The National Grocers Association: DOL final rule regarding overtime pay for salaried workers will negatively affect many store associates

Arlington, VA, 2016-May-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule regarding overtime pay for salaried workers.

“The independent supermarket industry plays a crucial role in America’s economy, creating nearly one million jobs across the nation. NGA members are proud to be an employer of choice in their communities, offering stable, reliable jobs and opportunities for career advancement, but unfortunately this rule will negatively affect many store associates, particularly those who are just entering into management positions within a company. Despite submitting extensive comments and meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to outline our concerns with this rule, the administration unfortunately proceeded with finalizing a “one-size-fits-all” rule that will significantly impact the independent supermarket industry and local communities in which independents serve. NGA will continue to push for a legislative solution that will ease the burden on independent supermarket operators, and ultimately their employees,” said Peter J. Larkin, NGA president and CEO.

NGA’s Labor and Employment counsel Kara M. Maciel, Conn Maciel Carey PLLC said, “NGA advocated strongly against the final rule by submitting public comments to the Department of Labor in September 2015 and making a presentation to the Office of Management and Budget in May 2016.  NGA argued that doubling the salary threshold would have dramatic consequences for independent grocers, especially given the narrow profit margin in a very competitive market.  Through our advocacy, we explained that the salary increase would negatively impact grocers, their employees, and the communities where independent retailers operate. We were pleased to see as a result of our advocacy, the DOL reject the automatic annual increases, instead giving employers a three year reprieve before the salary threshold rises again. In addition, NGA told the OMB that grocers needed at least 12 months to implement the rule in order to take the time to do it right and avoid costly mistakes that could lead to employee confusion and operational disarray. We are disappointed that the DOL has only provided a six month implementation window.”

Media inquiries: Please email communications@nationalgrocers.org.

The National Grocers Association congratulates 41 grocery executives on their completion of the 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program

Arlington, VA, 2015-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) congratulated 41 grocery executives on their completion of the 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). The 2015 ELDP course was held May 31 – June 4, at Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York.

“As the new generation of grocery executives take on leadership roles in the independent supermarket business, they will face an array of challenges and opportunities very different than their predecessors encountered. The development of these leaders will become even more important, and leadership and training programs will be critical for the long-term success of the industry,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO, NGA. “Thanks to the support of our sponsor, PepsiCo, NGA is working to provide those resources and opportunities for independent supermarket operators to invest in their future leaders through programs such as ELDP.”

Jeff Swearingen, SVP of PepsiCo Demand Xcelerator function noted, “PepsiCo is delighted to underwrite NGA’s Cornell ELDP.  We consider our investment in the Program a key component of our commitment to NGA and the independent supermarket segment.”

ELDP helps independent supermarket operators and wholesalers develop leaders from within their organizations who can respond to business challenges in the 21st century marketplace. It is a high-impact learning opportunity for rising grocery executives that provides interactive instruction presented by a mix of respected academic and industry leaders.

2015 ELDP graduates: Stephanie C. Lawley; Dominic Baldone; Andy Halencak; Richard Driskell; Ken Klepac; Sean Donavon; Paul Adamson; Randy Williams; Rick Bishop; Rob Croft; Peter Keenan; Brian Riesbeck; Peter Riesbeck; Amy Giesecke; Eric Bendixen; Drew Pauk; Jean Kaprowski; Thomas Watkins; James Johnson; Jesse Levine; Dave Hartmann; Steve Johnson; Paul Christianson; Matt Mendonsa; Bob Brady; Kevin McMenamin; JonPaul Lake; Jason Knudsen; Paul Thomas; Rich Randazzo; Corey Confer; Charlie Dunn; Anna Mancini; Patrick Reeves; Naomi Sleeper; Wayne Cranford; Jorge Gonzalez; Danny Williams; Steve Oswald; Kati Shields; and Erin Stocker.

For the past 12 years, ELDP has been generously supported by PepsiCo. For more information on ELDP, please visit www.nationalgrocers.org/eldp

The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for close to one percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages, and $27 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers.  For more information about NGA, visit www.nationalgrocers.org.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

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The National Grocers Association congratulates 41 grocery executives on their completion of the 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program

The National Grocers Association congratulates 41 grocery executives on their completion of the 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program

The National Grocers Association releases statement on passage of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Legislation

Arlington, VA, 2015-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) released the following statement from NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin commending passage by the House of H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015, sponsored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX).

In 2002, mandatory COOL rules for meat products were enacted as a part of the Farm Bill and amended in subsequent bills passed in 2008 and 2014. Following the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill, Canada and Mexico initiated World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings against the U.S., claiming that COOL discriminated against their livestock exports. In May of this year, the WTO issued its final decision stating that the United States’ mandatory COOL requirements for meat products are discriminatory to Canada and Mexico.

Larkin commented, “NGA has long expressed concerns over the mandatory COOL requirements. Aside from impacting supermarket operators’ bottom line, should the U.S. remain non-compliant with the WTO’s rules, it will cause market and supply dislocations, adversely affect jobs, business operations, and international trade. We commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this important legislation to bring the U.S. back into compliance with our international trade obligations and provide regulatory relief to those who produce and sell beef, pork, and chicken.”

