD and Vinyl, including AutoRip on more than a hundred thousand albums, and tens of millions of MP3 songs to purchase and own. For more information on Amazon Music visit  and follow @AmazonMusic.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

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Source: Amazon

AWS announces a fully managed intelligent threat detection service — Amazon GuardDuty

  • New intelligent threat detection service analyzes trillions of events per day to identify new and evolving threats and provide simple, tailored, and cost-effective protection for AWS accounts and workloads
  • GE, Netflix, Autodesk, Twilio, Webroot, and Mapbox among the customers using Amazon GuardDuty

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced Amazon GuardDuty, a fully managed intelligent threat detection service that helps customers protect their AWS accounts and workloads by continuously monitoring account activity for malicious or unauthorized behavior. Customers can enable AmazonGuardDuty with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console and immediately begin analyzing API calls and network activity across their accounts to establish a baseline of “normal” account activity. Then, Amazon GuardDuty continuously applies machine learning to identify any events that fall outside the normal patterns. Amazon GuardDuty correlates activity using both proprietary, AWS-developed threat intelligence sources and industry-leading third-party sources. When anomalies are detected, Amazon GuardDuty delivers a detailed security alert to the AWS account owner, making alerts actionable and easy to integrate with existing event management and workflow systems. With Amazon GuardDuty, there is no hardware or software to deploy and no third-party subscription costs; customers pay only for the events analyzed. To get started with Amazon GuardDuty, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/guardduty.

As customers grow their cloud usage and increasingly deploy microservices architectures, they may have multiple AWS accounts with up to hundreds of thousands of instances. Identifying and assessing anomalous behavior across multiple accounts, networks, and instances at this scale can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Whether looking for attackers scanning web servers for vulnerabilities, monitoring for compromised instances being used to serve malware or mine cryptocurrency, or finding unauthorized resource provisioning, security teams have had to build or integrate multiple tools to detect anomalies. Customers also have to collect API access and network flow logs and correlate them with threat intelligence sources, applying algorithms to identify anomalies based on known threats. And, often, as soon as the algorithms are well-tuned, the threats evolve and the algorithm requires rework. Now, with Amazon GuardDuty, customers can easily deploy intelligent threat detection that takes care of all of this undifferentiated heavy lifting. Once activated, Amazon GuardDuty immediately begins consuming AWS CloudTrail and Amazon VPC Flow Logs to find indications of account-based threats that traditional solutions might miss, such as an unusual instance type being deployed in a region that has never been used, or an attempt to obscure user activity by disabling AWS CloudTrail logging. Amazon GuardDuty generates anomaly alerts that are tailored to each customer’s AWS use, and AWS continuously updates the threat intelligence sources Amazon GuardDuty employs. Amazon GuardDuty can be enabled instantly with no risk of negatively impacting existing application workloads.

“Customers often tell us that the best way we can help them stay secure is to give them smarter tools that make it easier to get security right,” said Stephen Schmidt, Chief Information Security Officer, Amazon Web Services. “We designed Amazon GuardDuty to be so simple and cost effective that turning it on would be an easy choice for every AWS customer, regardless of their security expertise or the existing security services they use. Amazon GuardDuty intelligently identifies hard-to-detect threats that might slip through the cracks of other security products and easily scales to meet the needs of any organization, whether they have two AWS accounts or two thousand.”

General Electric (GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive, and predictive. “Security is a top priority at GE and ingrained in our company culture,” said Nasrin Rezai, Vice President, Global Chief Information and Product Security Officer at GE. “GE runs thousands of applications on AWS. Deploying Amazon GuardDuty across our AWS global footprint required only a matter of hours and enhances our threat detection capabilities.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees more than 3,900 securities firms with approximately 640,000 brokers and processes approximately 6 terabytes of data and 37 billion records on an average day. “We’ve found that we can be more secure in the cloud than we can on-premises,” said John Brady, CISSP, VP Cyber Security/CISO, FINRA. “With AWS, my team has access to outstanding tooling for patching, encryption, auditing and logging, entitlements, compliance, and now threat detection. We’re excited about how this new product can help us take advantage of machine learning to analyze all of our account activity, accurately detecting behavioral anomalies and enabling us to respond quickly.”

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 109 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day. “We’re excited about the capabilities of Amazon GuardDuty,” said Shaun Blackburn, Security Manager, Netflix. “By delegating the management and monitoring of flow logs to AWS, we can extend our detection capabilities and pursue Netflix-specific security work. AWS has deep knowledge of common attack patterns and trends. By leveraging their unique position as the largest cloud providers, they are able to train sophisticated models that we can immediately consume. With Amazon GuardDuty, we can continue to innovate to deliver the greatest convenience, selection, and value to our members.”

Mapbox is a location data platform for maps, search, and navigation that serves more than 300 million end users each month. It’s all-in on AWS and runs across 10 regions. “Amazon GuardDuty vastly improves cloud intrusion detection, replacing multiple in-house systems with a more advanced, more accurate, and much lower-maintenance service,” said Ian Ward, Engineering Manager, Security at Mapbox. “We were able to enable Amazon GuardDuty instantly, replacing a large-scale engineering project with a fully managed, much more complete service.”

Autodesk is a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. “It’s incredibly important we give our developers the freedom to be agile, while at the same time maintaining our high security standards,” said Kolby Dauler, Lead Engineer for Cloud Security at Autodesk. “Amazon GuardDuty helps us secure our AWS accounts owned by our developers, without slowing them down to install and maintain monitoring infrastructure. Using Amazon GuardDuty also gives our security team visibility into actionable metrics and involves them earlier in decisions that help drive better security practices.”

