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Hickory Farms launches online holiday program

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toledo, Ohio — Hickory Farms has launched a new website featuring faster page load times, easier navigation, and improved search and checkout functions. Customers can shop on-the-go with the site’s mobile and tablet-friendly design.

In addition, running through Christmas Eve, customers can play Hickory Farms’ Holiday Hunt Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of six daily instant prizes and be entered to win a $2,500 Visa gift card. Consumers can visit the Hickory Farms Facebook page daily to find the clue for that day’s instant prize, which they will find on HickoryFarms.com.

"We know our customers have less and less time to get everything done," said Hickory Farms CEO Mark S. Rodriguez. "Increasing our retail footprint, making it easier for them to shop, and continuously investing in quality improvements are all steps we’ve taken to better serve our customers."

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Grocery vet Tuffin to lead Kroger retail

BY CSA STAFF

Another piece of the leadership puzzle fell into place at Kroger as the company continues to execute a succession strategy backed by the tailwind of 40 consecutive quarter of same store sales growth.

Kroger named Mark Tuffin to the role of SVP of the company’s retail divisions to fill a position previously held by Michael Ellis who was elevated to the role of president and COO last month. Tuffin previously served as president of the company’s Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division.

"Mark is an exceptional leader with an extensive knowledge of the grocery industry,"Ellis said. "He has made significant contributions to our company and industry, while always championing our Customer 1st strategy. We look forward to Mark’s leadership in this senior role as we continue to accelerate Kroger’s growth."

Tuffin’s appointment is the latest in a series of moves that began in September when Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon announced plans to step down from the CEO role and remain chairman throughout 2014. At the time, the company named president and COO Rodney McMullen as Dillon’s successor. That created the opportunity to elevate Ellis from his position as SVP of retail divisions to the role of COO vacated by McMullen.

Tuffin, Ellis and McMullen all assume their new responsibilities on Jan. 1 when Dillon steps down as CEO.

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Amazon leverages convenience to grab last-minute holiday shoppers

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon is touting its Prime program again this holiday season, reminding members that they can order gifts as late as midnight EST Sunday, Dec. 22, and still get free delivery before Christmas.

The online retailer is leveraging the shorter shopping period this year, which is one week shorter than last year’s, to drive sales by emphasizing the convenience that online shopping can afford — a surefire way to draw shoppers who want to avoid the imminent crowds this weekend.

“We would like to make your weekend just a little easier,” said Greg Greeley, VP Amazon Prime. “Prime members can order anytime this weekend, as late as midnight on Sunday, Dec. 22, and still receive unlimited free two-day shipping in time for Christmas. This allows members to enjoy the same fast, free shipping and convenient online shopping experience they have come to expect from Amazon.”

Amazon also offers Prime members discounted one-day shipping for as low as $2.99 per item, which means that truly last-minute shoppers can order as late as midnight Monday, Dec. 23, using Prime one-day shipping and still receive their package before Christmas.

The online retailer is also looking to grow its Prime program and is, for the first time, allowing customers the option of buying a Prime membership as a gift.

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