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Pricechopper cuts jobs due to rising costs

BY Antoinette Alexander

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Price Chopper Supermarkets announced that it has cut about 80 positions, citing a need to improve efficiency within the company amid rising costs, including “skyrocketing” healthcare costs.

"Operating a retail business that lives on narrow margins and employs 22,000 people has become increasingly more challenging given today’s realities. Skyrocketing healthcare costs, rising commodity and fuel costs, rising wages and reduced SNAP benefits, on top of increased competition from a variety of food and non-food businesses that have added food to their mix, have made it more imperative than ever for us to become as efficient as possible in order to best position the company for long-term success,” said Jerry Golub, president and CEO of Price Chopper.

The eliminated positions were in management, field, clerical and administrative support. Store-level positions were not impacted.

"Despite the difficulty of the decisions implemented today, we are very optimistic about the future of our company and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead. Though painful, these actions serve to better position Price Chopper as we move forward, both strategically and competitively,” Golub added.

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Aisle411 teams with Google’s Project Tango on creating 3-D maps of retail spaces for mobile app

BY CSA STAFF

Aisle411 has unveiled a new functionality that will allow retail shoppers using Google’s Project Tango to search and navigate to product locations while getting rewarded in retail environments in a revolutionary new way.

Fully unveiled at the Google I/O Developer Conference on June 25, Google’s Project Tango is a new technology used for creating 3D maps of indoor spaces with the ability to show a user’s precise location and orientation within centimeters of accuracy. Aisle411 is leveraging the Project Tango technology and integrating it with its inventory searchable indoor maps for retailers. The combined solutions from Project Tango and aisle411 allow users to search and navigate to specific products in a 3D augmented reality experience inside the store. Users of aisle411’s in-store mobile marketing platform can also simultaneously discover personalized coupons, offers and rewards that “pop out” of the shelf along their in-store route, along with collecting loyalty rewards just for walking down aisles.

“We are thrilled to be working with Google’s Project Tango team to continue deploying mobile technologies that enhance the in-store shopping experience for shoppers,” stated aisle411 CEO Nathan Pettyjohn. “Today’s shoppers are engaged with their mobile devices while in store. They are smart and digitally savvy and in this highly competitive retail ecosystem, it’s critical for retailers that their shoppers have the right tools to keep them engaged in the shopping experience. This new application is a fun way to shop and is sure to engage anyone using it.”

Project Tango is a multi-partner effort with universities, research institutions and over 40 industry partners that builds upon over a decade of research in robotics and computer vision, concentrating that technology into a mobile platform. The performance of mobile processors are now just getting powerful enough to put this into the hands of consumers. Just one of the engagement features in aisle411’s initial app experience includes the opportunity for loyalty points to be earned when the user “walks through a particular aisle and collects points,” similar to a video game. Augmented special offers on the shelf can also then be “clipped” to the loyalty card.

The new Project Tango technology is being piloted in multiple locations with major retailers, including Walgreens, over the coming months all with unique 3D augmented reality indoor maps and other engaging in-store experiences. These stores will join more than 12,500 retailers across the United States that benefit from aisle411’s comprehensive in-store mobile marketing platform technology, the company stated.

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Americas leave bad taste in McCormick’s mouth

BY CSA STAFF

McCormick & Co is vowing to accelerate innovation, increase marketing support and be a more effective category leader with trading partners after sales declined 5% in the spice and flavoring company’s America’s region.

Total sales at the company increased 3.5% to slightly more than $1 billion during the company’s second quarter ended May 31. Overall sales in the company’s consumer division increased 4%, despite the sales decline in the Americas region, to $615 million. Sales in the company’s industrial division increased 2%, but also faced a headwind in the Americas where sales declined 2% due to weak demand from quick service restaurants.

Despite weakness in the Americas and an increased competitive climate, McCormick affirmed its full year sales and earnings expectations as global demand for flavorings continues to expand, according to chairman, president and CEO Alan Wilson.

“In the second half, we are expanding our product offerings with new skillet sauces, gluten-free recipe mixes, premium herbs and other items,” Wilson said. “We also plan an increase in marketing support to build our brand equity and drive sales. We are fueling this growth with our Comprehensive Continuous Improvement (CCI) program.”

The company plans to spend at least $25 million in increased brand marketing support during the fiscal year to drive sales of new products as well as core items. These investments, in brand building and innovation, are funded in part by savings generated by the CCI program, according to the company.

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