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Walmart calls out healthy foods with ‘Great For You’ icon

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — In an effort to assure customers that private-label products are meeting the proper nutrition criteria, Walmart announced it is implementing a transparent initiative called "Great For You," an icon that calls out healthy foods sold in Walmart stores, Walmart announced on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Initially appearing on fruits, vegetables and the retailer’s Walmart Great Value and Marketside brands this spring — and eventually made available to national brand products that qualify — Great For You is looking to make it easier for shoppers to build healthier diets. Items that tout the icon must meet criteria based on the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine. Walmart said Great for You also "can be complementary to other nutrition labeling systems being used by the food industry."

“Walmart moms are telling us they want to make healthier choices for their families, but need help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products,” Walmart SVP sustainability Andrea Thomas said. “Our ‘Great For You’ icon provides customers with an easy way to quickly identify healthier food choices. As they continue to balance busy schedules and tight budgets, this simple tool encourages families to have a healthier diet.”

The announcement builds on the retailer’s declaration last year to make food healthier and more affordable. The initiative includes reformulating packaged food to reduce sodium and added sugars and eliminate industrially produced fats by 2015; making healthier food more affordable by providing savings on produce and reducing the price premium on better-for-you food items; developing solutions for food deserts; and increasing charitable support for nutrition education programs.

“Today’s announcement by Walmart is yet another step toward ensuring that our kids are given the chance to grow up healthy,” First Lady Michelle Obama said. “Just over a year ago, Walmart committed to save shoppers a billion dollars in their cost of fruits and vegetables and the fact that Walmart exceeded this number is a real accomplishment and a milestone in our efforts to support families eating better. In addition, the healthy seal will be another tool for parents to identify the best products for their kids. Giving parents the information they need to make healthy choices is a key piece of solving childhood obesity.”

Additional details about Walmart’s Great for You icon can be found here.

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Sticky Buddy makes market debut

BY Allison Cerra

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — TeleBrands has launched Sticky Buddy, a new reusable sticky roller that is designed to remove hair, crumbs and more without ruining fabrics.

The company said it recently secured the exclusive intellectual property rights for the roller, which was invented by Tylor Ross of South Bend, Ind. The roller also features little "rubber fingers" that help users reach deep into carpets to remove ground-in messes, TeleBrands said.

"Traditionally, TeleBrands has vigorously enforced its rights, and this is no exception," TeleBrands president AJ Khubani said. "Sticky Buddy is already a huge winner in direct to consumer sales. We fully expect this success to translate into big sales at leading retail chains."

Currently sold online, Sticky Buddy is priced at $10.99, plus $6.99 for shipping and handling.

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Retail e-commerce sales see big gain in Q4, full year

BY Allison Cerra

RESTON, Va. — U.S. retail e-commerce sales experienced a strong finish in 2011, putting sales for the full year well ahead of 2010, according to ComScore.

ComScore reported that U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter totaled $49.7 billion, marking a 14% gain over the year-ago period, making it the ninth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates. For the entire 2011 year, U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached $161.5 billion, marking a 13% increase from 2010. Among many contributing factors, including such major shopping days as Cyber Monday and Black Friday, ComScore said smartphones and tablets played a growing role in online shopping, with consumers increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in a retail store.

"The fourth quarter of 2011 capped off what was yet another strong year for online retail, one in which every quarter achieved double-digit increases versus the prior year," ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. "In the face of continuing uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy, consumers increasingly went online for their shopping needs. Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for e-commerce, and unless those conditions change we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012 and perhaps even an acceleration in the current growth trend."

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