Amazon GuardDuty can send all findings to AWS CloudWatch Events and supports API endpoints through the AWS SDK, allowing for robust interoperability with third-party solutions. Leading providers such as Alert Logic, Evident.io, Palo Alto Networks, Rapid7, Redlock, Splunk, Sumo Logic, and Trend Micro have built integrations with Amazon GuardDuty, with more coming soon. These integrations allow customers to easily incorporate intelligence from Amazon GuardDuty into their existing security workflows for deeper analysis and automated prevention. Amazon GuardDuty also incorporates threat intelligence feeds from CrowdStrike, Proofpoint, and the AWS Security team to help identify and protect customers from known bad actors.

About Amazon Web Services

For more than 11 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 100 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, and application development, deployment, and management from 44 Availability Zones (AZs) across 16 geographic regions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit https://aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Media Hotline:

Source: Amazon Web Services Inc.

AWS announces a new Bare Metal instance offering for Amazon EC2 and introduces a new H1 Storage Optimized instances

  • New Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances enable customers to run workloads directly on AWS hardware, or bring their own hypervisor or virtualization stack; preview starts today
  • New Storage Optimized instance family, H1, is designed for high-performance, big data workloads
  • The next generation of General Purpose instances, M5, deliver even better compute, memory, and networking performance, powered by the latest 2.5 GHz Intel Xeon Platinum 8000 series processors

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), announced a new Bare Metal instance offering for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and introduced a new Storage Optimized instance family (H1 instances). The new H1 Storage Optimized instances are designed for data-intensive workloads such as MapReduce, distributed file systems, network file systems, log or data processing, and big data clusters. AWS also launched the next generation of General Purpose instances, M5, which have up to 50 percent more vCPUs, 50 percent more memory, and 25 percent more network bandwidth than previous generation M4 instances. To get started with the new Amazon EC2 instances, visit https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

“AWS continues to expand and enhance what was already the cloud’s broadest and most capable compute service,” said Matt Garman, Vice President, AWS Compute Services, AWS. “Most of our customers have diverse computing needs, and they’ve told us having the right instance for the right workload really matters. Today, we expand the options we give customers across three dimensions, introducing a brand new capability with Bare Metal instances for the I3 High I/O family, launching a new family of Storage Optimized instances designed for big data workloads with H1, and providing higher performance and lower prices for general purpose workloads with the launch of M5.”

  • Available today in preview, Amazon EC2 I3 Bare Metal instances are the first AWS instances to allow customer applications to run directly on the underlying hardware while still providing access to all the elasticity, scalability, and security of the cloud. Designed for workloads that are not virtualized, require specific types of hypervisors, or have licensing models that restrict virtualization, EC2 I3 Bare Metal instances give applications direct access to Intel Xeon E5-2686 v4 processors, 512 GiB of memory, 36 hyperthreaded cores, and 15.2 TB of local, SSD-based NVME storage. I3 Bare Metal instances are not simply repackaged bare metal servers—they provide all of the flexibility and capability customers have come to expect from EC2 instances, including support for attaching Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, the ability to use Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) and security group settings, and the ability to use Elastic IP addresses or Elastic Load Balancers. Bare Metal instances are built on top of AWS’s innovative Nitro System, which includes AWS-engineered hardware that enables high performance and high availability through hardware offload cards, as well secure protection of the hardware and system software with a custom AWS Nitro security processor that is built directly onto the motherboard. As with all Amazon EC2 instances, customers can deploy applications to Bare Metal instances in minutes, and scale these applications up and down in seconds.

VMware is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and services, and business mobility. “VMware and AWS have jointly engineered VMware Cloud on AWS, an on-demand VMware vSphere-based service, powered by VMware Cloud Foundation and optimized to run on Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances,” said Mark Lohmeyer, Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware. “We are delivering a seamless hybrid cloud to enable our mutual customers to run their business-critical applications in a trusted VMware environment, while taking advantage of high-performance access to AWS services. Whether our mutual customers need on-demand capacity, want to migrate their applications to cloud, or use cloud for disaster recovery, Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances have made it possible for us to offer an operationally consistent VMware environment both on premises and in AWS.”

  • Available today, H1 instances are a new family of Amazon EC2 Storage Optimized instances designed for popular big data and data-intensive workloads, including MapReduce, distributed file systems like HDFS and MapR-FS, network file systems, log or data processing applications like Apache Kafka, and big data clusters. Powered by 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon E5 2686 v4 (Broadwell) processors, H1 instances provide up to 64 vCPUs and 256 GiB of DRAM. With up to 16 TB of inexpensive, magnetic storage and Enhanced Networking that provides 25 Gbps of network bandwidth per instance, H1 instances are ideal for processing very large data sets. Compared to existing D2 (dense storage) instances, H1 instances provide more compute and memory per terabyte of magnetic disk, along with increased network bandwidth. This provides an optimal balance of resources that reduces costs for big data uses cases that require more processing power.
  • Available today, M5 instances are the next generation of Amazon EC2 General Purpose instances, powered by 2.5 GHz Intel Xeon Platinum 8000 series (Skylake-SP) processors. With Enhanced Networking, and a new larger instance size that provides up to 96 vCPUs and 384 GiB of memory, M5 instances have up to 50 percent more vCPUs, 50 percent more memory, and 25 percent more network bandwidth than M4, making them ideal for web and application servers, backend enterprise applications, gaming servers, caching fleets, and application development environments.

About Amazon Web Services

For more than 11 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 100 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, and application development, deployment, and management from 44 Availability Zones (AZs) across 16 geographic regions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit https://aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Media Hotline:


Source: Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Kmart launches #UglySweaterforBetter social media campaign to raise funds to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

Kmart launches #UglySweaterforBetter social media campaign to raise funds to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®


#UglySweaterforBetter, A New Addition to Kmart’s Annual Campaign to Raise Millions for Lifesaving Research and Treatment of Childhood Cancer and Other Life-Threatening Diseases

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — ‘Tis the season to wear the funniest, craziest and most ridiculously awesome ugly holiday sweaters. Kmart has launched #UglySweaterforBetter—a social media campaign that asks people to show off their favorite ugly sweaters in selfies, photos and videos while challenging others to do the same—to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Starting today through December 24, Kmart will donate $1.00 to St. Jude* for every qualifying Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post that tags @Kmart and @stjude and includes the campaign hashtag #UglySweaterforBetter.

