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Employment Trends Index up 1.38% in February

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — The Conference Board reported Monday that its Employment Trends Index increased 1.38% in February to 107.46, from the revised figure of 105.99 in January.

The February figure is also up 6.1% from the same month a year ago.

“The acceleration in the ETI suggests that rapid job growth is likely to continue in the next several months, despite modest improvements in demand and production,” said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. “In the past year output per hour of work grew very slowly. If this trend continues, employment growth could remain robust even if GDP continues to grow at a modest 2% to 2.5%, as we expect.”

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Former Sam’s CEO Cornell lands at PepsiCo

BY Mike Troy

Purchase, N.Y. — Less than two months after resigning as president and CEO of Sam’s Club, Brian Cornell has landed at Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo where he will serve as CEO of the company’s North American food division.

Cornell will be responsible for Frito-Lay North America, Quaker Foods & Snacks North America, PepsiCo Mexico, South America Foods, PepsiCo customer teams and all of PepsiCo’s Power of One activities within the Americas.

Cornell fills a position vacated by John Compton who was named to a new position as president of PepsiCo as part of a move to become a more fully integrated, global food and beverage company.

Cornell expressed a desire to return to the northeast when his departure from Sam’s Club was announced on Jan. 20. At the time, he indicated that it was time to put his family first after 30 years of asking them to follow him all around the globe.

Prior to Sam’s Club, Cornell was president and CEO of Michaels Stores and before that he was executive VP and chief marketing officer with Safeway.

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Research: Boomers and Gen Y divided on retail sensory experiences

BY Staff Writer

Boston — New research released by Brodeur Partners uncovered that Baby Boomers and Generation Y’ers think differently about the shopping experience.

According to The Brodeur Partners’ Retail Relevance Study, Boomers see the ideal shopping experience as getting a good deal on a decent product. For Gen Y, it’s more about a stimulating, sensual, “sharable” experience.

The study used maximum difference scaling methodology to identify what is most and least relevant in a shopping experience. The study asked 2,000 American consumers to think of their favorite place to shop and identify those elements that were most and least relevant.

Among the key findings, twice as many Gen Y’ers (18 to 34) are “okay if people know I am associated with a retailer” than Baby Boomers (55-plus).

Sensory appeal and the ability of a retailer to “make me smile” are one-third more important to Gen Y than to Boomers. Practical decisions drive choice of retailers for 8-out-of-10 Boomers, but only half of the Gen Y respondents.

“Put simply, younger shoppers view their ideal shopping experience as less functional and much more social, expressive and sensory-driven,” said Jerry Johnson, Brodeur’s executive VP strategic planning. “Retail shopping is probably more intertwined with social networking than we’ve realized. When a Gen Y consumer checks in to a retailer on Foursquare or ‘likes’ a retailer on Facebook, that’s very valuable to a retailer. Peers by nature are ready to have the experience their friends just did.”

And though sensory experiences clearly matter, Johnson warned retailers that they can’t simply barrage the Gen Y consumer with loud music, seductive smells and images of beautiful bodies: the research indicated that retailers need to focus equally on the social aspects of the experience, and be a brand with which a consumer would want to associate.

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