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THE FRIDAY 5: Walmart’s Neighborhood Markets Strategy; The Best Managed Grocers

PG readers were also focused on food prices, Acosta Group’s acquisition of CROSSMARK and Product Connections
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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New Acosta logo
Acosta Group's acquisition of CROSSMARK and Product Connections was the most-clicked story among PG readers this week.

1. Acosta Group Expands Its Reach

News broke this week that sales and marketing agency Acosta Group is expanding its reach, acquiring CROSSMARK and Product Connections from Dallas, Texas-based WIS International. The move comes a little more than a year after the organization launched a unified agency combining its omnichannel, retail, marketing and foodservice agencies to deliver seamless business solutions.

The acquisition is the latest step in Acosta Group’s transformation and efforts to unite trusted agency brands with industry-leading technologies, capabilities and people. Through this deal, Acosta Group clients can access Product Connections’ in-store sampling and demonstration expertise and CROSSMARK and Product Connections customers can leverage Acosta Group’s suite of digital commerce solutions. 

2. Diving into PG’s 91st Annual Report

Progressive Grocer released its 91st Annual Report this week, which takes a closer look at our latest state-of-the-industry study. That study reveals some areas that are becoming more connected in the effort to better define grocery businesses and bolster their performance, including physical stores, omnichannel efforts and more. 

Also hitting the presses this week was The PG 100, our annual list of the top food retailers in North America based on revenue. Read on to see who made the list this year.

Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's has shared information about its pricing strategy.

3. A Focus on Food Prices

Food prices have been a hot topic over the past several weeks, and coverage of Trader Joe’s getting candid about its pricing model garnered reader attention. In the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast, hosts Tara Miller and Matt Sloan shared what cost, price and value mean to the business and how that translates to the customer experience. 

“At Trader Joe’s, prices are a part of value and what we mean by value is offering outstanding quality at great prices. Price is what you pay, value is what you get for it,” explained Sloan, VP of marketing for the retailer, at the outset. 

The hosts talked with a senior category manager about the retailer’s ability to deliver on both price and value through its store brand assortment and buying practices. “Part of our philosophy is that we're like a buying agent for our customers. We want to get you the best deal. When prices are lower, people tend to buy more stuff,” said marketing director Miller. 

On the topic of food prices, Target’s move to lower prices on 5,000 items also made waves. Price cuts have already gone live on 1,500 food, beverage and household essential items, with more price cuts planned throughout the summer.

New, lower prices will be reflected on everyday essentials like milk, meat, bread, soda, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks, yogurt, peanut butter, coffee, diapers, paper towels, pet food and more. Price cuts will be seen across both national brands and Target’s own brands such as up&up, Everspring and Good & Gather.

4. Schnucks Among Best-Managed Privately Owned Grocers

Several privately owned grocers have been named to this year’s US Best Managed Companies list. Sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, the program recognizes outstanding U.S. private companies and the achievements of their management teams.

Honorees are selected by an external panel of judges who evaluate applicants based on strategy, ability to execute, culture and governance, and financial performance. U.S. designees have revenues of at least $250 million.

For the third consecutive year, Schnuck Markets, Inc. has been selected as one of the Best Managed Companies. 

5. Walmart, Northeast Grocery Strategize for Success

PG did a deep dive with Northeast Grocery this month, sharing how the company, born in 2021 following the merger of Tops Friendly Markets and Price Chopper/Market 32, has been invigorated, with deepened community connections and a renewed strategy focused on winning with friendly service, curated assortments and traffic-driving promotional programs.

Also strategizing for success is Walmart, which shared news this week about the opening of two Neighborhood Markets. The company is making good on its commitment to build or convert 150 stores over the next five years with the new banner locations, situated in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., and the Vince City neighborhood of Atlanta. 

The two stores feature a new layout and larger footprint than previous Neighborhood Markets, boasting 57,000 square feet of sales floor and pickup and delivery space. Speaking with Progressive Grocer, Kyle Kinnard, SVP, Neighborhood Markets, Walmart U.S., explained that the expanded space will allow Walmart to sharpen its focus on omnichannel shopping through value, speed and convenience.

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