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    GMDC Calls for Renewed Focus on GM to Revitalize Center Store

    Insights revealed in report preview at recent conference

    At the 41st annual Global Market Development Center (GMDC) General Merchandise Marketing Conference held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla., the organization launched a preview of a study it worked on with consulting group Radian, “Winning in GM: Trends, Insights & Strategies,” which will be released in the fall. The report features information that will establish performance benchmarks, as well a template for implementation.

    According to Dave McConnell, president and CEO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based GMDC, GM categories are crucial to the revitalization of center store, and it’s necessary to rethink traditional GM categories and identify successful growth opportunities. “This study will quantify the value of GM and provide insights, strategies and solutions to grow business and maintain customer loyalty,” noted McConnell.

    During the event, almost 11,000 Controlled Casual Conference (CCC) appointments took place, as well as pilots of 169 Senior Executive Conferences (SECs).

    GMDC member companies Bi-Lo and Wakefern Food Corp. offered insights on “How to Do Business With” their respective organizations. More than 100 conference attendees took part in that event and  industry roundtable sessions focusing on the role of GM at retail.

    Retail, wholesale and supplier peers also swapped ideas and insights on such issues as the role of GM in a retail store, the economy and GM and the Impact of store brands in GM.

    Rounding out GMDC’s educational opportunities were the Sunday Store Tours in which participants received personal store tours hosted by local management from Winn-Dixie, Sedano’s and Publix Sabor, each grocer offering its own perspective on how to merchandise to local Orlando-area shoppers.

    At the close of the conference, the association revealed the top items featured in The Showcase, a display room where more than 300 products, merchandising concepts and promotional items were showcased for retailers and wholesalers, offering a cost-effective way for suppliers to directly reach more than 75 companies.

    “The new ideas that were generated and the excitement that was shared will contribute to the business for the remainder of 2011 and into another productive year in 2012,” observed Anthea Jones, GMDC chairman of the board and SVP store operations at Mauldin, S.C.-based Bi-Lo.

    Next year’s conference is scheduled to take place in Orlando on June 1-5, 2012. At the 2011 event, more than 850 retail, wholesale and supplier members were in attendance.

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