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News Briefs

09/12/2022

C&S Goes High Tech for Distribution

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California C&S Warehouse Workers Ratify 7-Year Contract

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. is tackling its sustainability and efficiency goals by investing in new technologies. The company recently announced that it has engaged Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to build a new cloud-based operations platform.

The platform will help C&S improve the customer experience while curbing waste and maximizing fuel. By using AI and machine learning, C&S will monitor traffic patterns and identify optimal distribution routes. In addition to cutting down on food and fuel waste, the system enables C&S to migrate its data center workloads to the carbon-natural infrastructure of Google Cloud.

The new model will allow for self-service solutions to information technology and customer service touchpoints. Company officials also note that the deployment offers C&S the scalability needed to drive long-term business growth.

“With more than 104 years in the rapidly changing grocery industry, the foundation of C&S’s success has been our ability to adapt and innovate ahead of market trends to better serve our customers. It’s this legacy that drives our unrelenting focus on innovative go-to-market strategies and customer service,” said C&S CEO Bob Palmer. “We like to challenge the status quo and need partners who can do the same. Both TCS and Google Cloud are making it possible to implement a platform that supports our operational sustainability goals to ensure a healthy planet now and for future generations.”

Echoed Amit Bajaj, president of TCS North America: “The TCS-designed platform will enable more predictable deliveries, especially during seasonal peaks, helping distributors and retailers better manage their inventory while ensuring that the products most in demand are supplied on-time.

Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with 100,000-plus products, in addition to operating corporate stores. The company is No. 17 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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09/12/2022

Online Grocery Prices Hit Annual High in August

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Grocery CEOs Among Those Urging Congress to Address Organized Retail Crime

Grocery shoppers remain undeterred by high e-commerce grocery prices, according to the latest Adobe Digital Price Index, spending $64.6 billion in August. Though that number was up 6.5% from the same time period last year, Adobe also found that grocery prices saw their highest annual online price increase in August, up 14.1% year-over-year.

According to Adobe, grocery prices have been on the rise for 31 consecutive months, with grocery being the only category to move in lockstep with the Consumer Price Index on a long-term basis. Personal care products also saw an increase in online prices of 2.7% in August, with Adobe reporting that demand for those items has steadily risen along with online grocery demand.

[Read more: "Report Sheds New Light on Omnichannel Shoppers"]

“The modest uptick we see in online prices for August was driven in large part by rising food costs that show no signs of abating, just as seasonal discounts in a category like apparel phased out through the end of summer,” said Patrick Brown, VP of growth marketing and insights at Adobe. “Consumer demand for e-commerce also remains steady and will keep prices elevated, especially for growing categories such as groceries, pet products and other consumer staples.”

Overall online prices in August increased 0.4%year-over-year and 2.1% month-over-month. Of the 18 categories Adobe tracks, 12 of them saw increasing prices. Electronics, jewelry, books, toys, computers and sporting goods were among the categories experiencing a drop in prices for August.

09/12/2022

Kroger Precision Marketing Wades Into Streaming

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Kroger Debuts Private Programmatic Advertising Marketplace

In another effort to meet consumers where they are and engage them with relevant advertising, Kroger Precision Marketing is adding new video and connected television (CTV) capabilities. The retail media business arm of The Kroger Co. powered by 84.51° is teaming up with several ad exchange/inventory providers to deliver personalized content based on the retailer’s sales data.

The move comes as consumers continue to stream more shows at home.  “Streaming is the number-one way people consume TV today,” said Cara Pratt, SVP at Kroger Precision Marketing. “That means the majority of TV viewing hours can now be optimized in the programmatic environment. Our retail data precisely reaches households such as lapsed or infrequent brand buyers and then matches advertising exposure to store sales to measure brand impact.”

Kroger Precision Marketplace introduced its private marketplace last year. This latest addition to the self-service platform for ad agencies and brands opens up new opportunities for them to execute campaigns across more channels in a centralized private marketplace. The enhanced programmatic capabilities also allow advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns against attributable retail sales and household penetration.

“The scale and quality of Kroger’s first-party data has enabled us to optimize CTV delivery for our advertisers against actual stores sales. We are effectively driving in-store sales via television in a tangible way,” said Kelly Metz, managing director, Advanced TV at Omnicom Media Group.

