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IRS and HHS Issue Proposed Regulations on Individual Mandate

February 19, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf


As business owners and operators of at-retail merchandising companies, we will be hearing a lot about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in the weeks and months ahead. The World Alliance for Retail Excellence and Standards is striving to help our members get over the jumps by establishing its own Health Exchange and by offering a session on the topic at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On January 30, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued two sets of proposed regulations related to the individual mandate provision of the PPACA.

The individual mandate requires most individuals to have minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. The penalty is now called a shared responsibility payment. Some individuals may qualify for an exemption so they will not be required to have coverage or pay a penalty.

The proposed regulations confirm the individual mandate requirements and outline the process for requesting an exemption. They also cover what qualifies as minimum essential coverage, how penalties will be determined and paid, who is exempt from paying the penalty and when individuals can apply for an exemption.

This document goes into greater detail and fills in some of the information that business owners and individuals will need to meet the proposed regulations. As an additional resource, this website should be useful for small businesses in the coming months.

As your trade association, the World Alliance for Retail Excellence and Standards looks forward to providing continuing news and information on the PPACA. We encourage you to attend RMMC and engage our experts in this and many other important topics as we Learn, Change, Grow.

Shopping Experience Still Revolves Around Store

February 12, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


Digital technology has shaped just about everything in our lives including the way CPG marketers and consumers connect. The evolution has caused many misconceptions about the role that at-retail plays, and will play in the future. A recently released study by PwC, as reported on by Progressive Grocer, identifies 10 myths of multichannel retailing and provides some much needed perspective on the role of social media as an important contributor to the shopping experience, but not the shopping experience itself.

The study is based on a survey of more than 11,000 shoppers worldwide, addresses misconceptions about multichannel and pulls out ideas for trading partners to keep pace with consumers. Here are some of the myths unearthed by PwC:

- Social media will become an indispensable retail channel. Social media is more likely to become a driver of shopping across all channels, rather than just a channel for online stores.

-Stores will be showrooms. The survey results said that, for most consumers, the store remains the center of the shopping experience. However, there is an important showrooming role that can be played by stores as companies discover how to drive purchases across multichannels.

- Tablets overtake PCs in shopping. Tablets and smart phones are used at the end of the purchase, particularly in-store, while shopping.

-Global consumers are becoming more similar. Retailers still need to account for local differences and trends.

- Retailers are positioned better than brands. With consumers buying direct, they do not always distinguish between retailer and brand.

-Online retail sales take away from other channels. In reality, consumers are spending more with multichannel retailers.

These myths, and the trends that debunk them, all point to the continued importance of at-retail to consumers. By extension, they also point to the critical in-store merchandising and marketing services provided by the members of the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards, formerly NARMS International. The members will be getting together to discuss these trends and others at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. And speaking of digital technology, there is a just released RMMC Mobile App that you can use to enhance your trip to the Valley of the Sun.

Sole Retail Marketing Non-Profit Rebrands Its Image on February 1st

February 8, 2013 by WorldAlliance Editor  
Filed under News Releases

NARMS President Tom Caddell Calls It “An Evolution”

Denver, CO. – “This change is not just a name change. It’s truly an evolution. Our new name goes along with our new vision, mission and objectives.” With those statements, Tom Caddell, Executive Director of NARMS International ( announced today the February 1st launch of a rebranding of the 17-year-old non-profit organization. “In the past, NARMS did not take the steps necessary to be recognized in the industry or the media. Within our trade association, our members knew the name NARMS, certainly, but the industry as a whole didn’t know what we did, how we did it and what we stood for. We’ve spent significant time determining our current and future relevancy in a challenging and ever-changing marketplace. A rebranding initiative, based on a new name, was imperative.”

worldalliancesm4cweb1 Effective February 1st, NARMS International becomes World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards. The name was selected based on the organization’s vision to be the driving force behind at-retail collaboration and standards, as well as nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader within the retail industry. “Our new mission is simply to expand collaboration across the entire retail spectrum, thereby providing a format that fosters continuous improvement in service execution, customer experience and change management for all parties. It’s time to bring more value so everyone, from the retailer to the manufacturer and, ultimately, the consumer, receives the very best in products and services.” Caddell went on to explain that the member-supported non-profit will provide the “first ever” accredited retail certification program based on a code of standards, policies and procedures. In addition, the organization will provide workforce education and training, an enhanced job board known as the, invaluable resources and a clearinghouse for research. He also emphasized an initiative to reach out to, and establish relationships, with the media, particularly the trade publications.

