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Kroger names 4 new EVPs

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI —  Kroger on Thursday announced the appointment of four EVPs to lead key lines of business. Mike Donnelly has been named EVP merchandising, Chris Hjelm has been named EVP and chief information officer; Fred Morganthall has been named EVP retail operations; and Mike Schlotman has been named EVP and CFO. 
 
“Kroger is fortunate to have an exceptionally strong group of leaders across our company,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “Our entire senior leadership team brings unmatched depth and experience to achieve our goals. This new organizational structure will help Kroger achieve laser-focus to accelerate growth, improve our connection with customers and deliver value for shareholders.”
 
Each leader has been assigned additional responsibilities to streamline decision making under this new organizational structure, the company said.
 
Donnelly, 57, formerly SVP, will continue to lead the company's merchandising, procurement and marketing teams. He has additional responsibility for digital, manufacturing and corporate brands, supply chain, culinary innovation, The Little Clinic and Vitacost. Donnelly joined the company at Fry’s Food Stores in California in 1978 and was promoted to his current position in 2011.
 
Hjelm, 54, formerly SVP and chief information officer, will continue to serve as CIO and lead Kroger Technology, research & development and the company’s customer connect and support centers. In this expanded role, he will take on additional responsibilities for 84.51 degrees, indirect sourcing and corporate travel. Hjelm joined Kroger in 2005.
 
Schlotman, 57, formerly SVP and CFO, will continue to serve as CFO. In this expanded role, he will take on additional responsibilities for convenience stores, jewelry stores, data integrity and risk management. Schlotman joined the company in 1985. He was promoted to CFO in 2000.
 
Morganthall, 64, formerly SVP retail divisions, will lead all supermarket retail operations for Kroger. Under this new structure, Kroger's three SVPs responsible for retail divisions will report to him. Morganthall began his career in grocery retail in 1978 with Spartan Stores in Michigan and joined Harris Teeter in 1986. He joined Kroger in 2014 as part of the Kroger-Harris Teeter merger and was promoted to his current position in June.
 
Also today, Kroger announced the retirement of SVP retail divisions Geoff Covert, and the promotion of Sukanya Madlinger as his successor. Madlinger currently serves as the president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division. She will be succeeded by Tim Brown, who currently serves as president of Kroger's Delta division, based in Memphis. 
 
Brown’s successor will be named at a later date.
 
Covert, 64, is retiring after nearly 20 years with the company. Before joining Kroger, he spent 22 years in a number of management positions with Procter & Gamble. Covert joined Kroger in 1996 as VP of the grocery products group. He later served as SVP and president of Kroger manufacturing, before being named president of the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2010, he was promoted to SVP retail operations. Covert has served in his current role since 2012.
 
“We have valued Geoff's insights and contributions to our manufacturing and retail operations teams,” McMullen said. “We thank Geoff for his many years of dedicated service to Kroger, and wish him and his family the very best in retirement.”
 
Madlinger, 52, joined Kroger in 1986 in the store management training program and has held various leadership positions in operations and merchandising before being named to her current role as president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division in 2010.
 
“Sukanya is an outstanding executive whose leadership has always reflected her passion for our associates and the customers we serve,” McMullen said. “Her experience and commitment to our Customer 1st strategy will make her a great addition to our senior leadership team.”
 
Brown, 55, began his Kroger career at the age of 17, working as a bagger at a store in Illinois. He joined the company's management training program in 1981. Throughout his 38-year career, Brown has served in leadership positions in merchandising and operations in seven of Kroger's retail divisions and at the company's general office in Cincinnati. He has been president of Kroger's Delta division since 2012.
 
“Tim is a dynamic leader whose commitment to our associates, customers and communities is an example for others to follow,” McMullen said. “He brings a broad range of experience to our Cincinnati/Dayton division.”
 
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Study: 3 seconds can make or break e-commerce sites

BY Dan Berthiaume

MAHWAH, N.J. — Bulky, slow web pages will drive away shoppers.

According to a new study of the top 100 e-commerce sites from Radware, “State of the Union: E-commerce Page Speed & Web Performance Summer 2015,” 57% of site visitors will abandon a web page after just three seconds if they are unable to interact with the key content.

Only 12% of the top e-commerce sites are currently meeting customer expectations for both content and page speed, and 14% of top retailers take more than 10 seconds just to become functional (or time to interact, TTI), an increase from 9% in February 2015.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Page size and complexity are common contributors to slower load times, impacting the TTI. The median page is 1945 KB in size and contains 169 resource requests. The median TTI is 5.5 seconds, which is considerably slower than users’ reported wait-time threshold of three seconds. The slowest page on the top 100 list had a TTI of 34.1 seconds.
  • Site owners have not implemented the latest core optimization techniques. Despite the fact that images comprise 50% to 60% of the average page’s total size, 48% of the top 100 sites received an “F” score from webpagetest.org for image compression.

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Report: Smaller retailers not worried about EMV

BY Dan Berthiaume

AUSTIN, Texas — Many smaller retailers only consider meeting the upcoming Oct. 1 deadline for EMV compliance as a small concern.

Despite the fact retailers face a shift in payment card fraud liability if they do not have EMV-compliant POS systems in place by Oct. 1, a new study from Software Advice finds that only 22% of small-to-midsized business (SMB) retailers are prepared to meet the deadline. However, the percentage of SMB retailers who are EMV-compliant has doubled from 11% in 2014 to 22% today.

Among SMB retailers who have not yet complied with EMV, 34% say there is no time to research or implement EMV-compliant technology, 33% say it is too expensive, 23% say it is unnecessary and a surprising 10% don’t know about EMV.

Another reason SMB retailers may not be overly concerned about EMV is that Software Advice found 62% of consumers do not yet have an EMV payment card.

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