Against a backdrop of a squeezed labor market, a broader return to in-person celebrations and high prices, grocers are tweaking their brick-and-mortar hours to both maximize sales and optimize their workforces for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Several food retailers announced that they will be closed Nov. 24 in observation of Thanksgiving Day, including prolific operators like Walmart, Costco and Target and chains such as Publix, Trader Joe’s and Southeastern Grocers’ banners including Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarkets and Fresco y Más.
BJ’s Wholesale Club is one of those retailers whose warehouses will be shuttered on Thanksgiving. “Our team members demonstrate hard work and dedication day in and day out, to both our members and communities. So as the holiday season approaches, it’s important for them to be able to spend well-deserved time off with family and loved ones,” remarked Jeff Desroches, EVP and COO for BJ's Wholesale Club. “2022 marks the 16th consecutive year we are keeping our doors closed on Thanksgiving Day, but we are looking forward to welcoming our members back into the club so they can continue shopping our unmatched holiday deals.”
Other retailers are open part of the day to meet shoppers’ last-minute, “I forgot!” needs. The Texas-based H-E-B, for example, will keep its doors open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and offer curbside pickup from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Other stores operating with mostly limited hours on the food-centric holiday include The Fresh Market, Meijer, Whole Foods, Wegmans and several Kroger-owned banners.
The Save Mart Cos. Adds Chief Digital Officer to C-Suite
The Save Mart Cos. has hired Tamara Pattison to serve in the newly created role of SVP, chief digital officer. Pattison has been tapped to further enhance the grocer’s opportunities for emerging digital technologies and e-commerce strategies.
Prior to joining Save Mart, Pattison worked for DemandTec, Yahoo!, Albertsons Cos., Beverages & More, and other companies. She most recently worked for AAA Northern California as the director of A3Ventures, the innovation lab and capital investment arm of the organization.
“Ongoing digital transformation to serve our shoppers and fulfill their needs with innovative and affordable solutions continues to be at the forefront of our strategic objectives,” said Shane Sampson, executive chairman of the board for Save Mart. “With over 20 years of extensive industry experience building and leading diverse teams to develop innovative programs, Tamara is an accomplished leader and I am thrilled to have her leading our digital and e-commerce experience.”
Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, Calif., and the Sunnyside Farms dairy-processing plant in Turlock, Calif. Save Mart is No. 55 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Lidl Talks Turkey About Affordable Thanksgiving Essentials
Appealing to consumers shellshocked by high food prices, Lidl US is touting its Thanksgiving meal essentials that can feed groups of 10 or less than $30.
The grocer highlighted budget-friendly prices for several holiday dinner staples, including a frozen turkey that sells for 49 cents a pound via Lidl’s free loyalty program. The suggested Thanksgiving bundle also includes a 16-oz. package of fresh peas, 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries, whole celery stalk, 16-oz. bag of baby carrots, 3-lb. bag of sweet potatoes, pint of heavy whipping cream, three 8-oz. packages of turkey stuffing mix, 12-count package of Hawaiian dinner rolls, pumpkin pie mix and two pie crusts.
Lidl curated the special Thanksgiving basket based on items chosen by the American Farm Bureau Foundation’s (AFB) annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey. Last year’s AFB data pointed to a $53 average grocery bill for traditional Thanksgiving items.
"Even as grocery prices rise nationally, shoppers can rely on Lidl for the best deal to feed their family this holiday season," said Stefan Schwarz, chief product officer for Lidl US. "We are proud to offer shoppers at Lidl a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings for less than $30. We hope our low prices give families some financial relief as they come together this holiday season."
Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 employees globally. With U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Va., the grocer operates about 170 stores in nine East Coast states. Lidl US is No. 89 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Food Lion To Go is growing in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. The grocer’s pickup service will expand to an additional 27 locations throughout the three states, with customers’ first pickup on the house.
With the addition of the 27 stores, Food Lion To Go is now available at 630 locations in the grocer’s 10-state footprint. Customers over the age of 21 can also purchase beer and wine where allowed by law.
“With some of the busiest months ahead for our customers, we are excited to expand this convenient service to more stores in the Food Lion footprint so our customers can spend more time on what matters most to them,” said Evan Harding, director of digital and e-commerce at Food Lion. “With the Food Lion to Go service, we provide our neighbors the option to shop through the channel they prefer, in-store or online, still ensuring they have access to the freshest groceries at affordable prices.”
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.
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
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.