Boxed Provides Fulfillment Expertise for Italian Specialty Food Manufacturer

Agreement with Colavita comes amid tech company's exploration of strategic alternatives
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Colavita olive oil
Best known for its extra-virgin olive oil, Colavita distributes to retail grocery store chains, specialty food stores and wholesale suppliers.

Boxed Inc., an e-commerce grocery platform that sells bulk consumables and licenses its e-commerce software to enterprise retailers, has disclosed an arrangement with Colavita USA to manage the Italian specialty food manufacturer’s third party direct-to-consumer logistics, including inventory management, warehousing and fulfillment.

Colavita has been family-owned and -operated since 1938 and present in more than 80 countries worldwide. In the U.S. market, Colavita is a leading importer of Italian specialty food products. It distributes to retail grocery store chains, specialty food stores and wholesale suppliers, as well as restaurants, caterers and other foodservice operators. The company will outsource its third-party logistics to Boxed, using its flagship fully automated fulfillment center in Union, N.J. The deal will help solidify Colavita’s e-commerce distribution in the continental United States.

[Read more: "The Next Evolution of E-Commerce"]

“We have established relationships with hundreds of vendors like Colavita, and now we are in a position to provide them with all of their supply chain and logistics operations needs,” said Alison Weick, president of e-commerce at New York-based Boxed.

Colavita is best known for its extra-virgin olive oil, but its other product offerings include a variety of premium vinegars, pasta, sauces and vegetables, as well as iconic Italian brands such as Perugina, Rio Mare, Mulino Bianco and San Benedetto. Colavita is also a major partner and supplier for Berlin-based meal solution company HelloFresh.

“Our relationship with Boxed as a vendor has always been strong. We are beyond excited to expand that synergy to include their supply chain and fulfillment expertise,” said Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Edison, N.J.-based Colavita USA.

Boxed is also exploring opportunities with other vendors to leverage its expertise with warehousing, order fulfillment and shipment.

Just last month, however, Boxed’s board of directors launched a process to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. Shortly thereafter, Boxed entered into a second lien secured term loan facility with a lender that provided $10 million in new funding to the company at close. The new facility also provides for an additional $10 million in funding, subject to the completion of certain milestones in a process for the sale of the company. The commerce technology company also entered into an amendment to its existing first lien debt facility, with funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, that, among other things, reduces the company’s minimum liquidity covenant by $5 million.

Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO of Boxed, said: “This new financing will provide greater flexibility for us to continue to execute on our strategic vision and the strategic alternatives process. We value our existing relationships with funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and the lender, and are excited to continue to work closely with them.”

In other recent news, Boxed has built on its longstanding relationship with Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Cloud by revealing that Spresso, Boxed’s software-as-a-service modular solution platform, is now available on the Google Cloud Marketplace.

The launch of Spresso on Google Cloud Marketplace unlocks new value for joint customers and creates opportunities for enhanced operational insights for businesses globally. Google Cloud customers can now take advantage of Spresso’s actionable insights driven by analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to better forecast customer value, predict churn, and optimize pricing for profitability and conversion.

Spresso’s inaugural marketplace offering includes its price optimization module. The solution helps businesses optimize pricing at the SKU level for profit, conversion or a balance of both, using first-party data and advanced analytics.

Boxed operates an e-commerce retail service that provides bulk pantry consumables to businesses and household customers, without the requirement of a big-box store membership. This service is powered by the company’s own purpose-built storefront, marketplace, analytics, fulfillment, advertising and robotics technologies. Boxed further enables e-commerce through its Software & Services business, which offers customers in need of an enterprise-level e-commerce platform access to its end-to-end technology.

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