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Sam’s Club plans store specializing in products for Hispanic shoppers

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Wal-Mart announced to its investors on Tuesday that it will revamp the Sam’s Club concept slightly to appeal to Hispanic customers and open a “Mas Club” store that carries a variety of products imported from Mexico, such as candy, meats, produce, seafood and other items.

The announcement was made on the second day of Wal-Mart’s investors’ meeting in Bentonville, Ark.

Sam’s Club president and chief executive, Doug McMillon, said that rethinking store concepts and reaching out to customers was crucial because while Sam’s Club sales numbers were growing, but membership is not.

The first Mas Club is slated to open in early 2009 in Houston. A separate, new membership program with be initiated for Mas Club, independent of Sam’s Club, the company said.

Sam’s Club is also testing smaller format “neighborhood” stores in some markets, the company said.

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Cheese gaining popularity in the snack category

BY Melissa Valliant

PLYMOUTH, Wis. More and more consumers are saying “cheese,” according to the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. Their statistics show that 4.5 percent of the population is snacking on tasty wedges and slices, compared to 2.5 percent a decade ago. Cheese sales have skyrocketed 9.5 percent from last year’s figure of $779 million to this year?s figure of $853 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 4.

Major cheese manufacturers Kraft and Sargento are catching on. Sargento is using the holiday to encourage rising cheese sales. This season, Sargento will be selling holiday-shaped cheese cubes, including snowflake and Christmas tree shapes. Kraft has developed in-store, four- to twelve-foot long cheese displays and plans to include these cheese snacking centers in 1,000 of its stores by the end of the year.

“We feel cheese represents an untapped opportunity in terms of the overall snacking trend, but also because cheese is a wholesome snacking alternative,” Tyler Williamson, brand manager for Kraft’s cheese business unit said. 

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Campbell’s improving value, quality, healthfulness of soups fro school lunches

BY Jenna Duncan

CAMDEN, N.J. Today Campbell Soup Company announced that its North America Foodservice division is working to broaden school lunch options to be healthier and more value-driven.

Campbell has announced that several of its Healthy Request soups have been reformulated to meet the nutrition guidelines outlined by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (a group effort between the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association). Ten Pepperidge Farm products, including Cheddar and White Cheddar Goldfish crackers, have also been added to the list of Campbell’s products which meet or exceed Alliance for a Healthier Generation guidelines. Featured selections are all free of trans fats and contain at least one grain serving per pack.

“We all want our children to eat well, even when we can’t be with them,” Sean Connolly, president of Campbell’s North America Foodservice division said in a statement. “When we send them off to school, we hope they’ll be able to find nourishing, affordable lunch options. Campbell’s North America Foodservice is focused on wellness and value. We are proud to promote the benefits of our products that meet the Alliance criteria for calories, fat and sodium, and provide schools with more products that are affordable and exciting to children.”

Campbell’s soups for schools come in various 50-ounce varieties, including of lower-sodium versions of Campbell’s chicken and stars soup, Campbell’s mega noodle soup and Campbell’s vegetarian vegetable alphabet soup. These soups are low in fat and cholesterol, have 480 mg of sodium or less per serving and are under 100 calories per serving.

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