FINANCE

Kroger to withdraw from two pension funds; incur $56 million charge

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Kroger Co. on Wednesday said it plans to withdraw from two multi-employer pension funds and will incur a charge of $56 million in the first quarter as it contributes that amount to restructure its pension obligations. The move is in line with the retailer’s desire to exert more control over employee-retirement programs.

"We are pleased to have reached agreements to help secure pension benefits that more than 2,000 associates have earned and to provide a future benefit that is competitive and affordable," said Mike Schlotman, CFO. "We intend to continue looking for opportunities to leverage our strong financial flexibility to safeguard our associates’ benefits, increase certainty and control over future pension obligations, and continue delivering strong shareholder value."

The funds are the Washington Meat Industry Pension Trust, and The Pace Industry Union-Management Pension Fund.

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OPERATIONS

Mobile app Aisle411 provides indoor mapping for Marsh Supermarkets

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Indoor retail mapping platform Aisle411 will provide indoor mapping services to Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets. The retailer seeks to improve the shopping experience for its customers by leveraging the navigation platform via its new Marsh App.

Shoppers can use the Marsh App, built for Marsh by Taqtile Mobility, to find where products are located inside the 81 Marsh, O’Malia’s or Mainstreet Market Stores in Indiana and Ohio. Marsh licensed Aisle411’s product locator technology and store maps inside the Marsh App so customers can find products, map shopping lists and take advantage of weekly offers.

“Aisle411’s platform collects, organizes and monetizes retailers’ product inventory and location data. The company has also partnered with positioning technology providers to help garner merchandising insights and provide relevant messages to customers — such as welcoming them back to the store, asking customers if they need assistance once they find the products they are searching for or displaying coupons for items they are currently near.

According to Aisle411, the new partnership with Marsh has the ability to reach more than two million weekly shoppers at 81 Marsh-operated locations. The deal adds to the more than 12,000 retail locations across the country that use Aisle411’s mapping platform. Marsh touts itself as the first grocery store in the world to use electronic scanners to make purchases.


We are excited to add Marsh Supermarkets to our growing group of innovative retailers who digitize their stores to provide innovative app functions that help consumers find what they want when they want it,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, CEO of Aisle411. “Our company continues to change what it means to customize the consumer shopping experience inside a retail environment. Our technology puts a retailer’s entire inventory in the palm of a customer’s hand by way of a searchable indoor map.”

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OPERATIONS

Family Dollar names merchandise operations exec

BY CSA STAFF

Matthews, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores, announced that it has named Jeffrey Thomas senior VP-merchandise operations. He replaces Scott Zucker, who left the company at the end of May.

Thomas joined Family Dollar in 2003 as a director of vendor performance. He went on to assume roles with increasing responsibilities, and in 2013, was named VP-merchant services.

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