Backing this first-of-its-kind campaign built upon the sharing of ugly sweaters is a wide array of Kmart and St. Jude celebrity supporters and donors, including Adam Levine, Jaclyn Smith, Lucy Hale, Reggie Bush, Raven-Symonè, Camilla Belle, Olivia Holt, Bryan Greenberg, and many more. They will challenge other celebrities, family members, friends and fans to give back this holiday season.”Kmart has been selling ugly holiday sweaters for decades, and our members just eat them up every year. They are a fabulous fad that everyone loves!” said Kelly Cook, Chief Marketing Officer for Kmart. “What better way to spread holiday cheer for a good cause than by wearing your silliest, wackiest, straight-up tackiest ugly sweaters to benefit the patients and families of St. Jude? This relationship means so much to Kmart’s associates and members, and we ask for people of all ages to join in on the fun, strike a pose and help us raise a ton of money for this special organization.”Since 2006, Kmart has been one of the top fundraising corporate partners for St. Jude and raised more than $105 million for the hospital’s patients and families.

“Every year Kmart associates and shoppers open their hearts to the lifesaving mission of St. Jude through their incredible support of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign,” said Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “As a result of their efforts, Kmart has raised a remarkable $105 million for St. Jude, more than any company in the hospital’s history, allowing St. Jude to continue groundbreaking research and treatment all while keeping our founding promise that no family receives a bill from St. Jude for anything — not for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”

In addition to the social media challenge, members can support the #UglySweaterforBetterfundraising initiative by purchasing an exclusive $5.00 holiday bear ornament at Kmart stores or online at Kmart.com. For every qualifying ornament sold, Kmart will donate $1.00 to St. Jude**. Totes featuring artwork created by St. Jude patients are for sale for just $1.99 at all Kmart stores, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting St. Jude. Donations to St. Jude may also be made online via a link at Kmart.com/StJude.

Throughout the campaign, Kmart associates will be wearing T-shirts featuring artwork created by St. Jude patients to show support of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign.

To find out more about the #UglySweaterforBetter challenge, visit Kmart.com/StJude. To learn more about the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign or to make a donation, visit www.stjude.org.

To find your local Kmart, visit kmart.com/stores.

*Kmart will donate $1.00 for every Instagram post tagging @Kmart and @stjude and using the #UglySweaterforBetter hashtag to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital between 11/28/17 – 12/24/17, with a maximum donation of $50,000 to St. Jude.

**Through December 31, 2017, Kmart is donating $1.00 from the in­ store or online purchase of each qualifying bear ornament to St. Jude, with a minimum total campaign donation of $50,000.

About Kmart 
Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a mass merchandising company and part of Shop Your Way, a social shopping experience where members have the ability to earn points and receive benefits across a wide variety of physical and digital formats through shopyourway.com. Kmart offers customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands that include Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, Route 66 and Smart Sense. For more information visit the company’s website at www.kmart.com | Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/kmart.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers, and treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org or following St. Jude on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.

Media Contact:
Larry Costello– Kmart PR
(847) 286-9036

Kmart Holiday Hotline: 



H&M Foundation and UNICEF launch new initiative to make early childhood development programmes more accessible to children with disabilities

H&M Foundation and UNICEF launch new initiative to make early childhood development programmes more accessible to children with disabilities


H&M Foundation and UNICEF have launched a new partnership to support young children, in particular those with disabilities. The initiative is worth SEK 30 million (USD 3.7 million) and one aim is to reach more than 9,000 young children with disabilities and their family members with specialized early childhood development services over the next three years.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — During the earliest years of life, love, good nutrition, protection, and stimulating activities such as play, singing and early learning give young children the best possible chance of reaching healthy brain development. Yet, millions of young children around the world, in particular those with disabilities, are deprived of these critical experiences and are growing up in unsafe and unstimulating environments.

“When the brains and bodies of young children are protected from violence and pollution, stimulated through love, play and early learning activities, and nurtured with responsive caregiving and nutritious food, they have the best possible chance of developing fully, learning effectively, and contributing to their economies and societies when they reach adulthood,” says Pia Britto, UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development.

The initiative aims to scale up existing UNICEF early childhood development programmes in Bulgaria, Peru and Uganda to make them more accessible and tailored to the needs of children with disabilities and their families. Around 20,000 family members and caregivers will be reached with support to help them provide young children with the good nutrition, stimulation and protection they need through health, education and social services.

“Through our new partnership with UNICEF, we hope to transform the lives and futures of thousands of young children with disabilities. We hope this initiative inspires the private sector to invest in children’s early years – helping them reach their full health, happiness, wellbeing and learning ability, says Diana Amini, Global Manager at H&M Foundation.

The support provided to UNICEF’s early childhood development programmes through the partnership will help better assess babies and young children for disabilities and developmental delays, improving their chance of receiving specialised early childhood development care at the earliest opportunity. Creating a more inclusive support system aims to reduce discrimination that young children with disabilities may face.

“UNICEF is grateful to H&M Foundation for its commitment to helping provide life-changing support to young children, in particular those with disabilities.”

Pia Britto, UNICEF

Giving young children with disabilities the best chance of reaching their optimal development also helps considerably reduce the costs of special education, unemployment and institutionalization.

This initiative is the newest in a longstanding partnership between H&M Foundation and UNICEF, who have collaborated since 2014 to provide quality education and early learning opportunities for the most vulnerable children.


