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Mott’s is making moms happy

BY CSA STAFF

The nation’s leading apple juice brand has launched a new line of juice drinks that offer an appealing combination of kid-friendly bold flavors and mom-satisfying reduced sugar content.

Mott’s, a division of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, said it launched Fruit Punch Rush, Wild Grape Surge and Strawberry Boom with 40% less sugar than found in fruit juice, no artificial sweeteners and 100% of daily vitamin C requirement.

“Rush, Surge and Boom give kids another reason to enjoy Mott’s as they grow toward their teens,” said Meena Sen, director of marketing for Mott’s. “Parents want drinks that help nurture their children’s potential to be their very best, every day. As kids grow, they want more variety in their beverages, and these new juice drinks have the bold flavors that kids love and parents can feel good about.”

The products are hitting shelves at select national retailers this month and are available in 64 ounce multi-serve containers and eight ounce six-packs. The company expects to have widespread national distribution by March.

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Crocs names new Blackstone board members

BY CSA STAFF

The search for a new CEO to lead Crocs is set to intensify now that the iconic footwear manufacturer has resolved its board structure with the addition of two representatives from private equity firm Blackstone Group.

In connection with the closing of a previously announced $200 million investment from Blackstone, Crocs said board members Stephen Cannon and Jeffrey Margolis resigned their board seats. Their positions on the eight member board were filled by Prakash Melwani and Gregg Ribatt. Melwani is senior managing director at Blackstone and chief investment officer of the firm’s private equity group. Ribatt most recently served as president and CEO of Collective Brands performance and lifestyle group.

"We welcome Prakash and Gregg to our board and are confident they will add a great deal of value through their branded consumer goods, retail, and financial experience,” said Crocs chairman Thomas J. Smach. “Although Blackstone’s investment will represent approximately 13% ownership at closing, we believe our company, shareholders, and employees will benefit from 100% of Blackstone’s focus, global resources, and expertise.”

Smach said the investment by Blackstone and related board appointments represent a fantastic opportunity for shareholders to participate alongside Blackstone and benefit from its efforts to deliver compelling shareholder value.

The next step in value creation involves the appointment of a new CEO to replace John McCarvel whose departure from the company was announced when Blackstone’s investment plans were revealed in December.

"With the closing of the transaction and the appointment of our two new directors, we can now turn our attention to recruiting a new CEO and moving forward with refining the strategic direction of the Crocs business,” Smach said.

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Study: Merchandise returns account for nearly $270 billion in lost sales

BY Marianne Wilson

Irvine, Calif. — Merchandise returns in 2013 cost U.S. retailers more than $267 billion in lost sales. That’s one of the findings contained in The Retail Equation’s 2013 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry study, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s annual survey on merchandise returns and the 2012 Canadian Retail Security Survey from The Retail Council of Canada National Retail Federation.

The report found that retail fraud and abuse accounted for $9.1 billion to $16.3 billion in the United States, an increase of 2.6% from last year.

“In the competitive world of retail, it is critical to understand how returns and return fraud reduce net sales and contribute to shrink – clear causes of lost profits,” said Mark Hammond, chairman and CEO of The Retail Equation. “The results within this report offer the industry’s best look at merchandise return policies and procedures, as well as potential fraud and abuse. This information can be used by loss prevention professionals to compare and contrast their own program results to those reported here, with an eye toward reducing losses.”

The report showed a 15% increase in employee collusion versus last year, from 80.7% to 93.1%. This implies that exception reporting systems are not sufficiently preventing this type of fraud, according to Retail Equation.

The report also revealed that four-out of five main tender types (e.g., cash, gift card/merchandise credit, credit card, debit card and check) showed increased fraud. In fact, fraud increases outpaced decreases by 42%.

Click here for a complete copy of the report.

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