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Reporters Notebook

BY DSN STAFF

Supplier News

Mars’ new 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp bar made its debut in early February at select supermarkets, convenience stores and various mass retailers nationwide. The launch was supported by a national marketing campaign with the tagline “Rich enough to share, but you really won’t want to.”

“The new addition to the 3 Musketeers family provides the signature light texture components of the 3 Musketeers bar, now with an added airy crispy twist,” said Carole Walker, VP integrated marketing communications for Mars Chocolate North America. The suggested retail price of a single-serve pack (two bars) is 79 cents.

PepsiCo visited the New York Stock Exchange last month to ring the opening bell and highlight its financial initiative, known as the Pepsi Refresh Project. The Pepsi Refresh Project will award more than $20 million in 2010 to move communities forward. Individuals can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects, and Web site visitors can vote for the best ideas for funding. The project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as an optimistic catalyst for idea creation, leading to an ever-refreshing world. Pepsi will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.

Dr Pepper celebrated its 125th anniversary in late January by ringing the closing bell at the NYSE. The company launched a wide range of activities to share the celebration with consumers, including a Dr Pepper Cherry ad that debuted during Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, featuring “Doctor Love” Gene Simmons and members of KISS.

“Starting out 125 years ago as a regional drink, Dr Pepper has expanded into a revered national brand by connecting with consumers because of its unique taste and the brand’s dedication to making emotional connections with its consumers,” said Tony Jacobs, VP marketing.

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Bashas’ rejects Albertsons’ buyout bid

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Bashas’ has turned down a nearly $300 million buyout offer from Albertsons, according to published reports.

According to an American City Business Journals article, the Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas’ was uninterested in a buyout offer of $290 million for the chain.

Bashas’ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, announcing the following month that it would close 14 stores. Still, the published reports quoted an attorney representing the company as saying that the reorganization plan would ensure Bashas’ remained in the hands of the Bashas family, which has owned it since 1932.

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Shoppers’ new initiatives sets chain up to become retail giant

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT While the decision to move in this direction may have been made before Chong Bang crossed the border, there is no questioning that industry watchers will be focused on what SDM’s new top merchant will do to further improve the stores.

(THE NEWS: Shoppers Drug Mart takes a page out of CCR playbook. For the full story, click here)

That has a lot to do with Bang’s pedigree — he’s directed a significant merchandising program at Walgreens, one of the leading pureplay pharmacies in the United States. And now he’s at Shoppers, the leading drug store retailer north of the border.

Bang will be armed at Shoppers with the sales data generated by 9.7 million members of the pharmacy’s Optimum loyalty program, 80% of whom are women. When you consider that there are only 34 million Canadians, that means that almost 1-in-3 Canadians are members of Shoppers’ loyalty program, and almost 1-in-2 Canadian women.

Presently, Shoppers plans to grow its square footage at a clip of 8% to 9% with a new distribution center slated to open in 2010 to help support that growth. And that’s really going to be Bang’s merchandising challenge — finding a way to slip one more item into that Shoppers marketbasket in a saturated marketplace. Bang certainly can’t build front-end sales by attracting new customers. There just aren’t that many Canadians who don’t already shop at Shoppers.

For Bang, it’ll be a question of optimizing categorical synergies and in doing so help drive impulse purchases. Similar to Walgreens, Shoppers is on a mission to make a good shopping experience better, and Bang’s expected to help realize that goal.

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