The H&M Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of H&M group. Its mission is to drive long lasting, positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. Through partnerships with organizations around the globe, the H&M Foundation drives change within four focus areas; Education, Water, Equality and Planet. In addition to this, the Foundation can also provide emergency relief. Since 2013, the Stefan Persson family has donated 1.3 billion Swedish krona ($177 million/€144 million) to the H&M Foundation. Visit hmfoundation.com and follow @hmfoundation on Facebook and Instagram.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit unicef.org. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.


Malin Björne
PR & Communications Manager, H&M Foundation
+46 70 796 39 75

Ingeborg Ekblom
Public Relations Officer, UNICEF Sweden
+46 70 9955916

Source: H&M


CVS Health to provide Real-time benefit information to help eliminate potential dispensing delays and improve patient outcomes

WOONSOCKET, R.I., 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today (November 28, 2017) that its pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), CVS Caremark, will begin providing real-time visibility to member-specific medication costs and available lower-cost therapeutic alternatives at the point of prescribing and at the pharmacy. This enhanced visibility to the patient’s benefit across all points of care can help eliminate potential dispensing delays, improve patient outcomes through increased medication adherence and lower costs for members and payors.

“Patients often do not find out that the medication they were prescribed is not covered or has higher than expected out-of-pocket costs until they go to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription, which can result in patients not filling a prescription, non-adherence and, ultimately, higher downstream health care costs,” said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. “Making detailed, real-time benefit information available for our PBM members and their health care team, whether it’s the doctor or the pharmacist, can help streamline the patient experience and improve health outcomes while also lowering costs for both the patient and the payor.”

Through visibility to “real-time benefits,” prescribers can see specific benefit information for patients supported by CVS Caremark integrated directly into their e-prescribing workflow. Even before they prescribe a drug, prescribers will be able to see the cost of the drug based on the patient’s coverage, including the patient’s remaining deductible, when applicable, and will be able to review up to five clinically appropriate branded alternatives or therapeutically equivalent generic medications specific to the patient’s formulary coverage. Prescribers will also have visibility to requirements, such as prior authorization or step therapy, enabling them to immediately submit an electronic prior authorization request. In addition, pharmacists at all retail pharmacies within the CVS Caremark network will have visibility to the same list of clinically appropriate formulary alternatives provided to the prescriber, and beginning in early 2018, CVS Caremark members will be able to find lower-cost alternatives within the Check Drug Cost tool on Caremark.com.

At CVS Pharmacy, this information will be integrated directly into the pharmacist’s existing workflow, making it easy for them to engage CVS Caremark members about potentially lower-cost alternatives, based on the members’ specific formulary coverage. CVS pharmacists will also be able to easily request a prescription change from the prescriber when needed with a simple one-step process. Beginning in early 2018, as part of the company’s ongoing, enterprise-wide focus on helping patients save money, CVS pharmacists will also be able to see the associated out-of-pocket costs for CVS Caremark members. This will help ensure alignment with the member’s plan design and enable them to access the lowest cost medications within their benefit. For those members for whom drug cost is still a concern, the CVS pharmacist will also be able to share additional cost savings opportunities such as prescription discounts, when available.

“Across the CVS Health enterprise, we are focused on providing patients with the most convenient access to affordable medications, and this innovation enables us to provide our PBM members and their health care providers with direct, easy access to real-time benefit information throughout the health care continuum whether they are at their physician’s office or at the pharmacy,” said Jonathan Roberts, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CVS Health. “No one else provides this level of member-specific actionable drug benefit information across so many points of care, which can help simplify and streamline the process of getting a patient on the most appropriate and affordable therapy and increase member engagement and satisfaction with their care.”

Medication cost can be a significant factor when a patient is deciding whether or not to fill a prescription. Yet, research shows that patients often feel they do not have adequate information about the use of formularies or the drugs covered by their plan. In addition, when required, the manual prior authorization process to gain necessary approvals for a specific drug from both the insurer and prescriber can be time-consuming for prescribers, patients and pharmacists. In fact, approximately 80 percent of physicians said manual prior authorization requests require extra work, rework and follow up, which can also delay the start of an important therapy or result in poor compliance. Altogether, this can result in medication non-adherence, which can lead to poor health outcomes and is estimated to cost the U.S. health care system nearly $300 billion each year.

Real-time benefit information is enabled through functionality from Surescripts and is available to any provider using an electronic health record system enabled with real-time benefits and electronic prior authorization. Real-time benefits further build on CVS Health’s use of electronic health records, to support MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS Specialty’s care management programs.

About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 9,700 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com/.


Christine Cramer
CVS Health
(401) 770-3317

Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868


Ocado Group plc and Groupe Casino to develop the Ocado Smart Platform in France

Saint-Étienne, France, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — We are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement between Ocado Group plc (“Ocado”) and Groupe Casino, to develop the Ocado Smart Platform (“OSP”) in France.

Ocado is the world’s leading dedicated on-line grocery retailer with a strong technological advantage. The scalable, modular end-to-end solution provided by the OSP is a unique answer to the opportunities and challenges posed by shifting offline/online trends in grocery.

This highly innovative and effective commercial formula will be achieved through access to Ocado’s end-to-end solution, including the construction of its latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse (for which Ocado will invest to install its grid and its robots), Ocado’s best-in-class front-end web site functionality, last-mile routing management and big data, real time implementation.

Groupe Casino’s banners will benefit from this innovative grocery e-commerce platform, firstly Monoprix.fr, which will provide its customers with the largest assortment of food items at the best levels of services and costs.

The agreement sets out plans for the immediate initiation of the development of a Customer Fulfilment Centre (“CFC”) using Ocado’s proprietary Mechanical Handling Equipment (“MHE”) to serve the Greater Paris area, the Normandie and Hauts de France Regions.The build and launch is expected to take at least two years.

