News Briefs


Dollar General Improves Work-Life Balance for Store Managers

Dollar General Employees Teaser

In response to feedback from store managers, Dollar General Corp. has recently launched a new scheduling program, Store Manager (SM) Flex, to increase flexibility and improve work-life balance. The discount retailer’s nearly 19,000 store managers across the country now have more control over their work-week schedules.

“Maintaining open lines of communication with our employees remains a top priority at Dollar General,” shared Kathy Reardon, Dollar General’s EVP and chief people officer. “When we received feedback from our store manager colleagues that many desired more flexibility in determining their schedule, we worked collaboratively to find a solution with SM Flex. We’re excited for this new program and are already hearing from team members about how it’s improving their overall DG employee experience.”

[Read more: “Dollar General to Create 10,000 Net New Careers This Year”]

SM Flex offers store managers a simplified platform with various scheduling options aimed at increasing efficiency and providing a more consistent work-week, as well as accommodating employees’ schedules based on their individual store and personal commitments. 

The company began testing SM Flex in 2021 with hundreds of store managers piloting the initiative and providing positive reviews of its implementation.

Meanwhile, Dollar General recently reported net income of $678 million, with earnings per share of $2.98, for second quarter ended July 29, compared to $637 million, and $2.69 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales increased 9% to $9.4 billion.

Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operated 18,566 stores in 47 states as of July 29. The company is No. 15 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


The Fresh Market Strengthens Leadership Through Key Promotions

the fresh market promotions

Specialty grocer The Fresh Market, Inc. has promoted two key team members at its corporate office. Effective immediately, the following individuals are serving in their new roles:

• Wade Yenny (at left) has been promoted to VP, center store, having previously served as director of grocery merchandising. In this new role, Yenny will oversee grocery, dairy and frozen foods as well as take on space planning and bulk, candy and coffee.

• Peter Mayes (at right) has been promoted to group VP, merchandising. Mayes served as meat and seafood director. In his new role, he will continue to oversee meat and seafood, as well as taking on new functions and direct reports from supply chain, visual merchandising, and the company’s pricing team.

“These promotions are a recognition of the hard work and significant contributions team members have made to The Fresh Market,” said Dan Portnoy, chief merchandising officer at The Fresh Market. “We look forward to their continued contributions in the years to come.”

Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market operates 160 stores in 22 states. The company is No. 78 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Vertical Farmers Band Together

Vertical farming

In a bid to transform food systems on a global basis, several vertical farming organizations pledged their commitment to a vertical farming identity standard and industry manifesto. The manifesto was signed during this week’s Vertical Farming World Congress in Brussels, Germany.

The identity standard and manifesto highlight the urgency of deploying resilient, circular production methods for growing food for increasing global populations. Among other things, the statements emphasize the ways in which indoor farming localizes production and uses significantly less land and water to provide people with pesticide-free produce.

Participating companies also align with globally accepted frameworks like the Science Based Targets initiative, B Corp, or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The 20 vertical farmers signing onto the industry standard and manifesto include 80 Acres Farms,AeroFarms, Bowery Farming, Crop One, CubicFarms, Elevate Farms, Fifth Season,  Fischer Farms, Freight Farms , Infarm, Infinite AcresJones Food CompanyKalera, La Grangette, Ljusgårda, N.THING, PlentyStacked Farm, Urban Crop Solutions, Urban Harvest, Vertical Future, YesHealth Group and ZipGrow Inc.

Several of the U.S. vertical farmers taking part in the commitment continue to strengthen their operations and presence in this country. This month, Plenty announced plans to build the largest indoor vertical farm in the world to date, with a $300 million site near Richmond, Va. Infarm, for its part, is working on a third growing center near Baltimore, while Bowery shared it wants to double its number of farms by 2023.


Food Tech Company GrubMarket Acquires JC Produce

GrubMarket Logo Teaser

Food tech firm GrubMarket, which provides solutions for supply chain e-commerce, has officially acquired produce company JC Produce. Both businesses are based in California.

