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RILA elects new members for board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

NAPLES, Fla. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association has appointed new members to its board of directors, including a new board chairman.

RILA said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel was appointed RILA chairman of the board. Steinhafel, who previously served as vice chairman, succeeds Bill Rhodes, who currently serves as chairman, president and CEO of AutoZone.

New members also include Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling, who will serve as vice chairman; Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson, who will serve as second vice chairman; VF Corp. chairman, president and CEO Eric Wiseman, who will serve as treasurer; Lowe’s chairman and CEO Robert Niblock, who will serve as secretary; and Rhodes.

In related news, Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and Alan Hoskins, Energizer president and CEO were elected to the board for a two-year term.

"RILA benefits tremendously from its highly engaged and strategic board of directors. Their valuable insight into the short- and long-term issues facing the retail industry is critical to our ability to deliver on the industry’s behalf," RILA president Sandy Kennedy said.

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Weis Markets joins SmartWay Transport Partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets on Monday announced it has joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that will help the grocer assess the environmental impact and energy efficiency of the trucks supplying its 161 stores.

"In recent years, we’ve made considerable progress reducing our fuel consumption and improving the overall efficiency of our truck fleet," stated Joe Kleman, Weis VP distribution. "The Smartway program will enhance our efforts and offer us insights on emerging programs and technologies that will help us build on our progress. Ultimately, we believe this will help us reduce our carbon footprint, conserve fuel and reduce our costs — it’s good for the environment and helpful to our business."

Weis Markets currently operates and maintains 131 tractors and 420 trailers, which supply the company’s stores from its 1.1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center in Milton, Pa. In recent years, it has incorporated a number of conservation measures and technologies into its fleet management and operations, including fuel conservation and right-size load programs; routing software designed to reduce overall mileage and idling times; aerodynamic side skirts on new trailers that are designed to improve fuel efficiency; and fuel-efficient tires. 

The EPA — in close cooperation with industry stakeholders, environmental groups and the American Trucking Associations and the Business for Social Responsibility — helped develop and launch the SmartWay Transport Program in 2004. Partners rely upon SmartWay tools and approaches to track and reduce emissions and fuel use from goods movement. The partnership currently has more than 3,000 members.

Since 2004, SmartWay has helped those members conserve 1.5 billion gallons of fuel while achieving $3.6 billion in lower fuel costs. 

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New Deloitte report provides insight for retailers preparing for industry evolution

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Retailers will have to rethink their position in the market, along with strategies they have used thus far, to keep themselves in the game, according to a new Deloitte report, "The Next Evolution: Store 3.0."

After surveying 39 retail executives in September 2011, the research firm discovered that retailers expect e-commerce sales to nearly triple over the next five years, yet nearly 8-out-of-10 (79%) believe the physical store will continue to be a primary place to shop. The issue at hand, Deloitte said, is for retailers to differentiate themselves by reconfiguring talent, physical space and store operations to meet or exceed customer expectations and understand there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach that will help drive business.

"A strategy [that aligns these dimensions] and is enabled by the right technology solutions can help retailers deliver a tailored experience for their customers," Deloitte said in the report. "It is an experience that begins before customers enter the physical store and continues long after they leave. Through the lens of the desired future customer experience, retailers should step back and ask themselves hard questions about where they are and where they need to go."

Deloitte did note, however, that four ideas should be kept in mind:

  • Refresh your strategy: It is critical that retailers refresh their strategy so their operating model can quickly respond to changes and trends in the marketplace and among their customers;

  • Improve the in-store customer experience: there is nothing more important for retailers than improving the customer experience now and into the future;

  • Revive your talent management strategies: As customers increasingly demand a more personalized experience, your sales associates become even more critical in achieving that goal; and

  • Connect your customers virtually from the physical store: As the lines between the virtual and the physical stores converge, retailers should consider opportunities that connect customers and extend the in-store brand experience through all channels. Blending a personalized in-store experience with a virtual connection to the brand can help retailers establish a lasting relationship with customers after they leave the store.

For a full copy of the report, download it here.

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