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Three Ways Retailers Can Capitalize on Digital Disruptions

BY CSA STAFF

By Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade Systems

Too often in retail, disruptions are viewed as bad things, but new digital disruptions, including 3-D printing and digital currencies, are transforming what consumers expect from their shopping experience and how they interact with physical and online retailers — for the better.

So what’s driving this transformation? The short answer: consumer demand. Today’s consumers aren’t ignorant to the fact that the exponential growth of technology is profoundly influencing every facet of their lives, and they want that trend to continue. The businesses behind the digital disruptions see the opportunity to capitalize on the demands of consumers for more options.

Many retailers, specifically brick-and-mortars, have hesitated to jump in and take advantage of these disruptions — labeling them as things that are hindering their business and driving customers to online or alternative retailers. The reality is that these new digital options are enriching the retail scene and providing an outstanding opportunity for failing retailers to get back in the game.

The introduction of new, disruptive technologies redefines core systems of retail, including payments and supply chain, and repositions everyone on equal footing.

Retailers need to stop shying away from digital options and learn to embrace them. Here are three ways today’s retailers can capitalize on digital disruptions:

1. First things first: There is a seemingly endless list of new digital options for retailers. In 2014 alone, we’ve seen significant growth in 3D printing, digital currencies and curated shopping with online retailers. Before jumping in with both feet, retailers need to survey the scene and make an educated decision on what digital options they should choose to implement. Survey what new digital options are most suited to that particular retail business and make the leap.

2. Be unique:
In a recent CNBC article, Steve Barr of research group PwC stated that the most successful retailers don’t cut prices—rather, they offer unique products and shopping experiences. Retailers shouldn’t be afraid to explore digital options that aren’t found in traditional retail settings. By incorporating unique technologies, retailers have the opportunity to reach new demographics with an unparalleled experience and rare or one-of-a-kind products.

3. Get out ahead: Technology isn’t going to stop improving, and customers will likely never stop wanting to experience the next big thing. It’s critical for retailers to stay on top of industry changes and make investments in new digital options as they emerge. Becoming an early adopter or even pioneering original, creative solutions are ways to gain significant recognition in the industry and win new customers.

The digitization of retail is the new normal — consumers will continue to demand and expect the availability of digital options. Retailers that want to stay relevant can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.

Gary Ambrosino is CEO of TimeTrade Systems, whose responsive customer engagement platform allows consumers to connect with a brand, anywhere, anytime — and then gives companies deeper insight than ever before about what consumers want next. He can be reached at [email protected].


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Triscuit teams up with Martha Stewart for recipe challenge

BY CSA STAFF

Triscuit and Martha Stewart have entered into an exclusive partnership with the launch of the Triscuit Summer Snackoff, a series of four recipe challenges.

Every other week, from now until Aug. 24, Stewart will debut a new recipe featuring a different seasonal ingredient on www.triscuitsummersnackoff.com, encouraging fans to develop and submit their own Triscuit creations using Martha Stewart’s seasonally inspired selection.

"This summer, I’m excited to share my favorite seasonal ingredients on a Triscuit. I can’t wait to see how our fans share their creativity during the Triscuit Summer Snackoff," said Stewart.

Stewart kicked off the first of four Triscuit Summer Snackoff challenges by sharing her Toasted Marshmallow Berry Bite recipe, featuring berries as the first seasonally inspired ingredient on a Triscuit.

With each challenge, fans will be asked to post their own recipe and a photo of their Triscuit creation using the featured ingredient selected by Martha Stewart. The first 5,000 entrants from each of the four challenges will win a free box of Triscuit crackers, and all entrants will be eligible to win a Triscuit and Martha Stewart gift basket.

Once all four challenges conclude, the top 25 entries across all four challenges will be selected based on creativity, originality and taste appeal. Consumers will then be invited to vote for their favorite recipe. The individual who receives the most votes for their creation will win a trip to New York City to meet Martha Stewart.

"We are always looking to our fans for new and inspiring ways to top our Triscuit crackers. Like Triscuit, Martha has roots in wholesome and inspired recipes, which is why it made sense for her to encourage others to share their favorite Triscuit recipes," said Patty Gonzalez, senior brand manager at Mondelez International. "We look forward to further growing our relationship with Martha Stewart in the coming months."

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TreeHouse Foods to acquire private-label healthy snack company

BY CSA STAFF

TreeHouse Foods plans to acquire Flagstone Foods, a leading provider of private-label healthy snacks, one of the fastest growing on-trend categories in the food industry.

TreeHouse has agreed to pay Gryphon Investors and other shareholders $860 million in cash for the business, subject to an adjustment for working capital.

The company expects the transaction to have roughly $0.05 to $0.08 impact on 2014 earnings and add approximately $0.24 to $0.28 in EPS in the first full year following closing. Following the acquisition, TreeHouse’s pro forma annual sales are expected to approach $3.5 billion and adjusted EBITDA should exceed $450 million. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, and is expected to be financed through a combination of borrowings under TreeHouse’s existing credit facility and a $325 million equity issuance.

Flagstone Foods is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of private-label healthy snacks in North America, and holds the number one private-label position in the trail mix and dried fruit categories. The company has approximately 1,365 employees and is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and operates two state-of-the-art facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Roberson, North Carolina. Flagstone Foods reported sales of $697 million for the fiscal year ended Dec. 28, 2013.

"We are extremely enthusiastic about the acquisition of Flagstone Foods," said Sam K. Reed, chairman, president and CEO of TreeHouse Foods. "Flagstone Foods is ideally situated at the intersection of health and wellness, snacking and the perimeter of the store, and represents an attractive new platform for TreeHouse to enter the on-trend, rapidly growing $7.1 billon healthy snacks category.”

"I’m very proud of what we have built to date at Flagstone Foods, and I believe that we are just getting started," said Paul Lapadat, CEO of Flagstone Foods. "By joining TreeHouse Foods, I am confident that we will continue our strong track record of growth. Our management team is among the best, comprised of food industry veterans, and we remain highly focused on delivering innovative and on-trend healthy snacks by both adding new customers and growing and expanding our existing retail partnerships."

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Perella Weinberg Partners LP are acting as financial advisers on the transaction and Winston & Strawn LLP is serving as legal counsel to TreeHouse Foods. Moelis & Company LLC, Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. and BMO Capital Markets Corp. are serving as financial advisers to Flagstone Foods and Gryphon Investors with respect to the transaction and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as its legal counsel.

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