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IRI and Costco Wholesale Announce Significant Enhancements to Costco CRX Platform and Launch of Costco CRX Mexico



  IRI and Costco Wholesale Announce Significant Enhancements to Costco CRX
  Platform and Launch of Costco CRX Mexico

Enhanced Data and Technology Offerings Enable Category Performance
Benchmarking, Real-Time Sales Tracking and Complete Supply Chain Management

Business Wire

CHICAGO & LAS VEGAS -- April 16, 2013

Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the exclusive provider of Costco
point-of-sale (POS) and inventory information to the manufacturer community,
and Costco Wholesale today announced several significant improvements to their
Costco Collaborative Retail Exchange™ (CRX) program, a single, global solution
for category, POS and supply chain tracking at Costco, and the launch of
Costco CRX Mexico.

“Costco is excited to debut the updated Costco CRX program as our enhanced
data and technology will make it even easier for our valued manufacturer
community to obtain specific, real-time information about their business at
Costco,” said Brad Shelton, executive vice president, Retail Client Solutions,
IRI. “Costco is consistently impressed with IRI’s ability to transform our POS
information into actionable business insights for manufacturers, and we’re
confident that the platform’s new global POS and supply chain management
capabilities will further improve our manufacturers’ communications and
overall success in Costco stores.”

Launched in 2004, the state-of-the-art Costco CRX technology platform gives
manufacturers a detailed solution for total Costco tracking. Rather than
relying on several disparate data sources to gather information, manufacturers
can use this single, overarching tool to obtain a full view of Costco’s global
business. The platform provides a consistent set of Costco internal data
points to meet all Costco manufacturer needs and facilitate a collaborative
relationship between manufacturers and buyers. In August 2012, IRI and Costco
migrated the Costco CRX program to the state-of the-art Liquid Data™
technology platform, enabling faster insights. Several data enhancements have
also been added during the past year, including category tracking and
real-time data.

“IRI is committed to growing with Costco as they continue to expand as one of
the world’s leading retailers,” said Cindi Harper, senior vice president,
Retail Insights and Solutions, IRI. “We developed these innovative new data
offerings to directly address vendor requests, and we’re excited to continue
improving the Costco CRX program to provide a valuable solution for any
manufacturer that wants to improve performance at the world’s largest
wholesale club.”

Enhanced Category Data Promotes Benchmarking and Proactive Category
Performance Management

The Costco CRX program’s new “Category Tools” service—the enhancement most
frequently requested by participating vendors—provides critical performance
benchmarking capabilities. Prior to April 2013, vendors were only able to
access their own data, but the new function allows manufacturers to measure
performance against the rest of their category as well as all releasable
Costco subcategories and segments. With new category data, subscribing
manufacturers can identify category trends, track their category performance
and gain valuable insight into the competitive landscape.

The “Category Tools” service also provides a historical view of seasonal
trends and the competitive landscape during the past three years. Historical
data allows manufacturers to quickly identify any slight change in category
performance and adjust accordingly, while also providing valuable insight for
promotional activities, product demonstrations and inventory quantities.

Real-Time Sales and Inventory Data Enable Rapid Reaction to Changing Trends

In December 2012, IRI and Costco began releasing daily sales and inventory
data to the manufacturer community, meeting manufacturers’ requests for a
real-time data solution. Every day of the week, the Costco CRX program
delivers the previous day’s sales metrics for all items in all stores—a
service that no other retailer provides currently. This timely information
allows manufacturers to react immediately to the changing retail environment,
including identifying and adjusting inventory and streamlining new product
launches.

Costco CRX Mexico Meets Growing Global Demand

In addition to equipping the Costco CRX solution with enhanced technological
features, IRI and Costco Wholesale have expanded the program with the launch
of Costco CRX Mexico. More than 750 global vendors have participated in the
Costco CRX service since it launched in the United States in 2004 and in
Canada in 2009.

“The Costco CRX platform has been a tremendous success in the United States
and Canada, so we’re thrilled to be able to offer our manufacturers in Mexico
the same quality solution and enable a more global view of Costco’s sales,”
said Mark Feldman, director of sales, Costco Mexico.

A Complete Supply Chain Management Solution

Because of Costco’s low operating margins, manufacturers must be extremely
diligent with forecasting and order management to avoid inventory issues. With
Costco CRX’s new, daily, updated suite of supply chain management measures,
including POS and inventory information, subscribers can make faster business
decisions, driving more accurate forecasting and demand planning, more
efficient business practices and better overall success at Costco. The
inclusion of three additional inventory metrics (in transit, on order and
orders received), complements the program’s existing inventory measures
(inventory on hand and average days of supply) to create a full supply chain
management solution.

Since the launch of Costco CRX’s enhanced supply chain capabilities in 2012,
manufacturers have been able to gain a never-before-seen view of their product
before it even reaches Costco, allowing for significantly more detailed and
accurate forecasting. With these improved forecasts, Costco CRX subscribers
can optimize inventory levels at each warehouse, reducing out of stocks and
carrying costs, and ultimately lowering operational costs.

Improved Seasonal Vendor Program

For seasonal items, the difference between daily and weekly sales and
inventory insights can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars of order
adjustments. However, Costco CRX’s new real-time data gives manufacturers the
information needed to make these adjustments before it’s too late.

Future Platform Enhancements to Include UPC Level Data

In Q2 2013, Costco and IRI will further improve the Costco CRX platform with
the addition of UPC-level data. The new UPC component of the Costco CRX
database will allow sales visibility by sizes and colors sold at Costco,
enabling improved performance tracking of any item with multiple UPCs. This
enhancement is particularly critical for apparel and media vendors seeking to
manage inventory levels against consumer demand.

About Costco Wholesale

Costco Wholesale is the largest wholesale club operator in the U.S. The
company operates 460-plus membership warehouse stores serving 45 million
cardholders in 37 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South
Korea, Taiwan, and the UK, primarily under the Costco Wholesale name. The
Company also operates Costco Online, a U.S. electronic commerce web site, at
http://www.costco.com.

About IRI

IRI is a leader in delivering powerful market and shopper information,
predictive analysis and the foresight that leads to action. We go beyond the
data to ignite extraordinary growth for our clients in the CPG, retail and
over-the-counter healthcare industries by pinpointing what matters and
illuminating how it can impact their businesses across sales and marketing.

Move your business forward at iriworldwide.com.

Contact:

Information Resources, Inc.
John McIndoe, +1 (312) 474-3862
John.McIndoe@IRIworldwide.com
or
Shelley Hughes, +1 (312) 474-3675
Shelley.Hughes@IRIworldwide.com
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