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As America changes, the best brands change with it

BY Rob Eder

In April, Drug Store News and Mack Elevation will host the third annual New General Market Forum in Minneapolis. The exclusive thought-leadership platform brings together leading CPG companies that share a common purpose — to connect on an emotional level, building community and advocacy with an ever-more diverse consumer.

Who is the New General Market? The New General Market is a mind-set, not a consumer segment. It is not so much about just understanding the multicultural or millennial shopper, but also about the influence these groups are having on consumers as a whole. Serving the New General Market is about ignoring demographics in favor of psychographics, needs and values.

The April 4 New General Market Summit will examine how winning brands are adopting new needs, motivations and practices within their organizations, and building stronger customer relationships through personalization, custom solutions and a seamless omnichannel experience.

DSN and Mack Elevation have assembled a special group of thought-leading executives for the April 4 event, representing some of the most progressive companies in the industry, who will discuss and examine how their organizations are leveraging digital, mobile and social platforms to reach and better serve today’s diverse consumer.

Sundial Brands CEO Rich Dennis, recently named to Fast Company magazine’s annual list of the Most Creative People in business, will discuss the company’s organizational purpose and its social vision for community commerce.

Executives from Unilever will talk about new insights the company is uncovering as part of its ongoing effort to build more purpose-driven brands.

Eric Ryan, co-founder of both the Method and Olly brands, will talk about the “birth process” for innovation for today’s consumer.

And Target senior director of health care and optical John Peine will examine the strategic benefits of creating personalized, customized omnichannel solutions to target the New General Market consumer.

Participants in the April 4 New General Market Summit will help define the best practices of brands that are winning in this space. Highlights from the event will be featured in a series of DSN special reports later this year, both digitally and in print.

The days of transactional business are over; brands must connect heart and soul.

That is why DSN and Mack Elevation have created the New General Market Summit — to explore what the best brands are doing to emotionally connect with today’s shopper, building community and advocacy with their diverse consumer bases.

To find out more about how your company can participate, contact me at [email protected].


Rob Eder is associate publisher/editor-in-chief of Drug Store News.

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Costco January sales increase 9%

BY Brian Berk

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale reported net sales of $9.08 billion for the month of January, an increase of 9% compared to $8.32 billion in sales during the same period in 2016.

U.S. comparable-store sales for the four week period ended Jan. 29 increased 6% year over year. When excluding impacts from gasoline prices and foreign exchange, U.S. comparable-store sales increased 5% year over year. For the total company, comp-store sales rose 7%.

Costco also announced results for the 22 weeks ended Jan. 29. Net sales came in at $52.26 billion, an increase of 5% versus the year-ago period. U.S. comp-store sales rose by 2% during this 22-week period.

Issaquah-based Costco operates 725 warehouses, including 506 in the United States and Puerto Rico. 

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Study finds identity fraud hitting record high

BY David Salazar
Identity fraud is at an all-time high, and despite industry efforts, fraudsters continue to rack up victims.
 
According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, the number of victims increased by 16%, rising to 15.4 million U.S. consumers in the last year — a record high since Javelin Strategy & Research began tracking identity fraud in 2003. 
 
Worse, fraudsters successfully added two million more individuals to their list of victims in 2016. The amount fraudsters took, which increased by nearly $1 billion dollars, totaled $16 billion, according to the study, which analyzes identity fraud trends.
 
While incidence of fraud at the point-of-sale (POS) remained essentially unchanged from 2014 and 2015 levels, there was a resurgence in existing card fraud in 2016, which included a 40% increase in card-not-present (CNP) fraud. The increase in EMV cards and terminals was a catalyst for driving fraudsters to shift to fraudulently opening new accounts. 
 
Fraudsters have clearly become better at evading detection, but on a positive note, consumers with an online presence are getting better at detecting fraud quicker. These efforts result in less loss overall per attempt. Many new-account fraud (NAF) victims are more likely to discover fraud through review of their credit report (15%), the study said.
 
However, there is still plenty of work to be done. After reaching a low point in 2014, both account takeovers and losses rose notably in 2016. Total account takeover losses reached $2.3 billion, a 61% increase from 2015, while incidence rose 31%. Account takeover continues to be one of the most challenging fraud types for consumers with victims paying an average of $263 out of pocket costs and spending a total of 20.7 million hours to resolve it in 2016 – 6 million more than in 2015, data revealed.
 
“After five years of relatively small growth or even decreases in fraud, this year’s findings drives home that fraudsters never rest and when one area is closed, they adapt and find new approaches,” said Al Pascual, senior VP, research director and head of fraud & security, Javelin Strategy & Research. 
 
“The rise of information available via data breaches is particularly troublesome for the industry and a boon for fraudsters,” he said. “To successfully fight fraudsters, the industry needs to close security gaps and continue to improve and consumers must be proactive too.”

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