JC Produce, which sources fruits and vegetables from around the world, provides more than 30 product SKUs to retail, wholesale and foodservice operations throughout the U.S.  The company operates a warehouse facility spanning nearly 40,000 square feet.

[Read more: "GrubMarket Acquires IOT Pay"]

Following the acquisition, JC Produce will use GrubMarket’s software-as-a-service platform that aims to provide more seamless financial management, sales and online ordering features, inventory management, lot traceability, grower accounting, and automated routing and logistics. The company will also utilize GrubMarket's mobile e-commerce solution.

“We are excited to join the GrubMarket team, because our teams share the same underlying values, and we are similarly passionate about providing exceptional service to our customers,” said Jacky Chan, owner of JC Produce. “We are also eager to tap into a best-in-class grower network, and to leverage GrubMarket's unique and superior e-commerce and technology-enabled software platform, to bring more high-quality fresh produce to more customers across the country.”

Mike Xu, GrubMarket’s CEO, lauded the addition. “This acquisition enables GrubMarket to further strengthen our presence on the West Coast as well as our sourcing power worldwide. We are thrilled to welcome the JC Produce team to the GrubMarket family,” Xu declared.

Based in San Francisco, GrubMarket operates in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Canada’s British Columbia, with plans to expand to the rest of the U.S., Canada, and other parts of the world.


Shoppers Spending More on Halloween Candy This Year: Report

halloween family

As grocers eye the upcoming holiday season, new research from Advantage Solutions shows that, following two unconventional years affected by autumn surges of COVID-19, many shoppers are getting back to pre-pandemic behaviors. For the first big fall holiday of Halloween, a quarter of survey respondents indicate that they will spend more on candy and treats this year and a third will shell out more for costumers and decorations.

According to Advantage Solutions’ poll of more than 1,000 consumers conducted earlier this month, 85% plan to buy Halloween candy, 54% expect to buy decorations and 71% of those with children say they will purchase costumes. Nearly half (48%) plan to spend more than $25 on candy for the Oct. 31 holiday and 47% will spend more than $25 on other Halloween-themed edible treats.

Similar to other consumer research conducted ahead of Halloween 2022, inflation is replacing the pandemic as an influencer of buying behavior. Price is the top factor impacting expected Halloween candy purchases, followed by type of candy and brand of candy, this survey found. More than half of grocery shoppers believe mass merchandisers have the best prices on Halloween candy and plan to shop that channel for candy and other food treats for Halloween. Grocery is the second most popular retail channel for such purchases.

Price-conscious consumers will be on the lookout for savings. The survey showed that 70% of consumers shopping for Halloween are influenced by on-package coupons, and nearly half are swayed by secondary displays.

Additional survey findings are available online.


Hannaford Deepens Ties in Maine

hannaford teaser

Hannaford Supermarkets revealed plans to open a new store at the intersection of Payne Road and Route 114 in Scarborough, Maine  the second store for its home city. Hannaford will continue to operate the Oak Hill Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy at its existing location. 

The approximately 58,000-square-foot store at 417 Payne Road will offer the high-quality, fresh food and variety for which the grocer is known, including thousands of natural and organic products, as well as unique store-brand offerings such as Taste of Inspirations, Hannaford and Nature’s Promise. The new supermarket will also feature a full-service pharmacy; Hannaford To Go curbside pickup and delivery; and a vast selection of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat items.

[Read more: "Hannaford Supermarkets Unveils Easy Meal Options in New York"]

“Growing our business in our own backyard is a huge point of pride. We look forward to making it even easier for Scarborough-area customers to do their grocery shopping for the week or pick up that one item they need,” said Todd Bullen, VP of operations for Hannaford. “We are proud to invest further in our state, bring new jobs to the area and strengthen our relationship with the community.”

Hannaford expects to begin construction in early 2023 and open the store in the summer of 2023. The store is expected to employ about 150 full- and part-time associates.

“The new store will be an active member of the Scarborough community, contributing to local nonprofit organizations, civic groups and hunger-relief efforts,” added Bullen.

The Payne Road Scarborough store will mark Hannaford’s 186th store when it opens, including 65 in Maine.

Hannaford operates 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.