News Briefs

  • 6/28/2022

    Walgreens Decides to Retain Ownership of Boots Business

    Walgreens Boots Alliance Decides to Retain Ownership of its Boots Business

    Concluding its strategic review that began in January, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) has decided to keep its U.K. health and beauty retailer Boots as well as the No7 Beauty Co. under its existing ownership. 

    WBA has been encouraged by productive discussions held with a range of parties, receiving significant interest from prospective buyers. Since launching the process, however, global financial markets have suffered unexpected and dramatic change. As a result of market instability severely affecting financing availability, the company felt that no third parties have been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the potential value of the two businesses. Consequently, WBA has decided that it's in the best interests of shareholders to keep focusing on the further growth and profitability of Boots and No7 Beauty.

    The decision to retain the businesses has also been supported by the ongoing strong performance and growth of Boots and No7 Beauty, which have exceeded expectations despite challenging conditions.

    CEO Rosalind Brewer said: “We have now completed a thorough review of Boots and No7 Beauty Co., with the outcome reflecting rapidly evolving and challenging financial market conditions beyond our control. It is an exciting time for these businesses, which are uniquely positioned to continue to capture future opportunities presented by the growing health care and beauty markets. The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Co. hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximize shareholder value for these businesses and across our company.”

    Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 6/27/2022

    Amazon Readies Latest Deals for Prime Customers

    Amazon Prime store teaser

    It’s not quite Christmas in July, but Amazon is rolling out deals for in-store customers, ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and other summer occasions. Beginning June 29, shoppers at Amazon Fresh stores can score savings on a wide range of essentials and items for entertaining over the long weekend.

    Featured offerings available this week at a 20% discount include grilling and party staples such as organic ribeye steak and ground beef, value pack of easy-peel tail-on shrimp, gluten-free salad dressing, hummus and much more.

    In addition to these limited-time discounts, Amazon announced that Prime members will now receive 20% off a weekly rotating selection of prepared foods. To save, members can scan the Amazon app at checkout or by pay with a credit card linked to their Prime account.

    We’re excited to launch the new Prime member savings benefit at Amazon Fresh stores today, offering 20% off everyday essentials across aisles,” said Jeff Helbling, VP for Amazon Fresh. “Prime members get the best of shopping, savings and entertainment every day from Amazon, and we’re thrilled to add another benefit to their membership.”

    It’s also the time of year when the retail company offers its Amazon Prime Day for teachers, as they start to stock up on materials for their classrooms. On July 12 and 13, educators – including parents who homeschool – can take advantage of savings on items like Amazon Echo devices and Fire 7 tablets and traditional classroom and school supplies.

    On those same dates of July 12 and 13, Amazon is holding a global Prime Day with a broad array of products from national brands and more third-party sellers than in previous Prime Day events.

    Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 

  • 6/22/2022

    SpartanNash Shoppers Vault $242K in Funds for Special Olympics

    SpartanNash Special Olympics

    SpartanNash announced that its recent campaign supporting Special Olympics athletes and Summer Games in its Midwest footprint has raised $242,050. This is the 38th year that the Michigan-based food solutions company has worked with Special Olympics.

    Donations were accepted throughout the month of May at participating SpartanNash stores and fuel centers. Across eight states and banners including Family Fare, D&W Fresh Market and VG’s Grocery, shoppers gave $232,877 via checkout transactions in store and online. The SpartanNash Foundation rounded up the overall donation to $242,050.

    “Diversity and inclusion are foundational to the People First culture we are cultivating at SpartanNash, so we are proud to partner with Special Olympics,” said Adrienne Chance, SpartanNash’s SVP, communications and executive director of the SpartanNash Foundation. “SpartanNash associates have enjoyed celebrating the athletes, and we are grateful for the additional support from our communities. These generous donations help enhance the athletes’ experience, teach lifelong skills, and create lasting memories.”

    The company’s involvement with the Special Olympics organization is also direct. SpartanNash employs more than 25 Special Olympics athletes who have worked for a combined 195 years.

    “We aim to create hope, inspire others and create meaningful relationships with companies like SpartanNash, which help to support us in the times we need it,” remarked Tim Hileman, president and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan.

    SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, plus fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as abroad. SpartanNash also operates more than 140 supermarkets.

