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UL Solutions Opens Retail Center of Excellence to Help Retailers Advance Consumer Product Quality and Safety

The advanced testing laboratories facility in Arkansas is the largest UL Solutions investment in the retail industry, helping customers meet consumer expectations and safety requirements.

Retail Center of Excellence Ribboncutting

February 27, 2024

NORTHBROOK, ILLINOIS — Feb. 27, 2024 —UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, today announced the opening of our new Retail Center of Excellence in northwestern Arkansas, our largest investment in the retail and consumer products sector, to help customers improve product safety, quality, performance and sustainability.

Located in Lowell, 12 miles south of Bentonville, the 100,000-square-foot facility is one of the most advanced testing laboratories in the United States serving North American retail industry customers. It includes a consumer product testing laboratory, a technical support center and the Product Experience Center — one of the first of its kind in retail testing — for studying consumer insights prior to production. The facility was specially designed to enable testing and technical support services for private-label products. Plans for the facility were announced in July 2023.

“We are thrilled to be part of Arkansas’ innovation ecosystem, where we sit side by side with the world’s top retail companies,” said Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of UL Solutions. “Our investment in this transformative Retail Center of Excellence underscores our commitment to helping our customers bring successful new products to market quicker than ever.”

Retailers feel increasing pressure to support multiple sales channels and accelerate product life cycles. They seek to incorporate more dynamic and data-driven approaches to quality, performance, sustainability and safety and shift quality assurance investments earlier in product development to enable speed to market. The UL Solutions Retail Center of Excellence supports these innovative processes.

“Retail is a dynamic market with rapidly changing needs,” said Josh Warren, vice president and general manager of the Retail and Consumer Products group at UL Solutions. “The Retail Center of Excellence is a result of understanding the needs of the industry through data and ongoing collaboration with major retailers, consumer product brands and their supply chain partners. Inside this facility, UL Solutions subject matter experts will help navigate through customer challenges and bring safety, sustainability, quality and performance to the forefront of the product development process.”

The new facility replaces an existing hardlines laboratory in Rogers, Arkansas. It expands local laboratory and technical support capabilities while serving as the headquarters of UL Solutions’ global network of high-tech retail and consumer products laboratories, including a 60,000-square-foot softlines laboratory in Bentonville. With the new Retail Center of Excellence, UL Solutions has one of the largest U.S.-based laboratory footprints in retail product testing. Developed to evolve in support of UL Solutions’ customers, the new facility includes space for future expansion and additional capabilities.

UL Solutions’ investment in Arkansas’ Third District demonstrates that the hard work to grow the region’s economy is paying off,” said U.S. Representative Steve Womack. “UL Solutions’ Retail Center of Excellence will test consumer goods that will boost product innovation and empower retailers to put safer goods in the hands of consumers worldwide. Lowell is now home to this world-class facility thanks to our strong business environment and workforce. Thank you to UL Solutions for investing in our people and expanding economic opportunity.”

Additional information about the UL Solutions Retail Center of Excellence:

  • Staffed by on-site safety science experts with deep technical expertise who are available for real-time collaboration with retailers, brands and suppliers
  • Expands UL Solutions capabilities to new general merchandise categories, including packaging, furniture, electrical products and electronics, and sporting goods; also adds new service areas such as reliability and chemistry
  • Improves services offered for candles, housewares and cookware, footwear, hardware (such as tools), luggage, jewelry, optical goods, stationery, art and paint, and toys
  • Offers services that break down product components to identify points of failure
  • The Product Experience Center studies consumer insights on product performance, assembly, instructions and usability to identify potential issues before production, helping to reduce market risk
  • Includes collaboration space for meetings, seminars and events to educate retail stakeholders on quality assurance processes and address industry challenges

Learn more about UL Solutions expertise in the retail marketplace.

About UL Solutions 

A global leader in applied safety science, UL Solutions transforms safety, security and sustainability challenges into opportunities for customers in more than 100 countries. UL Solutions delivers testing, inspection and certification services, together with software products and advisory offerings, that support our customers’ product innovation and business growth. The UL Certification Marks serve as a recognized symbol of trust in our customers’ products and reflect an unwavering commitment to advancing our safety mission. We help our customers innovate, launch new products and services, navigate global markets and complex supply chains, and grow sustainably and responsibly into the future. Our science is your advantage. 

Pictured above: (right to left) Lowell Mayor Chris Moore, Josh Warren, vice president and general manager, Retail and Consumer Product group, UL Solutions, U.S. Representative Steve Womack (AR), Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO, UL Solutions, Weifang Zhou, executive vice president and president, Testing Inspection and Certification, UL Solutions, Alberto Uggetti, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, UL Solutions.

Press contact:
Steven Brewster
UL Solutions
T: +1 (847) 664.8425