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Sustainable Packaging Expo begins next week

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart and Sam’s Club are scheduled to hold the 8th Annual Sustainable Packaging Exposition next week at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Ar.

The event will be held May 8-9 and is open to merchants, marketers, Walmart employees and product and solutions providers. Several hundred exhibitors are expected to fill the Hammon’s Center to showcase opportunities for cost savings, sustainability improvements and supply chain efficiencies that minimize resource utilization. The event was born out of Walmart’s sustainability committments announced in 2005, one of which is to create zero waste.

According to promotional materials for the event, product Suppliers are encourage to invite all associates from their companies who work with packaging and could benefit from the information which will be shared. Walmart also encourages, but doesn’t require, product suppliers to visit the expo with their buyers to maximize the value of the event.

To register for the event go to www.walmart.walmartmeetings.com to begin the process.

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Ruiz recognized as USO’s Woman of the Year

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart’s commitment earlier this year to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years prompted the USO to award Walmart U.S. COO Gisel Ruiz its 2013 Woman of the Year Distinguished Service Award.

Ruiz was presented with the award at the USO’s 47th annual luncheon where she said the honor was humbling and a surprise.

"I’ve never been through boot camp. I’ve never been sent on a life-threatening mission. I’ve never had to say goodbye to my two daughters and wonder with a broken heart when I would see them next," Ruiz said. "And then I realized – that’s point. We all have a role to play. Every civilian, every business, every organization has the opportunity, the obligation, to protect what’s great about our country."

She noted that Wamart already counts 100,000 veterans among its U.S. employee base of 1.2 million and said it was a privilege to represent a company that believes in the power of veterans and is committed to hiring even more.

"We recognize that not all veterans want a career in retail but every veteran who does will now have a place to go," Ruiz said. "Let me be clear. Walmart’s commitment to hiring veterans is not a fashionable trend. It’s not a charitable cause. It’s a strategic decision we made because we have seen first hand the positive impact veterans have on business."

Walmart first announced its commitment to hire 100,000 veterans in January when Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon gave a speech at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention. Walmart said it would offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first twelve months off active duty and estimated it would mean hiring 100,000 veterans.

According to Ruiz, Walmart’s pledge is that those who fought for us abroad should not have to fight for jobs at home.

"Through your service, you give us a land of freedom. When you come home, it must be to a land of possibility," Ruiz said at the award presentation.

 

 

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Build-A-Bear-Workshop solid in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

ST. LOUIS — Build-A-Bear Workshop reported increased net income and sales the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter a year earlier, despite closing some stores. The retailer’s adjusted net income rose to $2.3 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of $500,000 in the first quarter of last year.

Consolidated net retail sales were $102.9 million with 24 fewer stores compared to $95.2 million in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 8% excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Consolidated same-store sales increased 10.4%.

“We have had a strong start to the year with a double-digit increase in consolidated comparable store sales, growth in e-commerce and a return to profitability in the first quarter,” said CEO Maxine Clark. “Our positive trend has continued into the second quarter with year-to-date through April consolidated comps up 10.1%, which normalizes the change in the timing of East.”

Clark noted that the chain’s updated design has been met with a positive response.

“Our first six remodeled stores continue to have strong average sales increases of 25% and we expect to remodel approximately 25 additional stores in the new design in 2013,” she said.

The company expects to close an additional 30 to 45 stores in fiscal 2013 and 2014 to reach its optimal store count of 225 to 250 stores in North America. These closures are expected to transfer approximately 20% of sales to other stores in the same markets, consistent with the average transfer rate of the stores closed since 2011.

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