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Rite Aid creates VP of brand development and innovation

BY Dan Berthiaume

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Camp Hill, Pa. — David Abelman, a retail veteran with more than 25 years’ experience, is joining Rite Aid as senior VP of brand development and innovation. His appointment is effective immediately.

In this newly created position, Abelman will be responsible for overseeing the continued development of Rite Aid brand products as well as identifying and implementing new innovations to enhance and grow Rite Aid’s business. He will report to Ken Martindale, Rite Aid’s president and COO.

Most recently, Abelman was the CEO and co-founder of Self-Health Nation, a health and wellness omni-channel startup focused on providing nutritional advice and solutions. Prior to that position, he was executive VP and chief merchandising and marketing officer for A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc. He has also held senior-level marketing and merchandising positions with Michaels Stores Inc., Office Depot Inc. and Daymon Worldwide.

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NRF: Retail employment grows in March

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Retail employment increased 18,200 in March and 229,000 year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. The increase is consistent with recent positive economic indicator reports and bodes well for income and consumer confidence as the industry enters into the busy spring selling season.

“We’re encouraged by the progression seen in March related to hiring and other indicators that point to overall economic growth,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “First quarter results have been less than stellar thus far thanks to a variety of factors, including unusually bad weather in almost every part of the country. As the year progresses, I expect the job market to strengthen, which will put consumers in a position to feel even more confident about spending, bolstering the sub-par economic recovery.”


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Sam’s Club launches microbusiness tracker

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — One-in-three microbusiness owners (31%) depend more on a second job for their personal income than they do on their business, yet 69% say owning their business is the ideal job. In collaboration with Gallup, Sam’s Club has unveiled a new quarterly tracking poll focused on America’s smallest businesses, or microbusinesses, with five or fewer workers.

The new Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker results reflect 868 phone interviews made in March 2014 with companies of five or fewer employees. The first tracker reveals several notable findings:

• Nearly half (45.7%) of newer microbusinesses are started or owned by women, while only 28.3% of microbusinesses 20 years or older are women-owned.

• Women (25%) are less likely than men (34%) to use bank loans to finance their business.

• Compared to their male counterparts, women are more likely to worry about working too hard and overdoing it (43.5% vs. 35.7%) and to agree that they struggle to balance work and life (36.3% vs. 32%).

• More than 60% of microbusiness owners have financed their business from personal savings, and nearly as many (55%) say having access to cash reserves is a major issue facing their business.

• More than two-thirds of microbusiness owners are choosing not to re-invest their tax refunds into their business, preferring to use the tax refund toward loan repayment or personal use.

• Almost a third (30%) of older microbusinesses, those more than three years old, are experiencing flat revenue growth and are more likely to be letting employees go compared to newer microbusinesses.

• While the day-to-day management of their business dominates much of their time, microbusiness owners want to spend more time serving customers (34%) than taking personal time off (25%) or planning for the company’s future (21%).

• Rising taxes and fees on goods and services (68%) is the number one concern for microbusiness owners. The cost of utilities (39%), inventory or raw materials (35%) and transportation (34%) are other issues weighing heavily on the minds of microbusinesses.

• Approximately one-third (34%) of microbusinesses with employees say that providing adequate employee benefits is a major issue for them; meanwhile, four in 10 microbusiness owners (41%) said they are concerned about employee healthcare costs going up significantly in the coming year.

“Sam’s Club has served microbusiness members for more than 30 years,” said Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club. “We’re always conducting research with members to understand their needs and concerns, but with the Microbusiness Tracker, we want to give a broader, national voice to microbusiness. We believe these vital community businesses and the challenges of these entrepreneurs aren’t always represented in the small business discourse.”

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