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Walmart launches healthy foods rewards program

BY Staff Writer

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart and HumanaVitality announced a first-of-its-kind program called Vitality HealthyFood, whereby Walmart offers a 5% discount on produce items to HumanaVitality members. The discount is loaded on a card in the form of a credit within five business days that can be redeemed on a subsequent trip to Walmart.

“Price is an important factor in incentivizing wellness in America. By offering affordable, healthier foods, we will help make our customers healthier and reduce costs to our healthcare system as a whole," said John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness at Walmart U.S.

The program is set to begin Oct. 15 when the 5% discount becomes available on produce items bearing the recently developed “Great for You” icon, The discounter expects to apply the icon to select private-label products under the Great Value and Marketside brands that meet the “Great for You” criteria. The program is likely to be expanded to branded food items in 2013.

Walmart’s products eligible for the credit include fresh fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, skim milk, brown rice and packaged goods, the company said.

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Ikea CEO to step down

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Stockholm, Sweden — Ikea said Monday that its CEO Mikael Ohlsson will step down effective Sept. 1, 2013, and will be succeeded by Peter Agnefjall, current country manager of Ikea Sweden.

To prepare Agnefjall for his new role, Ikea said that he will serve as VP of the company beginning in 2013 until his September transition.

Ikea also announced that founder Ingvar Kamprad has elevated his three sons’ roles in the company. Peter, Mathias and Jonas will have "more active ownership roles," according to Ikea spokesman Per Heggenes. The retailer said the two moves are unrelated.

Peter, the eldest son, has been working in Ikea’s purchasing and retail operation and now chairs Ikano. Jonas, a former Ikea furniture designer, sits on the board of the Ingka holding company. Youngest brother Mathias has worked as an assistant to his father and is on the board of Inter Ikea.

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Survey: Canada is land of opportunity

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Survey results released Tuesday by WSL/Strategic Retail found that Canada represents a strong expansion opportunity for U.S. retailers.

The “How Canada Shops” research study revealed that 64% of Canadians can still afford to shop beyond the basics – versus half of Americans, who say they cannot.



“As U.S. companies struggle with sales and profit growth in a stalled global economy, and as the Internet continues to steal share of shoppers from the stores, the opportunity to expand into Canada has become very appealing,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. “While each of the major retail categories exist, Costco is the only club; Walmart faces off against a weak Zellers (at least until Target arrives in 2013); and The Bay and Sears are the only mid-tier department stores. The added bonus is that few Canadians shop Amazon.”


However, U.S. retailers will still need to tailor strategies to the Canadian consumer. “While there is significant opportunity, we have also found important differences in the way Canadians think and shop, vs. Americans, which will require U.S. retailers to consider new strategies and approaches when entering this market,” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail.

She said that Canadians have been found to be less passionate about shopping than Americans and their online activities are less.

Other survey highlights include:

  • 55% of Canadian women regularly use coupons to reduce costs, whereas 68% of American women utilize coupons when shopping;
  • 50% of Canadian women search the Internet for promotions versus 61% of American women shoppers;
  • 57% of Canadian women pick up circulars in store versus 71% of American women;
  • 50% of Canadian women say they shop online, as opposed to 75% of American women;
  • 31% of Canadian women shoppers visit retailer and manufacturer websites versus 50% of American women shoppers; and
  • Only 26% of Canadians are able to download apps onto their mobile phones, compared with nearly half of Americans who have that ability.

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