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The kings of candy are crowned in Chicago

BY CSA STAFF

Retailers looking for insight into popular new products in the candy and snacks world can thank organizers of the Sweets & Snacks Expo for doing some heavy lifting.

A panel of experts at the 17th annual event sifted through hundreds of samples prior to the sold out trade show in Chicago and found eight worthy of the distinction of “Most Innovative New Product.”
Hershey won the award in the chocolate category for Kit Kat Minis and in the non-chocolate category Tierra Nueava Fine Cocoa won for its Coffee Thins. Other recipients and the category included:

• Sweet Snacks: Sprinkle It On, Handmade Marshmallow & Rice Cereal Confectionery.
• Salty Snacks: Sahale Snacks, Pomegranate Pistachios.
• Savory Snacks: Fire Corn Popcorn/Pop Gourmet, B.A.’s Fire Corn, Real Jalapeno Popcorn.
• Novelty/licensed: Jelly Belly Candy Co., Tabasco Jelly Bean bottles.
• Seasonal: Russell Stover Candies, Russell Stover S’mores Big Bite Bar.
• Gourmet/premium: Hammond’s Candies, Hammond’s Milk Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Bar.

A panel that included trend experts, food authorities and retail representatives rated products on attributes such as taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility. They selected five of the top items in eight categories which were then put to a vote by the more than 1,000 retail and wholesale trade customers who attended the event.

“About 30 percent of annual confectionery and snack sales are attributed to products introduced in the last two years, so these launches are critical to industry success,” commented National Confectioners Association president Larry Graham.

The Sweets & Snacks Expo is sponsored by NCA and attracts roughly 600 exhibitors and 15,000 industry professionals each year.

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PetSmart shakes up board amid leadership transition

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX — PetSmart’s board of directors has named Gregory P. Josefowicz its non-executive chairman. Josefowicz has served as a director since 2004 and as lead director since 2006.

Chairman and CEO Bob Moran will not stand for election as a director at the company’s 2013 annual stockholder meeting. As previously announced, David Lenhardt, current president and COO, will become the CEO of PetSmart at that time.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the next chairman of the board of PetSmart. I am joined by seasoned members of the PetSmart board, all of whom are focused on enhancing shareholder value,” said Josefowicz. “On behalf of the board, we appreciate Bob’s service and contributions throughout the past 14 years. Both the board and Bob agree that now is the right time for Bob to step down from the board and to move forward with the company’s next phase of growth and development.”

“David’s transition to the CEO role has been exceptionally smooth. As such, I think it is in the best interests of the company that I step aside and let David put his own stamp on PetSmart,” said Moran. “PetSmart is well-positioned and I am confident in the company’s future under David’s direction and leadership.”

From 1999 until his retirement in 2006, Josefowicz served as a director and president and CEO of Borders Group, an international book and music retailer, and was named chairman of the board in 2002. He serves on the boards of Roundy’s, Inc. and United States Cellular Corporation. During the prior five years, Josefowicz served on the boards of Telephone and Data Systems and Winn-Dixie Stores.

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RadioShack continues courting younger customers

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — RadioShack continues courting younger customers, this time by hosting an appearance at one of its Manhattan stores by Muve Music-featured R&B artist Fantasia.

Fantasia is best known for winning the third season of American Idol. She is also a Grammy Award winner.

The retailer is leveraging the autograph session and photo opportunity to play tracks from Fantasia’s newest album, "Side Effects of You," which are among the more than 10 million songs plus ringtones and ringback tones available for unlimited download on Muve Music. RadioShack is offering access to Muve Music free with a RadioShack No Contract Wireless smartphone plan starting at $50 per month. RadioShack No Contract Wireless is powered by cricKet.

The national retailer of mobile technology products and services, as well as products related to personal and home technology and power supply needs, has been trying to remake its image by positioning itself as a destination for college students to meet their consumer electronics needs.

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