In consideration of the investments made by Ocado, of maintenance and of provision of technology, Groupe Casino will pay Ocado certain upfront fees upon signing,and during the development phase, then ongoing fees linked to its utilisation of capacity within the CFC and service criteria.

In addition to the initial CFC, Groupe Casino and Ocado will consider further development of other CFCs close to other large urban areas.

“Groupe Casino is pleased to announce the agreement with Ocado Group which will allow it to develop an integrated customer and logistics platform, considered the best in the market.

“This agreement is a major leap in terms of quality: 50,000 food items will be offered in the first stage to customers in the Greater Paris area with precise and speedy delivery at home and through a platform which makes it achievable to do this profitably. Groupe Casino is very proud to have sealed this deal with Ocado which will further strengthen the quality of service available to its customers, at the core of its commitments for 120 years.” — Jean-Charles Naouri, CEO of Groupe Casino

“We are delighted that Groupe Casino has decided to partner with Ocado Solutions to grow and develop its online food business. We believe that the scalable, modular end-to-end solutions provided by the Ocado Smart Platform, will allow retailers such as Groupe Casino to build their online grocery offer in a way that is profitable and sustainable, creating value for customers, suppliers and shareholders. We continue to make investments to commercialise our proprietary platform and expect this deal to be one of many successful collaborations with leading retailers to use it the world over.” — Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado

“Groupe Casino is a successful multi-format, multi-banner and multi-channel business with top-three market positions in all the countries in which it trades. Its decision to adopt the Ocado Smart Platform to build and drive its online food business in France gives it a unique, innovative, and world-leading solution to the challenge of delivering groceries profitably online. We look forward to working closely with Groupe Casino going forward”. — Luke Jensen, CEO Ocado Solutions

Tim Steiner
Chief Executive Officer
01707 228 000

Duncan Tatton-Brown
Chief Financial Officer
01707 228 000

David Shriver
Director of Communications
01707 228 000

Michelle Clarke
Tulchan Communications
020 7353 4200

Régine Gaggioli
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 65 64 17

+33 (0)1 53 65 24 17

Casino Group
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 65 24 78

Stéphanie Abadie
Press relations manager
Tel.: + 33 (0)6 26 27 37 05

Simon Zaks
Tel: +33 (0)6 60 87 50 29

Karine Allouis
Tel: + 33 (0)6 11 59 23 26

Source: Casino Group

Cdiscount becomes France’s leading Black Friday e-tailer after reporting €43 million in business volumes

Bordeaux, France, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Black Friday has become a major event in the e-commerce industry, and Cdiscount ranks as France’s leading Black Friday e-tailer after reporting €43 million in business volumes, or five times the amount recorded on a typical day. A total of 8 million people – i.e., one in three households – visited the Cdiscount website last Friday.

This year’s sales event confirmed that Black Friday is the kick-off point for the Christmas shopping season, with toys and games comprising the bulk of items sold. Nearly 10,000 PS4 consoles and 200,000 toys/video games were purchased during the day, including hoverboards, which this year once again proved to be a stand-out item: 1,500 were sold within a few minutes after the stroke of midnight.

Customers’ enthusiasm for Black Friday was particularly visible on social media, demonstrating that French consumers have really embraced the major shopping bonanza. Cdiscount was by a very wide margin the top retailer on social media, counting some 223,000 interactions with its customers* on Friday, 24 November alone.

“These results prove that Cdiscount continuously rises to its customers’ expectations by making the best products and services available to them at the most competitive prices. Black Friday 2017 also confirms that French consumers trust Cdiscount to meet their shopping needs on major occasions, particularly at Christmas. All of our teams are working hard to ensure that our customers have a successful holiday season.” — Emmanuel Grenier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cdiscount

Constance Blanc
+33 (0)6 99 36 51 86

Audrey Donazzolo
+33 (0)7 84 37 15 73

Source: Casino Group

Macerich announces the sale of its Chicago office building for $86.4 million

SANTA MONICA, Calif., 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ —The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC) today (Nov. 27, 2017) announced the sale of an office building at 500 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago for $86.4 million.  The asset was unencumbered and wholly-owned by Macerich.

500 N. Michigan Ave is a 326,000 square foot office tower located adjacent to Macerich’s The Shops at North Bridge, a 673,000 square foot shopping center anchored by Nordstrom and Eataly which, as of September 30, 2017 was 99.2% occupied and generating sales per square foot of $906.

This latest disposition is consistent with Macerich’s strategy of recycling capital out of non-core assets and into its core portfolio of irreplaceable retail destinations in hub and gateway U.S. cities.

Macerich, an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States.

Macerich currently owns 54 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 48 regional shopping centers. Macerich specializes in successful retail properties in many of the country’s most attractive, densely populated markets with significant presence in the Pacific Rim, Arizona, Chicago, and the New York Metro area to Washington DC corridor. Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company’s website at www.macerich.com.


Jean Wood
Vice President – Investor Relations

John Perry
Senior Vice President – Investor Relations

Thomas O’Hern
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

SOURCE: Macerich Company

RILA again teams up with Sustainable Brands® for their 2018 flagship conference

Vancouver Event Will Feature Retail-Specific Program Track

Arlington , VA, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (11/28/2017), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced that for the second year in a row they will be teaming up with Sustainable Brands® for their 2018 flagship conference in Vancouver, Canada. The event, Redesigning the Good Life, is the second of a three-year global initiative to discover how society’s desire to become a better world is transforming the way brands deliver value.

As part of the partnership, RILA will produce a retail-specific educational track focused on the issues, opportunities, and challenges of sustainable retail within the Sustainable Brands program – and specifically addressing the circular economy. The Sustainable Brands conference covers innovation and sustainability initiatives across multiple consumer-facing industries.