The program is now live, with services offered by video and CTV inventory suppliers including Magnite, OpenX, PubMatic and Xander.

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.

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09/12/2022

Former Tops Executive Dies

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Tops Teaser

Victor A. Marrale Sr., a onetime Tops Markets executive, died Sept. 5 at Mercy Hospital in East Aurora, N.Y., from complications following surgery, according to a published report. Marrale was 87. 

The Buffalo, N.Y., native began his career after high school as a car salesman and by the early '60s had joined the general merchandising division of Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets. He rose through the ranks to the role of VP and director of general merchandising at the Tops subsidiary G&G Sales and Service, and later became president. Marrale also played a key role in launching Vix Discount Drugstores, another Tops subsidiary, which was named after him. 

He left Tops in 1987 and began his own business, Marrale Marketing, a general merchandising distributor of household goods, toys, and health and beauty items. After his retirement in 1995, he became an active volunteer in his local community and served on his village board. Marrale also served for many years as a deacon at his church.

Survivors include his wife, the former J. Cairn Eastman, a retired nurse practitioner; four sons; two daughters; 11 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

Services were held Saturday, Sept. 10 at Fellowship Wesleyan Church, in West Seneca, N.Y.

09/12/2022

Bringg, Uber Direct Team Up in France

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Paris Teaser

Delivery management platform provider Bringg and Uber Direct, the on-demand white-label delivery service from San Francisco-based Uber, have formed a partnership in France giving retailers access to the extensive courier network for last-mile delivery. The collaboration will enable Uber Direct France to expand its ability to connect with more local businesses, leading to faster setup and delivery across the country. Uber will also be better equipped to support its current customers as they scale deliveries to unprecedented levels, ensuring that customers have the critical capabilities of real-time visibility, cost efficiency and flexibility in delivery options.

[Read more: "Uber Takes on Autonomous Food Deliveries With Nuro"]

“Bringg and Uber Direct France working together will be a force to reckon with in the delivery and fulfillment industry,” noted Bastien Pahus, general manager, Uber Eats France, Switzerland and Belgium. “Leveraging Bringg’s market-leading innovation and customer-first outlook will strengthen and grow our market presence in the French market and emphasize the importance of last-mile delivery. Omnichannel merchants who are willing to offer a best-in-class local delivery option to their clients will be able to benefit from this partnership and existing technology integration to access our large courier network with limited development efforts.”

“We are excited about partnering once again with industry giant Uber,” said Guy Bloch, CEO of Chicago-based Bringg, which serves more than 800 customers globally. “Online businesses are waking up to the fact that maximizing efficiencies and lowering delivery costs are critical factors in the customer journey. Retailers must concentrate on delivering the best experience possible, even when the market is unpredictable and competition is fierce. Bringg and Uber Direct France can provide new delivery options to the French market to address these challenges today and in the future.”

Bringg’s open SaaS platform and network of 250-plus delivery providers permits businesses to offer customers any delivery option, whether using internal drivers or external delivery providers, including 3PL, carriers, crowdsourced fleets or independent gig drivers.

Bringg and Uber Direct France will present at the upcoming Paris Retail Week, taking place Sept. 20-22 at the Paris Expo, Porte De Versailles.  

09/09/2022

Target Delves Deeper Into Own-Brand Fashion

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Target Future Collective_teaser

Target Corp. is introducing customers to a first-of-its-kind own brand with the rollout of Future Collective. The retailer will work with a rotating roster of style and cultural influencers to create the clothing line, beginning with former InStyle editor-turned-style expert Kahlana Barfield Brown.

Brown is known for streetwear-inspired looks and unique spins on the classics, and has created “great denim, bodysuits, blazers, jackets and pants that feel classic but versatile,” she said. Brown’s collection is also size inclusive, as all 120 items available in XXS-4X in stores and on Target.com.  

“By co-creating collections with a roster of amazing influencers who have diverse fashion perspectives, Future Collective is an exciting evolution in our owned brand assortment — offering guests more ways to celebrate their individual styles,” said Jill Sando, EVP and chief merchandising officer at Target. “We’re thrilled to have our longtime Target partner Kahlana Barfield Brown help us introduce this first-of-its-kind Target brand that promises to bring guests ongoing inspiration, style and joy — all at an incredible value.”

Two more influencer collections will be available within one year of this launch, the retailer said.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations.