Sustainability a Key Issue that Tesco's New CEO Must Address

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 21, 2014 01:47 PM

Sustainability has a new battlefront, and the abrupt departure today of the head of the UK's largest supermarket demonstrates just how important and influential the topic has become to major grocers.

Struggling to compete against German discount rivals Aldi and Lidl, Tesco is replacing CEO Philip Clarke as it continues to see sales fall and customer visits drop. Despite a push to turn its stores into retail destinations, the grocer has struggled to respond to the surge in online shopping and turn data into smarter marketing to help revive the brand.

But besides price points and Clubcards, Tesco, along with grocers around the world, is facing increasing pressure to deliver on sustainable promises including the need to curb food waste. While the retailer was one of the first major chains to disclose figures associated with its stores' food waste, other chains like Sainsbury's have not only been transparent, but have implemented unique tools that help both workers and consumers make a change for the better. 

But just because Clarke is leaving doesn't mean that Tesco is giving up on its sustainability initiatives.Continue reading...

sip on this

Keep On Slurpin' On: 7-Eleven Celebrates 87 Years with Freebies All Week Long

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 10, 2014 11:07 AM

Ready, set, SLURP!

7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day kicks off Friday, July 11 at participating locations where fans of the frozen, carbonated beverage will no doubt line sidewalks in hopes of snagging a free small Slurpee before supplies run out. But this year, as the convenience chain celebrates its 87th birthday, 7-Eleven is extending the festivities for an entire week (actually eight days).

Consumers that download and register with 7-Eleven's app will get access to special daily coupons from July 12 through July 19 for free snacks like M&M's birthday cake candies, free Hostess Twinkies, a Snickers or Twix-brand ice cream bar or a free Big Gulp soft drink.

The celebration marks the 12th year that the brand has given away the free drinks, which are celebrating 49 years of frozen goodness.Continue reading...

retail watch

Rite Aid Puts Healthy Lifestyles at the Forefront of New Wellness Store Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2014 11:02 AM

Rite Aid’s new Wellness concept store in Beverly Hills, Calif., is just the latest attempt by a major retailing chain to deal with a problem that has become universal to the industry: how to sustain and even increase relevancy in an era that endangers their very existence.

In this case, Rite Aid has unveiled a remodeled superstore that it says represents the future of the drugstore, including larger departments for pharmacy, private consulting rooms, a café and patio area that functions as a mini-Starbucks, and broader merchandise centered around health, such as gluten-free and organic foods as well as home fitness equipment.

“We will continue to push the envelope in leveraging our Wellness stores to launch and expand innovative merchandising concepts, with the ultimate goal of delivering a more personal and engaging customer experience,” Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and chief operating officer, said in a press release.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks and Schultz's Shares Expand but Hiccups Persist in Finicky Market

Posted by Dale Buss on June 23, 2014 01:13 PM

Starbucks continues to pursue share-of-gullet with news that it is expanding its test of made-to-order Fizzio sodas to the southern half of the US and Hawaii. Previously the “hand-crafted” sodas were tested in Atlanta, Austin and Japan. A national rollout is eyed soon, and more of Asia will be covered.

While the drinks are expected to drive only modest sales growth in an era when conventional soft drinks are under duress as never before, Fizzio is expected to help Starbucks’ broader goals for brand expansion, including not only a greater array of beverages but also as an entrée into other day parts such as lunch, Bloomberg Businessweek noted, and perhaps even home beverage-making systems. This summer it’s introducing new Teavana iced teas and two sandwiches, as well. 

But there are hiccups for Starbucks to be had, for sure. It now must raise prices in US cafes and stores after drought in Brazil pushed up the price of Arabica coffee. Prices will rise less than 1 percent in Starbucks outlets but by about eight percent at retailers where Starbucks ground coffee is sold on a CPG basis.Continue reading...

sip on this

Tesco May Bet Big on Beauty Drinks Though Running Skin Deep Is a Risk

Posted by Dale Buss on June 20, 2014 11:49 AM

With a remark by an executive at a contest for UK entrepreneurs last week, Tesco has indicated interest in entering the growing “beauty beverage" market in Europe.

But as a segment that long has seemed heavy on promise but sometimes disappointing in actual sales (and results), beauty drinks have ensnared other major brands including Nestle, Coca-Cola and Sanofi over the last several years—with evidently less-than-spectacular results.

The idea of this genre is to create formulas that actually improve skin, hair and other aspects of appearance in specific ways that go beyond the general health-inducing properties of the thousands of “functional” drinks that are on the market globally.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Google Lends Digital Expertise to UK Grocers' Corporate Citizenship Efforts

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 5, 2014 03:02 PM

Food waste is an enormous global problem, which is why UK grocer Sainsbury’s is partnering with Google in its latest effort to get consumers to upcycle their leftovers.

Google created an interactive banner ad that uses voice recognition to generate simple recipes made of otherwise wasted ingredients, modeled after and in support of Sainsbury's Food Rescue tool to eliminate kitchen waste. Desktop users can input ingredients via keyboard, while mobile customers can click on the expandable banner and speak up to nine ingredients into their device for an instant range of 1,200 choices from simple snacks to dinner party options.

The idea for the interactive banner came from Google data that showed search queries for terms related to “leftovers” increased one-third in the last year, with about 64 percent coming from mobile. The ad and tool are an extension of the retailer's ongoing commitment to stopping food waste. “We have a role to play in helping reduce food waste around the country,” Sainsbury’s head of brand communication, Mark Given, told Marketing Week.Continue reading...

health fallout

Faced with Labeling Legislation, CPGs Struggle to Brand Non-GMOs

Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2014 06:02 PM

Non-GMO products may be to CPGs what EVs are to the auto industry: Mainstream consumers still just aren’t sure whether or why they should need them.

Mandatory GMO labeling proponents continue to chalk up victories in the US, especially in the Northeast. Vermont became the first state to mandate such labeling, which will take effect in 2016 and for the first time would align a US jurisdiction with more than 60 other countries that require labeling of genetically-modified food organisms.

Meanwhile, according to The Huffington Post, more than two dozen other states are considering mandatory labeling of such GMO foods, though some states are knowingly waiting out their peers before they make a move themselves. Supporters of GMO labeling legislation gathered at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Wednesday to announce they had the backing of a majority of state lawmakers; and such a bill is reported to be inching closer to consideration by the New York legislature.

But there are some major obstacles standing in the way. For one thing, so far, while a devoted cadre of activists are highly concerned about GMO content in the American food supply, most Americans still pay the issue little heed. One reason, a new study suggested , is that non-GMO labeling on retail products is inconsistent and confusing.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Squeezed by the Competition, Tesco Hopes Customer-First Approach Works

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 4, 2014 04:23 PM

The UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, is going through its roughest patch in decades, dogged by the rise of discount chains like Lidl and Aldi and consumers opting to shop online as opposed to in-store. 

In the fourth quarter of 2013, sales in the core UK business dropped 3 percent from the same period the year before, but things got even worse in the first quarter of 2014, with sales falling 3.8 percent compared with the previous year's numbers. According to Kantar Worldpanel data, Tesco has lost more than one million customer visits per week, worth an estimated £25m ($41.9 million) in sales—a staggering exodus that led to a 29 percent fall in market share, its largest drop in at least 20 years.

No wonder investors are starting to wonder if CEO Philip Clarke has the right plan to get the once-dominant retailer, which fell 16 percent in brand value according to brandchannel parent Interbrand's latest Best Retail Brands report, back on track.Continue reading...

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