News Briefs


Lidl Planning New Ground-Up Warehouse in Pennsylvania

Lidl sign teaser

Lidl seems to be primed for expansion, following its purchase of nearly 70 acres in Bucks County, Pa. The German-owned chain, which has been steadily growing its footprint in the East Coast, confirmed that it recently bought acreage for a future warehouse at the site of the Keystone Trade Center.

Spokesperson Jessica Shangle didn’t give specifics about the sale pegged to be close to $145 million but did note that a project is in the works. “We are still in the early planning phase for the site and will have more to share over the coming months,” she remarked.

[Read more: "Lidl to Debut 1st Stand-Alone Ground-Up Store in New York"]

Lidl acquired the property from NorthPoint Development, which owns the 1,800-acre campus on which the warehouse will sit. According to local media, the campus will eventually include more than 20 buildings. 

Lidl currently operates several stores in Pennsylvania, including locations in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Reading. The construction of a warehouse comes as Lidl is set to build out a store in the town of Warminster in Bucks County. In January, Lidl held a grand opening for its newest 36,000-square-foot location in Long Island, N.Y.

Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 employees globally. The grocer runs 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.


Shipt Gains Chief People and Community Officer

Shipt Amy Benson Headshot Teaser

Shipt has hired Amy Benson as its chief people and community officer. In her new role, Benson will lead the company’s comprehensive human resources function, including diversity, equity and inclusion, supporting Shipt’s 1,500-plus employees. She will also head up national and local corporate giving, economic development and community engagement initiatives.

“Amy brings remarkable knowledge and experience to Shipt,” said Shipt CEO Kamau Witherspoon to whom Benson will report. “Amy’s reputation as a strategic leader in developing talent and fostering community brings the expertise we need to continue building upon Shipt’s strong company culture.”

[Read more: "Shipt Debuts Local Accelerator Program to Help Small Businesses"]

With more than 20 years of human resources experience, Benson comes to Shipt from parent company Target, most holding the role of VP of human resources, in which capacity she led teams assisting with merchandising, strategy, product design and sourcing capabilities in the United States and internationally.

“From supporting careers to investing in the livelihood of our communities, I'm excited to help propel Shipt forward as a top place to work in tech,” noted Benson, who is based in Minneapolis. “I was drawn to Shipt’s company culture and industry-leading commitment to have the most diverse team in tech by 2025.”

Shipt is an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which 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. Founded and based in Birmingham, Ala., Shipt also maintains an office in San Francisco.


Blue Apron Files At-the-Market Equity Offering Program

Blue Apron

Meal kit company Blue Apron has filed a prospectus supplement to its existing shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under which it may offer and sell shares of its Class A common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $70 million through an “at-the-market” equity offering program.

This program is intended to provide the company with access to capital from time to time. The aggregate offering price of up to $70 million represents the remaining amount available for issuance under the company’s shelf registration statement declared effective by the SEC on Nov. 10, 2022. The number of shares to be sold, if any, under the at-the-market program will depend on, among other factors, market conditions, the company’s capital needs, and the anticipated benefits to the company and its shareholders.  

Blue Apron intends to use the net proceeds from any sales of shares under the at-the-market program for general corporate purposes, including to:

Fund working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures;
Potentially pay down some or all of its debt; and
Provide the company with greater flexibility to pursue, evaluate and potentially execute upon other financing opportunities, a potential business combination or other strategic transaction.

The shares will be offered through Canaccord Genuity as sales agent.

Blue Apron will release its fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 financial results on March 16. In reporting its third-quarter earnings on Nov. 7, the New York-based company withdrew its previously reported revenue growth target of 7% to 13% for fiscal 2022 as pandemic-related demand for its meal kits keeps cooling off. Blue Aprons number of customers fell by 7.7% in the third quarter. Additionally, in December, Blue Apron revealed that it was cutting about 10% of its corporate workforce as part of a plan to drastically reduce expenses amid stagnant sales.


Big Y Teams With Fisher College to Educate Associates and Their Families

Fisher College Big Y Logos Teaser

Big Y Foods Inc. has formed an educational corporate partnership with the Fisher College Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) department. Through its Corporate Advantage Program (CAP), Boston-based Fisher College will offer online courses to Big Y Foods employees. The program will also offer discounted tuition rates for Big Y employees and their immediate family members, and identify courses and develop programs that fit the grocer’s needs.

