News Briefs


Tops Offers Instacart Services at 9 More New York State Locations

Instacart Teaser

In keeping with its mission of providing contactless options for customers, Tops Markets LLC has expanded Instacart services to nine more locations in New York state: 201 N. Main Street, Northville; 127 Main Street, Stanford; 14227 New York State Route 9N, Ausable Forks; 6308 State Road Route 9, Chestertown; 21501 New York State Route 22, Hoosick Falls; 504½ Franklin Street, Watkins Glen; 309 West Morris Street, Bath; 261 Utica Boulevard, Boonville; and 658 West Main Street, Arcade.

San Francisco-based Instacart’s home grocery delivery services were already available at 131 Tops locations throughout the northeast grocer’s footprint.

“We’re excited to bring even more convenience to the shoppers across our various markets,” said Jillian Sirica, manager, digital marketing for Tops. “This expansion marks our 13th and largest expansion since Tops launched Instacart services in 2017.”

Tops first rolled out Instacart’s same-day grocery delivery at stores in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, N.Y., as well as in Erie, Pa., in November 2017. In 2018 alone, the company expanded the same-day service to 44 additional stores. Tops customers using Instacart will not only find most of the grocer’s in-store deals online, but will also have access to their favorite brands, all while earning gas points that they can redeem at Tops fuel stations.

Also this week, Tops said that it was expanding its Shop + Scan app to four additional New York stores, bringing the total of its Empire State stores offering the service to 28.

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLCoperates 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 thetop food and consumables retailers in North America. 


UFCW Pharmacy Workers Turn Down Employer Offers

Retail Pharmacist Teaser

The members of seven United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals collectively representing more than 700 pharmacists and pharmacy workers at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions locations across Southern California have voted to reject a contract offered by the supermarket chains.

“Southern California’s essential pharmacists have taken the time to thoughtfully review the contract offered by Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions and have collectively voted to reject it,” the locals noted in a statement. “The absolute priority of our unions is always to advocate for the needs of the majority of our members, and, ultimately, this contract did not meet those needs. While we are working with a federal mediator to return to the bargaining table with these employers and secure the contract our members deserve, we are ready to take all necessary action to make sure our members’ voices are heard.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the local’s members had voted overwhelmingly to authorize union leadership to call for strikes on the basis of unfair labor practices. Negotiations had resumed July 22 between UFCW and Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions. No dates have been set yet for a strike. 

UFCW locals 8GS13532477011671428 and 1442 make up the largest union grocery contract in the nation, spanning from central California to the Mexican border.

With almost 2,800 retail food stores under various banner names, including Ralphs, 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. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies under 24 well-known banners, among them Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions. Albertsons is No. 9 on The PG 100.


Drone Delivery Area Expands in North Carolina, Texas

Drone delivery to home

More delivery drones are taking to the skies. Autonomous delivery service Flytrex is expanding its delivery radius from one to two nautical miles across its operating stations in North Carolina and Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the longer flying distance for Flytrex's drones, which can now reach 100,000 eligible customers in the cities of Fayetteville, Redford and Holly Springs in North Carolina and Granbury in Texas, near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

To get goods via ultrafast drones, consumers can use the Flytrex app to order items from local stores and restaurants, which are then lowered by wire into their backyards. The deliveries of merchandise up to 6.6 pounds are made in cooperation with partner Causey Aviation Unmanned.

Walmart began working with the Israeli startup Flyxtrex to pilot test deliveries in the Fayetteville market in 2020 and expanded its partnership with the drone service last year. Walmart also has teamed up with drone services in other areas, including DroneUp, in an effort to stay competitive in the ultrafast delivery space.

“Drone delivery at scale is finally taking off, and this approval from the FAA positions us squarely at the forefront of that movement,” said Yariv Bash, co-founder and CEO of Flytrex. “This approval allows us to reach roughly 100,000 customers with our ultrafast delivery, and we look forward to continuing this exciting flightpath to one day bring three-minute delivery to the tens of millions of backyards across the U.S.”


Raley's Division Promotes Operations Exec

Levi Wingo Raley's

Raley’s operating division has promoted Levi Wingo to SVP, operations. Wingo was most recently VP of operations, a role he was appointed to in June 2021.

