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Sherman A1

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Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Retailers struggle to face the digital revolution

NEW YORK • Change — or die.
But how exactly? Responding to the digital revolution was the vexing problem pondered by retail executives and industry experts alike this week at the National Retail Federation convention.

While generally agreeing that they all need to adapt, retailers are still figuring out a path to success in this new world. The directions range from matching prices to integrating technology among sales clerks, though some wonder if this will be enough.

It’s never been a more challenging time to be a traditional bricks-and-mortar retailer amid a “seismic change in consumer behavior,” said Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Any business that sticks with the status quo “is literally facing a collision course with time.”

The revolution, first led by the desktop computer, has intensified as smartphone-packing consumers, always connected to the Web, make even greater demands on retailers. These shoppers not only want apps and mobile payments, but they also seek heightened in-store experiences, competitive prices, and speedy delivery to keep up with the online marketplace.

Much more at


Book buff Al DeSimone a boon to Parkway School District

Creve Coeur (MO) resident Al DeSimone remembers when the pages started turning on a love of history books that would, decades later, benefit the Parkway School District.

"It first began when one of a couple of uncles I had in the service during World War II came home and gave me a couple of books, one of Bill Mauldin's cartoons and another a compilation of various stories, poems and other items from the Stars & Stripes (military newspaper's) Mediterranean edition," said DeSimone, who will turn 77 on Jan. 18.

Later, when he attended Soldan-Blewett High School in St. Louis, a world history teacher and an American history teacher piqued his curiosity.

But DeSimone's interest really geared up when he started attending University City High School.

More about his donation of about 1000 history books to the school at


Fresh & Easy Cuts Real Estate Positions

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here said Thursday it has eliminated "a small number of positions — less than 40" — as its parent company undertakes a strategic review to exit the U.S.

The jobs are in the area of real estate, store design and recruitment, a chain spokesman told SN, "as we shift away from growth and expansion while keeping our stores open for business as usual."

Fresh & Easy, the U.S. arm of United Kingdom-based Tesco, operates 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. Tesco said in December it was considering exiting the U.S. by closing or selling all the stores, with an announcement expected when it holds its annual meeting in April.

Fresh & Easy eliminated 45 positions last July, most involving property development, "as we shifted away from a robust store opening program," the spokesman said. He said the company still employs about 200 people at its offices here.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/retail-amp-financial/fresh-easy-cuts-real-estate-positions#ixzz2IJkPQvlY

Delhaize Closing 33 Sweetbay Stores

TAMPA, Fla. — Delhaize Group said Thursday that it would close 33 Sweetbay stores here by next month, or about one-third of the chain.

“While these decisions are difficult, especially given the impact on our associates, customers and communities, these actions will continue to enhance the performance of our overall store portfolio and further enable us to deliver profitable growth and accelerate shareholder value,” the company said in a statement. The company also said Thursday it would close eight Food Lion stores, and three Bottom Dollar Food stores.

Sweetbay will operate 72 stores after the closures, which are expected to be complete in mid-February. In addition to the store closures, Sweetbay will also discontinue its pharmacy operation at its Bonita Springs, Fla., store.

The closures are expected to displace approximately 2,000 employees.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/retail-amp-financial/delhaize-closing-33-sweetbay-stores#ixzz2IJjn9DH4

United Natural Food Inc Eyes Acquisitions in Canada

MIAMI — United Natural Foods Inc. believes it can double the size of its business in Canada through organic growth and additional acquisitions, Mark Shamber, chief financial officer for the Providence, R.I.-based distributor, told attendees at an investment conference here this week.

Sales in Canada accounted for approximately $250 million of UNFI’s $5.24 billion in sales during fiscal 2012. With a market size about a 10th of that of the U.S., “to be roughly the same size we are in Canada as we are in the U.S., we should be in a position to double the Canadian business,” Shamber said in remarks at the ICR XChange Conference.

