Hershey Wins 2nd Retailer Initiative Award

Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, (right), 7-Eleven, Inc.’s senior vice president of merchandising and logistics, presents its Retailer Initiative Award to Dave Onorato, The Hershey Company’s vice president of global convenience stores. This is the second time Hershey has won the award.

7-Eleven, Inc. has announced The Hershey Company as the recipient of the company’s 2009 Retailer Initiative Award at its annual merchandising award dinner and ceremony.

This is the second time the iconic confectionery company has won the honor and the first time for any supplier-partner to win twice. Retailer Initiative is 7-Eleven’s strategy for providing customers with what they want through item-by-item management at each store. The annual honor recognizes a top supplier and partner that excels in supporting 7-Eleven stores and meeting their customers’ changing needs.  Honored companies provide team merchandising, demand-chain solutions, beneficial cost of goods, category management, product innovation and creativity in advertising and promotional programs.

Hershey was selected for its across-the-board efforts in the confectionery category, specifically increasing efficiencies, identifying and responding to consumer trends, accelerating product innovation, excelling at item-by-item management and supporting 7-Eleven’s marketing efforts.

“While our customers’ needs continually change, Hershey’s expert innovation and management in the confectionery category is a constant we can count on,” said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven senior vice president for merchandising and logistics.  “The Hershey team provided critical leadership among our confectionery suppliers during a significant merchandising re-set in our stores because they believed in the new plan.  Their willingness to bring competitors on board in this effort paid big dividends for all of us.”

When 7-Eleven signed on to partner with Japanese animé favorite Domo last year, Hershey proposed and produced a cardboard standee of the brown furry character in just a few weeks.  Hershey was key in helping recruit rival Mars Inc. to participate in the sales promotion, and the two merchandised their signature products Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Mars’ Snickers chocolate bars in the open mouth of the Domo display.  During the promotion, the confectioners offered a $1-off coupon on the featured products with the purchase of a Big Gulp fountain drink.

“We are honored to be selected for the Retailer Initiative Award for the second time by 7-Eleven,” said Dave Onorato, vice president of Global Convenience Stores for The Hershey Company. “To be recognized by a customer with the stature of 7-Eleven is an honor shared by all of our employees worldwide. Hershey and our convenience store team take great pride in the collaborative partnership that has been built over many years with 7-Eleven.”

Hershey also improved sales with special offers on its products when bundled with a beverage purchase. Offers included a KitKat wafer bar with 7-Eleven coffee and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with a 20-ounce bottle of a Coca-Cola soft drink. The company lent its expertise to increase seasonal chocolate sales of Cadbury Eggs, which it distributes exclusively in the U.S.  Hershey’s efforts assisted 7-Eleven in lifting its confectionery category sales.

“Hershey clearly embodies what it means to be a true category captain,” Delgado-Jenkins said. “The collaborative leadership and merchandising initiative they provided in 2009 were significant sales drivers for the category.”

This is the ninth year 7-Eleven has presented its Retailer Initiative award. Last year’s winner was Kraft Foods.  Besides Hershey, past winners (which included a tie one year) are Mars Snackfood US, Miller Brewing Company, UST, Inc. and BakeFresh, Pinnacle Food Products, Inc., The Hershey Company, Nestlé Waters North America and Anheuser-Busch.

Nominations for the next Retailer Initiative award will begin in January 2011 and will recognize efforts during 2010 that support 7-Eleven’s strategy and team merchandising. Candidates are nominated by 7-Eleven’s merchandising and operations personnel, and award recipients are chosen by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee, composed of senior executives.




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