The Amazon Fresh banner is growing in new and established metro markets. The latest physical stores are welcoming shoppers in Oceanside, N.Y., and Norridge, Ill., communities that are within a half hour drive to New York City and Chicago, respectively.
The Oceanside Amazon Fresh at 3620 Long Beach Road spans about 47,000 square feet and is the first store location in New York, according to Amazon. The new store in Norridge at 4211 N. Harlem Ave. occupies a 50,000-square-foot space and is the ninth store in the Chicagoland area.
As with other Amazon Fresh locations, both brick-and-mortar spots offer frictionless Just Walk Out Shopping. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the stores feature a wide assortment of national and local brands and fresh produce, meat and seafood, along with a broad selection of prepared foods.
In an inflationary period in which shoppers are watching prices keenly, the retailer is touting budget-friendly items available at its latest stores, including 15-cent bananas and rotisserie chickens that sell for less than $5. Amazon is also offering deals for the grand openings this month, including discounts on several fresh, frozen and center-store items, and announced that it accepts cash, credit/debit cards and SNAP/EBT payments. As part of its efforts to support the local community and address food insecurity, the stores will donate surplus foods to nearby food banks.
The stores are also ramping up in staff, as Amazon offers a starting wage of $16.45 an hour at the Oceanside location and $15 an hour at the Norridge site.
On July 13, Walmart held the grand opening of its more than 1.8 million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center, located at 1410 United Drive in Shippensburg, Pa. The fulfillment center stores millions of items, available at Walmart.com, that are then picked, packed and shipped directly to customers. The cutting-edge facility also fulfills Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services, the retailer’s end-to-end fulfillment service for third-party e-commerce sellers.
“We are excited about the addition of this state-of-the-art fulfillment center and the increased shipping speed it will provide for our customers, especially with the holiday season right around the corner,” said Karisa Sprague, SVP fulfillment network operations at Walmart U.S. “I’m proud of how our Shippensburg team has come together and is already playing an active role in the local community.”
During the grand-opening ceremony, Walmart marked the occasion by presenting three $5,000 donations to local nonprofits.
The facility, which Walmart first revealed it was building this past March, is still actively hiring talent, with the aim of hiring up to 600 local full-time associates by the end of the year. Currently, the retailer operates 160 retail units and employs more than 58,000 associates in Pennsylvania.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Sam’s Club ranks eighth.
Boston Public Market Now Offers Ordering, Delivery Via Mercato
Mercato, the online grocery platform built to serve independent grocery and specialty food stores, has revealed that Boston Public Market is now using its platform. People living within a 20-mile radius of the market can use Mercato platform to shop from 12 market vendors and have items delivered to their homes the same day.
“In a time when supporting our community’s small businesses is more important than ever, Mercato is making it easy for Boston residents to connect with our incredible vendors from the comfort of their home and get their favorite local goods delivered right to their door,” noted Boston Public Market CEO Cheryl Cronin.
Boston Public Market is the latest in a growing list of well-known public markets featured on Mercato. Others include New York’s Grand Central Market, Chelsea Market, Moore Street Market, The Market Line, La Marqueta and Industry City; The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles; Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market and 9th Street Italian Market; Pike Place Market in Seattle; Union Market in Washington, D,C.; North Market Downtown in Columbus, Ohio; and Ferry Building in San Francisco. In total, the public markets using Mercato house 300-plus specialty food stores.
“Mercato’s mission has always been to empower local merchants while allowing consumers to benefit through selection, quality, service and access,” noted Bobby Brannigan, founder and CEO of San Diego-based Mercato, whose platform connects shoppers to more than 1,500 grocers, specialty markets and food halls. “Public markets are a natural fit considering they are home to some of the most thoughtful grocers and specialty food purveyors serving America’s largest cities.”
With Mercato, consumers can shop from different vendors within a market and then have those items delivered in a single, consolidated order. Online orders are handpicked by the vendors themselves. Shoppers can choose to pay a single delivery fee per order or join Mercato Green, which allows for unlimited free deliveries starting at $96 annually. Markets can use Mercato’s proprietary Picker App to manage order fulfillment at either the market or individual vendor level. Real-time sales data, product insight and search data is provided for each individual vendor and the market hall as a whole.
