OPERATIONS

Coinstar and Seattle’s Best Coffee to roll out coffee kiosks in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchants nationwide

BY Marianne Wilson

Bellevue, Wash. — Coinstar, best known for its Redbox movie rental and its namesake coin-counting kiosks, and Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Coffee Co., have entered into an agreement to roll out Coinstar’s new Rubi coffee kiosk in groceries, drug stores and mass merchants. The kiosks will feature a variety of Seattle’s Best Coffee beverages.

The rollout will begin this summer, with approximately 500 kiosks expected by the end of the year and thousands of machines in place during the next several years.

"Together, we will deliver the kind of quality, convenience and value that we know coffee drinkers on-the-go will appreciate," said Coinstar CEO Paul Davis in the statement.

The Rubi kiosk will serve brewed Seattle’s coffee and specialty drinks, including mochas and vanilla lattes, with price points starting at $1.00. It occupies approximately nine square feet.

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American Eagle Outfitters teams up with Shopkick

BY Marianne Wilson

Pittsburgh — American Eagle Outfitters and Shopkick, the largest location-based shopping app that rewards shoppers simply for walking into stores, announced the national rollout of Shopkick to all American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores across the country. Customers will earn "kicks" (points) just for walking in, as well as receive a number of other exciting, exclusive offers throughout the stores.

"Shopkick is an ideal partner for AEO as we strive to be an early adopter of technologies that matter to our customers," said Fred Grover, EVP of American Eagle Outfitters. "We are excited to expand our long-time partnership with Shopkick to delight customers in all of our stores nationwide."

Additionally, American Eagle Outfitters is the only retailer that integrates Shopkick "kicks" with its own loyalty program, enabling customers to turn their "kicks" into AEREWARDS points. American Eagle Outfitters was one of Shopkick’s first partners when the app launched in August 2010. Over the past two years, the retailer has been testing the technology in 200-plus stores. In addition to being a highly effective way to engage customers with the brand, the chain found increased traffic, sales and higher purchase amounts among Shopkick users.

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Net sales rise for Ahold USA in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM — Royal Ahold’s U.S. subsidiary saw net sales jump 2.8% to $7.8 billion during first quarter 2012, the company said Wednesday.

Ahold USA, which consists of such brands as Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Martin’s and Peapod, experienced a 1.4% increase in identical sales (0.1% excluding gasoline), as comparable-store sales were 1.8% for the quarter. Underlying operating margin dropped to 4.1% from 4.6% in the year-ago period. The company attributed last year’s solid sales growth to the "favorable timing of Easter (where the relatively low-sales post-Easter week shifted into the second quarter) and good operational execution during adverse weather events."

Commenting on the results, CEO Dick Boer said the company’s recent acquisition of 16 Genuardi’s stores in the Philadelphia market, as well as the U.S. online grocery shopping business, will help the U.S. subsidiary remain competitive in the market, but noted challenges that lie ahead.

"We continued to invest in competitiveness both in the United States and in Europe with higher levels of promotional activity, resulting in market share gains in the United States and maintaining our market share in the Netherlands," Boer said. "As we said before, we expect 2012 to be another challenging year for the food retail industry, with intense competitive activity and consumer spending under pressure due to economic uncertainty, particularly in Europe. We remain confident that our strong brands are well positioned and are well on track to deliver on our strategy."

Overall, Royal Ahold saw sales rise 9.7% to nearly $12.1 billion, while net profit slid from $363.4 million in first quarter 2011 to $352 million.

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