OPERATIONS

Rite Aid promotes Ken Martindale to president

BY Marianne Wilson

Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. has promoted Ken Martindale, currently senior executive VP and COO, to president and COO. Rite Aid chairman, president and CEO John Standley will continue in those roles.

The promotion of Martindale, 53, is effective immediately.

“Since becoming our chief operating officer in 2010, Ken has continued to play a significant role in helping the company improve its overall performance and return to profitability,” said Standley. Ken’s appointment as president and chief operating officer is an opportunity for Rite Aid to further leverage his exceptional leadership skills, broad operating experience and strategic capabilities as we continue to focus on successfully growing our business.”

Martindale is a retail veteran with more than 35 years of diverse operations, marketing and merchandising experience. Before joining Rite Aid as senior executive VP of merchandising, marketing and logistics in December 2008, he served as co-president, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Pathmark Stores.

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OPERATIONS

Kroger creates two new divisions; makes exec appointments

BY Staff Writer

CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. announced the establishment of two new supermarket divisions, a Nashville division and a Louisville division.

"Opportunities for growth in Tennessee, northern Alabama, Kentucky, and Southern Illinois and Indiana inspired us to take this path," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. "We believe this move will enable our associates to do what they do best – meet the needs of our local customers and neighbors, our communities, and each other."

Kroger also announced it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Nashville division, Calvin Kaufman president of the new Louisville division, Jayne Homco president of the Michigan division, and Erin Sharp group VP of Kroger manufacturing.

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OPERATIONS

Burberry Kisses aims for customer intimacy

BY Dan Berthiaume

London – Omni-channel global fashion brand Burberry is taking a pioneering step into the realm of digital customer engagement with a new program called Burberry Kisses. Partnering with the Google Art, Copy & Code project that presents itself as a “series of experiments to re-imagine advertising,” Burberry is allowing consumers to send online letters which are sealed with digital replicas of their kisses, complete with their choice of Burberry lipstick shade.

Burberry Kisses is available via PC, smartphone or tablet and creates a digital imprint of the customer’s kiss with a webcam. Other features include an interactive global map that tracks the deliveries of kisses all over the world in real time.

This program does represent a reimagining of advertising in that beyond coloring the user’s digital kiss imprint with an official Burberry lipstick shade, it does not promote any specific Burberry product or directly encourage purchase behavior. Burberry Kisses does create numerous “soft” benefits including creating highly intimate brand engagement and helping to develop a global community of consumers with Burberry awareness.

As retailers (and Burberry does operate 457 of its own branded stores as well as e-commerce and m-commerce channels) continue to delve deeper into digital marketing and customer engagement, they will discover that soft benefits are at least as and maybe more important than hard benefits such as sales conversions. Convincing a customer to make a one-time digital purchase of lipstick is nice, but convincing a customer that the Burberry brand is an integral part of the most intimate and personal parts of their life is even nicer.

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