OPERATIONS

Valpak names Michigan franchisee

BY Dan Berthiaume

Largo, Fla. – Valpak has signed a franchise agreement with Lia Jensen to acquire the Valpak of West Michigan territory. The market was previously owned and operated by Valpak corporate.

Jensen, a first-time franchisee, has assumed The Blue Envelope distribution and began mailing out to residents and businesses in Kent, Ottawa, and Allegan Counties in October.

"As a long-time resident of West Michigan, I was drawn to Valpak’s brand strength and product recognition," said Jensen. "Their proven direct marketing system will allow me to assist businesses in the area by helping them reach and attract their target audience."

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Amazon leverages convenience to grab last-minute holiday shoppers

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon is touting its Prime program again this holiday season, reminding members that they can order gifts as late as midnight EST Sunday, Dec. 22, and still get free delivery before Christmas.

The online retailer is leveraging the shorter shopping period this year, which is one week shorter than last year’s, to drive sales by emphasizing the convenience that online shopping can afford — a surefire way to draw shoppers who want to avoid the imminent crowds this weekend.

“We would like to make your weekend just a little easier,” said Greg Greeley, VP Amazon Prime. “Prime members can order anytime this weekend, as late as midnight on Sunday, Dec. 22, and still receive unlimited free two-day shipping in time for Christmas. This allows members to enjoy the same fast, free shipping and convenient online shopping experience they have come to expect from Amazon.”

Amazon also offers Prime members discounted one-day shipping for as low as $2.99 per item, which means that truly last-minute shoppers can order as late as midnight Monday, Dec. 23, using Prime one-day shipping and still receive their package before Christmas.

The online retailer is also looking to grow its Prime program and is, for the first time, allowing customers the option of buying a Prime membership as a gift.

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OPERATIONS

Kroger promotes exec to VP of retail divisions

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati – Kroger has promoted Mark Tuffin to senior VP of retail divisions. He succeeds Michael Ellis, who will become Kroger’s president and COO on Jan. 1, 2014.

Tuffin, 53, has been president of the company’s Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division since 2011. He brings more than 32 years of grocery industry experience to his new role. He held various positions with other supermarket retailers before joining Smith’s Food and Drug Stores in 1996, where he held several key leadership roles including vice president of merchandising. In 2009, Tuffin was named VP of transition for Kroger. In this role, he led Kroger’s efforts to implement significant organizational changes between all areas of the business.

"Mark is an exceptional leader with an extensive knowledge of the grocery industry," said Ellis. "He has made significant contributions to our company and industry, while always championing our customer first strategy. We look forward to Mark’s leadership in this senior role as we continue to accelerate Kroger’s growth."

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