Because of an error in the source article, a summary in Tuesday's NRF SmartBrief misstated the position of Safeway Chairman and CEO Steve Burd. He also is the outgoing president. SmartBrief regrets the error.
Rhode Island's Alex and Ani, Hawaii's Eden in Love, Iowa's Heart 'n Home, South Carolina's Frame of Mind and Florida's The Polka Dot Press are all among the top 10 finalists in NRF's "This is Retail" video contest. The top five contestants will be announced on Monday. "The sheer number of votes for these retailers from their customers, business partners, family, friends and communities demonstrates the power of the retail industry and shows how our industry touches every single American," said NRF's Matthew Shay.
Robert Edwards, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Safeway since 2004, was named president, a position vacant since Tom Keller retired. "Robert is one of those unusual executives with a strong command of both the financial and operational sides of our business," said Safeway Chairman and CEO Steve Burd.
Making employees accountable for their own health, including monitoring their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, has saved Safeway millions of dollars, said Steven Burd, Safeway's president. Almost 75% of its employees have signed up for the program, which provides discounts to their health care costs.
Safeway recently said it may sell or "monetize" part of its gift-card unit, Blackhawk Network, because it was undervalued. "We are determined to get the market to appreciate the underlying value of Blackhawk," said Safeway CEO Steve Burd. "If at some point we feel frustrated in that the market's not valuing that, then there would be an effort to monetize a piece of that so that we could get that appreciation."
Safeway is expanding its Blackhawk Network gift card business -- which sells gift cards to retailers such as
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, iTunes Music Store and Starbucks -- to the U.K. The program is the fastest growing category in Safeway stores, according to Safeway Chairman, President and CEO Steve Burd.