Caddell enthuses: “Retail is a rapidly-changing industry, subject to constantly-evolving technology, globalization and marketplace saturation with unprecedented levels of consumer influence. We must be forward thinking so our members remain relevant. And, our change is good, for the industry overall but more importantly for our members as we build a platform that supports ethical, professional company responsibility. The timing just couldn’t be better to acknowledge our legacy while also moving forward, embracing the dynamic future ahead.”

World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards ( - currently under development), formerly NARMS International, is a non-profit organization, based in Denver, that brings together all sectors of the retail industry: retailers, manufacturers, independent food and non-food brokers, wholesalers and distributors, retail service companies and support service members. Together, they are an alliance of at-retail companies entrusted with delivering exceptional sales, marketing and service support to B2C manufacturers, retailers and their customers, across all channels.

New Networking Event Slated for RMMC


The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), presented by NARMS, has always been a terrific place to network with fellow at-retail merchandising and marketing industry trading partners and peers. The Association has added an event to the 2013 agenda to enhance this already rich tradition. The new Retail Service Exchange will take place on Tuesday, April 30 from 1:00- 4:00 pm. The RMMC will run from April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

This unique event gives you the opportunity to conduct one-on-one meetings with retailers, manufacturers, members and services providers in a professional, speed-networking environment. This is a great chance for all our members to come together, discuss business opportunities and conduct reviews. Take advantage of this face-time with your most valued customers, suppliers and vendors.

There are a limited number of 11 tables available in the Retail Service Exchange. If you would like to reserve a table, email Fiona Lipscomb at [email protected] Tables are on a first come, first serve basis. Once your company has reserved a table, you will be responsible to manage appointments and scheduling. A copy of the latest attendee list will be provided once your table is confirmed. If you would like someone to meet you at the conference, encourage them to register by forwarding this information.

A detailed list of companies, contact names and email addresses will be posted on the website, as the Retail Service Exchange begins to fill up.

But you cannot take advantage of this golden opportunity to Learn-Change-Grow if you are not going to RMMC. Visit our official conference website to get all the information you need to register and plan for your trip to the stunning Valley of the Sun in April. The agenda is building on a daily basis so stay tuned for many more updates and features of this value packed event.


Cleveland Research Conference Call Next Week


Finding retail industry research is not a difficult thing. Understanding and applying research that is relevant to your at-retail merchandising service business is another matter. To get a start down this road, NARMS members are invited to attend a Grocery Conference Call on January 30th at 2 PM EST hosted by Cleveland Research Company. To date, 268 companies are already registered for this high value event. Registration information has been emailed to members.

These 60 minute calls include real-time insights and updates from Cleveland Research Company on the grocery channel and interactions with senior management in addition to a brief question and answer period. The slide deck used during the presentation will also be included for all call participants.

NARMS has started a conversation with Cleveland Research about the importance of research and how our members and association can apply this knowledge into their day to day operations. In addition to this invitation to the members, Cleveland Research led a NARMS Webinar a few weeks back and will host a session at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). Dennis Reed, Director of National Accounts, will lead the session on Tuesday, April 30 at 9:45.

Here is a sample of the types of topics that will be covered in the conference call:

Top 3 Takeaways from Cleveland Research this week:

-Walmart sales look weaker over the last 60 days despite strong plans and relatively decent execution.

-Homecenter sales look stronger than expected this quarter, and we continue to see some upside versus expectations and company guidance for Home Depot and Lowe’s to this point in 4Q.

-Strong B2C shipping demand driven primarily by better-than-expected eCommerce volumes.

Key Themes by Company/Channel sorted by Business Fundamentals:

-Homecenters – business stronger than expected, orders improving.

-Pet – good near-term sales momentum, outlook expected to moderate slightly.

-Coffee – one of the strongest performers in retail/foodservice as well as down the grocery aisles.

