News Briefs


Clerk Raises $30M to Disrupt Brick-and-Mortar Grocery

Clerk Raises $30M to Disrupt Brick-and-Mortar Grocery

Clerk, a retail technology company that's improving the traditional brick-and-mortar grocery experience, has raised $30 million in its Series B funding. The funding will be used to accelerate the buildout of its platform, allowing the company to expand its in-store marketing and merchandising products to retailers and brands. 

Launched in 2018, Clerk helps brands and retailers improve the shopper experience by streamlining store operations and providing in-store retail media opportunities by leveraging its digital advertising network, Grocery TV.

"Brick-and-mortar stores are overdue for a digital transformation," said Marlow Nickell, CEO at Austin, Texas-based Clerk. "Although 90% of U.S. grocery sales still happen in stores, brands and retailers often don't have a simple way to manage store performance and product interactions like they do online — our team wants to change that. This investment will get us closer to providing our retail and advertising partners full transparency into their store experience, from understanding how their products are performing to measuring customer engagement with in-store touchpoints."

In the two years since its series A funding, Clerk says it has increased its network size by 350%. The company has also:

• Expanded Grocery TV's footprint across all 50 states in key markets with over 14,000 displays in retailers such as ShopRite, Bashas' and Cub Foods.
• Partnered with major programmatic networks such as The Trade Desk and Yahoo DSP to make it easier for agencies and brands to reach their audience of over 30 million grocery shoppers.
• Launched a SaaS merchandising product that leverages its machine learning technology to help brands ensure products are in-stock and shelved correctly.

Clerk’s latest funding roundwas led by Sageview Capital. Dean Nelson, partner at Sageview, will join Clerk’s board of directors, while Roberto Avila, principal at Sageview, will join as a board observer.


Cub Turns to AI to Improve Promotions

Cub Foods

Cub Foods is deploying a new artificial intelligence (AI) solution to better manage its promotions. The Midwest discount grocery chain enlisted tech firm Cognira to help plan, manage, analyze and forecast promotions using data and insights.

The AI solution covers the lifecycle of promotion planning and includes the support of in-store discounts and weekly circulars, as well as online ads and personalized offers based on AI. Cognira’s program was also designed to increase efficiency by embedding workflows and approvals.

“Consumers are consistently searching for promotions that are most relevant to their purchasing habits and our job as their grocer is to bring those promotions to them as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Luke Anderson, chief information officer at Cub. “Working with Cognira and their centralized solution for promotion planning, optimization, and personalization will give us the ability to achieve that vision.”

Added Hatem Sellami, founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Cognira: “We're very excited to partner with Cub to present the best offers to their customers and deliver value straight to the bottom line of the business.”

Cub has embraced grocery tech in other ways. In late 2021, the grocer teamed with CitrusAd to better engage shoppers through personalized online experiences powered by retail media technologies.

Owned by United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), Cub Foods operates almost 80 grocery stores in Minnesota and Illinois. Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, UNFI is No. 47 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


McCormick Creates COO and President Position

McCormick & Co. Creates COO and President Position

Brendan Foley is the new COO and president of McCormick & Co., Inc. The flavor company announced that Foley is taking on the newly-created role beginning June 1 and will report to Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius.

In this position, Foley will lead McCormick’s business units and its global supply chain. He steps up from his most recent role as president, global consumer, Americas and Asia. A leader at the CPG organization since 2014, he also served as president of the U.S. consumer products division; president, North America; and president, global consumer.

His background also includes a 15-year tenure at HJ Heinz (now Kraft Heinz), where he started as brand manager and moved up to zone president of North America. Foley, who earned a bachelor of science degree in business at Miami University of Ohio, began his career at General Mills and Ketchum Advertising.


Revol Greens Adds 2 Leaders

Revol Greens Adds 2 Leaders

Revol Greens is growing. The greenhouse lettuce grower has named Kathy Flores (at left) as its chief of staff and tapped Amanda Crews (at right) to serve as its VP of people.

