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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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Safeway adds two to board of directors

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway on Monday named Arun Sarin and Michael Shannon to the company’s board of directors. The company’s board of directors will expand from 10 to 12 members with these new appointments, the company stated.

“We are fortunate to have individuals with these credentials joining the board,” stated Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd. “[Sarin] and [Shannon] have each run substantial businesses, and their experience will be valuable to our board.”

Sarin has worked in the telecommunications industry for the majority of his career. Most recently, he was the CEO of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies by revenue. Sarin has served on numerous boards including Gap, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems. He recently retired from being a non-executive director of the Court of the Bank of England.

Shannon founded KSL Capital Partners in 2004 and its predecessor, KSL Recreation Corporation, in 1992, serving as its president and CEO. KSL Capital Partners is a U.S. private equity firm dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. Shannon also founded and became CEO of KSL Resorts in 2004, following the sale of KSL Recreation. During his tenure as CEO, KSL Recreation grew to become one of the largest independent owners and operators of resorts. From 1986 to 1992, Shannon served as president and CEO of Vail Associates, owner of the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts in Colorado. He currently serves on the board of ING Direct, the Vail Valley Foundation, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and Eisenhower Memorial Hospital.

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IRI discusses health care during recession in new report

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Information Resources Inc. on Thursday released a report, “The Changing Landscape of Healthcare and the American Consumer,” outlining the forward impact the current recession will have on how Americans research, purchase and use health care.

“Health care is costly, and people are rethinking how they take care of themselves in order to conserve funds,” Thom Blischok, president, consulting and innovation, IRI, wrote in the opening of the report. “Instead of sticking with their tried-and-true healthcare options, consumers are aggressively seeking affordable solutions for health and wellness, both in terms of how they obtain care and in the healthcare products they choose.”

And while Americans are changing how they choose health care, the Food and Drug Administration is “flexing its regulatory muscles again.” And while the new FDA activism is expected to make medicines and supplements safer, it also has the potential to add significant costs overall — including added costs in drug development as well as added costs to keep those medicines already approved on store or pharmacy shelves.

The study is available as a free PDF download at http://us.infores.com/Insights/Publications/IRIPointofView/tabid/197/ctl/Details/mid/923/ItemID/900/Default.aspx.

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