“We initially chose to partner with Sustainable Brands to introduce our retailers to new and innovative approaches to CSR, while continuing to deliver the leadership content historically featured at RILA’s Sustainability Conference,”said RILA Senior Vice President of Research, Innovation, & Sustainability Adam Siegel. “The Sustainable Brands community welcomed us with open arms, and I saw last year’s conference as a huge step toward building a lasting partnership. We look forward to building on that experience, and to bringing together our communities again for more transformational content and experiences in Vancouver.”

“We are delighted to continue our strategic partnership with RILA in 2018,” states KoAnn Vikoren Skryzniarz, founder of Sustainable Brands. “Retailers command a critical position within the global economy, with significant potential to both support and help reshape consumer choices and lifestyles. The retail sector has both a substantial need, and great opportunity to rethink business models and approaches to serving customers alongside the brands they choose to partner with. We look forward to another great year of convening both retailers and their brand partners together in one room to share insights and collaborate more fully on redesigning value propositions, business models, and customer experience in ways that support their own resiliency and a better future for all.”

The 2018 Sustainable Brands conference will be held June 4-7, 2018 in Vancouver, Canada. Pre-registration for SB’18 Vancouver is now open. Please inquire with Adam Siegel at RILA for special rates for retailers.

About RILA:

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

About Sustainable Brands:

Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is a division of Sustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.


Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

Source: RILA

CarMax expands partnership with auto repair provider RepairPal

RICHMOND, Va., 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX), the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, today (November 28, 2017) announced it is expanding its commercial relationship with RepairPal, a leading provider of auto service and repair via a network of RepairPal Certified shops. Additionally, CarMax has made a minority investment of $5 million as the lead in a new round of financing for RepairPal.

Through this partnership, CarMax will provide its customers with access to the RepairPal Certified shop network resulting in additional trusted, quality and fair-priced service and repair locations. This investment follows several months of successfully partnering with RepairPal to offer Los Angeles customers the convenience of more service options.

Bill Nash, CarMax president and CEO said, “CarMax led the way in providing trust and transparency in car buying, selling and ownership, and our relationship with RepairPal gives us the opportunity to further enhance the customer experience. The RepairPal Certified network, combined with CarMax’s own nationwide staff of highly qualified technicians, ensures that our customers have timely options for all their service and repair needs.”

RepairPal has built a network of auto repair shops that offer a minimum 12 month/12,000 mile warranty on repairs. Customers can feel confident they’ll receive reasonable prices on repairs as shown in RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator™. Art Shaw, RepairPal CEO, commented, “CarMax’s commitment to creating a great customer experience makes them an ideal partner as we continue to build out our network of trustworthy mechanics who deliver fair pricing and service excellence.”

About CarMax

CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars and operates more than 180 stores in 39 states nationwide. CarMax revolutionized the auto industry by delivering the honest, transparent and high-integrity car buying experience customers want and deserve. For more than 20 years, CarMax has made car buying more ethical, fair and stress-free by offering a no-haggle, no-hassle experience and an incredible selection of vehicles. CarMax makes selling your car easy too, by offering no-obligation appraisals good for seven days. At CarMax, we’ll buy your car even if you don’t buy ours®. CarMax has more than 24,000 associates nationwide and for 13 consecutive years has been named as one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. During the 12 months ending February 28, 2017, the company retailed 671,294 used cars and sold 391,686 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at www.carmax.com.

About RepairPal

Established in 2007, RepairPal is bringing trust and peace-of-mind to auto repair. At RepairPal.com, consumers have free access to a vast array of invaluable resources for taking care of their cars. The RepairPal Certified Network shows trusted shops nationwide where repairs are done at fair prices with quality parts and an attentive staff. By visiting RepairPal.com, consumers can get back on the road quickly knowing they’ll receive quality work at fair prices.

Forward-Looking Statements

We caution readers that the statements contained in this release about future business plans, operations, opportunities or prospects are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “outlook,” “plan,” “predict,” “should,” “will” and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or affirmative. Such forward-looking statements are based upon management’s current knowledge and assumptions about future events and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. Among the factors that could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements are the following:

  • Changes in the competitive landscape and/or our failure to successfully adjust to such changes.
  • Events that damage our reputation or harm the perception of the quality of our brand.
  • Changes in general or regional U.S. economic conditions.
  • Changes in the availability or cost of capital and working capital financing, including changes related to the asset-backed securitization market.
  • Our inability to recruit, develop and retain associates and maintain positive associate relations.
  • The loss of key associates from our store, regional or corporate management teams or a significant increase in labor costs.
  • Security breaches or other events that result in the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential customer, associate or corporate information.
  • Significant changes in prices of new and used vehicles.
  • Changes in economic conditions or other factors that result in greater credit losses for CAF’s portfolio of auto loan receivables than anticipated.
  • A reduction in the availability of or access to sources of inventory or a failure to expeditiously liquidate inventory.
  • Changes in consumer credit availability provided by our third-party finance providers.
  • Changes in the availability of extended protection plan products from third-party providers.
  • Factors related to the regulatory and legislative environment in which we operate.
  • Factors related to geographic and sales growth, including the inability to effectively manage our growth.
  • The failure of or inability to sufficiently enhance key information systems.
  • The effect of various litigation matters.
  • Adverse conditions affecting one or more automotive manufacturers, and manufacturer recalls.
  • The inaccuracy of estimates and assumptions used in the preparation of our financial statements, or the effect of new accounting requirements or changes to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
  • The performance of the third-party vendors we rely on for key components of our business.
  • Factors related to seasonal fluctuations in our business.
  • The occurrence of severe weather events.
  • Factors related to the geographic concentration of our stores.

