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Target doubles down on improving customer experience with latest hire

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS – Target made a significant investment in improving its customer experience Thursday with the appointment of Anu Gupta to the role of SVP operational excellence. In this role, which is new to Target, Gupta will lead a dedicated team in simplifying and optimizing processes across the business to help the retailer become more agile in anticipating and meeting guests’ needs. 
 
“Anu has a proven track record of increasing effectiveness across every aspect of organizations in a variety of complex businesses, including retail," stated John Mulligan, Target COO. "She brings the right expertise to help simplify our operating processes to be more nimble and sustainable, an important early step as we focus on shoring up our core operations and giving guests an on-demand experience.” 
 
“My focus upon arriving at Target will be working closely with leaders to help make strides in the efforts to strengthen the fundamentals," Gupta said. "I have long admired Target and am looking forward to joining such a talented team and dynamic brand.” 
 
Gupta’s appointment comes as Target’s leadership renews its focus on improving operational fundamentals, particularly technology systems and platforms, supply chain and out-of-stocks and the guest experience. The retailer is investing a previously announced $1 billion in supply chain and technology infrastructure this year, and is putting the right teams and leaders in place to spearhead the effort.
 
Gupta will report to Mulligan beginning Oct. 12. Mulligan was recently elevated to the position of Target’s first COO.
 
Gupta previously served as VP process and profit improvement at Michaels Stores, where she led the improvement of a variety of core business processes including inventory productivity, product delivery lead times and store operations. Prior to Michaels, Gupta held an operational leadership role at Safeway and was responsible for creating strategic retail services initiatives. 
 
She joins Target from private equity investment firm Hellman & Friedman, where she was senior operating executive with oversight for improving business processes and productivity across its portfolio companies.
 
 
 
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Sam’s Club donation seeds tomorrow’s entrepreneurs

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — As much as $65,000 in donations from Sam's Club that were matched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation were dispensed to 13 Chambers of Commerce across the U.S. to launch the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in new communities. 
 
“Sam’s Club has helped small businesses startup and succeed since we opened 32 years ago. We are thrilled to help the Young Entrepreneurs Academy deliver entrepreneurial education to young people in the communities we serve,” said Rosalind Brewer, CEO and president of Sam’s Club.
 
“YEA! will help Chambers of Commerce to fulfill their goals of supporting small business development in their communities by training their future leaders and helping them to establish strong, lasting relationships with their hometown business communities,” commented Gayle Jagel, CEO, YEA!. “This program will enhance business education for students and provide a unique, challenging and fulfilling experience for all participants.” 
 
The donations — $2,500 each from Sam’s Club, matched by $2,500 from the USCCF — opens doors for students across the country ages 11 to 18  to go through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.
 
YEA! is an innovative after-school educational program that works to transform middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. By the end of the 30-week class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.
 
Sam’s Club, USCCF and YEA! joined forces earlier this year to educate youth about entrepreneurship in more than 100 U.S. communities. As a result of the collaboration, 13 new YEA! chapters will launch this year with the support of local Chambers of Commerce and the business community.
 
Funding provides the opportunity to launch an estimated 300 new student-run businesses and provide hands on, experiential learning for students in the YEA! program. 
 
The funding recipients included:
 
  • Athens Chamber of Commerce, Athens, Texas;
  • Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, Alexander City, Ala.;
  • Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, Loxahachee, Fla.;
  • Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, Hannibal, Mo.;
  • Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Lakeland, Fla.;
  • Montrose Chamber of Commerce, Montrose, Colo.;
  • National Association of Women Business Owners Detroit & Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Detroit;
  • Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, Paso Robles, Calif.;
  • Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Mansfield, Ohio;
  • Templeton Chamber of Commerce, Templeton, Calif.;
  • Union County Economic Development Partnership, Marysville, Ohio;
  • Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Bel Air, Md.; and
  • Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce, Pace, Fla.
 
YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! now receives national support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club, to help promote the spirit of enterprise and build the next generation of business leaders in communities all across the country.
 
During the 30-week commitment, students will brainstorm and form their business ideas, make pitches to investors for startup funding, file their DBAs, and launch their own businesses or social movements. Mentors and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, such as graphic design, web development, law, accounting, retail, manufacturing and technology are invited to support the students throughout the hands-on curriculum as mentors, field trip hosts or guest lecturers.
 
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Study: Grocery shoppers create social recipe

BY Dan Berthiaume

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Social media plays an important role in the grocery shopping process. According to a new study from market research firm Packaged Facts, “Retail Food Marketing Trends in the U.S.: Technology, Mobile, and Social Media,” a majority of grocery store shoppers use social media to get recipes (59%).

More than half of grocery store shoppers also use social media to compare prices between food brands, or access a supermarket website to check prices or find products or a sales flyer (54% each). And three out of 10 grocery shoppers go online to search for online grocery flyers, promotions/sales, look for coupons, conduct product research or look for recipes.

Not surprisingly, social media is far more likely to influence millennials' grocery purchase decisions. Social media is particularly influential among millennial men, adults with household income more than $50,000 per year, and those who are married with kids.

Millennial men emerge as 165% more likely than average to say social media advertising from supermarkets influenced their decision to buy a food/grocery product in last 12 months, followed closely by social media posts from friends/family, and social media post from supermarkets.  

Similarly, middle-aged men skew higher in allowing social media to influence their buying habits. While women are often thought of as the social media mavens, the study suggests men are prime targets for social media advertising.       

Millennial dads in particular are exhibiting behaviors that are a significant departure from previous generations. While younger men are certainly shopping more than their older counterparts, being a parent is a key driver in their likelihood to grocery shop.
 
Millennial dads are significantly more likely than average to shop for groceries four or more times a week. And frequent social media posts are effective in influencing millennials who are married with kids to purchase food/grocery products.

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