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Giant-Landover president to exit at end of year

BY Jim Frederick

LANDOVER, Md. — Two-and-a-half years after joining the company, Robin Michel is leaving as president of the Giant-Landover division of Ahold USA to pursue other opportunities, the company confirmed Monday.

Michel will depart at the end of the month, according to Ahold USA spokesperson Sara Neumann. She will be replaced on a temporary basis as operations chief by Don Sussman, EVP supply chain at Ahold, while the company conducts a search for a successor.

Michel, a veteran of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarket, joined Giant in June 2008 as EVP and general manager. Her appointment as the Maryland-based supermarket chain’s top manager was part of a major overhaul in management and operational structure at both Giant and its Braintree, Mass.-based parent company, a division of the Dutch-based Ahold retail conglomerate.

As part of that realignment, Ahold USA broke its two U.S. divisions into four parts — consisting of Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop Metro New York, Giant-Landover and Giant-Carlisle — to make them more nimble and responsive to local market conditions. In line with that change, Carl Schlicker, who formerly oversaw the Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division under the old corporate structure, was named CEO of the four U.S. operations of Ahold USA Retail.

Schlicker praised Michel for leading a renewal at Giant-Landover, which operates 180 supermarkets and food-drug combo stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.“Since joining the company in 2008, Robin has played an integral part in revitalizing the Giant Landover business through several ambitious initiatives including the implementation of the Value Improvement Program [VIP] and Project Refresh to renovate 100 aging stores across the chain,“ said Schlicker. “We wish her the very best in the future and thank her for her dedication to our customers and our business.”

The renewal effort is ongoing at Giant-Landover.

“Giant plans 26 new and remodeled or expanded stores during the next 12 months,” the company reported on its website, “with much larger produce departments and salad bars,” as well as gourmet meat shops, expanded delis, more natural and organic foods, pharmacies, Staples office supplies and “entertainment centers featuring books, magazines and DVDs.”

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Janet Carter-Smith named CHPA’s RLSC chair

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association recently named GlaxoSmithKline veteran Janet Carter-Smith chair of the CHPA Retailer Liaison Steering Committee, effective Jan. 1.

Carter-Smith will be the third chair of this committee, succeeding David Howenstine, VP customer and industry development at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, whose term ends at the end of the year.

“CHPA is fortunate to have such high caliber company executives willing to take leadership positions on our committees,” stated Scott Melville, CHPA president. “[Carter-Smith] is just such an individual, and the association and the over-the-counter medicine and nutritional supplement industries we serve are privileged to have her at the helm of this important committee.”

The mission of the RLSC is to foster positive relationships with retailers and their related industry associations on issues of importance to CHPA members. RLSC also helps identify retail trends impacting consumer healthcare products as a platform for overall industry growth.

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Smart phones may make for smart shopping, new survey finds

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Consumers see smart phones as future personal, coupon-clipping shopper assistants, a global survey released Monday by Accenture found. According to the survey, 79% of smart-phone users would find it useful to download money-off coupons to their phones, and 73% of those shoppers would be receptive to being pinged with instant money-off coupons as they passed by an item in a store.

It may become the new way for marketers who didn’t make the kitchen table shopping list to reach shoppers at the shelf. “Smart phones will permanently change the relationship between the store and the shopper,” stated Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. “Today’s tech-savvy consumer wants a seamless shopping experience across store, mobile or online at a time that suits [him or her]. Ultimately, this trend will lead to a new definition of the store; purpose, place and size are all up for debate. Already we are seeing some shoppers treating stores more like a showroom to test products and then making their purchase online.”

The results of the survey indicated that smart phone technology is changing the relationship between customers and retailers. Many smart phone users said that they preferred using their mobile device rather than interacting with a store employee for simple tasks. According to the survey, 73% favored using their smart phone to handle simple tasks compared with 15% who favored interaction with an employee. Similarly, 71% favored using their smart phone to identify a store with a desired item in stock, while 17% would have preferred to get that information by speaking to an employee.

Almost half (48%) of conventional cell phone users planned to buy a smart phone in the next 12 months, the survey found.

Privacy, however, remained a key concern of consumers and could have a negative impact on the growing use of smart phones for shopping. More than half of respondents (54%) worried that using smart phones would erode their privacy. Among the other smart phone shopping concerns voiced — 59% of respondents feared losing the personal touch from store employees and 39% believed that products would get more expensive.

“The greater use of smart phones for shopping creates opportunities and challenges for retailers in equal measure,” Hoffman said. “Companies need to use all of their customer information to better understand how and when their customers want to engage with them, ask them questions or just check some basic product details. Only then can they deliver a personalized and enjoyable experience while lessening the risk of alienating customers through unwanted approaches.”

According to Andy Zimmerman, global managing director of mobility services at Accenture, these survey results are an early indicator that mobile applications will transform how businesses compete with one another and interact with their customers. "Companies that successfully integrate the location-based services, commerce, payment and other capabilities of the smart phone into their traditional businesses stand to gain significant competitive advantage over the coming years,” he said.

Among the survey findings:

  •  69% of smart phone users are aware of smart phone applications from large retailers, and 48% have downloaded at least one application;

  • 90% of consumers who have downloaded an application from a large retailer found it “very useful” or “useful”; and

  • 56% believed smart phones will make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

The full survey is available at Accenture.com/MobileRetail.

 

 

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