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11/30/2022

Ollie’s Expands Board of Directors

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Ollie's Teaser

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings, Inc. has appointed AriZona Beverages CEO Abid Rizvi as a member of its board of directors.

Rizvi has held the CEO position at AriZona Beverages since 2020. He joined the company behind the iconic 99c Big Can in 2016. Rizvi also brings over 20 years of experience in consumer investment banking, working for such companies as RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Jefferies, LLC, and Merrill Lynch & Co. Rizvi has extensive experience in business operations, mergers and acquisitions, and financings. He earned an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor of science degree from MIT.

[Read more: “Ollie’s Hires CFO”]

John Swygert, Ollie’s president and CEO, stated, “We are delighted to welcome Abid to our board and believe that we will benefit from his extensive financial and operations experience as well as his overall business acumen. He is an accomplished and seasoned leader and will be a tremendous resource as we continue to execute our growth strategies and build the Ollie’s brand. We look forward to his insights and contributions as our newest board member.”

Rizvi’s appointment to the board of directors expands the number of board members to eight. The appointment is effective immediately, and he will stand for election to the board of directors at the company’s 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Rizvi will also serve on the company’s audit committee.

Harrisburg, Pa.-based Ollie’s offer extreme value on brand-name products in a variety of departments, including housewares, food, books and stationery, bed and bath, floor coverings, toys, health and beauty aids, and more. It currently operates more than 460 stores in 29 states.

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11/29/2022

Tops Supermarket Shooter Pleads Guilty to Murder, Terrorism

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Buffalo Tops Memorial Teaser

The teenage gunman who last May opened fire at a Buffalo, N.Y., Tops Markets store in a predominantly African American neighborhood, killing 10 and wounding three, has pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 to first-degree murder and other state charges related to the racially motivated attack, including domestic terrorism. The hearing took place Nov. 28 at Erie County Court. 

Payton Gendron, who was 18 at the time of the mass shooting, earlier pleaded not guilty after a grand jury returned an indictment in June, Reuters reported. Gendron now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole just on the domestic terrorism charge. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, according to published reports. 

Reuters noted that Gendron was the first defendant in New York state ever to be indicted for a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. Police said that he left a racist manifesto online before the attack and livestreamed the massacre on social media.

A separate indictment returned in U.S. District Court in July charged Gendron with 27 federal hate crimes and firearms offenses, for which he could receive the death penalty if he’s convicted.

Since the shooting, Tops has reopened the store where the attack took place and teamed with the nonprofit National Compassion Fundto establish the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, with the aim of providing direct financial assistance to the survivors of those killed and people directly affected by the tragedy.The grocer contributed $500,000 to get the fund started.  

11/29/2022

Land O’Frost's Procurement Head Retiring After 50 Years

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Land O’ Frost’s Carl Abbott

After serving Munster, Ind.-based Land O'Frost for nearly 50 years, Carl Abbott is retiring. The company’s longtime leader in procurement is exiting at the end of the year.

Abbott spent much of his career in the procurement function, most recently as VP of procurement and specialty meats. Among other accomplishments during his tenure, he created and deployed supply chain efficiencies that helped the family-owned company perform and grow and was known for his meat market forecasting.

[Read more: "Kraft Heinz Reveals New Chief Procurement Officer for North America"]

“The past five decades with Land O’Frost have been so rewarding and a joyous experience for me, both personally and professionally,” said Abbott. “I’ve spent 49 years working with some of the hardest working people in the industry, and along the way developed lifelong friendships.”

The company’s CEO praised Abbott for his decades of contributions. “Carl is part of a core group of leaders that helped Land O’Frost grow and evolve to our position today as one of the top brands in the industry. I am truly grateful for all of Carl’s contributions to our business and culture throughout his distinguished career,” remarked David Van Eekeren. “I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Abbott is succeeded by Land O'Frost's VP of procurement, Ryan Stone.  

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11/29/2022

Kroger’s Board of Directors Honored for DEI Efforts

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Kroger Novi MI Teaser

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) has named the board of directors for The Kroger Co. among its top 20 finalists for the 2022 NACD Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards. Kroger’s board is being recognized for improving its governance and implementing forward-thinking diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices.

