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    Upcoming Conference to Address 'Changing Consumer Landscape'

    NEW YORK - Six chief executive officers are among the 14 retailer speakers who will address "The Changing Consumer Landscape" at Retail Merchandiser's 4th annual Store-Specific Merchandising & Marketing Conference, March 31-April 1 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    NEW YORK - Six chief executive officers are among the 14 retailer speakers who will address "The Changing Consumer Landscape" at Retail Merchandiser's 4th annual Store-Specific Merchandising & Marketing Conference, March 31-April 1 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Presented by the VNU Retail Network, which includes Retail Merchandiser, Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News magazines, the conference, being held at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel, is expected to attract the leading players in the mass, drug, specialty, dollar, convenience store and grocery industries for education and networking. This one-of-a-kind cross-channel event focuses on how to better serving the growing number of ethnic consumers across America, as well as key demographic groups, like the aging boomer population.

    The two-day conference will be capped by the 2nd annual Store-Specific Merchandising & Marketing Awards, or the SAMMY's, and the Retail Coalition for Kids awards, sponsored by Children's Miracle Network.

    SAMMY awards will be presented to the retailer in each channel that best demonstrates innovation in developing merchandising and marketing programs aimed at multicultural markets; and/or innovation in developing merchandising and marketing programs aimed at as kids, tweens, teens, boomers, or seniors.

    This year's SAMMY award winners include:

    -- Supermarkets, presented by Progressive Grocer: Minyards Carnival

    -- Convenience Stores, presented by Convenience Store News: Alimentation Couche Tard, Inc.

    -- Mass Retailers, presented by Retail Merchandiser: Target

    In addition, Progressive Grocer will present its Retailer of the Year award to Giant Eagle during the ceremonies.

    The SAMMY's will be followed by the presentation of community service awards to Wal-Mart, Rite Aid and Giant Foods, by Children's Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids by raising funds for 170 children's hospitals across North America.

    The conference will present an abundance of demographic data on the changing U.S. population. In addition, there will be many case studies of successful retail implementation of targeted merchandising strategies and special sessions on execution that will appeal to both retailers and suppliers.

    John Call, CEO of Convenient Food Mart, will give a keynote presentation on meeting the needs of multicultural shoppers. The agenda also includes presentations by Bob Cohen, president and CEO of Scarborough Research, on The New Face of the American Consumer; Tina Wells, CEO of Buzz Marketing, who will moderate a panel of inner city experts; and Richard Massey, associate client director, ACNielsen, who will provide insights on meeting the evolving needs of the Hispanic consumer.

    In addition, special retailer panels will discuss the most effective store specific strategies in their channels. Representing grocery Stores will be Jamie Lopez, VP, Lopez Supermarkets and James Cook, VP, Minyards Carnival Stores.

    The conference is expected to attract nearly 200 leading executives from the retail community and their suppliers. This year's conference sponsors include Alliance Data Systems, Children's Miracle Network, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Energizer, 3M and Morningstar Foods. Information partners include ACNielsen, Claritas and Scarborough Research. Trade association sponsor is NARMS.

    For more information on attending the conference, please contact Nicole Bagdanov at 646-654-7487; or Jill Mulitz at 646-654-7480; fax: 646-654-7491; or email: [email protected]. Or, register online at www.store-specific.com.

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