OPERATIONS

Abercrombie taps exec from U.K. retailer Next as brand president

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has named Christos Angelides president of its Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids brands, a position he is expected to take in October 2014. Angelides, 51, will report to A&F CEO Mike Jeffries and will have overall responsibility for all product and customer-facing activities for the Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids brands.

He will also be accountable for the financial performance of the brands.

Angelides has spent his entire career with Next plc, a British fashion retail and Internet chain where he has most recently served as group product director since August 2000. Angelides, who is also a member of Next`s board of directors, has management responsibility for all product functions.

Prior to being named group product director, Angelides held a number of senior management roles, and he serves as chairman of Next Sourcing Limited and non-executive director of Lipsy, a young women`s fashion brand owned by Next.

"We are excited to welcome Christos to the Abercrombie & Fitch team and to deepen our bench of senior leadership talent,” said Jeffries. “Christos brings 28 years of experience working with a multi-billion dollar international retailer. His experience with all aspects of running a business made him the perfect candidate for this newly created role. Christos` appointment is a critical step in our long-term strategy of being organized to win and we are excited to welcome him to the Abercrombie team."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers prefer traditional grocery stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — More than eight in 10 (83%) consumers prefer shopping in traditional grocery stores. However, a new survey of more than 1,000 consumers from PwC, “Front of the Line: How Grocers Can Get Ahead for the Future,” indicates more than half of the shoppers surveyed complained of long lines and crowded stores.

Only 1% of survey respondents consider online shopping their primary way of getting groceries, though 92% reported having the option to online grocery shop. Based on survey results, PwC makes the following recommendations to grocery retailers:

  • Tailor brick-and-mortar stores. Understanding the needs of those closest to their stores, grocers can customize to customers’ current and future preferences, such as implementing wider aisles, additional parking, easy-to-reach products, and a smoother check-out process.
  • Personalize marketing strategies. Stores should act as gatekeepers for consumers, labeling products clearly with their sustainable qualities, allowing for a more intimate connection with the product. Additionally, consumers value community and expect their local grocer to participate in community events, support area businesses and help preserve the environment through sustainable business practices, all of which can be marketed throughout the store.
  • Empower staff. Ongoing staff training, including arming staff with in-depth product and-service knowledge is critical. Employees should be prepared to readily offer customers suggestions aligned to their lifestyles, budgets and health goals. This can differentiate a store as a source of knowledge and build more personal and profitable relationships with shoppers.
  • Transform technology. With smartphones on the rise among U.S. adults, grocery retailers should consider in-store information kiosks, in-aisle tablets and robust mobile applications for customers to readily access the information they need, from ingredients lists to food origins and nutritional facts.
  • Reinvent loyalty programs. Robust loyalty programs can help grocers keep future customers spending in their store. Also, offering customer loyalty points for purchasing promotional items and healthy foods in the store can help push new products at higher price points, increase sales and boost a store’s reputation as a health-conscious grocer.

“While online channels may not become a common way to buy groceries in the near future, technology will still play a major role in the evolving grocery experience,” said Sabina Saksena, managing director in PwC’s U.S. retail & consumer practice. “Shoppers expect information at their fingertips and, according to our survey, more than half of respondents want to integrate their mobile devices into their future grocery experience. Grocers that innovate and build on their digital channels to meet this demand will be most successful.”

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart cites trucking safety guidelines

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — In the wake of an accident involving a truck driver for Wal-Mart Stores on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, June 7 that left comedian Tracy Morgan critically injured and killed one of Morgan’s associates, comedian James McNair, Wal-Mart Stores has released a fact sheet about its trucking safety guidelines, as well an official statement regarding the crash.

According to Wal-Mat, it has one of the lowest Department of Transportation (DOT) accident rates and uses some of the strictest driver safety standards in the industry. These include a minimum of 250,000 lifetime miles in a tractor-trailer, no involvement in a fatal accident, no DWI/DUI/OUI/reckless driving convictions in the past 10 years, and no preventable accidents in the past 10 years.

In an official statement, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Wal-Mart believes driver Kevin Roper, 35, was complying with federal regulations regarding the number of consecutive hours a driver can work. Wal-Mart also has additional regulations governing maximum number of hours that can worked and mandatory rest times.

“With regards to news reports that suggest Mr. Roper was working for 24 hours, it is our belief that Mr. Roper was operating within the federal hours of service regulations,” said Buchanan. “The details are the subject of the ongoing investigation and we are cooperating fully with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The investigation is ongoing and unfortunately we can’t comment further on the specifics. Federal law requires drivers to work no more than 14 hours for any shift and 11 hours of driving.”

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