retail news in context, analysis with attitude

A number of retailers continue to line up to support relief efforts aimed at helping the citizens of Haiti devastated by last week’s earthquake. Among the programs:

• Safeway launched a companywide initiative to provide humanitarian relief for people impacted by the Haiti earthquake. The Safeway Foundation will make an initial contribution of $100,000 to the American Red Cross and UNICEF, two organizations at the forefront of the earthquake disaster relief mission. The company’s stores throughout the U.S. and Canada has begun collecting donations for Haiti Disaster Relief through a checkstand program. In addition, Safeway’s corporate offices and other non-store facilities will conduct employee fundraisers so the company’s entire workforce can contribute to this important effort.

• Winn-Dixie Stores is implementing its “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program in all of its 514 stores to help support the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts in Haiti. “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” allows Winn-Dixie customers to donate to the Red Cross by simply indicating the amount of their choosing (between 50 cents and $500) at the cash register. The cashier will automatically add that amount to the total bill.

• Weis Markets has begun collecting donations on behalf of the American Red Cross's Haiti Relief and Development Fund in all of its stores,allowing customers can donate the amount they wish by adding to their grocery bill at check out or at the courtesy desk.  This option is available to customers paying with cash, check, and credit or debit cards.

• Rite Aid announced that The Rite Aid Foundation is making a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to help the victims, families and communities affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti. In addition,
shoppers will be able to donate funds by purchasing $1 disaster relief certificates at any Rite Aid store across the country in a program similar to ones Rite Aid conducted to support tsunami relief efforts in 2005 and aid the victims of the attacks on 9/11. Rite Aid associates in the corporate and field offices as well as the company's distribution centers will also participate in the program. All funds raised will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for earthquake relief.
KC's View:
Yesterday I bumped into Stew Leonard Jr. at his store, and I was amazed to hear that there are 89 people of Haitian descent working in his Norwalk store, and well over 100 people of Haitian descent working in his company overall. That’s extraordinary.

Stew said that in addition to raising money for the American Red Cross, he’d decided to write a check from his family foundation and make the funds available for his affected employees to use the money in ways that would help their families and their communities. In other words, he was making the donation personal ... which I think is very smart and very compassionate. And one of the reasons, I suspect, that Stew Leonard’s makes the annual list of best places to work in Fortune magazine.