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POI to host summit for supplier, retail executives

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — The Promotion Optimization Institute will be hosting its Trade Promotion Optimization Summit here from March 13 to 15. It’s a three-day educational seminar for both supplier and retail executives responsible for pricing, trade marketing, sales and operations planning, merchandising and promotions.

The event will focus on ways to optimize promotional strategies across vendor partners as the economy begins picking up steam. “There’s a plethora of dollars invested in promotions on both sides,” noted Michael Kantor, POI CEO. “We’re just coming out of a recession, [so] there’s no time and there’s no money to waste on [promotions],” he said. The summit will help marketers eliminate wasteful promotion spending and optimize the return on investment by way of customer acquisition and retention.

One of the key seminars features Lisa Overman, Harveys marketing and advertising director at Delhaize Group, who will discuss some of Harveys’ success with finding ways to be innovative and cognizant of the local/regional flavors to drive trips and loyalty. With the knowledge that many specialty vendor partners typically have smaller budgets to work with, better collaboration was needed to enhance Harveys’ brand identity.

For more information about the POI Trade Promotion Optimization Summit, click here.

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Kroger promotes two finance executives

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday announced the appointment of Cindy Holmes to director of investor relations and Carin Fike to director and assistant treasurer. Both changes will be effective March 6.

Fike will report to Kroger’s treasurer, Scott Henderson; Holmes will report to Kroger’s CFO, Michael Schlotman.

Holmes, 42, began her career with Kroger in 1990 in the information systems and services department, and for the past 10 years, she has served as the company’s assistant treasurer.

Fike, 42, began her career with Kroger in 1999, and has served as the company’s director of investor relations since 2003. She was recently named the best investor relations officer in the grocery and retail drug industry by both the buy side and sell side in the 2010 Institutional Investor magazine rankings.

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Consumer confidence at a three-year high

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index reached 70.4 in February, a three-year high from February 2008, thanks to growing optimism about the short-term future.

Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved moderately in February, with 12.4% of consumers stating business conditions are "good" (up from 11.3%), while those claiming business conditions are "bad" was unchanged at 39.6%. Looking ahead, more consumers (0.4%) said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen declined to 10.4% from 12.2%.

The outlook on the job market, however, was mixed, with less consumers expecting more jobs in the near future (19.8% from 20.8% in January), although those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 15.4% from 21.2%.

"The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high (February 2008, 76.4) due to growing optimism about the short-term future," noted Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak. Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions."

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