Yankee Candle names Canada GM, to grow Canadian store count to 50
South Deerfield, Mass. — The Yankee Candle Co. has appointed Chris Kelly as general manager, Canada, charged with overseeing all aspects of the Yankee Candle business in Canada.
The company currently operates six company-owned retail stores in the Greater Toronto Area and also sells products at select independent gift and specialty stores. As part of planned global expansion efforts, this new business unit will focus on building out the gift and specialty business as well as invest in building the retail store base to over 50 stores in the next five years across the country.
Prior to joining Yankee Candle, Kelly was part of the executive team at Hallmark Canada, where he most recently served as VP of Consumer Solutions & Brand Experience.
Office Depot rolls out omni-channel initiatives
Boca Raton, Fla. — As part of its plan to support a customer-focused omni-channel experience, Office Depot said that, effective July 28, its associates will be enabled with mobile hand-held devices across all stores to provide instant access to extended product information, availability, customer reviews and on-the-spot checkout from anywhere in the store.
Designed to launch in tandem with the back-to-school push, the mobile technology will also allow associates to order out-of-stock items from Officedepot.com (with free shipping) via their mobile devices.
The office supply retailer is also rolling out in-store touch-screen kiosks and workstations to allow customers to research the full assortment of items available at Office Depot and order for delivery. Consumers can also download the Office Depot App to scan any barcode in-store to read reviews and additional product details, or use the company’s free Wi-Fi service in-store.
“Technology is constantly changing the way people shop,” said Christine Buscarino, VP customer experience, Office Depot. “We are continuing to refresh our services and our omni-channel offerings to ensure customers get what they need, when they need it. It’s about shopping for and receiving products at a time and in a way that is most convenient.”
Additionally, Office Depot has introduced a “Buy Online, Ready in One-Hour” program, which allows customers to purchase online and pick up at a store in one hour.
Report: Restaurant visits to slip as prepared foods gain traction
Chicago — Home meal replacements or prepared foods from supermarkets, drug stores and other retail outlets will continue to capture share of the meal/snacks market by stealing visits from restaurants, according to a recent study by The NPD Group.
Its recent foodservice forecast through 2022 indicated that instances of prepared food purchased at retailers for at-home consumption will increase by 10% over the next decade compared to a 4% increase forecast for commercial foodservice traffic.
While there is no one age group that takes greater advantage of the prepared food offerings from retail outlets than another, the needs being met do differ by age group. Adults 35 years and older are more likely than 18-34 year olds to use prepared foods from retail to meet their in-home supper needs. Lunch-at-home interests are also met by these retailers, especially for seniors (65+). Consumers 18-24 are more inclined than others to make purchases from these retail outlets to satisfy their interest in afternoon or evening snacks.
Acknowledging the growth in the number of Baby Boomers moving into their senior years, the larger share of home meal replacement purchases from retailers will source to those 65+ years over the next 10 years, reported NPD. Prepared foods retailers are also expected to benefit from increased visiting from those in their 30s.
“Capturing visits from direct competition, like prepared foods retailers, has been the primary source for a restaurant operator’s growth over the past 10 years and this will continue to be the case,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “Efforts to pull consumers out of their homes and back into restaurants will require touting the benefits of eating out vs. staying at home and cooking or eating meals offered by home meal replacement retailers.”