As SVP of operations, Wingo will continue to oversee all store operations for Raley’s 121 stores across California and Nevada. In this expanded role, he will also oversee pharmacy operations and Raley’s facilities and construction teams.  

“Levi is an innovative leader with deep operating experience and a strong commitment to people and purpose,” said Jen Warner, president of Raley’s operating division. “I’m excited for Levi to continue to grow our business, advance our performance, and drive an exceptional experience for our customers and our team members.”  

Wingo started his career at Raley’s as a courtesy clerk before taking on various leadership positions within the stores, including store team leader and district team leader. He has been overseeing store operations since 2018.   

Throughout his career with Raley’s, Wingo has led a number of special projects focused on growth and innovation. He was also an essential part of the core team that developed the company’s O-N-E brand offering, which is focused on organics, nutrition and education, as well as central to Raley’s purpose-driven transformation toward making wellness approachable for all.   

Privately owned and family-run Raley’s operates more than 235 locations across four states and four Tribal Nations under eight banners: Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods, Raley’s O-N-E Market, Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods and Bashas’ Diné Market. In addition, The Raley’s Cos. bridges the divide between the physical and digital retail experiences through the operation of Apium Logistics, Fieldera and FieldTRUE. The company is No. 48 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Loblaw Q2 Profit Increases to $387M

Loblaw Q2 Profit Increases to $387M

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has posted an increase in its second-quarter profit and revenues as drug store sales boosted the company's margins and discount grocery store sales grew.

Canada's largest grocery and pharmacy chain says its net income available to common shareholders was $387 million or $1.16 per diluted share, a 3.2% increase from $375 million or $1.09 per share a year ago (all monetary values in this brief are in Canadian dollars).

Adjusted profits for the three months ended June 18 was $566 million or $1.69 per diluted share, up from $464 million or $1.35 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2021.

Revenues were $12.85 billion, an increase of $356 million or 2.9% compared with $12.49 billion in the prior year quarter.

Food same-store sales increased 0.9% and pharmacy same-store sales increased 5.6%.

Galen G. Weston, Loblaw chairman and president, said customers recognized the value, quality and convenience of the company's diverse store formats, store brands such as No Name and the PC Optimum loyalty program.

"In the quarter we also continued to pursue our strategic growth agenda, with the completion of our acquisition of Lifemark Health Group, bolstering our healthcare services offering and furthering our purpose to help Canadians Live Life Well."

[Read more: "Loblaw Transforms Itself Again"]

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and associate-owned stores across Canada – including more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty – with 190,000-plus full- and part-time employees, making it one of the country’s largest private-sector employers. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

[For more Canadian grocery news, check out Progressive Grocer's sister publication: Canadian Grocery]


New Look for Hannaford Locations

Hannaford Store Teaser

Hannaford Supermarkets has completed a revamp of five stores across its footprint. At the midway point of 2022, the grocer shared that is has refreshed locations in Townsend, Mass., Leominster, Mass., Burlington, Vt., Brandon, Vt., and Rotterdam, N.Y.

The makeovers include aesthetic updates as well as changes to services and assortments. Shoppers at those stores can access a broader selection of grab-and-go meal options and more local, organic and gluten-free products.

As part of the new layouts, some pharmacy areas have been expanded, and online grocery pickup and delivery have changed. To make the shopping experience speedier and more convenient, Hannaford added more self-checkout kiosks to two of the locations.  

“At Hannaford, we know that the needs and desires of our customers are constantly evolving and that our stores and services should do the same,” said Todd Bullen, VP of retail operations. “This series of enhancements is focused on introducing features that make shopping our stores an even easier and more enjoyable experience for our customers, while continuing to provide them with the same quality, fresh products that are synonymous with Hannaford.”

Along with the store enhancements, the grocer is bolstering community ties. To mark the completion of the renovations, Hannaford donated a total of $14,000 to local non-profit organizations, including hunger relief and child and family development groups, in the affected service areas.

Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford operates 184 stores in five Northeast states, employing nearly 30,000 associates. Parent company 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.