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New FMI Initiative Focuses on General Merchandise, Health & Beauty

Program to be overseen by former GMDC|Retail Tomorrow executive
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
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FMI is stepping into the general merchandise and health and beauty segments as part of its focus on total store collaboration.

As the grocery landscape continues to shift, FMI – The Food Industry Association is adding a new general merchandise & health and beauty care (GM & HBC) initiative to its roster. The program will establish insights, thought leadership and community engagement for the segment across food retailers, suppliers and others, and will be spearheaded by retail veteran Tom Duffy, who is also the former VP of member development at GMDC/Retail Tomorrow.

“Total store collaboration is a core strategic pillar of FMI and serves as a way to describe our approach to fostering partnerships among trading partners, including retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and brokers in the retail food industry,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “Our investment in general merchandise & health and beauty care is consistent with the fulfillment of this vision.”  

FMI shared IRI statistics showing that GM & HBC sales made up an estimated 10% of all grocery sales in the most recent 52-week period, or $49.1 billion total.

“Since the FMI brand represents everything in the food, beverage and consumer goods retail basket, and embraces all categories in the marketplace, FMI is poised to further its stock in what’s sold at grocery,” said Mark Baum, FMI’s chief collaboration officer and SVP, industry relations, who will oversee the new initiative.

FMI plans to organize an advisory group that will identify priority areas, explore best practices and analyze the changing economics that support investments in these categories.

“As a senior advisor to FMI on this initiative, I will support and provide grocery retailers with knowledge and insights that drive new ideas, products and solutions to grow their business across the GM & HBC,” Duffy said. “In turn, FMI will enhance trading partner collaboration to address challenges, opportunity gaps and innovations designed to drive profitable growth in GM & HBC categories and to better serve consumers.” 

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow dissolved as a member-owned nonprofit at the end of 2021 following strategic reviews conducted before and during the pandemic, and a board-approved resolution.

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