OPERATIONS

Group launches campaign to ban open carry of guns in Kroger stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Indianapolis — Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a national campaign on Monday calling on Kroger Co. to prohibit the open carry of guns in its supermarkets. The gun control advocacy group was founded in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting and has partnered with billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffett.

The Moms Demand Action campaign, which includes a petition to Kroger, follows similar actions aimed at Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chii’s and Jack in the Box.

"We support the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership, but ignoring incidences of gun violence in and around stores and allowing demonstrators to open carry loaded weapons through the same aisles that our children pick out their favorite cereals is unacceptable,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Given how lax the majority of states’ open carry laws are, there is no way for store employees or Kroger’s loyal customers to know whether these gun extremists are good guys or bad guys. That’s why Moms are asking the country’s largest supermarket chain, a store that we visit every week, to follow the lead of Target, Chipotle, Starbucks and many others and make a clear statement that the open carry of firearms is not welcome in its stores."

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FINANCE

Steve Madden acquires Dolce Vita Holdings

BY Staff Writer

Long Island City, N.Y. — Steve Madden has completed the acquisition of privately held Dolce Vita Holdings Inc., which specializes in the design, sourcing and sale of branded and private label footwear. The acquisition was completed for $60.3 million.

Dolce Vita sells fashion-forward footwear to wholesale customers, including department stores and specialty boutiques. In addition to marketing products under its owned brands, including Steve Madden, Steven by Steve Madden, Madden Girl, Freebird by Steven, Stevies, Betsey Johnson, Betseyville, Brian Atwood, B Brian Atwood, Report Signature, Report, Big Buddha, Wild Pair, Cejon and Mad Love, Steve Madden is the licensee of various brands, including Olsenboye for footwear, handbags and belts and Superga and l.e.i. for footwear. The company also operates 124 retail stores.

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FINANCE

Kantar: Walmart narrowly maintains basket price edge over Target

BY Marianne Wilson

Boston — Walmart continues to maintain its basket price advantage over Target, according to Kantar Retail’s semi-annual pricing study. But while Walmart maintained its lower-priced basket – with a leap even further ahead in non-edible grocery – the retailer’s basket was still only 1% less expensive than Target’s, the smallest price gap since the June 2012 study.

“Walmart’s slightly weakened stronghold on price leadership shows the difficulty in creating basket separation based on price,” said Laura Kennedy, principal analyst and primary contributor to the study. "These results emphasize the need for both retailers to pursue alternative methods to drive impression and value perception by their shoppers. The smaller price gap seems to reflect Walmart’s general shift toward a more nuanced and customized approach to EDLP (everyday low pricing). "

The 12th iteration of the semi-annual mass channel pricing study determines which retailer’s basket of grocery and consumable items offers shoppers the lowest price. The study reviews national brands and a sub-set of private label items.

Kantar Retail revisited the same co-located Walmart and Target stores in the Northeastern United States in June 2014 to re-assess a previously established basket of national brand items including edible grocery, non-edible grocery, and health-and-beauty aid (HBA) items. Only identical SKUs from both retailers were assessed.

Highlights of the study include:

• Walmart’s overall branded basket was just 1.2% less expensive than Target’s. Target narrowed the gap from the January 2014 study.

• Walmart maintained its lead in both grocery sub-baskets, widening the gap in the non-edible basket. Target’s edible basket was 10.5% more expensive than Walmart’s, even with two temporary price cuts and an equal number of “rollbacks” at Walmart.

• Target’s use of temporary price cuts declined again.

• Walmart’s basket featured twice as many rollbacks as in the last iteration.

• Gaps between prices for individual items at the two retailers narrowed.

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