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Fresh & Easy goes gourmet

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — One month after announcing the expansion of its Eatwell line to meet customers’ demand for affordable and nutritious meal options, Fresh & Easy has rolled out its Gourmet line.

Created by Fresh & Easy’s team of chefs, Gourmet gives customers a fine-dining experience with all the comforts of home. Additionally, Fresh & Easy created an online menu of the new items and posted photos of the new range on the company’s Flickr photostream.

John Burry, Fresh & Easy’s chief commercial officer, said, “Instead of spending $20 a plate at a restaurant, customers can pop in to Fresh & Easy for delicious and affordable meals they can enjoy in the comfort of their homes."

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Real rewards, everyday value rank highest among loyalty card users

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — With many businesses implementing customer reward programs to drive sales, it seems that the ones that promise everyday value and rewards fare better than their counterparts, according to new research.

The Recommendation Index, conducted by marketing agency Zocalo Group and M/A/R/C Research, analyzed 1,000 reward program participants, who were asked about brands they most often positively and negatively recommended, and the attributes they used to make their recommendations.

The research found that words associated with the most favorable aspects of reward programs — "actual rewards," "cash back," "free" and "discounts" — led to positive recommendations. One of the biggest recommendation drivers were programs that rewarded consumers for everyday purchases.

Another conclusion reached was that the most positively recommended rewards programs by consumers were those in the retail space — the top 10 recommended reward loyalty programs were Rite Aid, which captured the No. 1 spot, with CVS coming in at No. 4. Rounding out the index was Kroger (No. 10).

"The Recommendation Index makes clear what drives discussion, recommendations and criticisms in the reward card market," said Paul Rand, Zocalo Group president and CEO. "Marketers spend so much in this area that gaining insight into what really makes a program highly recommended can offer a huge advantage. Consumers are very clear about what they value — and recommend.

"What this tells marketers of reward programs is that it becomes essential to find ways to actively build more everyday reward programs," Rand concluded.

More information about the Recommendation Index can be found here.

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Xploderz making retail debut

BY Allison Cerra

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — A new line of toy firing systems features ammunition that disintegrates on impact.

The Xploderz lineup of products include the XBlaster 200, Face Off 400, XStormer 1000 and XRanger 2000. Each gun shoots ammunition made with H2Grow technology that disintegrates on impact.

The XBlaster 200 is an easy-to-handle blaster that features a power arm, ammo clip and 200 Xploderz rounds, and shoots up to 50 ft. The XBlaster 200 carries a suggested retail price of $12.99.

The Face Off 400 is a battle pack of easy-to-handle blasters with ammo clips and 400 Xploderz rounds, ideal for a pair of players. Each blaster shoots up to 50 ft and carries a suggested retail price of $19.99.

The XStormer 1000 is a versatile blaster with good distance and easy maneuverability. It comes with power arm, flip-up sight, ammo clip and 1,000 Xploderz rounds, with the potential to shoot up to 75 ft. The XStormer 1000 carries a suggested retail price of $24.99.

The XRanger 2000 is a long-distance fire power with shoulder stock, bi-pod, flip-up sight, ammo clip and 2000 Xploderz rounds. The XRanger 2000 shoots a distance of 85 ft and retails for $39.99.

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