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EnsembleIQ acquires media brands from Lebhar-Friedman

BY DSN STAFF

EnsembleIQ announced Thursday that it purchased substantially all of the media, digital and event assets from New York City-based Lebhar-Friedman. Launched in 1925, the third-generation family business produced several leading retail brands including Drug Store News, Chain Store Age and Hardware and Building Supply Dealer. 

The transaction also includes Chain Store Age’s SPECS and X/SPECS, two strategic events focused on physical retail that bring together the nation’s top retailers and suppliers to learn, share ideas, develop business partnerships and solve problems.

The Lebhar-Friedman brands will operate under the EnsembleIQ umbrella, and will continue to be led by senior vice president John Kenlon and his management team including Gary Esposito, Eric Savitch and Seth Mendelson. President and CEO Randall Friedman will serve in an advisory role during the transition, and chairman Roger Friedman will devote his time to new ventures.

“We’re thrilled to have these iconic brands and talented employees join the EnsembleIQ family,” said David Shanker, CEO of Chicago-based EnsembleIQ. “Adding chain drug, hardware and store operations reach and expertise provides our collective subscribers and customers with a comprehensive view of retail insights and information throughout the United States and Canada.”

“The company that my grandfather Arnold founded and my father Roger ran for many years has always been focused on the retail industry,” said Randall Friedman.  “The fact that EIQ also has great brands and deep expertise in retail makes me very optimistic that the LF roots will continue to grow and bear fruit in the years to come under EIQ’s stewardship.”

EnsembleIQ is a premier business intelligence resource that exists to help people and their organizations succeed. It is structured to serve the business-to-business needs of retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, technology providers, hospitality and healthcare professionals, marketing agencies and retail service providers by using its integrated network of media and information resources designed to inform, connect and provide actionable marketplace intelligence.

EnsembleIQ is a portfolio company of RFE Investment Partners, a private equity investor with more than 30 years of experience investing in growth companies in partnership with strong management teams. Information on RFE can be found at rfeip.com.

Berkery Noyes served as the exclusive financial advisor to Lebhar-Friedman.

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Survey: Retailers struggle to provide high quality customer experiences

BY Antoinette Alexander

Brands must focus on providing high quality customer experience to gain loyalty, but retailers are missing the mark. That’s according to Forrester’s U.S. 2018 Customer Experience Index.

The CX Index found that multichannel retailers’ customer experience quality remained flat, and 36 percent of digital retailers’ scores decreased significantly since last year.

Contrary to popular belief, making customers happy is not the single best way to achieve loyalty — feeling appreciated and confident are equally as important in the retail industry. According to Forrester’s 2018 CX Index data, 86 percent of multichannel shoppers and 87 percent of digital shoppers who feel appreciated intend to spend more with the brand. According to Forrester, this is a clear indication as to why understanding which emotions evoke loyalty matters.

“Few industries have felt disruption like retail, and many are choosing the wrong path forward because they’re not focusing on the drivers that improve customer experience where it counts,” said Forrester chief research and product officer Cliff Condon. “CX is directly linked to driving revenue — Forrester estimates that a one point improvement in a big box retailer’s CX Index score can lead to an incremental $244 million in revenue — so it’s vital for retailers to identify what consumers want and invest in those elements that drive loyalty. Only then will retailers see an improvement in the CX quality that their customers now demand.”

Based on a survey of more than 110,000 U.S. online adult consumers, Forrester’s CX Index measures and ranks nearly 300 U.S. brands across 19 industries to identify how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. Of the 287 U.S. brands ranked in 2018, 42 multichannel and 11 digital retailers were analyzed to determine how customers perceive their experiences and how customer experience drives loyalty.

Most notably, Trader Joe’s claimed the top spot in multichannel retail, thanks to its ability to provide the most positive experiences of all 287 brands ranked. Costco and Neiman Marcus also placed second and third on the multichannel list, while Home Shopping Network, QVC and Zappos.com were the three leaders for digital retailers.

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McKesson Ventures continues support of portfolio companies with $10K donation

BY Antoinette Alexander

McKesson’s venture capital arm has donated $10,000 to Meals on Wheels America on behalf of its former portfolio company Landmark Health, a provider of in-home, risk-based medical care.

As part of its commitment to supporting the growth and mission of its portfolio companies, McKesson Ventures will give $10,000 to a charitable organization of the portfolio company’s choosing following a positive exit.

“Landmark Health is a shining example of what success can look like under value-based care,” said Dave Schulte, managing director at McKesson Ventures. “In addition to filling an important care need for polychronic patients, Landmark is providing this care at risk with a multidisciplinary team that partners with payers – all while improving outcomes. We’re excited to watch them grow in the years to come and expand their offering to more patients across the country.”

Landmark Health is a provider of home-based medical care for patients with complex needs. An interdisciplinary mobile care team works together and makes home visits to help patients manage their medical conditions. Typically, these services are available at no direct cost to patients, most of whom are eligible for Medicare Advantage or other coverage. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ most recent data, nearly 45 percent of emergency room visits from nursing home residents on Medicare or Medicaid could have been avoided. Landmark Health tackles this issue head on, connecting some of the most clinically complex and medically vulnerable patients with a, coordinated care team that provides medical, behavioral, social and palliative care.

“We are grateful to McKesson Ventures for this donation to Meals on Wheels America and their ongoing support,” said Christopher Goldsmith, president of Landmark Health. “It is amazing to work with a firm that is not only committed to our growth strategy, but also appreciates our values and mission to deliver comprehensive care to patients wherever and whenever they need it.”

Similar to Landmark Health, Meals on Wheels aims to empower seniors with independence by bringing needed resources directly into their homes. The non-profit currently helps nearly 2.4 million seniors annually across the United States, supporting more than 5,000 community-based programs that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger.

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