Following last month’s announcement that it plans to give inflation-weary consumers a break with an expanded loyalty program, The Kroger Co. is officially launching the new Boost membership. Shoppers can now sign up for two different membership levels at $59 and $99 a year, respectively, to reap benefits including fuel discounts up to $1 a gallon, unlimited free grocery delivery on orders over $35 and deals on Kroger’s private brand products.
"As customers continue to evolve how they shop and eat, this expansion of our loyalty program offers more personalized value in groceries and fuel, alongside easier access to convenient shopping solutions, such as delivery," declared Yael Cosset, SVP and chief information officer for Kroger. "We are committed to consistently delivering a best-in-class seamless experience with zero compromise – the fresh and quality products our customers want, how they want it and when they want it. We recognize this is especially important as our customers are facing an inflationary environment and rising fuel prices."
Kroger tested the Boost loyalty program across four of its divisions over the past several months. The pilot attracted a sizable number of new members and spurred a “significant” increase in delivery sales compared to other divisions, the retailer reported.
"Boost contributes to our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem, bringing value and convenience to many more families across America as we roll out new delivery fulfillment centers," added Bill Bennett, Kroger VP and head of e-commerce.
A Buffalo, N.Y., Tops store that was the site of a racially motivated mass shooting in May, resulting in the deaths of 10 people with three others wounded, will “quietly and respectfully” reopen on the morning of July 15, according to the grocer.
On July 14, the two-month anniversary of the shooting, Tops Markets LLC officials, joined by various associates, residents, representatives and local dignitaries, will gather to reflect on the tragedy and solemnly commemorate the reopening of the fully renovated Jefferson Avenue store. A moment of silence and prayer will take place at 2:30 p.m. to honor those affected by the shooting.
Last month, Tops Markets President John Persons told reporters that the store would reopen with a different look and feel, Buffalo TV station WKBW reported. Store associates who didn’t wish to return to the Jefferson Avenue location had the option to relocate to a different store, Persons said at that time. The store originally opened in Buffalo’s underserved East Side neighborhood in July 2003.
In the wake of the shooting, Tops teamed with the nonprofit National Compassion Fund to establish the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, which will provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of those killed and people directly affected by the tragedy. The grocer contributed $500,000 to get the fund started.
Last month, the 18-year-old individual arrested for the shooting pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder as a hate crime and three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime, according to news reports. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence without parole.
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
New Retail Tech Provides Grocers Instant Sales Insights
Grocery automation software company Storewise has launched a new tool for independent grocers with low or no visibility into their store’s sales performance. The Dynamic Sales Reporting module is the sixth solution service on the Storewise platform, available independently or in combination with TPR Automation, Price Analysis, Price Manager, Risk Reduction and Ordering technology-based solution modules.
“Today’s competitive landscape demands that a store owner know the sales performance of each and every store,” said Christopher Greco, president and CEO of Overland Park, Kan.-based Storewise. “With the new Sales Reporting tool, we give retailers the instant insight they need to make the right decision at the right time by comparing present to past performance at every level of detail.”
Sales Reporting gives retailers the control they need to analyze store, department and item-level performance previously requiring hours of manual effort and cross-comparison between multiple reports before yielding actionable insights.
“All of our previous reporting was based on weekly Excel files we would have to then cut and paste or merge to evaluate sales opportunities,” said John Stanze, director of operations at Kansas City, Kan.-based Cosentino’s Food Stores. “Unfortunately, that was time-consuming and prevented us from evaluating sales opportunities like we should. Having push-button dynamic reporting allows us to look for negative trends we can turn around operationally.”
Sales Reporting is one of the modules included within the Storewise grocery automation platform that aims to protect and maximize profits by using Price Analysis and Price Manager, allowing owners to keep prices correct; the Ordering bridge-buying program, allowing retailers to order allowance items that are expiring and not coming back “on-deal” immediately; Risk Reduction, which provides point-of-sale exception reporting, catches losses and improves training opportunities; and TPR Automation, which increases gross margin by matching temporary price reductions to in-store pricing.