News Briefs


NCR Expands ATM Presence, Services at Walgreens

Walgreens Night Teaser

Enterprise technology provider NCR Corp.has extended and expanded a long-term agreement with drug store chain Walgreens, making NCR the provider of ATM services at nearly all of the retailer’s stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The expanded sites will join the many Walgreens locations already served by NCR’s Allpoint ATM network, which offers surcharge-free cash access to 1,200-plus issuers, including two of the five largest U.S. banks by deposit, representing more than 70 million cardholders. Further, under the agreement, Walgreens will gain more than 1,300 Allpoint+ cash-accepting ATMs, enabling “cash-in” transactions as well as traditional “cash-out” transactions, and bringing a traditional branch function into the retail environment.

[Read more: "Walgreens Continues Consumer Health Care Push in Q1"]

At many of the ATMs, Atlanta-based NCR has enabled consumers to purchase Bitcoin via NCR’s LibertyX platform. Additionally, NCR Pay360, a mobile platform that allows consumers to send and receive cash from various sources with a simple code, will be enabled across NCR’s Walgreens installation. 

“When consumers walk into any Walgreens in the country, they will know they have access to safe, reliable everyday banking services delivered through NCR ATMs,” noted Don Layden, EVP, president, NCR Banking. “Through Allpoint and other NCR innovations, Walgreens will be able to better serve its customers while enjoying greater foot traffic driven by the many differentiated services offered. We are proud to be supporting Walgreens’ vision of delivering more joyful lives through better financial health.”

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, operating nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Stop & Shop on Hiring Blitz

Stop & Shop Is 1st Food Retailer to Join Roundtable on Obesity Solutions

Stop & Shop is asking potential employees to stop right in for work. The New England retailer is holding a one-day career fair for all of its locations on Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On-the-spot interviews will be held for a variety of positions, including 2,800 part-time and certain full-time roles across various functions and departments. Full-time selector jobs are also available at Stop & Shop’s distribution center in Freetown, Mass.

[Read more: "Stop & Shop Launches Flashfood in More New England Locations"]

“At Stop & Shop, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive workplace. We believe that the voices of our team members should reflect a diverse set of ideas, experiences, and backgrounds. Many members of Stop & Shop’s leadership team started as store associates. The roles we offer at Stop & Shop are more than jobs, they are growth opportunities,” said Maria Silvestri, SVP of human resources.

To fill the open roles, Stop & Shop is touting competitive pay, paid training, flexible schedules, a company discount on groceries and paid time off, along with coaching, cross-functional job rotation and opportunities for advancement. Tuition reimbursement for programs in business or food industry-related education is also available.

To apply, cashiers, baggers, produce, bakery, floral and grocery clerks must be at least 16 years old; all other positions require applicants to be 18 years of age or older. Interest job seekers can apply online in advance online.

Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA company that operates more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Lidl Lays Off Hundreds at U.S. HQ

Lidl Long Island

Extreme-value retailer Lidl has laid off hundreds of employees at its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Va., reportedly informing those affected via email. No store-level workers were let go, according to the company.

When contacted by Progressive Grocer, a Lidl US spokeswoman said: “While we remain committed to the long-term success of Lidl US and look forward to continuing our expansion along the East Coast, we are continually evaluating our operations to ensure we are supporting our stores effectively. As part of this process, we have made the difficult decision at this time to eliminate approximately 200 roles across the company, which took place this week.”

The spokeswoman added that all affected employees would receive severance pay as well as career transition services, COBRA health care continuation coverage, and the payout of accrued but unused vacation.

The grocer has traveled a somewhat bumpy road in the United States since opening its first store in this country in 2017. It struggled to catch on with consumers initially and has experienced various shakeups in its leadership, most recently when Michal Laguionek, a longtime Lidl executive, succeeded Johannes Fieber as Lidl US president and CEO in 2021. In 2018, Fieber had replaced Brendan Proctor, who had led the division since 2015, when it first established its U.S. headquarters. Additionally, Lidl US Chairman Roman Heini abruptly resigned in 2020 after little more than a year, citing personal reasons.

Earlier this week, Lidl confirmed that it recently bought more than 70 acres in Bucks County, Pa., for a future warehouse at the site of the Keystone Trade Center. Company spokeswoman 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 noted.

