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Nielsen expert, Todd Hale delivers top-line industry behavior report at the 2014 General Merchandise Marketing Conference Business Session

September 15, 2014

At the Global Market Development Center’s (GMDC) 2014 General Merchandise (GM) Marketing Conference, Todd Hale, Retail Insights Thought Leader, presented on behalf of Nielsen “GM State of the Industry - 2014,” a business session that provided over 400 attendees with an exclusive look into the retail landscape and its performance in GM categories.

This business session allowed GMDC members to gain the most comprehensive industry and operational metrics and consumer shopping behavior insights directly supported by the recently updated GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy – a benchmarking tool for GMDC members that tracks and creates visibility to important sales information by product in the GM industry for all channels of distribution.

“The GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy was built for the members of GMDC by the members of GMDC to better reflect the categories they’re in. We’ve (Nielsen) added roughly 20 million UPCs to the hierarchy structure so it’s a big amount of data,” said Hale. “It’s intended to be a business tool to take with you and help you make better decisions when collaborating with your retail partners.”

Hale’s in-depth analysis pointed out opportunities across various GM categories, telling members what to watch out for, what’s up, what’s down, and providing insider knowledge about top performers standing out from the rest. In addition, Hale demonstrated how consumers are driving new retail models and capturing new behaviors from the everyday and seasonal consumer trip.

“Consumer confidence is up and we’ve exceeded the level of confidence we were at as the recession hit. When it comes to the retail landscape, an $802 billion market is up 1.3%, within the retail channels that we track. Drug is up 1.2% and Supermarket is up 1.1%,” said Hale. “On the flipside the mass merchandiser is having a tough time in this market, particularly those serving middle class to low income consumer.”

Attendees were also given a first-look at how GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy data applications are creating a stronger understanding of general merchandise’s dynamic categories through a question and answer period with a panel of GMDC member executives discussing their experiences.

The selected panelists represented the multifaceted, unique range of business executives that GMDC members bring to the association and the overall GM industry. These panelists included: John Jansen, Director of GM/HBC, BI-LO Holdings LLC/BI-LO/Winn-Dixie; Lou Martire, VP Trade Development, Energizer; Anna Mancini, VP Merchandising, Valu Merchandising; and Cheri Taylor, Director of Retail Merchandising, Kinney Drugs.

“The GM Hierarchy allows us to validate what we’re doing. As center store and GM continue to shrink and fresh departments continue to receive additional focus, we have to focus on the right categories, items and space by using these insights to drive growth,” said Jansen.

To watch the “GM State of the Industry – 2014” Business Session presented at this year’s GMDC GM Marketing Conference visit

The next GM Marketing Conference will be held May 29 - June 2, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla.  To register, GMDC members can login to If you are not a GMDC member but are interested in knowing more about the conferences and joining, please visit or contact Vickii Barnard, Sr. Manager Member Services, at [email protected] or 719.576.4260.

About GMDC: The Global Market Development Center (GMDC) is the premier global trade association dedicated to serving General Merchandise and Health Beauty Wellness retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. GMDC promotes critical connectivity to grow and expand member companies by uniting members through business building events and opportunities and enriching their thinking through education and training; consumer and business insights; and information resources.