News Briefs


Grupo Bimbo Acquires St. Pierre

St Pierre Brioche Loaf

Grupo Bimbo’s third quarter report revealed some strong financial results combined with inflationary pressures – and notable acquisition news.  

For the three months ending Sept. 30, the Mexico City-based global baking company reported record net sales, up 20% from the third quarter of 2021, and a 10% leap in adjusted EBITDA in its North American operations. That said, high commodity prices, supply chain challenges and labor costs led to a margin contraction of 120 basis points in North America.

In addition to providing details of its financial performance, Grupo Bimbo disclosed in its quarterly report that it has acquired bakery company St Pierre. Known for its premium brioche products across the St. Pierre, Baker Street and Paul Hollywood brands, the Manchester, England-based St. Pierre Groupe continues to introduce new products, including a soon-to-launch line of bake-at-home bread. Earlier this year, St. Pierre announced plans to bolster its distribution capacity in the U.S.

No further details about the acquisition have been provided yet by Grupo Bimbo or St. Pierre.

In related news, St. Pierre partner Lipari Foods has been acquired by an investment group led by PE firm Littlejohn & Co., LLC. The specialty food distributor, headquartered in Warren, Mich., provides specialty foods to more than 7,500 independent grocers. In addition to offerings from St. Pierre, Lipari offers more than 25,000 products across bakery, deli, foodservice, specialty grocery, dairy, frozen seafood and meat, international food and confection categories.

“Littlejohn’s proven ability of building and scaling distribution businesses will be valuable as we seek to expand our capabilities while continuing to deliver high-quality products and service for our longstanding customers,” said Lipari CEO Thom Lipari. “We look forward to leveraging the firm’s resources to accelerate our growth trajectory and execute on Lipari’s significant organic and acquisition growth initiatives.”


BJ’s Sets Opening Date for Latest Location in Ohio

BJ's storefront

It’s been a busy couple of months for BJ’s Wholesale Club, which has opened three new stores and moved to a new headquarters. The latest: The membership club operator announced that its next warehouse in New Albany, Ohio, is set to open on Friday. Nov. 4.

Located at 5900 N. Hamilton Road, this BJ’s Wholesale Club follows the operator’s model of offering savings on a variety of fresh foods, produce, grocery staples, deli items, household essentials pet supplies and a selection of apparel, tech products and home décor items. A BJ’s gas location will be on site as well, and the warehouse will offer in-club shopping, online ordering, curbside/indoor pickup and same-day delivery.

“Our team is excited to expand our footprint in the state of Ohio and bring a brand-new club to the Columbus area,” said Ron Hight, club manager at the New Albany store. “We can’t wait to open our doors on Friday to all of our new members and bring BJ’s unbeatable value and incredible savings to our local families in this new market.”

Through Nov. 3, area residents can take advantage of a founding member offer of a year’s BJ’s Inner Circle membership for $55. New members can also get a $40 digital gift card and $50 worth of coupons, among other incentives. As it welcomes new members, the warehouse operator is also reaching out to the community through a partnership with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective food bank.

Marlborough, Mass.-based BJ's operates over 230 clubs, 160-plus BJ’s Gas locations and seven distribution centers in 18 states. The company is No. 26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Loblaw Phasing Out Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags in Manitoba

Loblaw HQ Teaser

As of Nov. 1, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. will no longer provide single-use plastic shopping bags at its stores in the province of Manitoba, where the retailer operates No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Extra Foods and Wholesale Club locations.

Customers can bring their own bags to stores, but there will also be several reusable alternatives available at checkout, among them the familiar black PC reusable bag or PC reusable totes.

According to Loblaw, its efforts to remove single-use plastic bags from its stores have already resulted in 13 billion fewer bags going to landfill.

The phaseout of single-use plastic bags in Manitoba is the latest in a long line of actions related to Loblaw’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. The company has also committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 for Scope 1 and 2, and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for Scope 3; reduce plastic waste by making all of its private brand and in-store packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025; and send zero food waste to landfill by 2030. 

Other retailers removing single-use plastic bags from all of their stores include Wegmans, which completed the process in September, and Aldi

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates nearly 2,500 stores and national e-commerce options in Canada, with more than 190,000 full- and part-time employees. 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. Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S. with 2,200 stores across 38 states and 45,000-plus associates, is No. 24 on PG’s list, while Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans, with 100-plus stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, is No. 34.