The Owatonna, Minn.-based Revol Greens has enhanced its leadership team at a time of new development and expansion. The company recently added salad kits to its line and is set to open its fourth greenhouse in Temple, Texas, this fall.

As chief of staff, Flores will lead the financial, operational and administrative departments that support the company’s growth. She comes to Revol Greens from Benson Hill, a food tech company aimed at unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, and has also worked at Perdue Agribusines. She brings with her extensive experience in acquisition integrations, the launch of new business units and supply chain management.

The new head of human resources, Crews will bolster the company’s organizational structure and work to ensure compliance, build candidate pipelines and establish productive and fulfillment work environments. She joins Revol Greens from her most recent position at US Foods, and also held HR roles for the state of Texas and at other corporate organizations.

“I admire their impressive backgrounds and the impact they will make within our rapidly growing organization,” remarked Michael Wainscott, Revol Greens’ CEO. “We’ve hand-selected the best-of-the-best to guide our company forward. Kathy is tenured in the leadership within the agribusiness industry and Amanda has a strong reputation for recruiting and retaining employees.”


United Supermarkets to Open 4th Store in Witchita Falls, Texas

United Wichita Falls Rendering Teaser

Texas-based grocery chain United Supermarkets has revealed plans to open its fourth retail store in the Wichita Falls, Texas, community, joining two other United Supermarkets locations and a Market Street. Coming in early 2023, the new store will be located at 2720 Southwest Parkway.

The new store will feature a full-service pharmacy with prescriptions and immunizations, a drive-through window, and United’s Streetside grocery delivery and pickup service, along with a ready meals section, a full-service deli and hot bar, fresh sushi, an in-store bakery, and an extensive craft beer and wine selection.

“United first came to Wichita Falls in 1963, and we have greatly enjoyed that partnership,” said Sidney Hopper, CEO of the Lubbock, Texas-based chain. “Wichita Falls was also the location of the first Market Street in our company back in 1998, and today we are glad to announce that we will open our fourth store at this location.”

The new store is expected to create about 200 jobs in the Witchita Falls community, providing a boost to the local economy.

A self-distributing company, United currently operates 96 stores under five separate banners, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos, Albertsons Market and United Express, along with ancillary operations R.C. Taylor Distributing, USM Manufacturing, United Food and Beverage Services and Llano Logistics. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. Inc., which operates more than 2,200 retail stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Hy-Vee Eliminating 500 Corporate Positions

Hy-Vee to Close 2 Stores, Remodel 2

In an advertorial published on April 28 in the Des Moines Register, Hy-Vee has revealed that it intends to let go up to 500 professionals from its corporate offices.

The Midwest grocer cited such economic issues as supply chain challenges, ongoing inflation, and direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees in its pharmacies pushing it to make this dramatic move. 

Hy-Vee will ask those laid off from their corporate positions to make a transition to work at its retail stores, even providing incentives and moving bonuses to entice office workers to relocate.

“With unemployment at record low in almost every state we do business, our No. 1 priority is helping our stores find the staffing we need,” said Hy-Vee Vice Chairman and President of Subsidiaries and Supply Chain Aaron Wiese.

This isn’t the only move that Hy-Vee is making to be as lean as possible. According to the advertorial, the grocer is is pausing several projects, including its new warehouse in Cummings, Iowa, due to high construction costs.

The Midwest grocer already eliminated more than 100 corporate positions in March. At that time, the grocer also asked these associates to transfer to its retail stores.

In retail, Hy-Vee debuted a new reimagined store format in September 2021 in Grimes, Iowa, touting such features as new dining experiences, expanded departments and digital shopping. It has since opened the same format in other locations in its operating region. Hy-Vee also recently said that it would be entering new market areas in Kentucky and Tennessee

Employee-owned Hy-Vee has a team of more than 93,000 employees and operates 285-plus retail stores across eight states. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America