“We are excited to partner with Fisher College and offer our employees a tremendous opportunity to further their education,” said Aimee Diliberto, Big Y’s manager of employee experiences. “We strive to offer various benefits to our employees and look forward to sharing this newest collaboration.”

[Read more: "Big Y Accepts SNAP EBT Benefits in Massachusetts"]

“Big Y is one of the biggest and most respected companies in the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts], and we welcome their employees and their families to Fisher College and look forward to helping them expand upon their educational and professional goals,” said Steve Rich, the college’s president.

Founded in 1903, Fisher College is a private not-for-profit institution offering 30-plus bachelor and graduate-level programs, both on campus and online. The core offerings at Fisher reflect liberal arts, but the majors and graduate programs provide expertise in such fields as management, accounting, fashion merchandising, criminal justice, biology, information technology, cybersecurity and a cutting-edge e-sports industry program. Educational resources include small group classrooms and meeting with industry and business leaders through internships, guest lectures, and site visits in Boston.

Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, encompassing more than 70 supermarkets, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors, and Big Y Express gas and convenience locations, with more than 10,000 employees. The company is No. 75 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of thetop food and consumables retailers in North America


E-comm Firm Rokt Lands Tech Execs as Leaders

Rokt logo

E-commerce tech company Rokt, which provides personally relevant messages to shoppers before transactions, is adding seasoned tech executives to its leadership team. The New York City-based company appointed Noel Curtis as SVP of engineering and tapped John Walzer to lead its new development center in Seattle.

Curtis joins Rokt from Grubhub, where he was VP of technology. He will apply his machine learning experience at that organization to spearhead Rokt’s ML-based engineering efforts, which include demand-side systems and machine learning, reporting infrastructure, campaign management solutions, upsell systems, the experimentation platform and user research and design.

[Read more: "Flashfood Names Grocery Industry Vet Nicholas Bertram President/COO"]

Walzer is a 20-year industry veteran in the e-comm, telecom and multimedia industries. Most recently, he was a senior software development manager at Amazon. At Rokt, he will focus on high-performing, innovative solutions as he opens the company’s West Coast tech center.

Both Curtis and Walzer will report directly to Bill Barton, chief product and engineering officer. "Noel Curtis and John Walzer are two notable leaders in technology and Rokt is excited to welcome them both to our team as we look ahead to a year full of new opportunities and growth," said Barton. "We look forward to seeing Noel accelerate progress in our New York office and for John to usher in a new stage of growth for Rokt in Seattle, an incredible tech hub where we'll be able to access a whole new pool of talent."

Rokt also announced the hiring of Google vet Reuben Kan as a distinguished engineer. The Sydney, Australia-based Kan will help lead projects focused on system architecture, subsystem design, performance optimization and client-facing APIs and SDKs. He previously served as principal engineer and engineering director of Google Maps and principal engineer for Google Apps.


Raley’s Names New CFO

Raley's Tiffanie Burkhalter Teaser

Tiffanie Burkhalter will join The Raley’s Companies as CFO on Feb. 16. In her new role, Burkhalter will guide all enterprise financial functions, real estate and risk management.

Burkhalter started her career with Ernst and Young in the assurance and advisory services practice. While there she led a broad portfolio of public and private client engagements. She joined VSP Vision in 2011 as a member of the finance team and held roles with increasing levels of leadership responsibility, among them retail financial controller, VP of e-commerce, COO of VSP Ventures and ultimately president of VSP Ventures.

[Read more: "Raley’s Partners With Instacart for Online SNAP Integration in California"]

“We took great care and diligence to find an executive who aligns with our purpose, values and culture while also bringing outstanding and proven technical expertise and leadership,” said Raley’s President and CEO Keith Knopf. “We have found this leader in Tiffanie.”  

Added Mike Teel, Raley’s owner and chairman of the board: “We have confidence that Tiffanie will bolster an already strong leadership team and build on our already strong financial success.”

“I am excited to join The Raley’s Companies and support their expanded portfolio of brands,” noted Burkhalter. “I look forward to working alongside the impressive leadership team and bringing my experience and passion for leading high-performing teams and driving transformational results.”

Last September, the grocer’s previous CFO, Kenneth Mueller, and its chief pilot, Richard Conte, were both killed when the twin-engine plane they were traveling in crashed less than 20 minutes after takeoff.

With more than 230 locations across four states and four Tribal Nations under eight well-known banners, West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s is No. 48 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of thetop food and consumables retailers in North America.