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Smiling Planet announced partnership with Healthy Child Healthy World

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES Smiling Planet a new line of earth-friendly lifestyle products for kids, has joined the Healthy Child Healthy World network.

The partnership represents a joint commitment to raising awareness about preventing children’s exposure to harmful chemicals, and also reinforces the high standards of safety, quality, and environmental consciousness that Smiling Planet sets for its children’s dinnerware. Smiling Planet’s plates and bowls are specifically designed to be a safe and practical alternative to dinnerware containing melamine, BPA and other harmful chemicals, Smiling Planet said.

“Today’s parents are inundated with conflicting information about product safety, often leaving them unsure about which products are best,” said Freddy Deane, who co-founded Smiling Planet with wife Olivia Haviland. “We’re proud to join Healthy Child Healthy World to empower parents to find the safest possible products for their children, and for the planet.”

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A&P names new CEO, posts Q1 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. Supermarket chain A&P has appointed former OfficeMax executive Sam Martin as its new CEO, succeeding Ron Marshall, who has left the company after serving less than six months at the helm. The news came as the grocer reported a first-quarter net loss of $122 million and a 7.2% drop in same-store sales.

Martin, who has more than three decades of management experience in the food retail industry, joins A&P from OfficeMax, where he served as COO since 2007. Prior to OfficeMax, Martin was COO for Wild Oats Markets through the company’s acquisition by Whole Foods. His experience also includes senior management roles at ShopKo Stores and Fred Meyer.

With new leadership in place, the company is gearing up for a turnaround through a new operational and revenue-driven initiative. The four key elements of the turnaround plan are:

  • Improve the company’s customer value proposition through merchandising
  • Enhance the customer experience and drive clear brand identify
  • Lower structural and operating costs
  • Implement new financing initiatives to augment first quarter liquidity of $253 million

“I firmly believe that this turnaround will strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance. I have faced similar situations in my career and have successfully navigated through them. We will move quickly to implement this turnaround for the benefit of all our stakeholders,” stated Martin.

The company, which currently operates 429 stores and roughly 250 retail pharmacies, also is looking into capital raising opportunities, including incremental financing through its current bank facility, as well as pursuing sale-leaseback transactions and the sale of certain noncore assets.

For the first-quarter sales were $2.6 billion versus $2.8 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales dropped 7.2%. Net loss for the quarter totaled $122 million, or a loss of $4.83 per share, compared with a loss of $65 million, or $3.64 a share, in the year-ago period.

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Good ‘Carma’ can pay off

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Parlaying a 73-year-old brand with a strong following into another synergistic category only can mean good things, especially as a significant amount of trial almost is a foregone conclusion.

(THE NEWS: Carmex enters skin care category. For the full story, click here)

And while that may shift some share around in skin care, it ultimately should help grow that business. Because with Carma Labs, you get a company that has been featured on more than one occasion on Oprah, a mecca of sorts for consumer-packaged goods companies. And you get a company that has been on the forefront in utilizing interactive social media to help promote the brand.

Carma Labs was one of two companies last week to announce a greater presence within the health and beauty space, the other being Reckitt Benkiser with its proposed acquisition of SSL International, parent company of Durex. If successful, Reckitt Benkiser will be making its debut in the intimacy health space, folding another health category under it’s wing and broadening the company’s reach into the U.S. market.

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