SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail container traffic to rise 8% in January

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be up 8% in January over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by NRF and Hackett Associates.

“While the economy clearly began to recover in 2010 and drove up cargo volume as retail sales improved, maintaining that momentum in 2011 could be difficult,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Consumers faced with continued high unemployment are expected to focus more on necessities than discretionary spending. Retailers will continue to carefully gauge consumer demand and adjust import levels accordingly.”

U.S. ports handled 1.23 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in November, the latest month for which actual numbers are available. That was down 1.6% from October as stocking up for the holiday season wound down, but up 13% from November 2009. It was the twelfth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.

December was estimated at 1.16 million TEU, a 7% increase over December 2009. January is forecast to stay at that level, but the figure will represent an 8% increase over January 2010. February is forecast at 1.14, up 13% from a year earlier.

“Our projections for 2011 remain firm, albeit not at the levels of the recovery rates of last year,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “Growth in the upper single-digit levels can be expected, particularly on the West Coast.”

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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Kardashian Kollection Komes to Sears

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears, along with Bruno Schiavi’s Jupi International, have teamed up with Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian to launch the Kardashian Kollection in 400 Sears stores nationwide in August. In a first for the sisters, the new brand will be included in exclusive shopping destinations created inside Sears department stores, the company reported.

"Together with Sears we have created an exclusive collection that will reflect Kim, Khloe and Kourtney’s bold sense of fashion," said Australian entrepreneur and fashion designer Bruno Schiavi. "Customers and fans will have a chance to share in all things Kardashian."

According to Sears, the collection will feature pieces that "embrace Kim’s glamorous red carpet looks, Kourtney’s more Bohemian chic vibe and Khloe’s rocker style."Products will include a ready-to-wear apparel collection, handbags, lingerie, jewelry and footwear. The Kardashian Kollection will be launched with a comprehensive marketing roll out that includes a national TV and print campaign as well as in-store appearances.

"Each Kardashian sister is a trend setter in her own right, bringing their unique styles together raises the bar for fashion at Sears, " said John Goodman, EVP apparel and home for Sears Holdings. "The collection offers our customers designer looks and appeal at approachable prices. Our team is really looking forward to working with all three sisters to bring this timely brand to customers."

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Walgreens names chief customer experience officer, promotes three executives

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens announced several executive appointments Monday, which included naming a former United Airlines executive to the post of chief customer experience officer.

The drug store chain said that effective Jan. 24, Graham Atkinson — former president of United Airlines’ Mileage Plus — would be responsible for developing and leading the company’s loyalty strategies, with a specific emphasis on the customer experience, as Walgreens’ SVP and chief customer experience officer. Atkinson will report to Greg Wasson, Walgreens’ president and CEO.

“With Graham’s 20-year career in marketing, customer experience, sales and operations at United, he brings valuable insight into driving customer loyalty both through marketing programs and in a complex business where employees are the true ambassadors for the brand,” Wasson said. “We look forward to that perspective, as we continue to develop our approach to loyalty in our stores and across our organization.”

In line with the announcement, Walgreens also said it was boosting its leadership roles, naming current SVP e-commerce Sona Chawla to president of the e-commerce division. Chawla will help Walgreens expand beyond its brick-and-mortar reach, Wasson said.

Meanwhile, Walgreens’ corporate VP accounting and controller was promoted to SVP accounting and controller. “Under Mia’s leadership, the company has continued a standard of excellence in finance and accounting stewardship as well as embarked on the largest accounting organizational transformation in Walgreens history,” said Wade Miquelon, EVP and CFO. “Her financial acumen, critical analysis and careful decision-making are essential to the ongoing success of the company’s financial departments.”

Robert Zimmerman, who as VP corporate development for Walgreens lead the company in such key transactions as the Duane Reade acquisition last April, has been named SVP and chief strategy officer.

“[Zimmerman’s] keen insight and thoughtful counsel are critical to the continued evolution of our business strategy,” Miquelon said.

The appointments come at the heels of the drug store chain’s annual shareholders meeting, in which Walgreens unveiled several innovations that will be implemented in 2011 and beyond.

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