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NACDS’ Loeffler promotes 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo during Regional Chain Conference

BY Antoinette Alexander

NAPLES, Fla. — Kicking off the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Regional Chain Conference this week, NACDS chairman Robert Loeffler of H-E-B aimed to fuel the flames of excitement surrounding the 2013 debut of the NACDS Total Store Expo, while emphasizing 2012’s slate of NACDS events that are packed with educational programming and business opportunities.

Highlighting the new Total Store Expo, which will debut Aug. 10 to 13, 2013, at Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Loeffler noted that the NACDS Regional Chain Conference and NACDS Annual Meeting will continue in their present forms, with a continued emphasis on innovating those events to meet and exceed the industry’s needs and expectations.

"It is readily apparent, if you attend this Regional Chain Conference just one time — and in fact, you have told us this — that this meeting serves an important purpose for the regional chains and suppliers alike," Loeffler told conference attendees.

Emphasizing the industry’s commitment to the new NACDS Total Store Expo, Loeffler stated, "To the suppliers here with us today, I want to tell you in no uncertain terms that the NACDS chain membership is looking forward to grabbing the NACDS Total Store Expo and running with it. In fact, the NACDS board of directors has committed to adding an additional b oard meeting to its schedule — during the NACDS Total Store Expo. These chain CEOs will engage energetically in this new meeting format."

Complementing Loeffler’s remarks, NACDS launched a promotional Web advertisement that conveys the opportunities the NACDS Total Store Expo will provide for retailers and suppliers. NACDS also released the ad on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The ad describes the unification of three NACDS meetings: the Supply Chain & Logistics Conference, the Marketplace Conference and the Pharmacy & Technology Conference into "one powerful event" that will cut across departments and across the entire store. The ad also pledges that the NACDS Total Store Expo "will create more synergy, provide efficient access to high-caliber meetings and deliver a complete approach to health and wellness."

Chain retailer participation at the 2012 NACDS Regional Chain Conference significantly surpassed 2011 levels, with an increase of more than 15% attendance for retailers, marking the largest attendance in the past decade.

NACDS credited the success of this year’s Regional Chain Conference in large part to the work and commitment of conference chairman Tim Erdle, EVP store operations of Thrifty White Pharmacy, and the entire Conference Planning Committee. The committee is comprised of retailers and suppliers who plan the programming for the conference.

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Nielsen: U.S. consumer confidence up despite cash woes, saving strategies

BY Allison Cerra

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — U.S. consumers are more optimistic about their finances despite cutting back to save money, according to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter global consumer confidence findings.

Nielsen said the U.S. consumer confidence index rose six points from 77 to 83 for fourth quarter 2011 (based on a baseline of 100), with 49% of consumers saying their personal finance prospects will be "good" or "excellent" over the next 12 months. But while nearly half of consumers said their personal finance prospects are in decent shape, almost one-third (32%) of U.S. respondents reported having no spare cash during the quarter. For those that did have funds to spare, however, most said they used the money toward savings (34%), followed by paying off debts (31%) and putting it toward retirement and stocks/mutual funds (8% each).

Nielsen also revealed consumers’ the top three strategies to save: nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (64%) cut back on gas and electricity, 58% opted not to buy new clothes and 56% elected to forgo out-of-home entertainment. When asked what they will continue to do when economic conditions improve, consumers’ top three answers were cutting back on gas/electricity (54%), cutting back on take-home meals (34%) and switching to cheaper grocery brands (29%).

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between Nov. 23, 2011 and Dec. 9, 2011.

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Supervalu announces work force reduction

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Tuesday announced plans to reduce its national work force by an estimated 800 positions. A majority of these reductions will take place by the close of the company’s fiscal year on Feb. 25, 2012. The reductions include both current positions and open jobs that will not be filled.

“These reductions are necessary to help further strengthen and accelerate Supervalu’s business turnaround in a very competitive marketplace," Supervalu president and CEO Craig Herkert said. “While the announcement of a work force reduction is difficult news to share, due to its direct impact on our associates, these changes will allow us to better connect with customers and put more authority in the hands of people who interact more closely with our customers.”

In general, store level associates are not affected by this announcement, the grocer stated.

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