OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney names Kraft exec as senior VP marketing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – J.C. Penney has named Debra Berman as senior VP marketing. Berman previously served as VP marketing strategy and engagement at Kraft Foods Group since 2009.

"Debra Berman is an enormously talented marketing executive, and her desire to join the J.C. Penney team is a testament to our brand and its potential," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, CEO for Penney. "Her broad experience and success as a marketing strategist for major consumer brands make her the ideal leader to help us continue to reconnect with our core customer through effective promotions and campaigns that will increase excitement and loyalty now and over the long term."

Berman will report directly to Ullman and serve on the Penney board. Prior to joining Kraft, Berman spent nearly five years as strategic planning director at DDB Advertising, and before that held senior strategy planning roles at Sterling Brands, Young & Rubicam and Swander Pace and Company.

"There is huge opportunity to remind America’s families why it is so great to shop at J.C. Penney while attracting new customers to the brand,” said Berman. “This can be achieved through targeted campaigns that creatively highlight our unique and authentic combination of style, quality and value. I am eager to begin working with Mike and the entire team to restore J.C. Penney’s place as an iconic destination for customers for important occasions and all the times in between.”

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News

Petco works social media for new contest

BY CSA STAFF

SAN DIEGO — Petco is leveraging social media to engage existing customers, entice new ones and, as part of its mission statement, help out shelters in need with its “Be a Great One” contest.

Participants are asked to create a short video or essay that explains why they are a great one — that is, a great pet parent — and submit it on Petco’s Facebook page or dedicated landing page for consideration.

Petco will select five winners who will each receive a cash prize, including a grand prize winner, who will win $50,000, as well as a matching donation of $50,000, which will go to the rescue organization of his or her choice.

As a means of encouraging people to participate in the contest, Petco is holding one of its National Adoption Weekends, from August 10-11, giving people a chance to go adopt a new pet before the contest comes to a close on August 25.

Bayer will be sponsoring Petco’s National Adoption Weekend and plans to give those who adopt a pet a free flea prevention starter kit, while supplies last, as well as coupons to use on their next purchase of K-9 Advantix II for dogs or Advantage II for cats and/or dogs.

Pet adoption times vary across the nation, so those interested in attending one are encouraged to go to petco.com/adoptions for times.

Petco operates more than 1,200 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $110 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the foundation, the retailer works with and supports thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 350,000 animals every year.

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OPERATIONS

Judge rejects class-action claim against Wal-Mart

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — Judge Charles R. Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled against a request by plaintiffs in a gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart who were seeking certification of a class-action suit against the mass merchandise giant. Referring to a 2012 Supreme Court decision about limitations on class-action suits, Breyer ruled that the individual situations of the plaintiffs are too different to be grouped into a single class-action suit.

“Plaintiffs’ proposed class suffers from the same problems identified by the Supreme Court, but on a somewhat smaller scale,” Breyer wrote in his decision. “Indeed, it is revealing that there is no particular logic to the precise scope of the class Plaintiffs now propose. They picked three corporate regions covering a smaller area than the rejected national class, but nothing in Plaintiffs’ evidence shows that those three regions are actually different from any other Wal-Mart regions along any relevant dimension. Rather than identify an employment practice and define a class around it, Plaintiffs continue to challenge the discretionary decisions of hundreds of decision makers, while arbitrarily confining their proposed class to corporate regions that include stores in California, among other states.”

This decision is the latest blow against female employees who have been trying to file a gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart since a compliant was initially filed in 2001. That complaint was later classified as a class-action suit for more than 1 million Wal-Mart employees across the country but was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2011. Plaintiffs have attempted to refile the suit as class-action litigation at state level in several states, with a rejection in Texas in October 2011.

“Walmart has had a strong policy against discrimination in place for many years and we continue to be a great place for women to work and advance,” the retailer said in a press release. “The allegations from these five plaintiffs are not representative of the positive experiences that hundreds of thousands of women have had working at Walmart.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have not yet commented publicly.

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