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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has unveiled its new Senior Merchandising Executive (SME) Forum, which will debut at the trade group's annual FMI Connect event, held June 10 -14 in Chicago.
FMI's SME Forum was designed to provide chief merchants from food retail in the U.S. and Europe, as well as interested non-food retailers around the globe, a meeting place and virtual network to address key issues that impact their individual and company’s performance in a unique, non-competitive environment.
According to Mark Baum, senior VP of industry relations and chief collaboration officer for FMI, the organization "recognizes that senior merchandising executives are key stakeholders within their organizations and they enable better trading partner collaboration. As part of FMI’s Total Store Collaboration platform,"" he said, "the SME Forum will become a part of a collaborative group of food retail and manufacturer leaders, to tackle industry-wide challenges and initiate large-scale transformative change.”
“In addition to their role within Total Store Collaboration, the SME Forum will be a specialized community for retail merchants, generating value for our members by significantly increasing the engagement of retailers’ senior-most merchandising executives," Baum added.
The forum's portfolio of services will include both a planned cadence of in-person scheduled events, as well as smaller groups on specific topics. There also will be several “content features,” inclusive of virtual one-hour roundtables on timely and topical issues, identified and prioritized by SME Forum participants.
Arlington, Va.-based FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.