For more details on factors that could affect expectations, see our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, and our quarterly or current reports as filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Our filings are publicly available on our investor information home page at investors.carmax.com. Requests for information may also be made to the Investor Relations Department by email to investor_relations@carmax.com or by calling 1-804-747-0422 ext. 4391. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date they are made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Catherine Gryp
CarMax Public Relations

Kimberlea Buczeke
Community & Content at RepairPal

Source: CarMax, Inc.

Old Navy donates $1 million to Boys & Girls Clubs following successful Black Friday donation campaign


SAN FRANCISCO, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Timed to Giving Tuesday, Old Navy is donating $1 million to Boys & Girls Clubs after a successful Black Friday trigger donation campaign.

On Black Friday, Old Navy offered customers the opportunity to get cozy while giving back. For every pair of $1 Cozy Socks purchased in-store on Black Friday, Old Navy pledged $1 to Boys & Girls Clubs, up to $1 million. Customers paid it forward and stocked up on the playful novelty print socks. Over 2 million pairs of cozy socks were sold, enough to line the entire coastline of California.1

“At Old Navy, we believe in paying it forward. Opening doors for youth and helping them build promising futures is just one of the ways we give back,” said Sonia Syngal, president & CEO, Old Navy. “We are in this together – our teams, our families, our communities. That’s why this Black Friday, we welcomed shoppers to join us in that mission through our Cozy Sock trigger donation campaign. And we are so proud to make this $1 million donation to Boys & Girls Clubs as part of our continuing ONward! program.”

Through its cause platform ONward!, Old Navy is committed to taking the next generation to the next level, and has long supported Boys & Girls Clubs to help turn learners into leaders. The $1 million donation will go to creating an employment program for Boys & Girls Club youth2, offering them career mentoring and a first job at Old Navy stores.

“We are grateful for Old Navy’s partnership and their continued commitment to supporting America’s youth,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Old Navy’s donation will help our young people reach their full potential as productive and responsible citizens.”

Old Navy believes in giving the next generation a foot in the door for the future. Through the This Way Ahead job training program, Gap Inc. has committed to providing 10,000 jobs for youth from local nonprofits by 2020. The partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs will help expand the program to impact more young adults in additional cities. Learn more about Old Navy’s cause work at Oldnavy.com/ONward.

About Old Navy

Old Navy is a global apparel and accessories brand that makes current American essentials accessible to every family. Originated in 1994, the brand celebrates the democracy of style through on-trend, playfully optimistic, affordable and high-quality product. A division of San Francisco-based Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Old Navy brings a fun, energizing shopping environment to its customers in more than 1,000 stores around the world. For more information, please visit www.oldnavy.com.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, 4,300 Clubs serve 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at on Facebook and Twitter.

1General coastline of California is 840 miles according to the Congressional Research Service https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS21729.pdf. At 26 inches per pair and over 2.2 million pairs sold on Black Friday (Nov. 24, 2017), the socks would line over 900 miles.

2Funds will be divided proportionally between Boys & Girls Clubs of America (“BGCA”) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada (“BGCC”) based on the respective sales in the US and Canada.


SOURCE: Gap Inc.

NGA urges Senate to pass comprehensive tax reform to create a more level playing field for supermarkets operating as pass-through businesses

ARLINGTON, Va., 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, and 152 state trade associations and food retailers today urged the U.S. Senate to pass comprehensive tax reform that creates a more level playing field for supermarkets operating as pass-through businesses.

In a letter to Senators, the grocers expressed support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but contend that the bill falls short of achieving rate parity between C-corporations and pass-through entities, which make up nearly half of NGA’s member companies. The proposed effective tax rate on qualifying pass-through businesses would be approximately 32 percent, or 12 percent above that of C-corporations.

“America’s pass-through independent supermarkets are a large and vital part of the economy and the new lower business tax rate needs to reflect their importance by being broadly applied and effectively enforced,” the group wrote to senators. “We urge Congress to support reforms that create a more level playing field for Main Street supermarkets so they can grow their businesses and create local jobs.”

In September, House and Senate leaders released a Unified Framework that pledged to treat pass-through businesses fairly in relation to their corporate competitors and called for a rate differential of five percentage points. The Senate bill ignores this promise and sunsets the pass-through deduction in seven years.

“Independent supermarkets are driving innovation in the marketplace. From implementing e-commerce strategies to developing new formats that enhance the customer experience, independent grocers are truly leading the way. We know tax reform can help these entrepreneurs to continue to invest in their communities, employees, and communities. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues to grow this important sector of the economy,” the letter concludes.


Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

Whole Foods Market announces 50 percent off sale on the cookie bar from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4

Whole Foods Market announces 50 percent off sale on the cookie bar from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4


AUSTIN, Texas, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — To celebrate National Cookie Day, Whole Foods Market is having a 50 percent off sale on the cookie bar from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4.

Whole Foods Market cookie bars boast seasonal offerings and frosted treats unique to each store, showcasing the creativity of Whole Foods Market bakers and decorators. Just in time for holiday parties and gift exchanges, shoppers can visit the cookie bar to fill a limited edition cookie tin designed by artist, Ryn Frank.

Whole Foods Market has strict standards for the ingredients used in store bakery departments. All baked goods are made with cage-free eggs and non-bleached or bromated flour, and they contain no artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners or hydrogenated fats.

This offer is valid from Dec. 1, 2017 through Dec. 4, 2017, while supplies last.



Source: Whole Foods Market


SUPERVALU to participate in Barclays “Eat, Sleep, Play – It’s Not All Discretionary” Conference in New York

MINNEAPOLIS, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE: SVU) will participate in next week’s Barclays “Eat, Sleep, Play – It’s Not All Discretionary” Conference in New York. President and CEO Mark Gross and Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer Rob Woseth will address investors at approximately 8:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

A live webcast of this event will be available through the SUPERVALU website at http://www.supervaluinvestors.com (click on microphone icon). A replay will be archived on SUPERVALU’s website and will be available at  by clicking on “Presentations and Webcasts.”

The accompanying presentation will be posted to the SUPERVALU website (http://www.supervaluinvestors.com) at approximately 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on December 6th.

SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. with annual sales of approximately $16 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of 3,337 stores composed of 3,120 stores operated by wholesale customers serviced primarily by Supervalu’s food distribution business and 217 traditional retail grocery stores operated under five retail banners in six geographic regions (store counts as of September 9, 2017). Headquartered in Minnesota, SUPERVALU has approximately 31,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit www.supervalu.com.

Investor Contact:
Steve Bloomquist

Media Contact:
Jeff Swanson



Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize has repurchased 899,840 of Ahold Delhaize common shares in the period from November 20, 2017 up to and including November 24, 2017. The shares were repurchased at an average price of €17.05 per share for a total consideration of €15.3 million. These repurchases were made as part of the €1 billion share buyback program announced on December 7, 2016.

The total number of shares repurchased under this program to date is 51,207,401 common shares for a total consideration of €927 million.

Download the share buyback transactions excel sheet for detailed individual transaction information under “Files to download” (on the right).

Visit www.aholddelhaize.com/en/investors/share-information/share-buy-back-programs/ for a complete overview of all Ahold Delhaize share buyback programs.


Ellen van Ginkel
Director External Communications
+31 88 6595134

SOURCE: Ahold Delhaize

Apple stores to host Hour of Code workshops from December 4 through 10

Free Coding Sessions, New Swift Playgrounds Challenge and Teacher Resources Are Available for Everyone

Cupertino, California, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Apple today (NOVEMBER 28, 2017) opened registration for thousands of free Hour of Code sessions available at all Apple Stores from December 4 through 10. The company also introduced a new educational challenge in Swift Playgrounds and added new teacher resources to the Everyone Can Code curriculum to help teach Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn programming language that anyone can use to create world-class apps.

Today at Apple
For the fifth year, Apple Stores will participate in Hour of Code with daily coding sessions in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Young aspiring coders can learn coding basics during a Kids Hour session, while those age twelve and above can use Swift Playgrounds on iPad to learn coding concepts and even program robots. A new Teacher Tuesdays session helps educators learn how to teach code to students using new resources and discussion topics.

Swift Playgrounds
A brand-new Hour of Code challenge in the Swift Playgrounds app invites students to build a digital robot and customize it with new parts including cyborg eyes and electric hula hoop arms. Swift Playgrounds is available as a free download in the App Store in 15 languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

Teaching with iPad
Apple’s new Everyone Can Code curriculum includes a free Hour of Code guide featuring the new Swift Playgrounds challenge to make it easy to get started teaching code in schools, community centers and after-school programs. Schools can easily host their own one-hour Hour of Code event anytime simply by downloading the Swift Playgrounds app and Hour of Code guide.

Press Contacts:
Andy Bowman
(408) 783-0619

Apple Media Helpline:
(408) 974-2042

Source: Apple Inc.

NEW ZEALAND: Foodstuffs shortlisted in the Efficiency Champion Category for the 2017 Sustainable Business Network Awards

Auckland, New Zealand, 2017-Nov-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Foodstuffs has announced today (28 November 2017) that the company is a finalist in the Efficiency Champion Category for the 2017 Sustainable Business Network Awards, thanks to some stunning results in minimising waste.

“With 122 sites signed up to the programme we can report the following highlights including an increase in the average waste diversion rate from 64% to 84%, the diversion of 27.1 tonnes from landfill per store in the month of August alone and the equivalent of more than 3.2 million meals donated to local community foodbank services in the last 12 months alone,” says Steve Anderson, Managing Director, Foodstuffs New Zealand.

“The team has really taken the mantra to heart that we are guardians of both our community and the environment.  We are making huge inroads into reducing our impact on our surroundings, all while ensuring that the most vulnerable in our communities benefit as well.”

Currently 122 sites have signed up the audited waste minimisation programme with more coming on stream in the coming months.

Anderson says, “When it comes to this issue our approach is very, very simple.  Reduce, re-use and recycle. Every team member is involved in reducing waste in all its forms – it just makes so much sense.  Waste costs.  It costs in terms of environmental and social damage, it’s expensive to remove and affects the country in which we have the privilege to live and work.”

“Our waste diversion rate is very impressive.  In terms of tonnage we’re looking at an estimated 32,300 tonnes of residual waste prevented from ending up in landfill in the last 12 months. As we extend the programme throughout the business the positive impact will be increasingly felt by the business and local Councils.  We know that many Councils are looking at zero waste targets, and we’re playing our part in that ambition,” says Anderson.

Diverted waste is made up of approximately 61% tradeable commodities (cardboard, paper and plastic film), 6% is other mixed recyclables, 29% is bakery, produce and protein for repurposing or reprocessing, and 4% is food donated for human consumption.

Foodstuffs has a number of sustainability initiatives in place extending far beyond their recent commitment to phasing out single-use plastic bags.  The business was the first to introduce 100% recyclable meat trays; Foodstuffs is a founding partner in the Soft Plastics Recycling Programme accounting for two thirds of the plastic collected; products are being reformulated to remove or reduce plastic content and packaging; the business is rolling out electric delivery vehicles, ensuring promotional materials are 100% recyclable, and installing energy efficient cooling systems which reduce the carbon footprint of a store by up to 50%.

Anderson says, “New Zealand’s future depends on all of us being committed to treading lightly.  We have been serving the community for nearly 100 years.  It’s up to us to make sure that we continue to do so sustainably, ensuring the New Zealand we know and love is here for many hundreds of years to come.”


Foodstuffs Communications Team Phone: 0800 376 3342

Source: Foodstuffs NZ