News Briefs

  • 2/22/2023

    Tyson Agrees to Buy Williams Sausage Co.

    Tyson logo

    Tyson Foods is widening its protein operations. The Springdale, Ark.-based conglomerate is acquiring Williams Sausage Co. of Union City, Tenn.

    Founded in 1958 by Hazel and Harold Williams as a small processor selling sausages to local consumers, Williams Sausage Co. now produces a variety of fresh and fully cooked sausage products, along with bacon and sandwiches for both retail and foodservice operations across the country. 

    [Read more: "Strategies to Boost Beef Sales in a Changing Marketplace"]

    In 2017, Williams Sausage Co. built a new 200,000-square-foot production facility and distribution center. Currently, the processor employs more than 500 workers across its operations.

    “The addition of Williams Sausage Co. aligns with our strategic intent of expanding our capacity to serve our customers,” said Stewart Glendinning, group president, prepared foods at Tyson. “We also look forward to welcoming Williams’ dedicated team members to the Tyson Foods family.”

    Roger Williams, president and CEO of Williams Sausage Co., said that the deal builds on ongoing growth. “The Williams family has been very blessed for the last 65 years by dedicated team members, great customers, and fantastic suppliers that have allowed us to build a quality food company,” he declared. “There are not many companies to which we could entrust what we have built, and we are very pleased that in Tyson Foods we have found that partner who understands the heritage and culture of our family business and will be able to take it to the next level. We believe this to be a very positive move for our family and our team members that will ensure the future of all stakeholders.”

    The agreement will be reviewed by U.S. regulators. Terms of the acquisition were not discussed.

  • 2/22/2023

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker Launches Illinois Grocery Initiative

    Ill GA

    In a bid to support residents in rural and underserved communities and cut down on the number of food deserts, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the creation of the Illinois Grocery Initiative. The governor shared some details of the plan in his recent State of the State address and fiscal 2024 budget presentation.

    Through this initiative, the state would invest upwards of $20 million in local communities to open or expand grocery stores in areas considered a food desert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Access Atlas reveals pockets of food deserts both in the city of Chicago and in parts of central and southern Illinois.

    [Read more: "States Weigh Grocery Tax Suspension, Removal"]

    “We ... need to recognize that it does no good to provide a family with more money to purchase food if they have no local grocery store to shop at,” Pritzker declared. He also noted that despite the state and local governments’ efforts to incentivize large chains to come to rural and underserved areas, some retailers eventually pull out. (Although he didn’t name a particular company, the 2022 closing of a Whole Foods in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood attracted a lot of community, political and social media attention.)

    Instead, Pritzker proposed independent grocers can fill an important void. “It’s time we return to a tried and true model — one where those communities are served by independent, local grocery stores that sell food grown by Illinois farmers,” he said.

    The Illinois Grocery Initiative also includes $2 million earmarked for the purchase of healthy, nutritious food from Illinois farmers. With nearly 72,000 farms within its borders, the Midwestern state is a leading producer of soybeans and corn, and its farmers and growers also provide wheat, oats, hay, fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry.

    This isn’t Pritzker’s first foray into food retailing relief. Last year, the state suspended its 1% sales tax on groceries through July 1 of this year.

  • 2/21/2023

    Kroger Opens Spoke Facility in Austin

    Tuscany logistics

    The Kroger Co. has opened a new delivery service center in Austin, Texas, for e-commerce order fulfillment. The developer of the Tuscany Logistics Center in that city announced the completion of the project.

    The 70,000-square-foot delivery service center will be leased by Kroger for six years, according to owner Dalfen Industrial. “Kroger's selection of Tuscany Logistics for their first last mile spoke facility in Austin speaks to the quality and strategic location of our development," said Dudney, senior asset manager at Dalfen. "The expansion of e-commerce grocery delivery services is a prime example of why last mile industrial real estate continues to be in such high demand across the nation."

    [Read more: "Kroger Union Associates in Atlanta Receive Wage Increase"]

    The Austin delivery center is a spoke of Kroger’s highly-automated fulfillment center in Dallas. Unveiled in July 2022, that 350,000-square-foot hub is powered by Kroger and e-comm grocery tech company Ocado and can fill 18,000 orders a day.

    The Austin spoke facility serves as a last mile cross-deck to expand Kroger’s delivery service, which includes items from the Boost by Kroger membership program. Other regional spoke sites include centers in San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Earlier this month, Kroger also opened a 60,000-square-foot spoke facility in South Florida.

    When Kroger announced the addition of its e-comm delivery service in Austin in 2022, the retailer shared that the site will create more than 160 jobs.

    Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 2/21/2023

    NCR Expands ATM Presence, Services at Walgreens

    Walgreens Night Teaser

    Enterprise technology provider NCR Corp. has extended and expanded a long-term agreement with drug store chain Walgreens, making NCR the provider of ATM services at nearly all of the retailer’s stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

    The expanded sites will join the many Walgreens locations already served by NCR’s Allpoint ATM network, which offers surcharge-free cash access to 1,200-plus issuers, including two of the five largest U.S. banks by deposit, representing more than 70 million cardholders. Further, under the agreement, Walgreens will gain more than 1,300 Allpoint+ cash-accepting ATMs, enabling “cash-in” transactions as well as traditional “cash-out” transactions, and bringing a traditional branch function into the retail environment.

    [Read more: "Walgreens Continues Consumer Health Care Push in Q1"]

    At many of the ATMs, Atlanta-based NCR has enabled consumers to purchase Bitcoin via NCR’s LibertyX platform. Additionally, NCR Pay360, a mobile platform that allows consumers to send and receive cash from various sources with a simple code, will be enabled across NCR’s Walgreens installation. 

    “When consumers walk into any Walgreens in the country, they will know they have access to safe, reliable everyday banking services delivered through NCR ATMs,” noted Don Layden, EVP, president, NCR Banking. “Through Allpoint and other NCR innovations, Walgreens will be able to better serve its customers while enjoying greater foot traffic driven by the many differentiated services offered. We are proud to be supporting Walgreens’ vision of delivering more joyful lives through better financial health.”

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

  • 2/21/2023

    Stop & Shop on Hiring Blitz

    Stop & Shop Is 1st Food Retailer to Join Roundtable on Obesity Solutions

    Stop & Shop is asking potential employees to stop right in for work. The New England retailer is holding a one-day career fair for all of its locations on Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    On-the-spot interviews will be held for a variety of positions, including 2,800 part-time and certain full-time roles across various functions and departments. Full-time selector jobs are also available at Stop & Shop’s distribution center in Freetown, Mass.

    [Read more: "Stop & Shop Launches Flashfood in More New England Locations"]

    “At Stop & Shop, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive workplace. We believe that the voices of our team members should reflect a diverse set of ideas, experiences, and backgrounds. Many members of Stop & Shop’s leadership team started as store associates. The roles we offer at Stop & Shop are more than jobs, they are growth opportunities,” said Maria Silvestri, SVP of human resources.

    To fill the open roles, Stop & Shop is touting competitive pay, paid training, flexible schedules, a company discount on groceries and paid time off, along with coaching, cross-functional job rotation and opportunities for advancement. Tuition reimbursement for programs in business or food industry-related education is also available.

    To apply, cashiers, baggers, produce, bakery, floral and grocery clerks must be at least 16 years old; all other positions require applicants to be 18 years of age or older. Interest job seekers can apply online in advance online.

    Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA company that operates more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

  • 2/16/2023

    Lidl Lays Off Hundreds at U.S. HQ

    Lidl Long Island

    Extreme-value retailer Lidl has laid off hundreds of employees at its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Va., reportedly informing those affected via email. No store-level workers were let go, according to the company.

    When contacted by Progressive Grocer, a Lidl US spokeswoman said: “While we remain committed to the long-term success of Lidl US and look forward to continuing our expansion along the East Coast, we are continually evaluating our operations to ensure we are supporting our stores effectively. As part of this process, we have made the difficult decision at this time to eliminate approximately 200 roles across the company, which took place this week.”

    The spokeswoman added that all affected employees would receive severance pay as well as career transition services, COBRA health care continuation coverage, and the payout of accrued but unused vacation.

    The grocer has traveled a somewhat bumpy road in the United States since opening its first store in this country in 2017. It struggled to catch on with consumers initially and has experienced various shakeups in its leadership, most recently when Michal Laguionek, a longtime Lidl executive, succeeded Johannes Fieber as Lidl US president and CEO in 2021. In 2018, Fieber had replaced Brendan Proctor, who had led the division since 2015, when it first established its U.S. headquarters. Additionally, Lidl US Chairman Roman Heini abruptly resigned in 2020 after little more than a year, citing personal reasons.

    Earlier this week, Lidl confirmed that it recently bought more than 70 acres in Bucks County, Pa., for a future warehouse at the site of the Keystone Trade Center. Company spokeswoman Jessica Shangle didn’t give specifics about the sale — pegged to be close to $145 million — but did note that a project is in the works. “We are still in the early planning phase for the site and will have more to share over the coming months,” she noted.

    [Read more: "Lidl to Debut 1st Stand-Alone Ground-Up Store in New York"]

    Lidl acquired the property from NorthPoint Development, which owns the 1,800-acre campus on which the warehouse will sit. According to local media, the campus will eventually include more than 20 buildings. 

    Lidl currently operates several stores in Pennsylvania, including locations in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Reading. The construction of a warehouse comes as Lidl is set to build out a store in the town of Warminster in Bucks County. In January, Lidl held a grand opening for its newest 36,000-square-foot location on New York's Long Island.

    Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 employees globally. The grocer runs about 170 stores in nine East Coast states. Lidl US is No. 89 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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