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GMDC delivers nearly 11,000 appointments, calls for a renewed focus on general merchandise

BY Allison Cerra

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Global Market Development Center’s General Merchandise Marketing Conference held here earlier this month provided for almost 11,000 appointments, in addition to 169 senior executive conferences that were piloted at the GM event, the association reported Tuesday.

At the event, GMDC launched a preview of a new GM study in conjunction with the consulting group Radian. The initial analysis and insights of the study, "Winning in GM: Trends, Insights & Strategies," is scheduled to be released in fall 2011 and will include information that will establish performance benchmarks, as well as “blueprints” for implementation.

“This study will quantify the value of GM and provide insights, strategies and solutions to grow business and maintain customer loyalty,” GMDC president and CEO Dave McConnell said. McConnell stressed that GM categories are an important part of the discussion around the revitalization of center store.

Rounding out GMDC’s educational opportunities were a series of Sunday store tours where participants were given personal store tours with local management from Winn-Dixie, Sedano’s Supermarket and Publix Sabor. Each grocer offered a unique perspective about how to merchandise to the local clientele within the Orlando area.

Next year’s General Merchandise Marketing Conference will be held in Orlando, Fla., from June 1 to 5.

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Publix heads to Knoxville

BY Allison Cerra

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix announced that it will make its Knoxville, Tenn., debut in the Northshore Town Center at Northshore Drive and Pellissippi Parkway.

The 56,000-sq.-ft. Publix will offer conventional items combined with an abundant selection of earth-friendly, all-natural and organic products. In addition to the traditional grocery items, the store will feature signature products and services, including a pharmacy, bakery and full-serve deli, meat and seafood departments.

“We are proud to offer our unique shopping experience to customers in Knoxville,” Publix president Todd Jones said. “We are committed to providing premier customer service and look forward to supporting the Knoxville community as early as third quarter 2012.”

Publix currently operates 30 stores in Tennessee, three of which are in the Chattanooga area and 27 in middle Tennessee. Additional Knoxville area sites will be identified as they are confirmed.

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Report: Happy days are here again for CPG companies, thanks to digital technology use

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The vitality of consumer packaged goods companies is healthy again, according to a new report issued by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers on Wednesday.

Despite rising commodity costs, the CPG industry now is in recovery mode with companies refocused on a growth agenda and looking to international expansion as an opportunity to enhance both the top and bottom lines, according to the report, titled “Thriving in a Connected World.” The value of shipments in the CPG industry rose 6% to almost $124 billion in 2010 versus the prior year. Across the board, financial performance generally improved over 2009, with the manufacturing sector achieving strong median one-year shareholder returns of 15%. In addition, median earnings before interest and taxes growth overall improved from 4.3% to 12.9%.

A lot of this growth can be traced to CPG companies’ incorporation of digital technologies. “CPG companies of all sizes harnessed digital technologies in the past few years to become more productive and efficient,” GMA president and CEO Pamela Bailey said. “This study shows how food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers are leveraging innovation to optimize service to consumers and trading partners.”

To determine the best use of mobile devices across the workforce, the report suggested that workforce productivity should be viewed through three lenses: mobility on the floor where workers use their digital devices for instant information, in the field where mobile employees can make decisions on the spot with their devices and in flight where sales representatives, who historically travel to each location to analyze performance, now use mobile technology to monitor activity. The report also noted that as devices and wireless data networks grow, rich multimedia capabilities will continue to be added to business workflows, and businesses will continue to capitalize on the opportunities mobile devices create within the workforce.

”Today’s consumers are more empowered with greater control of their shopping choices with the growing array of digital technologies like smartphones, tablets and social media,” added Susan McPartlin, PwC’s retail and consumer industry leader. “And they aren’t shy about posting their feelings online about products, where they literally are handing over reams of potential insights that can create a tremendous opportunity for CPG companies that can find the patterns in the noise.”

"Thriving in a Connected World" will be presented via webcast by PwC and GMA June 29 at 1:30 p.m. EST. Click here for registration information.

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