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Nestlé Waters North America names Mercé CEO

BY David Salazar

STAMFORD, Conn. — Nestle Waters North America has named a new chief executive. Fernando Mercé has been named president and CEO and will now oversee all of Nestlé Waters North America’s U.S. and Canadian operations, as well as serve on Nestlé Waters’ board of directors.

"I am delighted that Fernando will be leading Nestlé Waters North America as it begins an exciting new chapter," Nestlé Waters chairman and CEO Maurizio Patarnello said. "His proven leadership, passion for innovation and deep commitment to creating a learning culture will enrich our strong NWNA teams and ensure that we build on our growth legacy to retain our leadership position in the category."

Mercé was most recently CEO of Nestlé Purina Latin America and Caribbean division, where the company said he presided over a period of sustained growth, including double-digit organic growth in profitability and market share, while also introducing pet care category innovations.

“Today, we are at an inflection point in the North American consumer beverage category, and I'm looking forward to becoming a part of it,” Mercé said. "Following a shift over many years, bottled water is now America's number one beverage choice, displacing carbonated soft drinks. As this migration continues, we are well-positioned to expand in the United States and Canada with leading brands that are poised for strong growth."

Mercé started at Nestlé in 1992 working as an industrial engineer on its operations improvement team. Following that role he joined marketing and steadily increased his responsibilities. His roles at the company have included e-business development, marketing director for the Friskies brand and global marketing director for the company’s pet care global strategic business unit. Before joining Nestlé Purina he was VP and deputy of Nestlé’s Americas zone.

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Report paints hopeful picture for retail industry

BY Marianne Wilson

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A just-released analysis of the U.S. retail sector offers positive news for an industry that has been subject to some gloomy assessments in recent times.

Despite the rash of recent Chapter 11 filings and store closings, the U.S. retail sector as a whole remains incredibly strong and shows no signs of slowing down, according to a report by business intelligence firm Creditsafe USA.

“Our study reveals that while a number of the big retail players have experienced financial hardships, there is a huge portion of the retail sector that are performing very well," explained Matthew Debbage, CEO of Creditsafe USA and Asia.

The study, “The Creditsafe Guide: Demystering the US Retail Industry,” acknowledges that e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart are giving the traditional stores a run for their money.

“Interestingly, however, it is the small companies with either less than 100 employees or sales less than $10M that are experiencing rapid growth,” said Debbage. “They are truly thriving."

Other findings in The Creditsafe Guide: Demystifying the US Retail Industry" report include:

  • Retail is the second largest industry in the United States in terms of the number of businesses it encompasses. 
  • Retail ranks third as far as the number of individuals employed, with nearly 10% of the country's workforce.
  • There are 12% lower instances of bankruptcy in the retail sector compared to business in other industries.

"There is an apparent change happening within this sector, and companies that are embracing the change will become stronger,” added Debbage. “And, it's inherently clear things are still booming in the retail sector." 

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Acosta brings clients e-commerce platform with Content Analytics partnership

BY David Salazar

SAN FRANCISCO and JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Acosta and e-commerce management solutions company Content Analytics recently announced a partnership  that will enable Acosta to add e-commerce capabilities to its integrates sales and marketing offerings. Content Analytics’ e-commerce platform brings together analytics, content management and reporting capabilities.

“E-commerce holds great untapped potential for retail that is waiting to be unlocked — but it requires the proper technology to do so,” Acosta president and CEO Steve Matthesen said. “Our clients are asking for the right tools to simplify the management of their e-commerce channels, increase their presence and revenues online, as well as create the ideal omnichannel shopping experience for their customers.”

According to Dept. of Commerce estimates, e-commerce is growing at 15.1% annually, compared with the retail sales growth of 3.9%, and according to the NPD Group, roughly 52 million Americans are buying their groceries online.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Acosta and expand the reach of our technology,” Content Analytics founder and CEO David Feinleib said. “This partnership will benefit not only the brands that Acosta serves; it will benefit the consumers who are demanding a great online shopping experience.”

Acosta can now offer its clients a single Content Analytics-powered dashboard to control and monitor their online channels. The dashboard includes account and inventory management, product content creation and various other features, as well as SmartLabel capabilities to make auto-generating Smart Label pages easier.

“Our strategic shopper-based insights, extensive reach and brand experience, combined with the power of Content Analytics’ end-to-end e-commerce solution, is the answer we believe they are looking for to capitalize on the digital path to purchase,” Matthesen said.

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