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Report: Kroger Edge may redefine in-store shopping experience

BY Michael Johnsen

Looking to pair a some at-shelf pizzazz with shopper convenience and utility, Kroger may be changing the face of merchandising with new shelf technology, called Kroger Edge, rolling out to nearly 200 stores by year’s end, the Cincinnati grocer told Business Insider earlier this week.

The new merchandisers will be placed primarily on endcaps for now. Kroger has been testing digitally-based shelf-talker technology for some years now. The digital shelf strip displays pricing and nutritional information along with video ads and coupons. The space age supermarket ultimately hopes to interact with consumer smartphones as they walk down the aisle.

“It’s an exciting platform for a lot of future innovation,” Chris Hjelm, chief information officer, Kroger, told Business Insider. “As you walk down the aisle, it will highlight the next item for you to pick on your shopping list.” That feature is expected to significantly improve shopping efficiency.

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Bartell Drugs
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Bartell Drugs names new CEO

BY David Salazar

Bartell Drugs has new leadership. The Seattle-based company has named longtime retail veteran Kathi Lentzsch as its new CEO — only its fifth in its 128 years in business. Lentzch, who has more than 30 years of retail experience,

Kathi Lentzsch

Kathi Lentzsch (via LinkedIn)

joins Bartell Drugs from her post at luxury specialty store and direct-to-consumer retailer Gump’s, where she served as interim CEO.

Lentzsch has previously held executive roles at such companies as Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus World Market. At Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn, where she was senior vice president of merchandising, she oversaw the turnaround and repositioning of Pottery Barn as a premium home brand. In addition to her retail experience, as she takes the helm at Bartell Drugs, Lentzsch also brings experience from her time at Berkeley-based Elephant Pharmacy, where she was president and CEO, as well as a member of its board.

“Kathi’s experience as a CEO and the breadth of her retail experience will be ideal for leading Bartells,” said Bartell’s Board Chairman, George D. Bartell. “She brings a record of transforming businesses through innovation and entrepreneurial agility.  This will be instrumental in growing the Bartell’s brand as the local chain expands its reach in the Puget Sound region.”

Lentzsch’s appointment comes roughly 8 months after the April resignation of former CEO Brian Unmacht, which led to CFO Rob Jensen overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations.

 

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Walmart names longtime vet to lead international division

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart has tapped a 20-plus years company veteran to head up its second-largest operating segment — a job that many industry experts regard as a stepping stone to the top job at the retail giant.

The company announced it is promoting Judith McKenna to president and CEO of Walmart International, effective Feb. 2.

She will succeed David Cheesewright, who has been in the role since 2014 and recently announced his decision to retire from the full-time position. He will remain with the company full time through March, and then serve the company on a limited basis.

McKenna is currently executive VP and COO for Walmart U.S. She joined the company in 1996 at Asda, where she served as COO and CFO. McKenna also served as executive VP of strategy and international development for Walmart International. She moved to the Walmart U.S. division in April 2014, as the business unit’s chief development officer, where she led the strategy, development and growth of Walmart’s small format business and the partnership with Walmart.com to integrate digital commerce into the physical store presence. Several months later she was promoted to her current role.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon headed up the global division prior to being appointed to the top job at the chain in January 2014. So did his predecessor Mike Duke.

“I’ve had the pleasure to work with Judith for many years and have seen first-hand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business,” McMillon said. “It has been inspiring to see her personal growth and the results she’s driven over the years. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International.”

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