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NACDS Successful Selling event guides new vendors to the market

BY DSN STAFF

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. —Underscoring its commitment to helping small- and mid-sized companies successfully develop their business at retail, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores hosted in February its second Successful Selling Conference.

The sold-out event, coordinated with Walgreens’ “New Vendor Days” program, attracted more than 400 people, including nearly 200 vendors, more than 60 brokers and sales and marketing companies, and about 40 Walgreens executives.

The conference not only included a line up of speakers to arm attendees with the fundamentals of bringing products to market, but it also provided a platform for vendors to meet one-on-one with members of the Walgreens purchasing team. In fact, it resulted in 277, 20-minute meetings. NACDS stated that it also has extended this partnership opportunity to other retail members.

“I think it is a very valuable industry service. We want to brand NACDS as a resource for learning how to bring product to market and want to take it to the next level,” Fitz Elder, NACDS chief member relations officer, told Drug Store News.

The program was provided as a service of the NACDS Advisory Board through the Outreach and Business Development subcommittee to emerging niche manufacturers and others interested in entering or gaining additional traction at food, drug and mass. NACDS held its first Successful Selling event in March 2007 in Chicago.

This year’s program, held at the Lincolnshire Marriott, officially kicked off the morning of Feb. 11 with an “Industry Overview” by Jay Forbes, vice president of Lebhar-Friedman, the parent company of Drug Store News. The event concluded Feb. 12.

Forbes’ presentation was followed by a lineup of speakers, many from the Walgreens headquarter office, who shared business practices and the expectations of Walgreens as niche players work to bring their products to market.

Among the highlights was a presentation by George Riedl, executive vice president of marketing for Walgreens, on “The Walgreens Story” and David Van Howe, corporate vice president of purchasing for Walgreens, who offered “The Retail Perspective.” In addition, Catherine Lindner, divisional vice president of marketing development of Walgreens, and Carrie Merritt, consumer marketing manager of Walgreens, discussed “Building Consumer Awareness and Consumption—Getting it Rung at the Register, The Role of Advertising and Promotion.” Mike Olson, director of merchandising/purchasing for Walgreens, discussed “In-Store Displays,” and Ron Otto, president of National Sales Solutions, talked about “Business Practices—The Hoops and Hurdles.”

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Sturken to celebrate his fifth year at Spartan by ringing NASDAQ bell

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores’ chairman and chief executive officer Craig Sturken is slated to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on March 3 in celebration of his fifth anniversary leading Spartan, the company announced Thursday.

 “It is an honor to ring the opening NASDAQ bell in celebration of our fifth successful year since transforming into a consumer-centric organization and refocusing our business on our core distribution and retail operations,” Sturken stated. “We have been in the grocery business for more than 90 years and this is our eighth year as a public company, which is marked by our ability to develop and execute successful business strategies in a highly competitive market.”

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Unilever to reorganize company structure

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON Unilever, whose brands include Axe, Sunsilk and Dove, has announced that it is restructuring the company and combining its home and personal care segment and food segment into a single category structure.

Ralph Kugler, president of home and personal care, will step down in May at the Annual General Meetings after 29 years of service. The roles of president of home and personal care and president of foods will be merged under the leadership of Vindi Banga, currently president of foods.

To reflect the company’s focus on growth in developing markets, Central and Eastern Europe will be managed within an enlarged region comprised of Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. Western Europe will become a standalone region.

In other moves, Kees van der Graaf will retire in May from the Unilever board and from his role as president of Europe after a 32-year career with Unilever.

Harish Manwani, currently president of Asia/Africa, will lead the new expanded region. Doug Baillie will serve as president of Western Europe, having previously served as chief executive officer of Hindustan Unilever.

“These measures build naturally on the changes of recent years and give us an organizational structure even better placed to advance our growth agenda. At the same time, I want to express my deep appreciation to Kees and Ralph for the significant contribution they have made over long and distinguished years,” stated Patrick Cescau, group chief executive.

In addition, James Lawrence, currently chief financial officer, will be proposed in May for election as an executive director of Unilever. This change will mean that the Unilever board will be comprised of two executive directors and 11 non-executives.

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