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Safeway, Chevron partner on loyalty program for California shoppers

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — The Vons division of Safeway on Wednesday announced a new program with Chevron to offer a joint Reward Points loyalty program. Customers who earn gas rewards by shopping with their VonsClub Card at Vons stores and their ValuePlus Card at Pavilions stores will now be able to use their Rewards for up to 20 cents off per gallon when filling up at participating Chevron and Texaco branded locations in southern and central California. 

"Safeway listens to our shoppers, and we understand the importance of stretching their grocery dollars and saving at the pump," stated Mir Aamir, Safeway’s president of customer loyalty and digital technologies. "By teaming up with Chevron, we’re able to thank our customers with an innovative rewards program that makes these two frequent and critical purchases even easier and more affordable."

"We’re confident new and existing customers will be excited to use this new rewards program, which teams up two quality brands. We wanted to offer customers the opportunity to reap the benefits and product offerings of both Safeway and Chevron," stated Cary Knuth, general manager of marketing, sales and services for Chevron Americas Products.

 

 

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Two life-long Kroger veterans named to SVP posts

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday announced a pair of executive appointments — Marnette Perry will assume the role of SVP strategic initiatives and operations, while Michael Ellis has been named SVP retail divisions. 

"Marnette’s experience in turning ideas into action in our floral and natural foods departments, and our faster checkout initiatives, will enhance the spirit of innovation at Kroger," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s president and COO. "[And] Mike’s strong commitment to our customers and associates, paired with his dynamic leadership skills, make him a great fit for [his new] role."

Perry will lead Kroger’s retail operations and several strategic initiatives, including efforts to reach value-conscious customers. In her previous role, she was responsible for eight supermarket divisions. Perry recently led the team responsible for Kroger’s "faster checkout" rollout, which has reduced customer wait times at checkout from an average of four minutes to thirty seconds. 

Perry joined Kroger in 1972 as a part-time cashier and has held many leadership positions during her Kroger career, including president of the Michigan and Columbus divisions.

Ellis has been president of the company’s Fred Meyer division, based in Portland, Ore., since 2006. Since joining Fred Meyer at age 16, Mr. Ellis has held a number of leadership positions in the company, including VP Fred Meyer’s food group and group VP for grocery, drug, general merchandise, pharmacy and advertising for Kroger. 

In his new position, Mr. Ellis will oversee five supermarket divisions plus Kroger’s jewelry and convenience store group.

 

 

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Walgreens helps create more job opportunities for people with disabilities in Connecticut

BY Antoinette Alexander

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Nearly one year after launching an initiative to help create more job opportunities for people with disabilities in Connecticut, 62 participants have completed training under the Walgreens Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative program, the retailer announced on Wednesday.

The program’s goal: To prepare qualified candidates for employment at Walgreens retail locations, as well as employment with other retailers that require similar skills. Of those who completed training, 17 have already obtained jobs at Walgreens locations throughout Connecticut.

Walgreens launched REDI in the state on Nov. 1, 2011. The in-store extern training program aims to help people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills, and works closely with community organizations and vocational rehabilitation agencies to train and develop candidates. Walgreens is working with the state’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to assist with training for the REDI program. The program prepares participants for responsibilities that include cash register operations, customer service, merchandising, store inventory and maintaining store signage and displays.

This May, Walgreens launched the REDI program nationally. The first phase of REDI includes parts of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, with plans to reach all states by the end of 2013. Once a local agency is identified, there is a four-week training program that takes place in up to five stores per district. The REDI pilot began in Dallas/Fort Worth in 2010. After more than 200 trainees completed the program, 66% of whom were recommended for hire, the program grew to more than 60 stores throughout Texas, New York and Connecticut.

To date, more than 400 candidates have completed REDI training. Of those, 66% of trainees acquired the full skill-set needed to perform a service clerk position in a similar retail setting. Walgreens has hired nearly 130 people.

This month, Walgreens was named 2012 Employer of the Year by the U.S. Business Leadership Network. The organization is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan business-to-business network promoting workplaces, marketplaces and supply chains where people with disabilities are included. Walgreens received this honor for its continued commitment to helping people with disabilities develop productive and successful careers.

Walgreens Distribution Centers

Walgreens began designing its distribution center facilities and training for people with disabilities with the opening of its DC in Anderson, S.C., in 2007. The new DC, followed by the opening of another similar facility in Windsor, Conn., in 2009, helps drive opportunity, efficiency and productivity for the entire workforce. At the Connecticut facility, more than 40% of the workforce consists of people with disabilities.

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