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Mega-Brands launches toy recall

BY Doug Desjardins

MONTREAL Mega-Brands has recalled 2.4 million action figures made in China due to concerns about magnets attached to the toys.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 44 complaints from consumers in the U.S. about magnets coming loose from some action figures and posing a danger to children if swallowed. The recalled toys include the MagnaMan, Magtastik and Magnetix Jr. The toys were sold at retailers including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target from January 2005 to December 2007.

Following the recall announcement, Mega-Brands said it would partner with quality and safety service provider Intertek in the design and manufacture of future toy lines. The recall is the latest in a series of China-sourced toys that began last summer.

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Vestcom launches turnkey in-store nutritional program

BY Adam Kraemer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Vestcom International today announced the introduction of a turnkey nutritional grocery marketing program designed for retailers of all sizes. The new program provides retailers with easy-to-read, data-driven, integrated shelf communications that operate as color-coded nutrition “flags” used to identify foods that meet such special dietary needs as gluten free, healthy kids, organic, and/or heart healthy.

Retailers can use SKU-related tags and related integrated marketing materials provided by Vestcom—a leading provider of data-driven, shelf-edge marketing solutions to major retailers and brand manufacturers in the grocery, drug, and mass merchandising industries—to add value to the shopping experience by helping customers make healthier food choices with quick and simple health and nutritional information delivered at the shelf edge. Like all Vestcom shelf-edge programs, the company stated, these data-driven health and wellness education marketing programs can be completely customized to any store chain specifications.

“The shift toward leading a more health-conscious lifestyle continues to pick up steam,” noted Tim McKenzie, president and chief operating officer of Vestcom. “Retailers have seen an increase in ‘better-for-you’ products lining the shelves.”

The flags, Vestcom stated, both comply with an individual store’s branding requirements and capture the customer’s attention without cluttering the aisles or interfering with overall store design. The tags support clean store policies and have a proven record of lifting sales. Retailers can customize the nutritional program with their own logos and themes to reinforce their stores’ brand identity. The program is generally available to all interested retailers.

“Our new in-store health and wellness programs identify healthy products and streamline shelf execution for the retailer,” added McKenzie. “These programs are a hit because the retailer benefits in many ways. They’re easy to execute, they promote health, and they help shoppers make informed decisions, which makes shoppers very happy.”

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Hannaford reports data breach involving 4.2 million accounts

BY Drew Buono

PORTLAND, Maine Hannaford finds itself in the midst of a major security breach that has affected all 165 stores it operated in the Northeast, 106 Sweetbay stores in Florida and a small number of independent groceries that sell Hannaford products, according to the Associated Press. In all, over 4 million debit and credit card numbers were exposed, which led to 1,800 cases of fraud.

The numbers were stolen during the card authorization process. Hannaford became aware of the breach Feb. 27. Investigators later determined that the breach began on Dec. 7 and that it wasn’t put under control until March 10, according to Carol Eleazer, Hannaford’s vice president of marketing in Scarborough.

The U.S. Secret Service, whose duties include investigating electronic crimes such as data breaches, confirmed it’s investigating but declined to comment on the scope of the crime.

Bruce Spitzer, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bankers Association, criticized the delay in public notification of the source of the breach.

“Visa and MasterCard have stipulated in their contracts with retailers that they will not divulge who the source is when a data breach occurs,” Spitzer said. “We’ve been engaged in a dialogue for a couple years now about changing this rule…. Without knowing who the retailer is that caused the breach, it’s hard for banks to conduct a good investigation on behalf of their consumers. And it’s a problem for consumers as well, because if they know which retailer is responsible, they can rule themselves out for being at risk if they don’t shop at that retailer.”

This breach is considered one of the biggest cases on record involving a retailer.

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