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Sam’s awards BBQ bragging rites and 50K

BY CSA STAFF

Arkansas is home to some fine barbeque establishments, but Sam’s Club home state was shut out last week when the top prizes were handed out in the retailer’s third annual National BBQ Tour.

The Killer B’s BBQ team from Evans, Ga., beat out 49 other teams to be named the overall champion of the event and took home the top prize of $50,000. The team of Iowa Smokey D’s barbecue team of Des Moines, Iowa, took home $25,000 as Reserve Grand Champion of the competition, and Pigskin BBQ of Rockwell, Iowa, took third place overall. Awards were also granted in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.

Introduced in 2011 as the country’s only continuous competitive barbecue series with the largest prize purse in the history of competitive barbecue, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour has distributed more than $1 million in prizes since its inception. All events are sanctioned and scored by master judges certified by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS).

“Sam’s Club is proud to celebrate small business restaurateurs, caterers and competitive barbecue hobbyists that participate in the BBQ Tour for the past three years,” said Shawn Baldwin, SVP of food and beverage at Sam’s Club. “The Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour brings the best, most passionate pitmasters and sponsors together to inspire and educate anyone who wants to be a better backyard griller.”

A total of 50 teams from 26 states participated in the event last week in Bentonville, Ar., which was the culmination of a 31 event tour.

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Coupons.com names former Safeway exec as COO, CFO

BY CSA STAFF

Coupons.com has appointed former Safeway executive Mir Aamir as the company’s CFO and COO.

Aamir has more than 18 years of finance, strategy and operating experience, primarily in the retail and consumer packaged goods industries. He will oversee all financial and accounting functions. These are currently managed by Richard Hornstein, the company’s CFP and general counsel. Hornstein will continue in the role of general counsel and chief legal officer, a role he has held for the past two and a half years. Aamir, in addition to the finance functions, will also oversee the company’s operations and the international business.

“For the past 15 years Coupons.com has worked to bring a digital consumer experience to high-volume retail and CPG industries. Mir has also been a pioneer in this space and is a recognized and well respected thought leader who brings extensive, highly relevant experience to our business,” said Steven Boal, Coupons.com CEO. “Not only does Mir have large-scale financial experience, he also has deep expertise in both CPG and high-volume retail. As a thought leader in direct-to-consumer and retail trade promotions, Mir has spent almost two decades understanding consumer shopping behavior and how to effectively engage with shoppers, whether they are at home, on the go, or in the store. Mir’s unique combination of experiences will serve our company well.”

Aamir was most recently president of customer loyalty and digital technologies at Safeway. He helped found and lead the Just for U platform, Safeway’s industry-leading digital and mobile platform for loyalty and targeted marketing, reaching more than 6 million registered shoppers to date. Previously at Safeway, he was SVP of marketing strategy, financial planning and analysis, pricing and shopper card. Before that, he held the position of group VP, financial planning and analysis and strategy, for all of Safeway’s U.S. business units with annual sales exceeding $33 billion.

Prior to Safeway, Aamir was at A.T. Kearney, Inc., where he was officer and VP for the strategy and management consulting firm’s consumer and retail practice. His clients included top grocery retailers and CPG manufacturers.

Before that, Aamir held various positions at Procter & Gamble and Citicorp in Asia.

Aamir has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.B.A/M.B.A. in Finance from the Institute of Business at the University of Karachi.

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Sam’s Club opens four new locations

BY CSA STAFF

Sam’s Club opened four new 136,000-sq.-ft. units this week expanding its base of clubs to a record 630 units.

The new clubs are located in Owasso, Okla., Fall River, Mass., and Mansfield and Corpus Christi, Texas. The latter is a relocation of a 20 year old club. These opening follow the addition of three new clubs earlier in the month in Aiken, S.C., Romeoville, Ill., and Edmond, Okla.

September was also a busy month for Sam’s with the opening on two new clubs in Harker Heights, Texas and New Rock Hill, S.C., and the relocation of clubs in Houston and Anchorage to new locations.

The October and September openings wind down what has been a busier than normal year for Sam’s as it accelerated expansion in 2013. The estimate for total new units during the current fiscal year was pegged at a range of 19 to 21 when the company updated its expansion plans for financial analysts on October 15. That’s well above the 14 units that were added in 2012 and at the upper range of an earlier forecast which called for 12 to 20 units during 2013.

Next year promises more of the same with Sam’s indicating it will open between 17 and 22 units. The one area where there is a slight pullback involves remodeling activity as Sam’s expects to remodel between 55 and 60 clubs versus 70 this year.

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