According to Kroger, its board of directors holds management accountable for delivering and executing the company's DEI goals and encourages investments to achieve change. The independent board’s body is 64% diverse by gender or race/ethnicity.

[Read more: "Why Kroger’s CEO Doesn’t Believe in the Word ‘Acquisition’"]

"We believe this work is never complete," said Ronald Sargent, Kroger’s lead board director and former Staples, Inc. chair and CEO. "Under the board's leadership, we have achieved important progress and we will continue to support investments and policies that improve diversity, equity and inclusion for Kroger associates and our communities. The Board is honored to be recognized by NACD."

"Kroger has worked to achieve great strides in creating an equitable boardroom," said NACD president and CEO Peter Gleason. "NACD is proud to honor the Kroger Board of Directors for advancing DE&I in their boardroom and throughout their organization."

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.

11/28/2022

Meijer Gives $1M to Midwest Food Pantries

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Meijer store brand Thanksgiving

Meijer is doing a bit of thanks and giving following the recent national holiday. The Michigan-based retailer announced that it is donating $1 million to local food pantries following a successful Thanksgiving shopping period.

Earlier this fall, Meijer committed to providing up to four million meals – one meal for every customer purchase during the week of Nov. 20-26 that included a qualifying Meijer store brand item. After shoppers met that goal of four million purchases, Meijer followed through with its pledge.

[Read more: "Impact Awards Honors Companies Focused on the Greater Good"]

According to the company, the $1 million in funds will be divided equally between more than 250 food pantries around the Midwest that are taking part in Meijer’s Simply Give hunger relief program. "To have met our goal of 4 million meals by Thanksgiving Day is especially exciting because it speaks to our customers' commitment to feeding families in need this holiday season," remarked President and CEO Rick Keyes. "This Thanksgiving we're especially grateful for our customers' support of programs like this. The success of this program – and of Simply Give overall – is a direct reflection of the passion our customers share with us for hunger relief in our communities."

Since it was launched in 2008, the Simply Give program has generated $76 million for regional hunger relief organizations, Meijer reported.

Meijer is continuing its efforts to enhance food security throughout the holiday season. Shoppers can buy a $10 donation card in store or online, with contributions converted to Meijer food-only gift cards to be given to local food pantry partners. The grocery is double matching those Simply Give donation cards bought on Dec. 17.

Privately owned Meijer operates over 400 supercenters, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

11/28/2022

Trader Joe’s Tops for Emotional Connections With Shoppers

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Trader Joe's

The halo of a reputation that Trader Joe’s has for shopper affinity was confirmed in a new survey. The retailer took the first spot in a recent Brand Intimacy Study from marketing and research firm MBLM, which used an AI-driven analysis of 1.4 billion words used by consumers in discussions of hundreds of brands.

According to MBLM, Trader Joe’s is a leader in creating emotional connections with its customers. In the analysis, the retailer was associated with keywords such as “delicious” and “tasty” and earned top marks across the archetypes of identity, ritual and indulgence.  

[Read more: "Progressive Grocer Unveils the Retailers of the Century"]

“Trader Joe’s is winning customer hearts and minds not only as the highest performing retailer in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2022 Study, but also among the top 10 out of hundreds of brands across industries,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. “Its focus on unique offerings, affordable prices, friendly staff and creating its own unique ethos, is effectively connecting with customers, who see it as a preferred alternative to generic, anonymous grocery store brands.”

Costco ranked second on MBLM’s study, topping the expansive retail category that also included home improvement, beauty and clothing stores. Other food retailers faring well among shoppers include Amazon (No. 4), Whole Foods (No. 5), Aldi  (No. 7), Walmart (No. 9), Target (No. 15) and 7-Eleven (No. 17).

On a broader level, MBLM’s analysis indicated that consumer loyalties to certain stores are strong. Since the onset of the pandemic, brand performance has increased by 19% and consumers have bolstered the brands with whom they are forming emotional connections by 9%.

Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaIssaquah, Wash.-based Costco is No. 3. Whole Foods isa wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2. Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S., Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S., Minneapolis, Minn.-based Target Corp. and Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven  are Nos. 12, 1, 6 and 13, respectively.