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Walmart pledges $25M disaster relief commitment, will host preparedness events

BY David Salazar

 
NEW ORLEANS — As the 10th anniversary of Hurrican Katrina approaches, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are making a commitment to disaster relief efforts. Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon announced Friday on Instagram that the two organizations would be donating $25 million over five years to worldwide disaster relief and recovery efforts. The first $500,000 of the commitment will be going to nonprofits in the form of grants. 
 
McMillon also announced the commitment at New Orleans’ “Before. During. After” forum, where the company is convening humanitarians, as well as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and former Louisiana Gov. Haley Barbour. Walmart will also be releasing the findings of its disaster relief research that it partnered with Louisiana State University to conduct. The research looks at what lessons can be taken from the response to Hurrican Katrina. 
 
“Hurricane Katrina touched our customers, associates, and communities in a profound way, and we haven’t forgotten,” McMillon said. “Working hand in hand with the people of the Gulf Region at that difficult moment showed us there are times when we can make a real difference. Today we’re gathering with leaders in New Orleans to reflect on the progress made since the storm and to make a $25 million commitment to disaster response and resiliency globally. We will continue to help communities prepare for – and recover from – the unexpected.”
 
In addition to the $25 million commitment, the company and foundation announced that they recently donated more than $9 million in grans to nonprofits aimed at building emergency preparedness in communities across the U.S. Organizations chosen were Good360, PYXERA Global, Team Rubicon, and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. 
 
The focus on emergency preparedness will continue throughout the month as well, with Walmart  and Sam’s Club sponsoring New Orleans’ Day of Service on Aug. 29. In September, which is National Preparedness Month, select Walmart stores will partner with local emergency management organizations to help customers create emergency preparedness plans. 
 
“When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Walmart was on the front lines of the response. Walmart opened make-shift stores, sent truckloads of supplies to our city, and activated associates on the ground to help those in need,” Landrieu said. “I’m proud to be here today with Walmart and emergency response thought leaders to reflect on lessons learned over the past 10 years. In addition, I look forward to commemorating this time in our history by supporting local neighborhoods during a Citywide Day of Service next week.”

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Milk & Sass launches Sugar Twists hair ties

BY Lesley Thulin

LOS ANGELES — Hair accessory brand Milk & Sass on Thursday launched Sugar Twists, a selection of spiraled hair ties designed to minimize pulling, denting, slipping and snapping.
 
Sugar Twists feature a spiral shape that disperses uneven pressure and tension throughout hair, the company said.
 
"Sugar Twists don't give way to the many setbacks associated with other hair ties," Nadia Valentino, founder of Milk & Sass, said. "For one thing, you won't experience that uncomfortable pulling that leads to headaches, hair breakage, or tangles."
 
Sugar Twists, which are made from high-quality plastic, are easily cleaned and dried, and won't lose their shape, the company said. 
 
"Whether you're at the gym, club, office, or playground, you can rely on Sugar Twists to keep your 'do' in place," Valentino said. "They cater to any hair age, type, and texture, and won't fall loose, no matter how active you are."
 
Sugar Twists are available in three color-packaged themes: Sweet Essentials, Urban Pop and Sparkle N' Sass. They are available online for $7.95 and coming soon to select retailers nationwide. 
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New beauty products score with consumers

BY Michael Johnsen

Image means a lot, but looks aren’t everything. The challenge for beauty product marketers once they get distribution at retail is convincing men and women in search of beauty solutions to select and buy their particular product out of the many choices already on the shelf. Brand identity certainly plays a role in that purchase decision, but so does optimal shelf location and the kind of new-product packaging that stands out against the competition.
 
Drug Store News recently reached out to Instantly, an on-demand consumer insights platform that produces the Instantly Shelf Score, to measure consumer perception of three recent beauty product introductions based on purchase intent, product differentiation, desire and value proposition.
 
Procter & Gamble’s recent Crest Pro-Health launch is generating early interest. As many as 76% of consumers identified the two-step whitening product as a “need” item to place in their shopping cart. Sally Hansen’s new Pearl Crush nail color was also high on that “need” list, with almost two-thirds of consumers both recognizing the new product as representing a great value and intend to purchase it. Similarly, the natural bath and body bar soap introduced by Yardley London generated a purchase intent of 54%, with 58% of consumers identifying the natural artisan soap as a good value.
 
For charts from this report, click here.
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