March/April 2013

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March/April 2013

A collection of news, articles and other featured content about March/April 2013.

Photography by Vito Palmisano

The market for mergers and acquisitions might be heating up, but exclusive research from Retail Leader indicates fewer than half of companies expect to buy or sell a business unit in 2013. About four out of 10 survey respondents indicated their companies had completed an acquisition in the past 12

Recently, I attended a focus group where eight shoppers were offering candid advice and ideas about how to create the perfect supermarket. Four men and four women of varying backgrounds, education, professions, etc., were present, and all were very enthusiastic and engaged in the process.

Shoppers can kill time many ways while waiting for their number at the deli counter or hot food bar: They can cruise the cleaning aisle, scope out deals on boneless chicken breasts or, in increasing numbers of stores, visit an in-store clinic for a quick cholesterol check. Over the past decade, the

Economic challenges have left CPG companies clamoring for consumers' attention – and paying more to do so. Since 1980, the average percent of revenue devoted to trade spending has gone from 5 percent to 18 percent, reports Durham, N.C.-based Clarkston Consulting.

Bill Schamp, director of consumer products, Clarkston Consulting "TPO touches many areas of the supplier/retailer relationship. You must have a clear business strategy aimed at achieving savings or becoming more effective with mixing promotional elements.

Despite signs of an economic recovery, shoppers remain cautious and frugal, relying heavily on value to decide which channels to shop, according to SymphonyIRI's "2012 CPG Year in Review: Finding the New Normal."

Mindful of shoppers focused on getting the most of their grocery dollars and operating on razor thin margins, it's no surprise that cost-cutting is top of mind with retailers these days.

In their desire to be efficient, companies that keep doing more for less might come to the straw that breaks the camel's back. While Hostess Brands' products are expected to live on under new ownership, they serve as a reminder of how fragile relations with labor can put a company at risk, particul

Grocery retailers have shared in the largess this year as U.S. stocks rallied, pushing both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to new records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 14,559.65 on March 26, topping its all-time high set in 2007, ahead of the global financial crisis.

Finding the best talent can seem like a never-ending quest. "You always have to be looking, whether it is at other local retailers, at church, wherever you are," says Jodie Felter, human resources director for Niemann Foods Inc. in Quincy, Ill.

If the industry's current state of flux has you flummoxed, your confusion is understandable. Multiple economic and demographic trends are converging, sometimes contradicting one another.

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