WASHINGTON, DC — April 4, 2003 — Offering a more detailed, intensive approach to contemporary industry issues, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will present five Learning Labs for attendees to the 2003 FMI Show, May 4-6 in Chicago.

Learning Labs are a series of focused, interactive three-hour sessions designed to build skills in specific areas. At these labs, retailers work with highly skilled trainers and facilitators who will go far beyond a standard presentation. Speakers discuss ideas and strategies, and participants often work in smaller groups, using interactive exercises focused on practical skills that can be applied at store level.

In order to preserve the interactive environment of the sessions, attendance is limited to 150 persons and pre-registration is strongly recommended to guarantee a spot. If unreserved seats are available when doors open, seating will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learning Lab topics and speakers include:

Monday, May 5, 8:15 – 11:00 a.m.

Size Matters: The Smaller, The Faster

Using a unique interactive format, this lab will examine and recommend specific approaches smaller operators can use to compete successfully by balancing strategies to grow sales with cost controls. The discussion will examine ways to build a reputation for quality and freshness in perishables, offer a unique approach to creating strategic alliances, describe how to brand your store by building your niche in the community, ways to use the web to build your business, and taking customer loyalty beyond card programs. Industry leaders will cover successful practices for increasing sales and customer traffic while minimizing controllable expenses.

Kevin Coupe, Content Guy, morningnewsbeat.com; Tim Devanney, President, Highland Park Markets; Thomas Honer, President, Harvest Market; Tim Metcalfe, President, Metcalfe Sentry Foods; Ben Robinson, Executive Director, Raise the Bar; Rich Tarrant, Chairman, MyWebGrocer.com; Nancy Cohen, Eddie’s of Roland Park

Why Most Stores Aren’t Relevant For Today’s Customers

Are there things about your business assumed to be ‘givens’ that are actually losing business for you? Are you and the customer evolving in different directions? Tom Styrkowicz, founding partner of OXYON Customer Strategy, will lead audience members through a series of exercises that look at both sides of the consumer/retailer equation. First, consumers’ lives will be examined to show how their needs have changed. Then, working backwards from the customer to the store, audience members will examine and challenge how things have evolved in the industry. This eye-opening session will reveal the disconnects between your customers and the store. Participants will gain insight into how both evolutionary and revolutionary changes can make their stores more relevant to the needs of customers today.

Tom Styrkowicz, Partner, Oxyon

Journey to the Center Store

The health and vitality of the center store is mission critical to every retailer's objective of growing total store sales. Battered and bruised by the category-killer merchandising strategies used by mass merchandisers and club stores, as well as the competitively priced and conveniently located quick-service restaurants, food retailers and their trading partners are challenged to find creative and innovative ways to defend against this multifaceted onslaught at the core of their stores. This lab will focus on understanding how key consumer trends are impacting the center store and on the business fundamentals that are necessary to optimize sales in this essential section. Attendees will receive an in-depth review of center store issues facing retailers and a comprehensive presentation of existing and prototypical solutions.

Timothy Hawkes, Executive Vice President, Arc Integrated Marketing

Tuesday, May 6, 2003, 8:15 am – 11:00 am

Store Manager Coaching for Increased Profits

Do your store managers have the tools and expertise to manage and impact departmental sales? Are your stores realizing their profit potential? This learning lab will focus on increasing the effectiveness of store managers by providing them with the tools and techniques needed to successfully coach and motivate their department managers. Attendees will receive an in-depth review of various departments’ profitability as well as methods to drive total store customers to shop more of the total store. You’ll get solutions to enhance the skills of store managers, and explore ways to increase overall store sales and profits. Coaching techniques and individual department score cards will be provided and explained in a stimulating training environment.

Chuck Coonradt, CEO, The Game of Work; Mark Batenic, Executive Vice President/COO, Clemens Markets, Inc.

Defending Against Competitive Channel Encroachment

In today’s ultra-competitive world, differentiating your company on a non-price basis is key to attracting new customers and building loyalty. Supermarket operators must learn to leverage their unique strengths to defend against competitive channel encroachment and grow profitable sales. Participants in this interactive lab will discuss five key points on which supermarkets differ from other retail formats which can be the basis for a sustainable growth strategy. We will also look at fifteen categories where supermarkets should concentrate to rebuild traffic without going broke in the process. In addition, participants will explore how to more fully leverage supplier resources and target promotion investment to significantly increase effectiveness and profitability.

Christopher W. Hoyt, President, Hoyt & Company, LLC: Nancy Swift, Senior Vice President, Hoyt & Company, LLC

Learning Labs are open to all 2003 FMI Show attendees. To register for the Learning Labs, or for more information, visit the FMI Show Web site at www.fmishow.org or call 800-974-9769.