-Luxury Retail – continued Chinese consumer weakness hurting sales, particularly jewelry and watches.

-Appliances – volumes still soft, early signs that promotional activity is returning.

Your association is in the process of defining what our members need in the area of industry research. Your involvement in webinars, conference calls and educational sessions at RMMC can help shape the future of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry.

SymphonyIRI Report Examines Merchandising Trends

January 22, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The consumer definition of value is a moving target. The widespread acceptance of online, mobile and social media marketing has gone a long way to shape the impressions of shoppers before they enter the store. Has this made traditional methods of at-retail merchandising obsolete? The January issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI takes a look at current and emerging trends being embraced by CPG marketers in the ongoing battle to meet consumer needs.

This report defines merchandising activity as those employing feature ads, feature plus display, display only and price only tactics. According to the report, more than one-third of volume is sold with merchandising support across 39 percent of categories. Here are some other key findings:

-The pace of merchandising activity has been mixed during the past year, with 53 percent of categories seeing increased support. Within the drug channel, merchandising activity declined across 60 percent of categories, but support across key health and beauty care categories has risen more quickly versus the grocery channel.

-Growth in display only and price-only tactics has escalated, while combined feature/display activity has slowed.

-Merchandising activity is intensifying across many meal ingredient and meal component categories, particularly in frozen foods and fresh/perishable categories.

-In general, private brands receive less merchandising support versus their name-brand competitors.

-Merchandising programs that begin to impact the shopper in the home are having a powerful impact on sales lift.

-CPG marketers are adopting new strategies aimed at capitalizing on new technologies and building more targeted, impactful relationships with consumers.

Certainly, the merchandising tactics employed by CPG manufacturers and retailers have a direct effect on the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry who often act as their outsourced execution arm in stores. Times & Trends dives much more deeply into these trends than we can share here, so you should download your copy here.

Staying on top of trends that shape the industry is an important mission of NARMS. This commitment will be on full display at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit the official conference website for more information and to register.


Your Association on the Trade Show Trail

January 15, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


In addition to all the excitement building over The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), NARMS announced last week that it will exhibit at three prominent industry trade shows in 2013. As a service to the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry, the Association is offering members an exclusive opportunity to join us and kick the tires of these big retail events without a huge risk or financial commitment.

Marketing your company at a trade show always comes with the uncertainty that you will get return on your investment. NARMS will have a booth at each of the following events and we encourage you to use it as a home base for your business meetings and to promote your affiliation with our Association. Participation will allow you to determine for yourself if you want to market your company at these events in 2014.

Here is some information on the shows:

NGA (National Grocer’s Association): February 10th – 13th at The Mirage in Las Vegas, NV. The NGA Show offers something for everyone. Trading partners from retailers, manufacturers and suppliers will all find a wealth of good ideas and new information in the educational workshops and the NGA EXPO floor. The EXPO Floor is completely sold out, the earliest date in the history of the Show.

Expo West : March 8th – 10th at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. The Natural Products marketplace is growing. As a result, Natural Products Expo West is growing as well. More retail buyers are walking the show floor at Expo West than ever before, looking for the newest quality products to bring back to their stores. Over 60,000 industry members attended Expo West this past March.

GlobalShop : April 16th – 18th at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. GlobalShop is the largest annual event for retail design and shopper marketing. It is the only show in the world where you can find the largest, most comprehensive array of store fixture companies and more in-store solutions than any live event in the nation.

Click here to download an informational flyer and learn more about these special opportunities. These are high traffic events so you will want to act quickly as these shows do sell out. We hope you will join us as together we display that NARMS members provide valuable, innovative and necessary services to the retail industry.


RMMC Keynote Will Address the New Rules of Retail


The retail industry is tough and getting tougher. Driven by constantly evolving technology, globalization and a saturated marketplace, consumers now have total and instantaneous access to whatever they desire, creating an unprecedented level of consumer power and expectations. The impact of these changes is so profound that all traditional strategic success factors, and the business models necessary to execute them, will become extinct. To help the members of NARMS to Learn, Change and Grow, keynote speaker Robin Lewis of The Robin Report will present The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace at the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS.

The annual at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry get together will take place on April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale. Lewis will take the main stage at 3:30 on Sunday, April 28.

