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Wegmans raises $1.6 million in hunger relief donations

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — During the fall 2013 checkout scanning campaign at 47 Wegmans stores in Maryland, New Jersey, the Greater Rochester region of New York , Eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia, hunger relief donations soared to a record $1.6 million, a 14% increase over the fall 2012 total, the grocer reported. 

“We’re grateful to our customers and employees for recognizing the vital role that food banks play in communities,” Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans community relations manager, said. “These results are a testament to remarkable generosity.”

Check Out Hunger and Care About Hunger programs allow customers to donate $1, $2 $3, $5 or any other amount at checkout with 100% of the proceeds going to each store’s local food bank.

The fall campaign ran at various dates from September to December. Timing of the annual checkout scanning campaigns varies by region. The remaining Wegmans stores in Buffalo, Syracuse, the Southern Tier, Massachusetts, and parts of Pennsylvania run annual checkout campaigns during the winter months.

Hunger relief scanning campaigns raised a total of $2.7 million at Wegmans in 2013. Since these programs began in 1993, Wegmans has raised more than $23 million for hunger relief.

In addition to money raised for emergency food services in 2013, Wegmans also donated 16.5 million pounds of food to local food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens across all of its market areas. 

 

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Kroger names presidents for Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division and Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Tuesday named Jay Cummins president of the Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division and Joe Fey president of Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division.

Cummins, 62, has been serving as president of Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division. He succeeds Mark Tuffin, who was named SVP retail divisions in December. "In his more than 40 years with the company, Jay has been an enthusiastic and passionate leader in each role he has held," Mike Ellis, Kroger’s president and COO, said. "Jay’s experience and commitment to our Customer 1st Strategy will ensure Smith’s continues to go above and beyond for our customers." 

Cummins brings more than 40 years of retail experience to Smith’s. He began his Kroger career as a clerk in 1972 in Huntington Beach, Calif. In the following years, he served in positions of increasing responsibility in store and district management and in grocery merchandising for the company’s Food 4 Less division. In 2002, Cummins was named VP and general manager of the Food 4 Less Midwest division, where he led the expansion of the Food 4 Less price-impact warehouse store format in the Chicago area. In 2004, he was named president of the Los Angeles-based Food 4 Less division, and to his current position in 2007.

Cummins, and his wife Terrie, will be relocating to the Salt Lake City area. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Smith’s operates 131 stores in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. It is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Fey, 59, has been serving as president of the company’s QFC division. He succeeds Cummins as president of Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division. 

"Joe always leads by example and is deeply committed to our customers, our associates and our company," Ellis said. "His merchandising expertise and experience in leading the QFC Division will be great assets in our Mid-Atlantic division. We are looking forward to his positive energy and guidance." 

Fey brings nearly 40 years of retail experience to Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division. He began his career as a meat clerk with Kroger in 1972 while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Indiana University. He was quickly promoted to a variety of leadership positions including store management, deli/bakery merchandising, and meat/seafood merchandising in both the company’s Central division and corporate office in Cincinnati. In 1999, Fey was named VP merchandising for the Dillons division. He was named VP merchandising for the Michigan Division in 2008, where he served before being named president of QFC in 2011.

Fey and his wife, Joy, will be relocating to the Roanoke, Va. area. They have two grown sons and three grandchildren.

Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division operates 121 stores in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and the eastern portions of Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. It is headquartered in Roanoke, Va.

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Meijer launches complimentary Wi-Fi service in its stores

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Digital coupon use is at an all-time high with more than 2 million Meijer shoppers now subscribed to the free mPerks program, and Meijer has made significant investments to make digital savings easier for its customers, the supermarket retailer announced Tuesday.  

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer now has free Wi-Fi capability in all its stores, making it easier for customers to access their mPerks accounts and the Meijer mobile app, freeing up their smartphone data plans for other uses.

"Our customers are relying on digital tools more than ever as they shop, which is why we’re constantly providing them with resources to enhance their shopping experience," stated Michael Ross, VP customer marketing and emerging technology. "And, now with free Wi-Fi in our stores, we’re offering an additional cost savings because our customers no longer have to use their data plans while shopping." 

Growth in the retailer’s mPerks digital coupon program has been steep, surpassing 2 million subscribers last month – just one year after hitting the 1 million subscriber milestone. In December alone, the program generated more than 129,000 new members, nearly 31 million clipped offers, and $12.6 million in savings issued to customers. The program has a redemption rate up to four times higher than the national average.

The retailer attributes the program’s success to a variety of recent enhancements, including a new mPerks website; personalized, baby and pharmacy rewards; and offers bundled by theme that have created new ways for the customer to save.

The Wi-Fi investment also helps the nearly 650,000 Meijer mobile app users to conveniently manage their entire shopping trip. "We’re pleased that so many of our customers are taking advantage of the time- and money-saving resources we have in place," Ross said. "We’re dedicated to finding solutions to enhance their shopping experience."

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