FINANCE

Delhaize Group to exit Bosnia & Herzegovinia

BY Dan Berthiaume

Brussels, Belgium — Delhaize Group has signed an agreement with Tropic Group B.V. to divest all of its 39 Bosnian & Herzegovinian stores. Tropic Group B.V. is an entrepreneurial organization founded by retail executive Bojan Risović.

The transaction is expected to complete in third quarter 2014, subject to regulatory approval and working capital adjustments. Terms were not disclosed. Delhaize originally purchased the stores from Serbian retailer Delta Maxi in 2011.

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OPERATIONS

Baskin-Robbins launches online cake ordering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Canton, Mass. — Baskin-Robbins is launching a new online cake ordering system for customers nationwide, Online shoppers can browse through Baskin-Robbins’ gallery of ice cream cakes and can create their own customizable cake by choosing their favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination.

Upon visiting the online cake ordering site, customers will be prompted to enter their address or ZIP code to be directed to place their order with their nearest participating Baskin-Robbins location. Customers can also choose from a variety of additional items, including birthday candles. Online cake orders will be available for pick-up on the date selected by the customers, with cakes available as soon as 24 hours after the order is placed.

"At Baskin-Robbins, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to enhance the guest experience and to further connect with our customers," said Bill Mitchell, president, Baskin-Robbins U.S. and Canada, and Baskin-Robbins & Dunkin’ Donuts China, Japan and Korea. "We are excited to introduce online cake ordering to our guests nationwide, giving them another easy and convenient way to customize and order their own Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake in a fun and interactive way."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: More than half of homeowners plan improvements in 2014

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – With consumer confidence and the real estate market on the rise, many homeowners are ready to begin home remodeling or maintenance projects. According to an online survey conducted on behalf of SunTrust Banks Inc. by Harris Poll, 56% of homeowners plan to spend money on home improvement projects this year.

More than a quarter of homeowners (27%) indicated they will invest in an outdoor area such as a patio, deck, pool or landscaping in 2014. Bathroom remodels (17%), home repairs such as a new roof or HVAC systems (16%) and kitchen remodels (11%) were cited next. About 5% of homeowners plan to add square footage, and another 5% intend to complete a basement/attic remodel. Of those who plan to spend money on home improvements this year, 20% plan to spend $10,000 or more, according to the survey.

"People may no longer be as nervous about investing in their homes," said Gary Miller, business head of LightStream, a national online lending division of SunTrust Bank. "With the economy picking up and homes beginning to increase in value, the home improvement loan category has been energized."

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