Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2013 11:53 AM
Walmart is clearly the world's largest dry-goods grocer but it may surprise many to find out that the chain also is the world's largest single seller of fresh produce. Now the company is trying to leverage that status by developing a new ad campaign about its produce chops, highlighting and simplifying a 100 percent money-back guarantee, stripping time out of the produce-logistics network and training store personnel to do a better job of weeding out bad fruit.
In doing so, Walmart is attempting to move to the front of grocery trends including more healthful eating and "local" sourcing of produce, and "sustainability" overall, in the same way that its major plunge into organic foods a few years ago vaulted it to trailblazing status from that of an irrelevant player.
"We're the largest seller of produce in the world, but we have the opportunity to sell more as demand increases," Jack Sinclair, Walmart's executive vice president of grocery, told reporters on a conference call on Monday. "There's a trend toward healthy eating at all demographic levels, and our goal is to make that as affordable as we possibly can. Our access to affordable produce, our systems and distribution network allow us to do that uniquely well.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 21, 2013 03:18 PM
Lululemon Athletica revealed Monday that it expects earnings to drop this quarter due to a dud batch of its popular yoga pants made with its proprietary luon fabric, which its store managers indicated were being returned by customers who found them too sheer for wearing. “Some of our bottoms were made with a batch of black luon that doesn’t meet our standards so we’ve pulled them from our floors and our website.”
After being downgraded by Credit Suisse and others after the news, an earnings call today meant to detail the company's fourth quarter and full year 2012 results along with 2013 developments such as a move into golf and tennis apparel was instead taken up with answering analysts' questions about how it was handling the crisis—and offering more (ahem) transparency about the situation than has been offered to customers.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 19, 2013 03:49 PM
Is this a sign of things to come for Canada's retail darling? Lululemon, the Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer, over the weekend pulled its Luon black yoga pants from store shelves after discovering the sheer material was just too sheer, a result, some say, of poor quality control on the company's part. On Monday, the retailer announced it would be pulling various—but unnamed—styles of its popular (and pricey) yoga pants, explaining, “Some of our bottoms were made with a batch of black luon that doesn’t meet our standards so we’ve pulled them from our floors and our website.”
“At lululemon, our most important relationship is with our communities and our guests. We recently learned some information about some product that arrived in our stores and we wanted you to know right away,” according to the retailer's blog post. “We are working with our supplier to replace this fabric and other manufacturers to replenish the affected core items as fast as we can. What that means is there will be a shortage of these styles in our stores and online until our new stock arrives. We are also in conversation with our manufacturing partner to understand what happened during the period this fabric was made.”
The brand said it will offer refunds or exchanges to customers who bought the affected item in March, either online or in stores. Lululemon—which was just named Canada's top retail brand by Interbrand's 2013 Best Retail Brands report—is known for turning around products on short order. "Our guest knows that there's a limited supply, and it creates these fanatical shoppers," CEO Christine Day, a former Starbucks executive, told the Wall Street Journal. But the reported pants issue isn't a calculated sales strategy to boost demand and drive sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 22, 2013 01:44 PM
When can the pot call the kettle black? When the pot is Walmart — and when it's warning suppliers that it is adopting a "zero-tolerance policy" for violations of its global sourcing standards.
The world's most ubiquitous retailer has announced it plans to sever ties with any company that subcontracts work to factories without the retailer's knowledge. The move follows a November fire at a Bangladesh garment factory that not only killed 112 people but also revealed Walmart clothing was made there without the company's knowledge.
The tougher new policies replace Walmart's previous "three strikes" approach to policing suppliers. "Obviously [that policy] wasn't working as well as it could have," Rajan Kamalanathan, vice president of ethical sourcing, told
the Wall Street Journal.
"Our message of zero tolerance is meant to get people's attention."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 15, 2013 03:03 PM
The world’s largest retailer and employer is going on the offensive with a new corporate citizenship push to bolster its beleaguered brand. Walmart on Tuesday announced its bid to jolt the U.S. economy out of its continued sluggishness by pledging huge new investments by the company in boosting jobs, sourcing domestically and even hiring military veterans.
Walmart announced plans to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next decade in areas such as sporting goods and high-end appliances and invited other retailers to combine in similar efforts that would total $500 billion in purchases over 10 years and spark an “American renewal,” as promised in October.
The commitment was the centerpiece of a speech by Bill Simon, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, at the National Retail Federation annual convention on Tuesday.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 6, 2012 04:22 PM
Outsourcing jobs has been a topic that kept coming up over and over again during the battle for the US presidency this year. And for good reason. American companies have been moving their manufacturing jobs elsewhere for eons, ia fact that wasn’t exactly helping the nation’s economy recover from a bruising recession.
Apple, which has manufactured most of its products in Asia for years, is doing an about-face following its bruising over labor rights at its Foxconn manufacturing plant in China. Now CEO Tim Cook tells NBC's Brian Williams (in an interview that will air Thursday night) that Apple will manufacture an entire Mac line in the US starting next year.
“I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek in its new cover story on his first year helming the brand. “But I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs.” Cook estimates that the company has created more than 600,000 jobs in America since 1980 (WSJ.com does a nice job summarizing Apple's US manufacturing history.)
Perhaps this is a way for Cook and Apple to give a little back to America. The New York Times reports that Apple is planning to shell out $100 million for American manufacturing next year. It currently manufactures some parts of the iPhone in the US. It's also, of course, a way for Cook to carve his own brand and legacy apart from his predecessor and old boss, Steve Jobs.
“My own personal philosophy on giving is best stated in a [John F.] Kennedy quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Cook told Businessweek. “I have always believed this. Always. I think that Apple and Apple’s employees have done enormous good and can do even more.”Continue reading...
brand and bottle
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 10, 2012 10:46 AM
SABMiller this week updated its Africa strategy: "Double the price of beer, Halve the price of beer and Go Farming." Double the price is explained above with a case study on its Castle Lite brand; the other two pillars were explained in two other videos, explained as:
Halve the Price of Beer: Halve the price of beer refers to our strategy of innovating and producing more affordable beers using local ingredients and creating an entry point into commercial beers for consumers who are trading out of informal alcohol and entering the formal alcohol market. In this short film we introduce the strategic context and look at how our traditional beer Chibuku Shake Shake has grown in Zambia and showcases how we are innovating to extend our reach to more consumers through PET in our new offer Chibuku Super.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 30, 2012 10:02 AM
Greenpeace and Asia Pulp & Paper have been battling for years over the issue of brands using APP for packaging, as the eco-activists believe the company is one of many brands contributing to the deforestation of “critical habitats and last remaining biodiversity hotspots” by using what it sees as unsustainable packaging materials sourced by APP.
Greenpeace's latest campaign against APP, via its global KFC protests, prompted the paper supplier to send us a rebuttal from Ian Lifshitz, Sustainability Manager for APP in the Americas.
“APP has been taking into account the critical issues raised by our international stakeholders, and we’ve announced important milestones in our business policies. Namely, on May 15, we announced the suspension of natural forest clearance in Indonesia, and that we will begin holding ourselves and our suppliers to the internationally-recognized high standards of HCVF (high conservation value forest)."Continue reading...