NGA sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging passage of H.R. 2393. The letter reads: “Independent supermarkets are known for their full service meat departments that have on premise butchers providing value, variety, and exceptional service to our customers. Mandatory COOL labeling has imposed significant disproportionate costs on retailers, wholesalers, processors, and suppliers, all to provide a label that is ultimately of very little value to the consumer.”

NGA’s full letter can be read HERE.

Additionally, NGA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, which sent a letter to the House of Representatives yesterday, expressing strong support for H.R. 2393. To read that letter, click HERE.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

The National Grocers Association applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act. H.R. 30, introduced by Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) and also championed by Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL), would change the definition of a full-time employee under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) up from the current 30 hours per week, per month to 40 hours per week, per month.

“NGA commends House Leadership for bringing this important jobs bill to the floor in the first week of the new Congress. Independent supermarkets are proud to be employers of choice in hundreds of communities across the country; however provisions such as the ACA’s current full-time definition has placed unnecessary burdens on both employers and their dedicated part-time employees. We are grateful for Congressman Young and Lipinski for their leadership on this important issue.” Said Peter J. Larkin President and CEO, NGA

“We look forward to continuing to work with Senators Collins (R-ME) and Donnelly (D-IN) on their companion legislation, which was also introduced this week in the Senate.” Said Larkin. NGA sent this letter to the House of Representatives in support of the Bill and also signed, along with numerous state grocer associations, this letter from the More Time for Full Time Coalition, of which NGA is a leading member.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

NGA Spirit of America Award given to Greg Gregerson of Gregerson’s Foods and Pharmacy Inc at Alabama’s Food Industry Finest Luncheon

Arlington, VA, 2014-10-10— /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) is pleased to announce that Greg Gregerson, president and CEO of Gregerson’s Foods and Pharmacy, Inc., has been presented with the NGA Spirit of America Award at the Alabama’s Food Industry Finest Luncheon, held Wednesday, October 8. The award is one of NGA’s top honors and recognizes individuals for their dedication and service to the independent supermarket industry.

“It’s an honor to recognize Greg, who has always been a strong advocate for Alabama grocers and the independent supermarket industry, with the Spirit of America Award,” said Greg Ferrara, Vice President of Public Affairs, NGA. “Greg has been a steadfast industry leader who truly understands the importance of educating lawmakers on industry issues, and a mentor to many within the independent supermarket industry. Our industry, as well as Gregerson’s Foods and Pharmacy, and the communities it serves, have greatly benefited from his commitment and service throughout his career.”

Mr. Gregerson has been in the grocery business in some capacity or another since 1969. In addition to running several successful businesses, Gregerson has served on several industry related boards, including serving as a Past Chairman and Chairman Elect of the Alabama Grocers Association, and a Past Chairman of the Alabama Retail Association. He has also previously served on the Board for NGA, the United Way, Riverview Hospital, Westbrook Christian School, Etowah County Hospice, and Compass Bank in Gadsden.

The NGA Spirit of America Award, established in 1982, honors key industry and community figures that have provided leadership in the areas of community services and government relations on behalf of a free and independent food distribution system. NGA has given this award to over 550 individuals, including Presidents George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford, as well as other distinguished individuals serving in the grocery industry and the public interest.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

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Greg Gregerson (center) is joined by his parents, Peter and Janet Gregerson, and his wife, Marcy as he accepts the NGA Spirit of America Award

Greg Gregerson (center) is joined by his parents, Peter and Janet Gregerson, and his wife, Marcy as he accepts the NGA Spirit of America Award

The National Grocers Association announces its pavilion partners for the 2015 NGA Show on February 8 – 11 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Arlington, VA, 2014-10-1— /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) today announced its pavilion partners for the 2015 NGA Show, held February 8 – 11, at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the North American Meat Association (NAMA), the Global Market Development Center (GMDC), the Center for Advancing Retail Technology (CART), and for the first time, the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) and the Brewers Association will be featured as 2015 NGA Show Pavilion Partners.

“In conjunction with our pavilion partners, we are pleased to offer attendees with an increased opportunity to explore a diverse set of exhibitors, and to research and learn about products and services in all segments of the grocery industry on The NGA Show floor,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “Additionally, we are excited to bring a new, vibrant opportunity for Show attendees to engage and network alongside industry peers with the addition of an NGA Show reception, held on the EXPO floor and hosted by the exhibitors, on Monday, February 9 from 4 – 5 p.m.”

The 2015 NGA Show Expo floor will feature over 300 exhibitors, offering trading partners the opportunity to network and build relationships from every section of the grocery business.

The NGA Show is the only industry show designed exclusively to provide independent grocers with opportunities to learn marketplace trends, industry best practices, and gain a new business prospective to grow and expand their businesses through top-rated educational workshops and hands-on sessions. To learn more about the 2015 NGA Show, visit www.theNGAshow.com. For more information on how to register for The NGA Show, visit www.theNGAShow.com/register.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.

The Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) announced new online platform for the supermarket industry

Center for Advancing Retail & Technology and National Grocers Association create unique platform to help retailers and brands keep pace with rapid technology innovation

Arlington, VA, 2014-9-12— /EPR Retail News/ — The Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) today announced a new online platform for the supermarket industry. The CART marketplace advancingretail.org is designed to help the supermarket sector keep pace with technology innovation that is rapidly transforming the way people shop.

“Retailers and brand manufacturers are experiencing information overload as they seek to stay informed of the rapidly growing number of innovative solutions coming into the market. CART’s platform is designed to help retailers and brands discover, evaluate, and engage new technologies. There is nothing else like it available in the retail industry today,” says Gary Hawkins, CEO of CART.

The marketplace is a free resource for retailers, providing a place to discover new solutions, to learn from available white papers and case studies, and obtain guidance in the form of ratings and reviews provided by fellow retailers. Additionally, solution providers are able to benefit from efficient access to the sizable supermarket industry, particularly the thousands of stores encompassing the independent and mid-market sector. Solution providers can also avail themselves of guidance provided by the CART team who have extensive retail and technology innovation experience.

In addition to serving retailers and solution providers, CART provides research services to consumer goods brand manufacturers. Operating retail stores participating in CART’s network serve as ‘live learning labs’ where CPG brands can test in-store merchandising innovation along with piloting new shopper-facing technologies. ‘Live learning lab’ environments are designed to provide deep insight to real shopper behavior using the latest research tools, including mobile analytics.

Understanding the importance of access to technology and innovation to independent retailers, CART has established a relationship with National Grocers Association. NGA is the preeminent trade association focused on serving the independent supermarket sector. CART powers up the NGA SolutionCenter (available solutions), ResourceCenter (case studies, articles, etc.), and the InnovationCenter (new innovations coming into the retail industry).

“Given the importance of technology to retail we are excited to help bring the new CART marketplace to independent grocers, and provide our members with resources and information on how to integrate the latest technology techniques into their business strategies,” said Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO of NGA.

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The National Grocers Association and FMS Solutions released the results of their joint 2014 Independent Grocers Financial Survey covering fiscal year 2013

Arlington, VA, 2014-9-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) and FMS Solutions today released the results of their joint 2014 Independent Grocers Financial Survey, covering fiscal year 2013. Independents’ financial performance much mirrored the nation’s economy which showed modest growth and both ups and downs in consumer, financial and market performance indicators. Some retailers managed to grow sales, margins and profits whereas others handed back some of the gains accomplished in fiscal year 2012.

Independent grocers indicated 2013 was a challenging year with competitive pressures rising to new heights. “Competition in our industry will always be fierce,” says Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO, National Grocers Association. “In addition to supercenters and conventional supermarkets, we’ve seen a variety of other formats, like dollar stores and price impact stores that are all competing for the food dollar. But, as always, entrepreneurial independent grocers continue to adapt and rebound in what remains to be a tough recovery for our economy.”

In a difficult competitive and economic environment, independent grocers managed to hold the line on same-store sales growth. They duplicated last year’s modest inflation-adjusted increase of 0.2 percent. Multi-store operators improved their sales gains compared with last year, whereas single-store operators lost ground. With rising gas prices, particularly in the second half of 2013, consumers took fewer trips (10,704 transactions per store, per week) but spent a little more on average ($24.38) when in the store.

Reflecting an improvement in inventory management, total store turns increased to 18.6. Single-store operators managed to hold the line on margins, whereas multi-store operators fell back to 2010 levels – taking the average total-store margin down just slightly to 26.12 percent of sales.

Total expenses rose for the third consecutive year – predominantly driven by an increase in labor and benefits, and utilities. Healthcare costs rose by an average of 10.1 percent over 2013 with more than eight in 10 independents reporting expense increases. “The rising costs of providing healthcare is of great concern to independents,” Larkin noted.

Flat sales growth combined with slightly tighter margins and higher expenses resulted in a slight drop in net profits among independents as a group to 1.51 percent overall. Single-store operators fared better with an average net profit of 1.63 percent. The report’s review of the top 25 percentile in terms of net profits revealed a group of independents that managed to outperform the rest by a wide margin. These profit leaders more than doubled the national average at 4.10 percent. “The profit leaders outperformed the rest in nearly every benchmark, including sales, margins, asset performance, and expenses control,” says Robert Graybill, president and CEO of FMS. “By investing back into their companies in good and bad economic times, yet keeping long-term liabilities and expenses in check, they extended their lead compared with prior years and far outperformed the publicly-traded grocers.”

In addition to sales distribution and gross margin data by department, the report also provides detailed financial information by region, store sales volume and profit leaders. The general section of the report includes a thorough review of the nation’s economic and political landscapes and how they impact independent food retailers.

The 2014 Independent Grocers Financial Survey is based on data from 143 independent grocers. To purchase the report click HERE.

If you need additional information, please contact Laura Strange at 703-516-8808.