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Payless ShoeSource in deals to open stores in Korea, Thailand and Vietnam

BY Marianne Wilson

Topeka, Kansas — Payless ShoeSource, a division of Collective Brands, announced that it has signed two new franchise agreements with partners Emart, a business unit of Shinsegae Group, Seoul, for stores in Korea, and Central Marketing Group, a business unit of Central Group, Bangkok, for stores in Thailand and Vietnam, bringing the total countries, which will have franchised Payless stores to 20 countries.

Payless and its partners said that in 2012 they expect six store openings in Korea, as well as five stores each to open in Thailand and Vietnam.

"The franchise model has proven to be a profitable and effective way to quickly reach more international markets with the Payless brand and all it has to offer — great fashion, well-recognized brands, product quality and leading customer service all at a great price," Payless ShoeSource president and CEO LuAnn Via said.

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Ralcorp completes spinoff of Post business

BY CSA STAFF

ST. LOUIS — Ralcorp Holdings officially has turned its Post Foods cereal business into a tax-free spinoff to Ralcorp shareholders.

The deal, which was announced in July 2011, allows Ralcorp shareholders to hold shares of two stand-alone, publicly traded companies: Ralcorp and Post Foods. Now its own separate business, Ralcorp said it will produce private-label foods in the United States and also become a major producer of foodservice products.

"I am excited to announce the completion of this spinoff and the beginning of a new chapter for Ralcorp. Going forward, Ralcorp will be able to place even greater focus on expanding our private-brand market positions and driving the best possible performance for our businesses," Ralcorp president and CEO Kevin Hunt said. "We believe the separation unlocks value for shareholders and best positions both Ralcorp and Post for future success."

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Walmart backs commitment to health with $9.5M

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is following through on its commitment to giving consumers the best access to affordable, nutritious foods by donating $9.5 million in grants to organizations with a shared mission of promoting healthy eating habits. The funding will support nutrition education programs, provide classes focused on learning to cook and shop for healthier foods on a budget and provide live cooking demonstrations in communities nationwide, the company annnounced in a press release.

In January 2011, Walmart, alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, announced an initiative to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices. This effort includes a commitment to increase funding for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food choices.

"We want to help our customers make healthier decisions whether that’s through their in-store experience at Walmart or through taking a class focused on nutrition education," said Andrea Thomas, SVP sustainability at Walmart. "The grants we’re announcing today will give thousands of Americans access to nutrition education classes, cooking demonstrations and nutritional recipes—essential tools to living a healthier life."

Walmart’s donations are detailed below:

Action for Healthy Kids – $1.5 million to help increase access to healthy food and improve nutrition education at 400 schools nationwide. Program expects to increase access to nutrition programs to 160,000 school-age children.

American Medical Association Foundation -$300,000 to expand nutrition and health programs at 11 free clinics nationwide, serving more than 7,000 individuals.

Children’s Health Fund -$1.3 million to enhance obesity screening and nutritional counseling to 10,000 low-income and homeless children in six states and provide ongoing nutritional education through the Starting Right program.

League of United Latin American Citizens -$500,000 to support healthy living education courses and community health festivals. The program is expected to reach more than 8,000 individuals.

National Black Child Development Institute -$300,000 to provide nutrition education to African-American families with young children in five cities, serving more than 10,000 participants.

National 4-H Council – $1.35 million to deliver healthy living education to 40,000 youth in 15 states through Youth Voice: Youth Choice program. State councils will also be encouraged to develop healthy living action plans to combat unhealthy eating habits.

National Latino Children’s Institute -$225,000 to encourage healthy nutrition practices and help prevent chronic disease among 5,000 Hispanic children and their families.

Oldways -$100,000 to encourage dietary changes in the African-American community through Oldways’ African Heritage Diet program. The program will provide nutrition education to 4,000 participants.

Share Our Strength -$4 million to provide grocery store tours to 7,500 participants through Shopping Matters which helps low-income families learn how to shop healthy on a budget. 31,000 participants will also be reached through Cooking Matters, a six-week course on how to cook healthier meals on a budget.

More information on Walmart’s commitment to nutrition education can be found here.

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