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THE FRIDAY 5: BJ’s, Trader Joe’s Are Expanding; Massive Closures for Popular Drug Store Chain

PG readers were also interested in Target's c-suite shakeup and Stop & Shop’s mixed signals
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer

Welcome to The Friday 5, Progressive Grocer’s weekly roundup of the top news and trends in the food retail industry. Each Friday, we’ll take a look at the stories that are most important to our readers and also keep tabs on the trends that are poised to impact grocers.

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Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's is plotting a course for growth in different regions throughout the U.S.

1. BJ’s, Trader Joe’s Among Grocers Readying New Stores

News that several grocers are in growth mode resonated among PG readers this week. BJ's Wholesale Club, coming off a strong first quarter, is living up to its ambitious expansion plans, revealing the locations of two new clubs that will welcome shoppers early next year. One store, slated to open in Hanover Township, N.J., will be the retailer’s 25th site in that state.  Another club is set to attract members in the growing market of Southern Pines, N.C. 

DeCicco & Sons, an independent supermarket chain with 11 stores in New York state’s Westchester County, plans to open its first Connecticut location at a vacant supermarket site in the Glenville area of Greenwich that was occupied by a Stop & Shop until summer 2023.

Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, has announced that it is setting up shop in different regions of the country, including an outpost in Murrieta, Calif., that is set to open its doors on June 28, and another in Ladera Ranch, Calif., within Orange County. The grocer will also open a location in the college town of East Lansing, Mich. Finally, outside Philadelphia, an outpost will open during the back half of the calendar year in the city of King of Prussia. 

2. Target Shakes Up Its C-Suite

Target announced this week that it is making some major changes to its leadership team. Effective July 7, current Chief Growth Officer Christina Hennington will step into the role of chief strategy and growth officer, while Chief Food, Essentials and Beauty Officer Rick Gomez will become chief commercial officer. 

Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Roath, meanwhile, will take over the role of chief merchandising officer of food, essentials and beauty in early 2025. Roath will remain in the chief marketing officer role while an external search is conducted to find her successor.

"As we execute our 2024 plans and look to the future, we're putting key leaders and capabilities in place to sustain profitable growth over the long term,” said Brian Cornell, Target chair and CEO. “Today's announcement builds on our January appointment of Michael Fiddelke to COO and will further accelerate progress on our growth initiatives.”

Stop & Shop Allston Yards Boston Opening Teaser
Stop & Shop opened a new flagship location in Boston.

3. Stop & Shop Opens New Flagship Amid Future Uncertainty

Despite recent news that Stop & Shop intends to shutter underperforming stores, the Ahold Delhaize USA banner has held the grand opening of its newly built flagship store in Boston. The nearly 52,000-square-foot store, which offers a modern look and services to make the shopping experience simpler and more enjoyable, is across the street from Stop & Shop’s former location at 60 Everett Street, which closed on June 20 ahead of the opening of the new store on the 21st. Stop & Shop more than doubled its store workforce for the new supermarket, hiring more than 100 new associates.

“Stop & Shop Allston Yards offers an exciting new shopping experience for our local customers,” said Gordon Reid, president of Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. “Our team put careful consideration into designing a store that offers the right mix of products, convenient services and great values to help our customers save, We are continuing to invest in our stores in Boston and across the Northeast, and our team remains focused on unlocking new ways to deliver even more value and convenience for all our customers.”

4. Walgreens Improves Operational Compliance – But Is It Enough?

Earlier this week, news that Walgreens Boots Alliance has saved millions of dollars by improving operational compliance and its ability to identify and reduce shrink made waves with readers. The company did so through the deployment of Workcloud Actionable Intelligence software from digital solution Zebra Technologies Corp.

Later in the week, however, news came in that the drug store chain lowered its earnings guidance for the rest of the fiscal year and announced plans to shutter potentially thousands of stores within its core business.

Some of those closures could come soon, as CEO Tim Wentworth shared in a June 27 earnings webcast. “As a convenient destination for millions of consumers and driving $27 billion in retail sales, the store and its digital channels are central to our strategy and customer experience. But the consumer has evolved, demographics and preferences have shifted and we need to reposition and operate our stores accordingly,” he explained. 

5. Grocery Inflation Remains a Political Sticking Point

Inflation – especially the elevated price of food – has become a political flashpoint in an election year. The subject remained top of mind this week, as the Biden Administration published a blog post on grocery inflation.

In the report penned by the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), the White House reiterated the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) information showing that food-at-home prices inflation is easing and noted that wages have increased. “Because wage growth has outpaced grocery price growth, it takes slightly less work to purchase a bag of groceries relative to a year ago,” the economists declared.

Additionally, the CEA post highlighted data showing that 27% of the average consumer’s grocery bundle experienced a price decline from May 2023 to May 2024. According to their information, 77% of the grocery basket was less affected by inflation than last year. 

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