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IBM study: Big Data boosts retailer, CPG performance

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. — Retailers and CPG companies with leading stock prices are more likely than their lagging competitors to use Big Data analytics to understand and adjust to customer needs. According to a study of 325 senior retail merchandising executives conducted by IBM Center for Applied Insights in conjunction with Planet Retail, 65% of leading retail merchandisers feel Big Data analytics is critical to their business compared to just 38% of other retail companies.

In addition, 63% of top retail merchandisers have the data they need to conduct meaningful analytics while 33% of other retailers do not and 83% of leading retail merchandisers are focusing more on the consumer compared to 47% of lower-performing retailers.

Similarly, according to the new IBM/Kantar Retail Global CPG Study of more than 350 top CPG executives, 74% of leading CPGs use data analytics to improve decision making in sales compared to just 37% of lower-performing CPGs. And 37% of leading CPG companies make decisions predominately on data and sophisticated analytics compared to 9% of lower-performing CPG companies.

“These studies show that no matter where you sit in the retail ecosystem, big data can have tremendous impact on your success,” said Jay Henderson, strategy program director, IBM Smarter Commerce. “Leading retailers and consumer packaged goods suppliers are increasingly looking to the consumer to inform better business strategies. By using data analytics, these top performers are more in tune with retail trends that turn market opportunity into market leadership.”

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NRF chief lobbyist speaks out against living wage bill

BY CSA STAFF

National Retail Federation SVPfor government relations David French spoke to Fox News’ Stuart Varney about D.C.’s decision to pass a living wage bill requiring non-union, big box retailers to pay their employees $12.60 per hour. As a result of the bill’s passing, Walmart has scrapped plans to open three stores in the District. While defenders of the bill point out that the living wage is a fair one given cost of living and the still challeneging economic climate, Varney says the District, via its council members, is turning down 2,000 jobs and French agrees. The NRF’s chief lobbyist pointed out that while "many retailers would love to be in the District of Columbia," thank to the living wage bill, "we [big box retailers like Walmart] can love the District residents from the Maryland and Virginia borders."

Click here to see the entire interview.

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Sara Lee gets a slice of the school menu

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Sara Lee Foodservice, a division of the Hillshire Brands Company, has introduced a line of products aimed at the kindergarten-12th grade education sector, focusing on turkey items for both breakfast and lunch.

Additionally, Sara Lee Foodservice will be participating in the United States Department of Agriculture Commodity Food Distribution Program that enables schools to purchase items at reduced prices.

The move positions Sara Lee Foodservice as a key player in the field of healthier food choices — a hot button issue when it comes to school lunches, which have been sharply criticized for their poor nutritional content.

“Sara Lee Foodservice is committed to supporting school meals and our wide variety of products provide nourishing, kid-friendly protein options to help develop healthy minds and bodies,” said Kathleen Novak, registered dietitian, the Hillshire Brands Company. “This is a significant step forward as we work to build a comprehensive offering to meet the unique needs of school foodservice.”

The product line includes Briar Street Market Turkey Chili, Briar Street Market Turkey with Gravy, Briar Street Market Turkey Sloppy Joe Meat, Briar Street Market Turkey Spaghetti Sauce, Briar Street Market Turkey Taco Filling and Briar Street Market Diced Turkey Breast Meat.

In addition to being available through the Sara Lee Foodservice broker network, the products are available through partnership with the USDA Commodity Food Distribution Program in select states.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to work in partnership with the USDA to provide additional value to our school customers,” said Jennifer McDavid, manager of customer marketing, Sara Lee Foodservice.

Sara Lee Foodservice plans to continue working on new concepts for school meals for the K-12 market in the coming years.

The brand will also launch a new website geared to school cafeteria professionals this summer with recipes, product details on meal pattern equivalent information, nutrition specifications and child nutrition and whole grain indicators, as well as additional information on the Sara Lee’s participation in the USDA Commodity Food Distribution Program.

The K-12 product portfolio also includes individually wrapped whole grain blueberry, banana and double chocolate muffins.

Sara Lee Foodservice is a leading supplier of meat and bakery products to a broad base of foodservice operators throughout North America. Brands include Sara Lee, Chef Pierre and Bistro Collection bakery products and Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Hillshire Farm meats. Sara Lee Foodservice products are available in restaurants, retail establishments, schools, convenience stores, healthcare facilities, hospitality venues and other foodservice operations.

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