  • 6/22/2022

    Tech Collaboration Offers Scalable Solutions for the Cold Chain

    Phononic teaser

    Aiming to fill gaps in a cold supply chain that’s been under pressure and undergoing changes, two tech companies are teaming up to provide sustainable solutions for grocers and food companies. KPI Integrated Solutions (KPI), a supply chain consulting, software, systems integration and automation supplier, and Phononic, which provides solid state cooling technology, announced a collaboration to maintain cold chain integrity and traceability through various phases of the distribution process.

    At the heart of the partnership are Phononic’s actively-cooled totes, which will now be used in KPI’s automation designs that cover distribution from the warehouse to the curb. While the totes deliver consistent temperature control, they are also convenient and cost efficient because they can be used in an existing footprint and allow for a more comfortable workspace in a frozen environment.

    In addition, Phononic’s solid state cooling and refrigeration technologies use a refrigerant of water mixed with naturally available carbon dioxide for a global warming potential (GWP) of 1 or less. That’s the lowest GWP rating in the industry compared to other commonly used refrigerants that contribute to climate change, according to KPI.

    “This strategic partnership with Phononic will deliver a strong return on investment for our clients who are looking to quickly and flexibly provide cold storage and order fulfillment capability that is unconstrained by cooling and freezer needs,” said Jim Kuecker, KPI’s chief commercial officer.

    Added Dana Krug, SVP, cold chain fulfillment at Phononic:  “KPI’s innovative and versatile cold storage designs can scale from larger grocery delivery operations to smaller-scale food storage – without the need for investment in full-size refrigerators or freezers which are much less efficient, costly, and harmful to the environment. As grocery e-commerce continues to explode, KPI and Phononic together deliver an innovative, proven, and sustainable solution for cooling.”

  • 6/22/2022

    Smart & Final Kicks Off Annual Campaign to Protect At-Risk Children

    Smart & Final Kicks Off Annual Campaign to Protect At-Risk Children

    Smart & Final is launching its annual register campaign for Olive Crest, a nonprofit that works to prevent child abuse and treat and educate at-risk children. From now through July 5, shoppers at locations in California, Arizona and Nevada can donate $1 at checkout to benefit the cause.

    Last year, the grocer warehouse store raised $515,000 for Olive Crest’s programs and services that help more than 24,000 kids each year.

    “For more than a decade we’ve been proud to support at-risk children through our partnership with Olive Crest,” said Tinamarie Squieri, manager of the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. “The past few years have been incredibly challenging for Olive Crest kids and their families. We’re grateful to their Child Abuse Stops Here Network for providing resources to help stop child abuse in the communities we serve.”

    "The work our Child Abuse Stops Here Network does to build strong families and keep kids safe continues to be critical through the additional hardships the pandemic has brought on," said Rhonda Tagge, national director for Olive Crest. "We simply couldn’t provide the services we do without the support we receive from the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation and their supporters.”

    In addition to this campaign, Smart & Final Charitable Foundation supports several other causes throughout the year, including those that focus on hunger, relief, health and wellness, team sports and disaster assistance. According to the company, the Foundation has raised nearly $2 million to support 1,500 causes. 

    Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final’s locations include larger-format stores under the Smart & Final Extra! banner combining a warehouse-store format with traditional grocery offerings. The company was acquired in 2021 by Grupo Comercial Chedraui, No. 40 on The PG 100 in 2022, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

  • 6/22/2022

    Consumer Brands CEO to Depart

    Geoff Freeman Teaser

    Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, will leave the organization to rejoin the U.S. Travel Association after nearly a decade away. In the interim, he was first president and CEO of the American Gaming Association before taking on his present role. His new position at Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Travel starts Sept. 1. 

    “We are grateful for Geoff’s many contributions to our industry during his tenure at the Consumer Brands Association,” noted Jeff Harmening, board chair at the organization, and chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based General Mills. “Under Geoff’s leadership, Consumer Brands advanced a turnaround strategy that has transformed the organization and established it as a powerhouse association in Washington, D.C. The organization enjoys the support of the world’s leading CPG companies, and its revenues have increased nearly 50% over the past three years. Today, our industry is united behind a compelling policy agenda and speaks with a strong pro-consumer voice. Consumer Brands benefits from a strong leadership team, and we are confident in the organization’s continued growth and effectiveness. We will begin the process of working with Geoff on a transition plan and identifying his successor.”

    In the wake of this impending executive move, an association spokeswoman told Progressive Grocer that Consumer Brands was “working with the board and determining a path forward.”

    According to its website, Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Brands’ mission is to “champion growth and innovation for the industry whose products consumers depend on every day.” 

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