[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 on New York's Long Island.

Neckarsulm, Germany-basedLidloperates 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.


Retailers Accelerating Investments in E-Comm Search


As those who both buy and sell products online know all too well, the search tool is crucial in the e-commerce experience. A new report on e-comm trends shows that retailers are increasingly investing in search optimization as they work to provide more personalized product information to consumers.

The report, released by AI-first search and discovery platform Algolia and compiled with U.K.-based Coleman Parkes Research, shows that 42% of retailers have increased their investment into search over the past year. At the same time, however, almost half (47%) of retailers haven’t fully invested in the capability.

Those who have sought to improve their search functionality affirm that discovery is a key growth catalyst. More than half of retailers said that an increase in revenue was a driver for search implementation, and 71% who have implemented sophisticated search capabilities reported that search has helped drive revenue.

Many retailers recognize that search is crucial to the important deliverable of personalization in today’s competitive e-comm environment. The survey found that personalized shopping profiles are the most common offer, followed by subscription to email messaging programs in exchange for a more personalized experience.  

Drilling down a bit more, 73% of retailers build search in-house or work with a third party to do so.  Just over a fourth (27%) have added off-the-shelf search SaaS offerings. Only 1% said that they don’t face any challenges related to search development.

“Search is a powerful tool that unlocks conversion opportunities, leads to repeat business, and drives loyalty, ultimately increasing revenue,” said Piyush Patel, chief strategic business development officer at San Francisco-based Algolia, adding that those who have underinvested or not invested in search are missing an opportunity to improve the customer experience and drive increased revenue.

The full “Ecommerce Site Search Trends 2023” report, based on insights from 900 technical and business decision-makers at retailers with global revenues of more than $100 million, is available online.


H Mart Expands Presence in New Jersey

H Mart, Humana Battle Food Insecurity Healthy Food Card

Asian retailer H Mart is growing, this time with the opening of a new location at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, N.J. Grand-opening festivities on Feb. 17 will include face painting, balloon twisting, special performances of Korean percussion music, a Chinese lion dance, and more.

The new store will offer produce, seafood, meat, dairy and ready-to-cook sections, as well as standard Asian grocery and housewares aisles. A food hall is also under construction.

H Mart currently has locations in Little Ferry, Paramus, Cherry Hill, Edison, Fort Lee, Leonia and Ridgefield, N.J. A new outpost in Irvine, Calif., opened Jan. 11, and another store opened its doors in Long Island City, N.Y., last November.

Operated by the Hanahreum Corp., H Mart opened its first store in the New York City borough of Queens in 1982, and now has more than 90 stores across the United States in Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.


Sprouts on Pace for Several Store Openings

Sprouts market interior

Sprouts stores are, well, sprouting up in different markets around the United States. The retailer, which raised its full-year outlook in November following a solid third quarter, is in hiring mode for locations on opposite sides of the country, and at earlier stages of rolling out other new stores.

Hiring events are taking place virtually and online in March for a new Sprouts store at 8431 Sudley Road in Manassas, Va. The store is set to open on May 12 with a planned staff of 90 full- and part-time associates.

Likewise, Sprouts is holding similar hiring events next month ahead of another opening at 43668 15th Street in Lancaster, Calif. Welcoming shoppers on April 12, the Lancaster store is aiming for 100 full- and part-time employees.

As the grocer readies those latest outposts, it’s also planning to open a site in San Jose, Calif., in the second quarter of this year and another location in Pittsburg, Calif., sometime in 2024. Next up: the unveiling of a store in Merced, Calif., on March 24.

The flurry of store openings is in line with Sprouts’ ambitious growth plans. In the company’s last earnings call, CEO Jack Sinclair noted that 16 new stores opened in fiscal 2022 and that Sprouts expects to open at least 30 new stores in fiscal 2023. “Weve got a solid pipeline of stores well beyond the number that we need for this year,” Sinclair said. “And I know this year, we only got to 16. But ... we understand much better as we go into 2023 and 2024 than we did in going into 2022, with all the volatility that was going on in supply chain. So all other things being equal, were feeling good about that number of 30 stores.”

Sprouts will report its fourth quarter and fiscal year financial results on March 2.

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and operates approximately 380 stores in 23 states nationwide. The company is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.