UNFI entered Canada with the acquisition of SunOpta in 2010 and more recently acquired specialty distributors B.K. Sethi Distribution and Disley Food Services, folding both into its existing business without a lot of expense. Shamber termed Canada “even more fragmented” than the U.S.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/retail-amp-financial/unfi-eyes-acquisitions-canada#ixzz2IJjCp2he

Usual Four Grocers Make Best Employers List

NEW YORK — Four food retailers made Fortune magazine’s latest list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” — something they have made a habit of doing.

The four include Wegmans Food Markets (ranked 5th), Nugget Market (34th), Whole Foods Market (71st), and Publix (77th). Whole Foods dropped from its 32nd spot on the 2012 list, while the other three remained close to (Wegmans was 4th and Publix was 78th) or the same as (Nugget) their position on last year’s list.

Publix, Wegmans and Whole Foods are among 13 companies to have made the list every year since it was first compiled in 1998. This year marks the 8th consecutive year Nugget Market has been on the list.

Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on a survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees. The survey asks questions related to their attitudes about the management's credibility, job satisfaction and camaraderie. The remaining third is based on a company’s responses to the Culture Audit questionnaire, which asks detailed questions about pay and benefits programs, and open-ended questions about hiring, communication and diversity.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/retail-amp-financial/usual-four-grocers-make-best-employers-list#ixzz2IJihH5Cy

1916 – A 611 gram chondrite type meteorite strikes a house

near the village of Baxter in Stone County, MO


AMR cuts labor costs, posts 4Q profit of $262M

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines made a profit in the fourth quarter, a big turnaround from a year ago, as it slashed labor costs and reaped other benefits from its trip to bankruptcy court.

Parent company AMR Corp. said Wednesday that net income was $262 million compared with a loss of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Labor was AMR's second-biggest expense behind only fuel. The company chopped spending on wages and benefits by 13 percent as it eliminated thousands of jobs and reworked its union contracts to cut costs.

One-time gains such as an income tax benefit and the settlement of a business dispute also helped greatly. Without those, AMR would have lost $88 million.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/news/texas/article/AMR-cuts-labor-costs-posts-4Q-profit-of-262M-4198380.php#ixzz2IEVe5JH9

What’s needed to prevent Right Wing from destroying unions?

If anyone in Organized Labor thinks we can try to talk and/or reason with the Republican Party, which has now been taken over by the radical right, or reach some kind of an accommodation with them, they are “living in an illusion.” That’s because “they are not taking prisoners…they simply want to annihilate Organized Labor.”

With those frank comments, author and labor activist Bill Fletcher Jr., launched into a startling presentation as to the need, the desperate need, for Organized Labor to rebuild itself “or we’ll be history.”

In St. Louis last month to talk about his new book, They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths About Unions, Fletcher took a bolder, broader approach to the survival of the labor movement, which he characterized as “absolutely essential because there is no democracy without a real labor union, an independent democratic movement. A lot of people don’t get that. We have to reintroduce that discussion.”


Judge halts third attempt to hijack St. Louis fire fighters pension plan

The City of St. Louis lost round three this month in trying to hijack its fire fighters pension fund. Meanwhile, Fire Fighters Local 73 pre-filed a bill in the state legislature to restore their original pension proposal that they said could save the City $2.3 million more than any of the plans put forth by the Board of Aldermen and mayor.

The fire fighters filed the bill after a bizarre series of events that saw the City adopt a third ordinance on Dec. 14 —Board Bill (BB) 109 — and signed into law by Mayor Francis Slay that was supposed remedy serious flaws in two earlier bills that were already enjoined by the courts (Board Bills 11 and 12.). But on Jan. 3, after the Firemen’s Retirement System on Jan. 2 once again sued the City over this latest attack on the pension fund, Circuit Judge Robert Dierker issued a third injunction against the City to prevent BB 109 from taking effect on Feb. 1.

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