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Kroger chief information officer recognized for contributions to industry with lifetime achievement award

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Monday announced that Chris Hjelm, SVP and chief information officer at Kroger, was a recipient of the Fisher-Hopper Prize for Lifetime Achievement in CIO Leadership from the Fisher CIO Leadership Program at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Hjelm was selected by a group of his peers for the enduring impact he has had on not only Kroger, but also on FedEx and Orbitz. 

"I am honored to receive this award, and humbled to be recognized by such a distinguished and respected group of industry leaders," Hjelm said. "This award is truly a testament to the entire IT and leadership team at Kroger and all we have accomplished by using information technology to enhance the customer experience. Success is a team sport."

The Fisher CIO Leadership Program established the award to honor a currently active CIO for his or her lifetime achievements in CIO leadership. The award is named in memory of Don Fisher, co-founder of The Gap and supporter of the IT leadership program at the Haas School of Business, and Max Hopper, the visionary behind American Airlines’ SABRE Systems that computerized and revolutionized travel reservations.

At Kroger, Hjelm is responsible for managing the company’s nationwide network of information and technology systems, including systems used in retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers and offices. He also oversees the company’s small format strategy.

He played a central leadership role in the development of Kroger’s faster checkout initiative, QueVision, which employs infrared technology and predictive analytics to reduce the time customers wait in line to checkout from four minutes to less than 30 seconds, on average, today.

Hjelm serves on the boards of dunnhumby USA and Kindred Healthcare. Before joining Kroger in 2005, Hjelm was CIO of Cendant’s Travel Distribution Services. He has served as SVP technology at eBay, EVP at [email protected] and SVP and CIO at FedEx Corp.

 

 

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Thousands participate in 2013 CVS Caremark Downtown 5K

BY Antoinette Alexander

PROVIDENCE, R. I. — More than 7,600 people from around the region and globe turned out on Sunday to participate in the 24th annual CVS Caremark Downtown 5K.

(The State House in Providence served as a backdrop to the start of the 2013 CVS Caremark Downtown 5K. Photo Credit: scottmasonphoto.com)

The event brought together a mix of elite and other competitive runners into Providence, along with recreational runners, wheelchair competitors, walkers and children. In addition to hosting the USA Men’s and USA Women’s 5k National Championships, the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K offered races and events for individuals of all ages and abilities, and raised funds for charities throughout Southern New England. 

More than 4,600 people participated in the main 5K race, while nearly 1,600 children took part in the event’s youth races, which included 21 different races for children — pre-kindergarten through eighth grade — including a CVS Caremark “All Kids Can” Inspirational race for children of all abilities. The athletic activities offered through the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K included a 3K High School Inspirational event, sponsored by Tufts Health Plan, which drew nearly 1,400 students from the region.

Andrew Bumbalough of Portland, Ore., became the men’s overall and national 5K champion with a time of 13:45.9. Bumbalough, who grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and graduated from Georgetown University, was the second place winner of last year’s CVS Caremark Downtown 5K. The women’s overall and national 5K champion was Molly Huddle of Providence, with a time of 15:29.6, defending her title from last year’s race and making her a three-time winner of the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K. Huddle is an Olympian (London Olympics) who grew up in Elmira, N.Y., and graduated from Notre Dame University, where she was a record-breaking nine-time American. The two each won $8,000 in prize money, $5,000 for the USA Track & Field Championship and $3,000 for winning the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K Open Race.

Other top three 5K men’s runners include Aaron Braun, who placed second with a time of 13:49.4, and Matt Tegenkamp who placed third with a time of 13:49.9. Braun grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., graduated from Adams State University and trains in Denver. Tegenkamp is a two-time Olympian (Beijing and London) who won the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K in 2009 and placed second in 2008.

Other top three 5K women’s runners include Emily Infeld, who placed second with a time of 15:30.8, and Alexi Pappas who placed third with a time of 15:34.7. Infeld, who fought a tough race against Huddle, lives and trains in Portland under Coach Jerry Schumaker, who also coaches Bumbalough. Pappas, a graduate of Dartmouth University who lives and trains in Eugene, Ore., ran her first road race as a professional to finish in third place.

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Deloitte forecasts moderate uptick in holiday sales

BY Jason Owen

NEW YORK — A forecast of holiday sales announced on Monday by Deloitte shows retailers can expect moderate sales gains this season.

“Rising home prices with steady job creation may buoy consumers’ confidence in the economy and create a wealth effect,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. “The debt ceiling and budget debate will resume this fall alongside uncertainty about the implementation of healthcare reform, which may cause some concern among consumers, but at a macro level, these factors are unlikely to have a significant effect on the economy and retail sales.”

Deloitte’s Retail & Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $963 and $967 billion, representing a 4-4.5% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last season. This growth rate is on par with last year’s 4.5% gain.

Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5-13% increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

“We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. “Additionally, shoppers researching their purchases electronically — via their PC, tablet or mobile phone — are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers’ store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as ‘buy online and pick up in store,’ as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts.”

Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8 percent, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.

“Retailers now realize how to engage shoppers through their mobile devices both inside and outside the store, which is having a profound impact on customer interaction, store traffic and conversion rates,” continued Paul. “Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store, indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that ‘showrooming’ and price checking could negatively affect sales.”


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