OPERATIONS

Survey ranks customers’ favorite grocery shopping destinations

BY Alaric Dearment

Boulder, Colo. — Giant-Landover and ShopRite are shoppers’ two favorite supermarkets, according to results of a survey released Tuesday.

Market Force Information released results of a survey of 6,428 U.S. and Canadian consumers conducted in March, showing Giant-Landover in the top spot, followed by ShopRite, Walmart, Publix and Costco. Giant, officially known as Giant Food and based in Landover, Md., got high marks for its fast checkouts and organic options, but discount grocer Aldi beat out the others on price, while Publix was recognized for atmosphere and courteous staff. Walmart was recognized for convenience as a one-stop shopping destination, but placed last for courteous staff and high-quality meat and produce.

Shoppers ranked the deli, butcher and baker as the most important departments, and considered high-quality produce more important than high-quality meat, with long wait times in the checkout lines causing the most dissatisfaction. The survey also found that private-label products showed little differentiation from retailer to retailer, indicating an opportunity for grocers to distinguish themselves.

"We discovered that merely satisfying customers isn’t enough to move them to action," Market Force chief marketing officer Janet Eden-Harris said. "When grocers can create experiences that truly delight customers, they can establish brand advocates who are almost guaranteed to recommend that grocery store to friends and family."

The survey found that among "delighted" customers — those who rated their shopping experience at 5 on a five-point scale — 70% were likely to recommend the store to another person, while only 11% of those who rated their experience at 4 were likely to recommend it. A large majority, 88%, said they were either somewhat or very satisfied by their experience, while 12% were neutral, dissatisfied or not at all satisfied. Among those reporting dissatisfaction, 52% reported long wait times at the checkout line as the reason, while 48% cited the inability to find a desired item, 39% cited poor cashier service and 29% cited produce quality.

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OPERATIONS

Legal expert joins Sears Canada board

BY Staff Writer

Toronto — Sears Canada has named Don Ross to its board of directors, effective immediately. Ross is a partner at a prominent law firm in Toronto and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the New York State Bar Association, and the Canadian, American and International Bar Associations.

Sears Canada also announced today the resignation from the board of Deidra Merriwether, SVP and president retail services of Sears Holdings.

"The board of directors of Sears Canada is pleased to have attracted Ross to our board," said William Crowley, chairman of the board of Sears Canada. "Ross brings extensive experience in both domestic and cross-border commercial matters as well as in corporate governance, and the board welcomes such an esteemed lawyer, educator and author."

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OPERATIONS

Home Depot settles National Guard case

BY Brae Canlen

New York — The Justice Department and The Home Depot have reached a settlement in a case where the government accused the retailer of unlawfully terminating an employee who was a member of the Army National Guard.

An Iraqi war veteran who lived in Flagstaff, Ariz., Brian Bailey worked as a department supervisor while at the same time serving in the California Army National Guard. Throughout his employment with Home Depot, Bailey took periodic leave from work to fulfill his military obligations with the National Guard. According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Bailey was removed from his position as a department supervisor after Home Depot management officials at the Flagstaff store openly expressed their displeasure with his periodic absences due to his military service. The DOJ also claims that store management threatened to remove him from his position because of those absences.

These alleged actions are violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The agreement, which still must be approved by the federal district court, states that Home Depot will provide Bailey with $45,000 in monetary relief and make changes to its Military Leaves of Absence policy. The settlement further mandates that Home Depot review its Military Leaves of Absence policy with managers from the district where Bailey worked.

This case was handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

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