CVS, 7-Eleven participate in new American Express cash-load program
NEW YORK — American Express Serve announced a free nationwide cash load network and the addition of new money management capabilities to its full-service reloadable prepaid account. The new features enable Serve customers to load cash for free at more than 14,000 participating CVS/pharmacy and 7-Eleven stores. According to reports, the number of stores will grow by the end of 2013 to about 20,000, with the addition of Family Dollar, Office Depot, Walgreens and Duane Reade stores.
The new features include: direct deposit, bill pay, mobile check capture and personal financial management tools. These enhancements are designed to meet the needs of the nearly 70 million Americans underserved by traditional financial services.
“Unfortunately, the traditional banking system is not easily accessible to large segments of the population, making managing money cumbersome and expensive for many,” said Dan Schulman, group president, enterprise growth at American Express. “We launched Serve two years ago with the simple idea that consumers needed a better way to move their money. Today, we’ve added a number of new features to make the management and movement of money more affordable and convenient for everyone.”
Mintel: High-income households shop at dollar stores
CHICAGO — Dollar stores are not just for lower- and middle-income shoppers. In fact, half (50%) of respondents from the highest-income households ($150,000-plus) say that they are shopping at dollar stores the same amount this year compared with last year, with 10% saying they are doing so more than last year, according to new research from Mintel. Only 32% of respondents from the highest-income households claim not to shop at dollar stores.
“Dollar and discount stores benefit from continued consumer caution regarding spending, as well as an improved level of acceptance and satisfaction of the products offered and the shopping experience in these channels," said Ali Lipson, retail analyst at Mintel. "However, some consumers do have a perception of lesser quality offered at these retailers, thus choosing other channels over dollar and discount stores. In order to reverse this perception, dollar and discount stores need to promote brand-name offerings to those who are unaware that well-known brands are offered at these stores. "
Some 78% of dollar-store shoppers say that stores are conveniently located, and almost three-quarters (74%) of shoppers think that dollar stores offer better prices than other retailers. But convenience and price aren’t the only features driving consumers to dollar stores: 59% of respondents say these stores are pleasant to shop in, while 54% believe brands and products sold at dollar stores are just as good as other retailers.
However, income shoppers do have an issue with the brands and products sold. Dollar store shoppers who live in households earning less than $25K are satisfied with the selection (64%), while only 34% of those in $150K+ households find the brands and products at dollar stores just as good as other retailers.
Younger men and women, those ages 18 years to 34 years, are more likely than those in other age groups to say they are shopping at dollar stores more often this year compared to last year (33% of men and 31% of women versus 24% of all respondents).
"Younger consumers are an important group to target for dollar and discount stores. This group is likely to be from lower-income households, as many may be students and others who are starting out in their careers and could benefit from the discount prices and convenience of these venues," Lipson said.
Delhaize Europe CEO Stefan Descheemaeker resigns
BRUSSELS — The CEO of Delhaize Group’s European division has resigned, effective Oct. 31, the Belgian supermarket operator said.
Delhaize said Stefan Descheemaeker had decided to resign as CEO of Delhaize Europe, though the company did not give a reason. Delhaize said that as a result of Descheemaeker’s departure, Delhaize Group EVP and Delhaize Group Southeast Europe and Asia CEO Kostas Macheras would report directly to group CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers, as would Delhaize Belgium CEO Dirk Van den Berghe, effective Nov. 1.
"I want to thank Stefan for his significant contribution to the success of Delhaize Europe and Delhaize Group," Beckers said. "In both his former capacity as CFO and then as CEO of Delhaize Europe, Stefan has been an energetic leader who raises the organization’s focus on cash-flow generation and brought the company to a higher level of performance while steadfastly promoting the company values."
Incoming group CEO Frans Muller said he looked forward to working with Macheras and Van den Berghe in developing the company’s European business.
"Equally, I look forward to partnering with our group CFO, Pierre Bouchut, so that we can continue improving the focus and performance of the overall group," Muller said. "This will be amongst my key priorities in addition to working directly with the Delhaize America team while I evaluate and search for the best candidate to fill the Delhaize America CEO role."