News Briefs


Target Sponsors Summer Events in HQ Hometown


If charity begins at home, Target Corp. is keeping it close this summer. The Minneapolis-based retailer announced that it is investing in the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s “Summer’s Best Downtown” campaign that aims to support and encourage visits to the community.

Target estimates that more than 15,000 of its employees work or live in the city. "For Target, Minneapolis is not only home to our headquarters, it’s also a community where so many of our team members live. We have immense pride in our city and are proud to partner with the Minneapolis Downtown Council on this initiative to celebrate and support the things that make it a great place to live, work and shop,” said Amanda Nusz, SVP of corporate responsibility and president of the Target Foundation.

Over the course of the summer, visitors can take part in any of the 1,800 events that will be offered, including live music, games, food trucks, celebrity appearances, giveaways and more. Many activities will be held on Thursdays, with themes ranging from “Garden Bash” to “Roller Disco.” According to the Minneapolis Downtown Council, more than 8.6 million patrons visited the downtown area last year.

In addition to its support of summer events and programming, the Target Foundation awards Hometown Foundation Grants that foster entrepreneurship, workforce development, housing and asset building. The company’s team members regularly give back to the community through service, collectively volunteering more than 82,000 hours in the area in 2022.

Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations.


Publix Marks Tree-Planting Milestone in Florida

Trees teaser

Publix Super Markets is supporting the Arbor Day Foundation for the seventh consecutive year by funding tree plantings throughout Florida. The plantings are partially funded by the sale of Publix reusable bags, and support the restoration of damaged watersheds in the grocer’s home state.

Earlier this year, the retailer funded the planting of 269,000 trees in Econfina Creek in the Florida Panhandle, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael in 2018. That donation brings the company’s contribution to 1 million trees planted over seven years.

A tree-planting ceremony was held at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland, Fla., to commemorate the milestone.

“We’re proud to commemorate the millionth tree milestone at Bonnet Springs Park alongside the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “It’s in our mission to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities, which includes improving the areas in which we serve. We look forward to continuing to care for our associates, customers and communities by being good stewards of our environment.”

Looking forward, Publix plans to expand tree plantings to other states within its footprint.

Employee-owned and -operated Publix has close to 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Reusable Bag Promo at Tops Raises $519K+


A recent effort by Tops Markets LLC to improve sustainability and support community organizations has netted $519,846 for groups such as United Way, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Feeding America and Children’s Miracle Network. Now in its third year, the Tops Totes for Change program encourages shoppers to buy a reusable bag featuring a special charity design, with $1 of the $2.69 price donated back to the nonprofits.

“Our consumers have a wide array of reusable bags to choose from that consist of cloth and recycled materials which can easily and economically be purchased at the store. To see consumers make the choice, however, to give back to these charities by purchasing a Tops Totes for Change bag is truly heartwarming,” said Kathy Sautter, director of corporate communications and public relations at Tops.

Recently, the grocer added a new bag emblazoned with the Tops in Education logo. Sales of that bag support the Tops in Education program, which has raised more than $1.2 million for area school services.

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC has 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


KeHE Offers Smart Shelf Tags to Suppliers

Smart shelf tag

To provide shoppers with more information at the point of sale, KeHE Distributors LLC is adding smart shelf tags that deliver instant digital content on in-store products.

The natural and organic, specialty, and fresh product distributor is teaming up with Cornerstone Consulting to incorporate “hyperdynamic” QR codes that offer capabilities beyond standard QR codes. While consumers can access relevant information quickly, suppliers can share promotional offers, nutrition information, traceability details, videos, images and more. The tags also benefit retailers, which don’t have to source, manage or update content.

“We’re in a new era of consumer access, and we want to empower our suppliers and retailers to deliver what customers want – instant information about an item on the shelf,” said Katie Paul,  SVP of merchandising at Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE. “We’re thrilled to offer this technology to our partners as we work together to innovate the in-store experience.” 

Added Dave Boos, president of Tampa, Fla.-based Cornerstone Consulting, “The best way to immediately reach a consumer is offering them the information they need the moment they see your product.”


Alibaba Exploring IPO for Grocery Business

Alibaba HQ

Chinese e-comm giant Alibaba Group is looking to take its grocery unit public and divesting its cloud computing business in the wake of slower spending and lower-than-expected revenues during its latest quarter. Its core online business will remain private.

Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang confirmed that the board of directors had approved plans to begin the initial public offering (IPO) process for Alibaba’s Freshippo grocery arm. The IPO should be completed in the next six to 12 months.

“In an increasingly complex world, we have proactively transformed our organization to strengthen the competitiveness of our businesses through greater independence to address the evolving needs of different customers and capture new opportunities,” Zhang said.

The move comes as global economic pressures continue to mount. Alibaba reported a 2% gain in revenue to top USD $29.6 billion during the period ending March 31, which was lower than analyst estimates. Revenue from its commerce business in China dipped 3% during Q1. That said, the company noted that Freshippo netted positive operating reports and continues to improve its operating efficiencies and merchandising capabilities.

As a testament to the resilience of the grocery unit, Freshippo also revealed this week that its planning to create eight procurement centers to bring more groceries into the Chinese market. The company signed agreements with 13 retail groups, global associations and brands, including the U.S.-based berry producer Driscoll's. There are more than 270 self-operated Freshippo stores in China.


Hannaford Acquires Community Pharmacy in Blue Hill, Maine

Hannaford Watertown Maine Teaser

Hannaford Supermarkets has reached an agreement to purchase Community Pharmacy, in Blue Hill, Maine. The pharmacy, located inside the new Hannaford store that formerly operated under the Tradewinds Marketplace banner, will begin operations as a Hannaford pharmacy on Monday, June 12.

The grocer is buying the business from Joe Bruno, owner of Augusta, Maine-based Community Pharmacies, which has served Blue Hill customers for 17 years. Bruno will retain ownership of Community Pharmacies’ eight other locations.

As a Hannaford pharmacy, the facility will be open the same hours as previously: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pharmacy will employ seven associates, all of whom will make the transition from the Community Pharmacy team to Hannaford.

[Read more: "Hannaford’s Store Manager of the Year Focuses on Community, Friendly Work Environment"]

“We’ve received such a warm welcome from the Blue Hill community and are excited to extend the Hannaford experience to the pharmacy, where customers will continue to receive compassionate care and personalized service from the trusted health professionals who have helped them maintain good health over the years,” noted Blue Hill Hannaford Store Manager Patrick Doak. “Our skilled and knowledgeable pharmacy staff, many of whom customers will be familiar with from Community Pharmacy, are committed to ensuring a seamless and positive transition.”

The acquisition follows the formal opening of Hannaford’s store in Blue Hill on May 12.

Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford operates 186 stores in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont and employs nearly 30,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America