MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Urban dwellers drawn by food

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Food is a major driver of the American urban experience. According to a new survey of residents of six major U.S, cities by design firm Sasaki Associates, 82% of urbanites appreciate their city’s culinary offerings, and a new restaurant is the top reason the majority of them (46%) would venture to a new part of their city.

This is compared to 25% of people who are incentivized by a new store and 16% by a sporting event. These preferences vary by region, however, with Bostonians most likely to be enticed by a new restaurant (59%) versus New Yorkers (34%). And the majority of people (41%) consider food and restaurants to be the most outstanding aspect of cities they love to visit.

Working with an independent research firm, Sasaki developed "The State of the City Experience," which surveyed 1,000 people living and working in one of six cities: Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, and Washington, D.C. Beyond food, respondents also enjoy consumer activities such as shopping and going out to eat (56%) the most, followed by programmed events such as farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts and food trucks (45%). And they want more: 46% of respondents said they want their cities to invest in more community-focused events and attractions such as farmer’s markets, swap meets, and food trucks for their open spaces.

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OPERATIONS

Ousted Demoulas CEO urges rehiring of fired Market Basket employees

BY Dan Berthiaume

Tewksbury, Mass. – The saga over the dismissal of former Demoulas Super Markets Inc. CEO Arthur T. Demoulas continues, with Demoulas making public commentary for the first time. In an official statement, Demoulas urged the rehiring of eight management-level employees at the Market Basket grocery chain fired for inventory problems that arose after a July 18 rally demanding his return.

“The success of Market Basket is the result of two things: a business model that works and the execution of it by a dedicated and impassioned team of associates,” said Demoulas’ statement. “Their fierce loyalty to the company and its customers has always been deeply valued. In the final analysis, this is not about me. It is about the people who have proven their dedication over many years and should not have lost their jobs because of it. I urge that they be reinstated in the best interest of the company and our customers.”

Market Basket has continued to report shortages of perishable goods since July 18, and numerous employee demonstrations have occurred outside stores. Parent company Demoulas has been using replacements for warehouse employees and drivers who have walked off their jobs and said they will not return until Demoulas is rehired. Arthur T. Demoulas had been waging a public battle with his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, a stakeholder and director of the company, about finances when he was fired in June. He remains a company shareholder.

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News

Rent-A-Center Q2 earnings fall 58%

BY CSA STAFF

Plano, Texas – Net earnings at Rent-A-Center Inc. fell 58% year-over-year in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, to $17.5 million from $41.9 million. Costs related to pretax restructuring and the consolidation of 150 stores into core U.S. stores helped reduce total net earnings.

Total revenues were $773.2 million, an increase of 2% million from total revenues of $760.5 million for the same period in the prior year. Improved revenues in Rent-A-Center’s Acceptance Now and Mexico segments, partially offset by decreased revenues in its core U.S. segment, drove the increase. Same-store sales rose 0.6%.

Rent-A-Center said second quarter performance did not meet expectations, resulting in reduced guidance for third quarter and full fiscal year revenue and profit. The company is launching a new smartphone product with a no-contract airtime plan to help improve performance.

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