Consumer confidence in June rises more than expected
New York – A report released by Bloomberg on Tuesday said that confidence among American consumers in June surpassed expectations, climbing to the highest level in more than five years.
The Conference Board’s index rose to 81.4, beating Bloomberg forecasts of 75.1 and reaching the highest point since January 2008. The index reached 74.3 in May.
“Unambiguously, the economy is showing signs of improvement despite sizable fiscal drag,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N.Y., told Bloomberg.
The Conference Board’s figures are in line with the recently released Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, which has been hovering at or around a five-year high reached in late April.
“Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions than they were at the beginning of the year,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “Expectations have also improved considerably over the past several months, suggesting that the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up.”
Office Depot reinvents rewards program amid ongoing merger
Office Depot has launched a new rewards program with several loyalty enhancements even as it moves closer to consummating its merger with OfficeMax.
The company’s new program, called simply Office Depot Rewards, is designed to reward shoppers for spending money, sharing information about themselves and recycling. It is a novel approach that is intended to offer a more customized approach to shoppers’ unique behaviors and preferences.
"After analyzing several reward programs and listening to our shoppers, we wanted to develop a customer-centric program that gives members the flexibility to personalize their rewards," said Bob Moore, EVP and chief marketing and merchandising officer for Office Depot. "Office Depot Rewards is designed to offer shoppers more ways to earn points that reward them in ways that matter most to them."
Beginning July 1, customers can sign up for one of three membership types described as local businesses, loyal customers or star teachers. Members will receive personalized offers designed exclusively for them and receive rewards certificates monthly for every 1,000 points they earn. Points can be earned by spending money on products, sharing information with Office Depot and recycling ink and toner cartridges.
One unique advantage of the program, according to the company, is that customers can become "Choice Members" by spending $200 in a quarter, which provides more opportunities to save. By pre-selecting products, Choice Members will earn extra points on their favorite products including home, office and school supplies, writing instruments, computer accessories, furniture, cleaning and breakroom essentials.
The timing of the rewards program comes as the pending merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax moves toward completion. The deal was announced on February 20 and shareholders of both companies are scheduled to vote on the merger plan at a special meeting on July 10. The vote is being treated as a formality however as the companies have moved forward with a number of actions.
Within the past 30 days, Office Depot and OfficeMax said they had established an "integration management office" to oversee the integration planning process and also hired The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, to provide support for the process. In addition, the companies hired the global recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International to assist the CEO selection committee in locating an executive to lead the combined company.
Shopko donates tools to local Habitat for Humanity
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko and Stanley Black and Decker have teamed up to donate nearly 100 power tools to Greater Green Bay Area Habitat for Humanity.
"On behalf of Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity I would like to thank Shopko and Stanley Black and Decker for the generous and abundant gift of tools,” said Shannon Wiegman, Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity development director. “We are grateful for the donation as it provides the much needed resources which enable us to help deserving families in our community by providing safe, decent and affordable housing. The timing of this donation was perfect. Many of our tools are in need of replacement and our construction coordinators are excited to put most of these tools to use immediately."
Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity builds brand new homes in the Green Bay area and sells them to qualified families at no profit. The program provides benefits both to its partner families and the Green Bay community. Families benefit from affordable housing while the community benefits from the redevelopment of neighborhoods and an increase in tax revenue.
"Shopko is proud to partner with Stanley Black and Decker to facilitate this donation of power tools to Habitat for Humanity," said Mike Bettiga, Shopko interim CEO and COO. "The work of Habitat for Humanity drastically changes the lives of its partner families by breaking the cycle of poverty, improving their health and security, and giving them a sense of stability and dignity. We are happy to support this organization as it works to improve the lives of our neighbors in the Green Bay area."
"Everyone at Stanley Black and Decker is pleased to partner with Shopko in their support of the Green Bay Area Habitat for Humanity," said Matt Minnick, Stanley Black and Decker director of sales. "The mission of providing decent, affordable housing is central to the core values that our associates share with the Shopko team."
Habitat for Humanity plans to use the majority of the donated tools in local construction projects but the group will also sell some duplicate tools at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a public retail home improvement store which provides a valuable source of cash flow through the sale of donated building materials and items. The donation included jig saws, circular saws, variable speed drills and cordless variable speed drill/drivers. The total value of the donation is more than $6,200.
Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., Shopko Stores Operating Co. is a $3 billion retailer that operates more than 330 stores in 21 states throughout the Midwest, Mountain, North Central and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail formats include 134 Shopko stores, 176 Shopko Hometown locations, 5 Shopko Express Rx stores and 18 Shopko Pharmacy locations.