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AAFES recognized for diversity by Latina Style magazine

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS The Army & Air Force Exchange Service was recently recognized for its focus on diversity by Latina Style magazine, the military retailer announced.

AAFES has been included as one of the magazine’s Latina Style 50 for 2009. The annual evaluation, which analyzes more than 800 corporations, identifies organizations that provide the best career opportunities for Hispanic females in the United States.

“It is a great honor for AAFES to be recognized on a national level for the work we do daily,” stated AAFES Western Region SVP Karen Stack, AAFES’ highest ranking Hispanic woman. “This award further validates the importance AAFES places on diversity in the workplace.”

Companies assessed for the Latina Style award were evaluated on issues that readers identified as most important to them in the workplace. Among the principal areas of evaluation were number of Latina executives, mentoring programs, educational opportunities, employee benefits, women’s issues, affinity groups and Hispanic relations.

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Rite Aid founder succumbs to cancer

BY Michael Johnsen

HARRISBURG, Pa.

Rite Aid founder Alex Grass passed away Thursday night after a 10-year battle with lung cancer, The Patriot News reported online Thursday night.

Grass opened his first drug store in 1962, under the moniker Thrif D Discount Center, in coal-mining town Scranton, Pa, where Grass was born. First year sales totaled $750,000. That 1,700-square-foot health and beauty aids store marked the beginning of the drug chain that would be renamed Rite Aid in 1968, the year of the company’s first public stock offering. Rite Aid offered 350,000 shares at $25 per share then, fielding 22 locations in central Pennsylvania.

Grass retired from the day-to-day operations of Rite Aid in 1995, ceding the chairmanship of Rite Aid to his son Martin Grass. He exited the Rite Aid board in 2001.

He was named to Drug Store News’ REX (Retail EXcellence awards) Retailer Hall of Honors in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the druggist industry in 1996.

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NACDS Webinar offers retailers strategies for surviving the downturn

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Retail Advisory Board hosted a Webinar Tuesday featuring speaker Thom Blischok, president of consulting and innovation, for Information Resources Inc., discussing the changing paradigm of today’s cash-crunched shopper by way of its NACDS ECON09 program.

The bottom line — today’s shopper is predominantly buying less and will continue to buy less for the foreseeable future. So the strategy is to position your company against that new shopping paradigm, Blischok suggested.

In his closing remarks, Blischok outlined five strategies for both retailer and supplier:

  • Simplify the shopping experience (78% of shoppers want this, Blischok said). As today’s consumer is bombarded with messaging and discounting, the retailer/supplier who makes the shopping trip easy ought to come out a winner;
  • Redefine end-to-end shopper communication. Online media, including social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, not only continues to gain in popularity, but serves as a growing source for information for today’s consumer. “Social media plays a major role in influenced-based marketing,” Blischok said;
  • Recognize and capitalize on changing rituals now. Rituals such as more and more consumers making up a shopping list at their kitchen table (with the laptop very likely opened to Facebook and other Web sites right next to them). Retailers or suppliers may want to seek out ways to get on that shopping list in the first place instead of attempting to convert an impulse purchase at the store;
  • Focus on familiar products. Primarily because trial outside of trusted name-brands is somewhat inhibited right now, Blischok suggested; and
  • Prepare for a new conservative shopper long-term. Because the dollar-saving shopping behaviors consumers are learning today are not likely to fade even after the economy begins its recovery. The conservative shopper buys less and more carefully, Blischok said.

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