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Cereals branching out of pantry aisles

BY CSA STAFF

The cereal category is undergoing a quiet revolution as demand becomes both more fragmented and more exacting and as both vendors and retailers look beyond the cereal aisle for new opportunities.

Kellogg Co. is taking a leadership position in expanding the definition of what cereal for breakfast means by expanding both its brands and products. The company has taken advantage of the proliferation of sites where breakfast food is offered.

Today, cereal is often available both in the traditional aisle and in natural food sections. Products offered in the distinct sections may have varied originally, but, for example, whole grain variations on traditional cereals—including Kellogg’s Special K—have helped blur distinctions. Kellogg also has developed snack packs and food bars under the Special K umbrella. Now it seems an opportunity has established Special K as a growing presence in store pharmacy/HBA/OTC sections. Kellogg is positioning All Bran as its next entree into pharmacy.

“The Kellogg Co. sees this shift to preventative consumption as a great opportunity to provide the consumer with products that help them conveniently meet their needs,” said Joseph Mueller, vp of sales for morning foods and health and wellness. “In 2006, the Special K brand first entered the health-and-nutrition aisles. It will soon be joined by All-Bran Fiber Bars and All-Bran Drink Mix, which began shipping to retailers in February. These new All-Bran products are intended to offer the consumer more options to consume the appropriate amount of fiber for their diets.”

The Nielsen Co. reports that, among the food, drug and mass retailers in its universe, cereal dollar sales were essentially flat last year, but breakfast bars were up 12.3%.

Unsurprisingly, food retailers have been building on the wellness-oriented opportunities vendors such as Kellogg have helped open up, both with national brands and with private labels. Wal-Mart may stick closer to the basics in cold cereal—Great Value raisin bran is frequently installed alongside private label rice and corn items—but it is aware of obesity and diabetes maintenance needs among its shoppers and offers a sugar-free variety of its Maple and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal, even at discount stores.

Target similarly places an emphasis on wellness in hot cereals with Archer Farms Organic Multi-Grain and Blueberry Almond Instant Oatmeal available at discount stores, too, including at a College Point, N.Y., store displaying a wide and conspicuously grouped range of cold cereals without a wellness alternative.

Yet, Target followed opportunities out of the cereal section, placing its Market Pantry nutrition bars a shelf above the Special K bars offering in the pharmacy section.

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Tuesday Morning promotes Bowman to cfo

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS Tuesday Morning has promoted Stephanie Bowman to the position of evp and cfo. Bowman was previously serving as vp of finance for Tuesday Morning, prior to that she served as vp of finance for Summit Global Partners.

“Stephanie has an extensive knowledge of financial management and because of her current position with Tuesday Morning, understands the company’s systems, personnel, and culture. She is positioned to hit the ground running,” stated Michael Marchetti, evp, coo and acting cfo.

Tuesday Morning reported that net sales for the third quarter ended March 31 were $178.4 million compared to $189.2 million for the quarter ended March 31, a decrease of 5.7%. Comparable-store sales for the quarter ended March 31 decreased by 8.2% comprised of a 6.6% decrease in traffic and a 1.6% decrease in ticket.

Based on the third quarter sales results, the company currently expects diluted earnings per share for the third quarter to be in the range of (10 cents) to (12 cents).

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Best Buy names Mikan to to board

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy has announced the appointment of Mike Mikan to its board of directors. Mikan currently serves as evp and cfo of UnitedHealth Group.

We are delighted to welcome Mike Mikan to Best Buys board of directors, said Richard Schulze, Best Buys founder and chairman of the board. With his deep financial experience, Mike will be a valuable addition to our board. We think his guidance and judgment will be important as we continue to grow Best Buy into the future. 

Mikan was appointed evp and cfo of UnitedHealth Group, in November 2006. Mikan previously served as cfo for UnitedHealthcare and chief financial officer for Specialized Care Services (now OptumHealth).

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