West Liberty Foods to Close Iowa Facility

West Liberty Foods Logo Teaser

Protein processor West Liberty Foods has revealed its intention to close its Mount Pleasant, Iowa, facility, effective May 7, 2023. The plant closing will affect about 350 team employees.

“Respect and care for people is a core value of our company, and shutting down a plant is a tough thing to do,” said Brandon Achen, president and CEO of West Liberty Foods, which is based in West Liberty, Iowa. “Although we are taking steps to lessen the impact on our team members, we will be eliminating the jobs of some exceptional people through no fault of their own. I want each of them to know that we value their contributions and deeply regret the need for this action.”

[Read more: "Sausage and Ham Brands Innovate Pork Category"]

The company aims to help affected workers through such efforts as offers to work at one of the company’s other plants, relocation and transportation services, stay bonuses, severance pay, re-employment services, and assistance with filing unemployment claims.

The Mount Pleasant facility opened in 2003 with its patented Clean Room Food Processing Systems, making it the first food-manufacturing facility in the nation to feature this technology. Since its opening, the facility has produced hundreds of millions of pounds of sliced deli meats for a range of customers in the foodservice and retail segments. A recent shift in the types of products and capabilities needed to support customers has resulted in a dramatic reduction in pre-sliced deli meats, however, necessitating the plant’s closure.

The shutdown will occur in two phases: The first round of reductions will occur on Dec. 31, 2022, with all operations ceasing in May of next year. The company plans to move and consolidate existing operations from the Mount Pleasant facility to remaining facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Utah.


Target to Carry Marks & Spencer Holiday Items

Target Marks & Spencer Santa’s Magical Light Up Chocolate Workshop Teaser

Starting in mid-November, Target Corp. is teaming up with Marks & Spencer to offer a curated assortment of the renowned U.K. retailer’s most popular food and beverage products to Target customers for the first time ever. The limited-time partnership offers highly giftable, on-trend products at value prices. 

Suitable for holiday gift giving and entertaining, the seasonal assortment will consist of 15 food and beverage items, spanning luxury caramels and chocolates to biscuits and teas, sold in interactive packaging. Highlights of the collection include Santa’s Magical Light Up Chocolate Workshop (pictured), Shortbread Biscuit Light-Up Lantern, Gingerbread Musical House Tin, Shortbread Biscuit Bus Tin.Prices begin at $9.99, with the majority of M&S products priced below $14.99. 

The assortment will be available through the 2022 holiday season at most Target stores, on and through the company’s same-day services: Drive Up, Pick Up and Same-Day Delivery with Shipt. 

“One of the things that differentiates Target is the way we make style affordable and accessible for all, and this partnership is the latest example of us building on that legacy in food and beverage," noted Rick Gomez, Target’s EVP and chief food and beverage officer. “By joining forces with an iconic brand like Marks & Spencer, we’re bringing our guests amazing products and giving them another reason to turn to Target for the moments of joy that make the holidays special.” 

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.


Wegmans Readies Virginia Location

Wegmans Burger Bar

It will be a happy new year for Wegmans fans in Virginia, as the grocer announced that its Reston location will officially welcome shoppers on Feb. 1. Located at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive in a mixed-use development, the 85,000-square-foot store will carry a wide range of products and include an in-store coffee shop, Market Café and Burger Bar offering burgers, sandwiches, salads, milkshakes and other menu items. This is Wegmans 15th store in the commonwealth of Virginia.

The retailer is gearing up for the early 2023 opening with a major hiring event on Nov. 8 at The Edmund apartments above the site of the Reston store. More than 200 positions are open, and potential Wegmans team members can apply online before the event.

“While our opening is still a few months away, we have already met many great applicants and are excited to continue building our team,” said Reston Store Manager Katie Sullivan. “Wegmans is known for being one of the best places to work because we offer opportunities for advancement, flexible scheduling, and competitive pay and benefits packages.”

As it prepares to staff the Reston store, Wegmans is also hiring for at least 585 full- and part-time positions for its locations in Virginia and Washington, D.C. A virtual hiring event is slated for Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ahead of the hiring blitz, Wegmans is touting its competitive salary and benefits, in addition to sign-on bonuses and an employee scholarship program. The retailer also pointed out it promotes from within and will be seeking to fill roles at other upcoming new stores in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, New York City, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Family-owned Wegmans operates more than 100 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America