Sprouts Farmers Market is going ahead with expansion plans by adding four new stores in three states, including two locations in Florida and one each in Washington and California. The new site in Silverdale, Wash., is set to open April 8; a store in Pasadena, Calif., is scheduled for April 15; followed by Jacksonville, Fla., on April 29 and a store in Estero on Florida's west coast scheduled to debut in June.
Chicago grocer Mariano's has started a series of virtual events aimed at helping people cope with the ongoing restrictions in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus. "Mariano's Meet Ups" feature online cooking and mixology classes, wine tastings, events for children and live music featuring local artists.
Walmart, Kroger and Hy-Vee are among US grocers that have implemented one-way traffic patterns to slow the spread of coronavirus by keeping shoppers at a distance as they move through stores. "And once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other," said Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith.
US Foods has entered into new partnerships with national grocers and reassigned warehouse workers and others to help stores meet high demand brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. Among the grocers the foodservice distributor is now working with are Kroger, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Homeland and Albertsons, with US Foods Chairman and CEO Pietro Satriano saying, "Through these partnerships, we are creating new opportunities for our distribution workforce while helping to maintain the nation's food supply."
FMI, working with the online hiring service Eightfold.ai, has created a national job board to help workers whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Eightfold Talent Exchange is designed to connect displaced workers with companies that are hiring and need immediate help, and FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said, "Our communities rely on vital front-line businesses in food, manufacturing and delivery services, and this new Talent Exchange will help many unemployed and furloughed workers in their time of need."
After several weeks of record-breaking demand at grocers around the US, the latest indications show that while traffic and sales have remained high, they have started to level off as stores work to restock for Easter and Passover. While there will be fewer varieties of several grocery staples available in stores, items such as soups, baking supplies, cookie dough and packaged deli meats remain in high demand.
While most companies are now focused on boosting online ordering and pick-up and delivery services, experts say new kitchen technology, such as smart refrigerators and ovens, will present opportunities for grocers to stay connected with customers in the near future. "The features that are going to be forthcoming in the next two to three years will be around services -- where the contents of a refrigerator are monitored, for example -- and more advanced features, and tied in with business partnerships with a retailer for replenishment," said Steve Koenig of the Consumer Technology Association.
In an effort to help slow the coronavirus outbreak, Publix Super Markets is joining other US retailers in rolling out contactless payment options at checkout using Google Pay, Apple Pay, the Publix app or "tap" payment debit and credit cards. "By expediting this payment option, we will help customers reduce contact with commonly used surfaces like PIN pads," said Publix CEO Todd Jones.
A growing number of grocers, including Walmart, Winn-Dixie and Target, have joined Costco and Trader Joe's in limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside their stores at a time, a move aimed at promoting social distancing and slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Walmart will cap in-store shoppers based on the square footage in each store, and Target will do the same while also using meters to count customers.
Stop & Shop announced it will donate 5,000 daily meals to health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic in New York, New Jersey and Boston. The grocer is also contributing $500,000 to a program that's researching potential coronavirus vaccines.
- Page 1