A.B.A. conference to feature retail panel

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association has unveiled a multi-format panel of retail experts as part of its April 16 business session at the A.B.A.’s 2012 Annual Convention.

The retailer perspective will be represented by Stew Leonard Jr. of Stew Leonard’s and Shawn Baldwin of Sam’s Club. David Orgel, editor of Supermarket News, will moderate, and consumer expert Todd Hale will sit in following his independent remarks preceding the panel.

“We are very excited to have key representatives from the baking industry’s customer base joining us to explore how consumers are making purchasing decisions with regard to baked goods,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. “It’s clear that consumers are responding to the current economic climate with a variety of strategies. This panel, complemented by our sessions on consumer and marketing analysis, will give convention attendees current, relevant guidance to bring home to their companies.”

Mr. Baldwin is senior vice-president, fresh and freezer cooler, at Sam’s Club. He has responsibility for fresh merchandising, fresh operations, demos, and freezer-cooler merchandising for Sam’s Club U.S. and Puerto Rico. Since joining the company in 1990, he has held various roles in operations, merchandising, and club management.

Mr. Leonard Jr. is president and c.e.o. of Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned retailer operating multiple facilities across the Northeast with annual sales of $400 million.

“What I hope our members will take away from the panel is keen insight into strategies commercial bakers can implement to partner with their retail customers in promoting higher growth of branded, private label and in-store bakery products — encompassing innovation, marketing and merchandising,” Mr. MacKie said.

The 2012 A.B.A. Convention is set for April 14-18 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. More information may be found at www.americanbakers.org.

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