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Loblaw to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart in $12 billion deal

BY Dan Berthiaume

Brampton, Ontario – Loblaw Companies Limited announced it will acquire Shoppers Drug Mart in a deal worth about $11.9 billion, merging the Canadian grocery and drug retailers. Shoppers Drug Mart will retain its name and brand and operate as a separate division of Loblaw while expanding its product offerings to include Loblaw’s private label and convenience food products. Shoppers Drug Mart gives Loblaw entry into the small urban store sector.

"Our customer proposition is at the heart of this combination," said Vicente Trius, president of Loblaw. "Together, we will be able to significantly enhance the customer experience by offering even greater assortments, service, value and convenience while preserving the unique shopping experiences that make both companies leaders in their respective segments.”

Trius said that Shoppers Drug Mart, which will be maintained as a separate division from Loblaw, will be led by Domenic Pilla, president and CEO.

The transaction is slated to be completed within about six months.

“For our shareholders, this transaction provides significant and immediate value,” said Pilla. For “our customers, it provides more locations with an enhanced mix of products and offerings that contribute to the good health of Canadians."

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Virtual Piggy has robotastic news for kids

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Virtual Piggy has integrated its youth-friendly payment system to Innovation First International, the company behind the award-winning Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures and Vex Robotics product lines.

Innovation First International is a technology and engineering company that has launched several robotics product lines spanning the consumer toy, STEM education and business-to-business markets.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s partnered with Innovation First to offer an assortment of Hexbug-themed Happy Meal toys. The company’s Hexbug products have also been recognized on several occasions by the Toy Industry Association. Hexbug products are available in more than 4,000 outlets globally, including Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, RadioShack and other mass and specialty retailers.

Virtual Piggy is integrated directly into Innovation First International’s Hexbug e-commerce platform to allow direct online and mobile purchases. Virtual Piggy has a standard interface to eBay’s Magento e-commerce platform, which facilitates a simple and rapid integration.

“Partnering with Virtual Piggy is a great step forward for our e-commerce platforms,” said Tony Norman, president and CEO of Innovation First International. “Virtual Piggy’s Coppa-compliant family wallet gives more kids access to our robotics products, allowing them to spend safely, while also shaping them to become independent thinkers and responsible decision-makers, and yet parents still maintain the overall control.”

“We are delighted to provide the ability for youth to safely purchase the Vex Robotics kits & Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures they love,” said Dr. Jo Webber, founder and CEO of Virtual Piggy. “We are honored to work with such an innovative company as Innovation First, to provide children younger than 18 years of age with safe access to these incredibly creative robotic toys and competitive robotics platforms.”

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AutoZone deploys solution to improve customer loyalty

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI, Ohio — AutoZone, a leading retailer and distributor of automotive parts and accessories, is expanding its partnership with KSS Retail, a Dunnhumby company, so the company can improve its price and promotion strategies.

The retailer has selected KSS Retail’s PriceStrat solution, which will allow it to deploy science-based price modeling and promotion optimization across its merchandising organization. KSS Retail will work closely with AutoZone to implement its price and promotion strategies within PriceStrat so that the company can improve its customer loyalty.

With more than 5,000 store locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil, AutoZone recognizes that effective pricing is key to building its competitive advantage.

“We put our customers first, and it’s vital that we have not only the products that our customers want, when they want them, but that every item has the right price,” said Bill Hackney, VP of merchandising for AutoZone. “PriceStrat was the only solution with a unified model that included integration of both everyday and promotional pricing. We believe that a data-driven, scientific approach to making decisions about pricing and promotions will contribute to our continued success and our customer-first model.”

“We’re delighted to welcome AutoZone as a client,” said Yael Cosset, CEO of KSS Retail. “Its story illustrates the need for global retailers to move away from rules-based pricing toward a more sophisticated approach that works across multiple dimensions to deliver greater forecast accuracy. I’m pleased that through our initial work with AutoZone we’ve proven that PriceStrat modeling capabilities can help them optimize their pricing and promotional strategy so they are doing what’s best for their customers over the long term.”

KSS Retail provides price optimization and shopper insight solutions for the grocery, convenience, chain drug, general and online retail industries. Retailers use KSS Retail software and professional services to better understand their shopper’s needs, and to deliver more effective pricing, promotions and merchandising decisions. KSS Retail clients include 7 Eleven, Tesco, O’Reilly Auto Parts, BI-LO, Sonae, Raley’s, United Supermarkets and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits.

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