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IGA Awards 117 Retailers 'Five Star' Status in Revamped Assessment Program

CHICAGO, Ill. -- In tandem with a new retailer assessment program, IGA USA said it awarded 117 retailers a Five Star award of excellence for their achievements in 2007. The Five Star award is IGA's highest level of recognition possible under the newly established assessment program, which utilizes rigorous standards to measure retailers' performance.

IGA had scrapped its former assessment program in favor of a new retailer-drive one that focuses more strongly on customer experience. The revamped program was spearheaded by IGA's National Retailer Advisory Board, which began a year-long process of revisions designed to elevate IGA's brand image in the eyes of the consumer.

IGA developed new program elements in conjunction with TrendSource, an independent business intelligence consulting company experienced in providing similar services to other top-tier retailers. The revised Assessment Program, introduced at the beginning of 2007, consisted of a series of four unrevealed appraisals and one revealed appraisal. Each of the store appraisals was aligned with IGA's four quarterly marketing events, and was performed by TrendSource-trained Customer Experience Observers (CEOs).

During each of the visits retailers and their stores were appraised by CEOs on performance in the following categories: operations, service, branding, marketing and community support. Following each of the appraisals, real-time reports highlighting areas of improvement from a customer's perspective were then made available to the retailers and their wholesale distribution partners.

"Because IGA Retailers and their distribution partners have real-time access to appraisal reports, they have an immediate and effective guide to follow in order to provide their customers with the preferred shopping experience," said Jim Walz, IGA's v.p./marketing, branding, and business development.

Throughout the year, a committee of IGA retailers and senior management also met each quarter to review the results of the assessments and continue to refine the program. When the program ended in November, over 5,600 in- store appraisals had been conducted in the course of the assessment periods.

Mark Batenic, IGA USA c.e.o., said the revised assessment program's focus on customer experience is also helping IGA retailers leverage the power of the IGA brand. "The heart and soul of IGA retailing is providing our customers with the very best level of service along with a personalized, community-focused experience."

For a complete list of IGA's Five Star Retailers, visit the IGA Web site at

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