Sprouts Farmers Market CEO Jack Sinclair said the Phoenix-based company has reevaluated its business model in the wake of the pandemic and will opt for smaller store footprints and a focus on healthy foods to drive future growth. "We believe these smaller stores can deliver sales on a par with the larger store ... resulting in strong returns of a simple model that we had in the past," he said.
ALDI will begin offering curbside pickup at 600 of its nearly 2,000 US stores by the end of July, after tests in several markets since 2017. The discount grocer's new service is expected to help address shopping patterns altered by the pandemic and customers will have access to all of ALDI's products online or through its mobile app, along with online delivery orders through Instacart.
Dollar Tree says it will push ahead with store renovations and other growth initiatives during the second half of 2020, aiming to build on the huge sales boost the discount chain saw because of the pandemic. The company says it will resume two programs paused after the outbreak started -- the Family Dollar H2 renovations and Dollar Tree Snack Zone installation -- while also planning to open 500 new locations.
US retail sales of fresh produce grew 16% in the week of May 17 compared to the same period last year, buoyed by early demand for summer fruits. "Cherries are the perfect example of an important summer fruit coming on strong, jumping right to being the seventh-highest seller for the week of May 17," IRI's Jonna Parker said.
Online wine purchasing, which has dramatically accelerated during the pandemic, will be part of the new normal even once the pandemic is contained as consumers either decide e-commerce is safer or that it is more convenient and pleasant, agreed a group of leading US wine merchants in a recent forum hosted by Larkmead Vineyards winemaker Dan Petroski. Wine.com found that 88% of its surveyed new customers intended to keep purchasing wine online, which is "...huge for online retail in general -- that means new customers have enjoyed the experience," said Tim Marson, senior buyer at Wine.com.
Wine critics have long compared Oregon's pinot noir grapes favorably to those grown in Burgundy, France, prompting a slew of prominent Burgundy wineries and recently South African winemaker Anthony Hamilton Russell to set up outposts in the Willamette Valley. "[In] Burgundy we would only have access to the lesser grapes from the lesser appellations, and it would be impossible to make wine ranking among the best of the area," said Russell, who just released the inaugural Hamilton Russell Oregon pinot noir with his wife, Olive.
A story about pandemic-driven changes at Walmart that could be permanent was this week's most-clicked story among SmartBrief food and beverage readers. A survey about the grocers with the best pandemic response also caught readers' attention this week, as did new CPG products from Kellogg, Conagra and Herr Foods.
A new survey shows that 51% of US shoppers believe life will return to normal in less than six months. Acosta did the research online between May 3 and 5 and also reported that 29% of responders believe a return to normalcy would likely take more than a year.
The growing popularity of alcohol-infused meat is helping to drive sales for a number of meat suppliers that have joined with beverage companies to introduce such products as Coleman Natural Foods' Budweiser BBQ Collection. A number of other meat processors report they are finding success by teaming with companies including New Belgium Brewing and Jack Daniels.
The e-commerce sales boom sparked by the pandemic continues to explode, the latest numbers from Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery show. Sales for pickup and delivery, which stood at $4 billion in March, jumped to $5.3 billion in April and notched another 24% increase, to $6.6 billion, in May.
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