Using profiles and case examples of industry giants, Lewis will reveal why some retailers are tremendously successful at reaching increasingly elusive and demanding consumers, and explains the new mandate, essentially the new rules for retailers.

Lewis is the founder and CEO of The Robin Report. He is an author, speaker, and consultant for the retail and consumer products industries. He is frequently requested by C-level management for advice, consultation and strategic presentations: among them are Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Liz Claiborne, VF Corp., Charming Shoppes, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, and Sara Lee. Previously, he was Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he developed and launched a global retail consulting practice.

He is the co-author of The New Rules of Retail, published by Palgrave- McMillan Publishing in 2010, and is often quoted in various trade and consumer publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Time Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Brand Week, and Advertising Age, as well as on CNBC and MSNBC.

The Lewis keynote address is just one example of the value-packed agenda being put together for RMMC. This is a chance to not only take in some valuable information, but also have your voice heard as the Association prepares to meet the challenges of the future. You can find out more about RMMC and register by visiting the official website. Group rates are available so you can bring your whole team.

NARMS Health Exchange Enables Learn, Change, Grow

January 8, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The New Year is a time to make resolutions. NARMS and the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry are resolved to live by the theme Learn, Change, Grow in 2013 and beyond. These three words are also the theme of The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) set for Scottsdale on April 27-30. Addressing the Affordable Health Care Act and its business tax provisions starting in 2014 is an opportunity to start fulfilling those resolutions now.

Rob Dooley with the NARMS Health Exchange, along with Bob Plante, will be expanding on the issue as they present a breakout session on the Affordable Care Act at RMMC. The duo will also be available at the conference in the exhibit area to meet and consult on how you can create a Safe Harbor Plan for you and your employees. If you recall, Dooley hosted an installment of the NARMS Webinar Series on this important topic back in October. For those members who were unable to attend the webinar, an audio playback and the companion slideshow are available by visiting the Members Area on

Dooley has set up the NARMS Health Exchange as part of the solution and an outstanding benefit to our members. The Exchange is a value-added service provided at no cost to NARMS members. It can be found online at

The NARMS Health Exchange is an information source and a quote engine for health insurance offered through a defined contribution income tax exempt approach. There is a short video on the website under the employer tab that will further clarify the program and how it works. You can save thousands of dollars in taxes with less than 10 minutes a month in administration, help attract and retain good employees and save those employees thousands of dollars in tax and premiums.

The NARMS Health Exchange is another example of how the members of our Association can work together for the mutual benefit of all and is a vivid example of the benefits of membership. Register for RMMC by visiting the official conference website and start down a path of preparation for the Affordable Health Care Act.

Putting Center Store Front and Center

January 3, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store


CPG manufacturers in all categories and channels are always looking for ways to differentiate their products to gain additional sales and market share. There was a time when this drive to draw attention lead many to concentrate their promotional activity to the perimeter of the store. The center store was seen as a place to stack it high and let it fly, but not a place to truly innovate. But according to the latest issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI, there is a new emphasis on promoting center store categories.

According to Times & Trends, center store has outperformed industry averages for two years garnering two-thirds of CPG spending and 70 percent of unit sales. In spite of this fact, promotional activity is declining in 58 percent of center store categories and 6 of the top 10.

The report says that center store has rebounded due to changing consumer rituals like preparing meals at home and using home based health and beauty products. The center store is the focal point for trip missions and the basis for popular shopper loyalty programs. Advanced analytics and shopper marketing data have made it possible to promote and differentiate in the center store. It all revolves around understanding the needs of key shopper groups and merchandising to meet those needs.

SymphonyIRI suggests three courses of action for trading partners: Continue to assess new growth opportunities and threats. Explore the feasibility of collaborative marketing and merchandising plans. Closely measure and monitor strategy execution.

The members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry provide services that directly support these strategies. NARMS members can quickly execute shelf-level initiatives that support shopper needs such as new product cut-ins, category resets, store remodels, product sampling and demo programs and mystery shopping/audit services.

For a deeper understanding of the SymphonyIRI Times & Trends report, download your free copy by clicking here. Another opportunity for deeper understanding and insight is coming up on April 27-30 at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. Click here to find out more and register today.


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