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CVS Health’s Larry Merlo among honorees of 2014 Winter Wish Gala

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing teen substance abuse and supporting families impacted by addiction, has announced that Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, is among the new honorees for its 2014 Winter Wish Gala to be held Nov. 20 in New York City.

Merlo will join honoree Wenda Harris Millard, president and COO of MediaLink. In addition, Helshi Lockwood Tunnell Hewson, media consultant at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, will receive the inaugural James E. Burke Award. They will join Sen. Gordon Smith, previously announced as a gala honoree.

"We would not be able to deliver on our promise of being the organization where families find answers without the incredible support of our partners and extraordinary individuals," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "We honor our friend Wenda Harris Millard of MediaLink for her many years of steadfast dedication to our work in helping families protect the health of their children; and Larry Merlo and his wonderful team at CVS Health for their commitment in joining us to educate families nationwide about the risks of abusing medicines while together making progress toward our goal to prevent half million teens from abusing medicine by 2017."

The gala is the Partnership's largest source of support for its mission each year, raising nearly $2 million dollars in 2013. Past honorees have included Bill Koenigsberg, president and CEO of Horizon Media; Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group; Clear Channel and more.

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WSJ: P&G’s head of North America business to step down

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINATTI — Procter and Gamble’s group president of the North America business, Melanie Healey, is leaving the company next year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The announcement was made in an internal memo distributed to employees on Wednesday, the WSJ reported.

The news is raising some eyebrows as Healey, who joined P&G in 1990, was once considered a potential successor to CEO A.G. Lafley.

The WSJ reports that Healey’s departure narrows the list of potential CEO successors inside P&G — internally nicknamed “the fab five” — down to four: David Taylor, group president of global health and grooming; Deborah Henretta, group president of global beauty; Giovanni Ciserani, group president of global fabric and home care; and Martin Riant, group president of global baby, feminine and family care.

The memo also outlined several other management changes, according to the WSJ. The changes put a new team of senior managers under Henretta’s global beauty business. The new leaders include Patrice Louvet as president of global cosmetics, the high-end prestige business and the salon market. There’s also Alexandra Keith, whom the company said in September would move from her post in fabric care to become president for global skin and personal care.

Healey has held several positions since joining the company as brand manager, Phebo Soap, Brazil, including group president, global feminine and health care; president, global feminine care GBU; and VP and GM, feminine care North America. She assumed her current role in 2009.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Caroly Tastad, the global head of customer business development, has been named Healey's successor, effective Jan 1. Tastad has 31 years of P&G experience.

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Lack of deals, millennial disinterest translate to weak consumables sales

BY Ryan Chavis

SHELTON, Conn. — A recent study of the consumables category revealed that weak promotional deals and a disinterest among women in the millennial age group are translating to sluggish sales. 
 
The Consumer Value Study of Consumables, conducted and sponsored by TABS Group in conjunction with the Promotion Optimization Institute, showed that total purchases of consumable items are flat when compared with a year ago. The study defines consumable categories as carbonated beverages, salty snacks, cereal, yogurt, water, ice cream, cookies, fruit juice, refrigerated juices, crackers, frozen pizza, frozen novelties, candy, popcorn and isotonics.
 
The study revealed that shoppers increased their search for deals across multiple retailers, but a lack of quality deals in the consumables category led to poor sales. Participation increased only in rebates and comparison shopping for better deals across retailers, according to the study. The only type of outlet that had a noticeable increase in consumable purchases were dollar stores (23%). The study also found a shift of consumable purchases to smaller format channels. A lack of low-price deals has been inhibiting consumable sales at grocery stores. 
 
“More promotions mean more sales. But it’s not that simple," said TABS Group CEO Dr. Kurt Jetta. "The promotions have to be easy for the shopper to carry out and represent enough savings for them to cause a big jump in corporate profits.” 
 
The study also revealed a trend in average consumables purchases among male and female millennials: Sales are down 14% overall among females, but up 6% among males. Women in this age group are making healthier eating decisions. Additionally, they're living at home longer, which allows them to spend money on expensive, healthy food choices. 
 
“Retailers need to embrace the fact that consumers will always want and need quality deals,” Jetta added. “Sellers of consumables should have a promotional strategy that includes both active and passive deal tactics and aggressive promotional discounting.”
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