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Nickelodeon launches ‘Victorious’ product line at Walmart

BY Allison Cerra

LAS VEGAS — Nickelodeon is launching the first products themed after one of its live-action comedy series exclusively at Walmart.

U.S. and Canadian Walmart stores will carry the more than 250 products based on the show "Victorious," including apparel, accessories, entertainment and school supplies. Most stores will begin carrying the items in July through the back-to-school shopping season.

What’s more, Walmart also will carry the "Victorious: Season One, Volume One" DVD beginning July 5, as well as the "Victorious" CD soundtrack and a special Nickelodeon CD featuring live-action stars from the network’s popular shows, which will be exclusively available at Walmart. Both CDs will be released on Aug. 2.

"We’re introducing a line of ‘Victorious’ products that match the fun, energy and humor that fans have come to expect from the show," said Ron Johnson, SVP retail development for Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group. "By working with Walmart on this exclusive launch, we’re ensuring this dynamic ‘Victorious’-themed product line that includes apparel, school supplies and toys will be available to millions of kids, tweens and teens across the country."

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Kroger appoints diversity leader

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Monday named Reuben Shaffer the grocer’s new chief diversity officer, effective immediately.

“Diversity is a core value at Kroger,” stated David Dillon, Kroger chairman and CEO. “We take our commitment to diversity seriously, both because it is right and because it makes us better at our business. When our decision-making is inclusive and reflects the diversity of our customers, we make better decisions.”

Shaffer will oversee Kroger’s comprehensive diversity initiatives, including supplier diversity and integrating the company’s ongoing commitment to create an inclusive culture into key business and organization initiatives.

Shaffer, 60, has been serving as VP retail operations for the Cincinnati/Dayton division and began his career with Kroger in 1988.

Shaffer will report directly to Dillon.

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Diversity expands beyond typical definition

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Diversity in the corporate sense used to be about hiring. Now for such companies as Walgreens, it means ensuring that the banner resonates among the diverse cultures the retailer serves. It’s more than neighborhood marketing; it’s what Walgreens might refer to as Customer Centric Retailing on a much deeper level.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens names first-ever chief diversity officer. For the full story, click here.)

It’s about getting closer to the community.

An example of that neighborhood resonance is the urban desert stores, where fresh food is being beefed up among ethnically diverse urban communities with no nearby supermarkets.

It started a couple of years ago when the company moved all 29 of its vice presidents of operations out of Deerfield and into the areas they oversee — to go be a part of the community.

It continues in the inner cities, where Walgreens’ urban desert stores, with their beefed-up fresh food offerings, are helping to fill the supermarket void. In pharmacy, it means looking at different chronic diseases that disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups and developing specialized disease state management programs for such conditions as diabetes that are resonate and are culturally relevant to the patient.

Pemberton will play a key role in these types of initiatives, and you can expect more because Walgreens has a goal to be “My Walgreens” to each one of its customers. That kind of relationship demands diversity.

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