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Walmart “SPARCs” in stock improvement

BY CSA STAFF

A new smartphone app Walmart unveiled to suppliers on Thursday has the potential to drive improved in-stock levels and increase associate efficiency.

Walmart unveiled the new app at an annual gathering of suppliers in Orlando known as the Year Beginning Meeting. Dubbed SPARC – not to be confused with the retailer’s Spark logo – the acronym stands for Supplier Portal Allowing Retail Coverage. The goal behind the app’s development was to allow real-time data sharing and bring process improvement to the in-store environment. It does so by enhancing the ability of suppliers and third party service organizations to access inventory held in back rooms and take action at the shelf as warranted by in-stock levels. Suppliers and employees of third party service groups who receive appropriate training from a merchandising firm soon will be able to use their smart phones to perform many of the functions that currently require assistance from a store associate armed with a bulkier handheld device known as a Telxon.

The SPARC program represents a major advancement over the current approach and promises to improve the on-shelf availability of items, a metric Walmart refers to as OSA, in a much more efficient manner. For example, suppliers and third party representatives will no longer have to spend time locating a store associate and a Telxon, pull them away from other customer-facing duties in order to access back room inventory.

Prior to the rollout the program was piloted 28 stores in four markets with several major suppliers including L’Oreal, Procter & Gambler, General Mills, Kellogg, Unilever and ConAgra.

The app was developed by Walmart’s digital partner Rockfish with funding provided by several major suppliers.

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Union claims Target Canada engaged in unfair hiring practices

BY CSA STAFF

TORONTO, ONTARIO — The Canadian arm of the United Food and Commercial Workers union has taken aim at Target for its alleged unfair treatment of former Zellers workers.

The union claims that Target, which is converting 189 Zellers stores, is not giving former employees a fair shake in the hiring process and that many have been turned down for employment without reason.

"Promoting itself as the new friendly neighbour in Canada, Target has clearly failed to include the more than 25,000 Canadian workers who they threw out of work," says Kevin Shimmin, a UFCW Canada national representative.

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Morton Salt makes entry into Epsom salt category

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Morton Salt on Thursday introduced a new line of Natural Epsom salt products, marking its first foray into the health and beauty category.

"The Epsom salt category has seen sustained growth over the past few years, presenting an opportunity for Morton Salt to begin leveraging its ubiquitous brand equity with the health and beauty shopper," stated Carol Panozzo, VP consumer products sales and marketing at Morton Salt.

Morton’s new Epsom salt line includes four core products, which are unique in that they are made with natural magnesium sulfate.

Morton Natural Epsom salt (plain) serves the functional need of soothing minor aches and sprains when soaking in a bath of hot water and Morton Epsom salt.

Morton Natural Epsom salt with lavender or eucalyptus fragrances offers a sensory experience that can help promote relaxation while soothing minor aches and sprains. Morton Natural Epsom salt with lavender scent offers calming properties that may help to encourage a restful sleep, while Morton Natural Epsom salt with eucalyptus scent helps to relax the senses and relieve tension.

The line also includes a lotion containing Morton Natural Epsom salt.

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