The pandemic gave new Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt the chance to speed up store refurbishment plans that were initially supposed to play out over about two years. When the lockdowns hit, the retailer was able to send teams to paint, rearrange and change stock at more than 350 of the chain's 614 stores, as part of a bigger plan to revive the brand.
After a 12-week test program, Kroger has found that plant-based meat sales grew when the items were displayed in the traditional meat department, instead of in their own niche sections. During the trial at 60 stores, the grocer saw sales of plant-based meats rose 23% when the products were placed alongside traditional meats.
ALDI will bring a curbside pickup option to nearly 600 locations in 35 states after a successful trial program. "Our curbside grocery pickup pilot was quickly embraced by our customers and demand for this service has continued to increase," said ALDI US CEO Jason Hart.
Meijer has opened five new supercenters in four Midwestern states, looking to offer the kind of one-stop shopping that has become a staple for many since the pandemic began. The 159,000-square-foot stores are located in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, and feature digital shopping options, home delivery and curbside pickup, and the latest safety innovations designed to protect workers and shoppers.
Albertsons has been named the 2020 Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News, recognized for its comprehensive response to the pandemic and for growing its e-commerce and private brands, improving customer loyalty, and promoting diversity and inclusion. The country's second-largest supermarket operator, which recently went public, has also boosted its financial performance and increased market share.
Alibaba is striving to increase gross merchandise volume by 40% next fiscal year to $1.4 trillion and have over 1 billion annual active customers in China by 2024, with a global customer goal of 2 billion by 2036, according to the company's annual report. Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang wrote that he expects to achieve these goals by investing in digital logistics and e-commerce, as well as cloud computing.
New snack and beverage launches by Hershey, Kraft Heinz and others caught SmartBrief readers' attention this week, and Amazon's expansion of its Go grocery concept also made the Top 10. This week's list also included Kroger's C-suite changes and Walmart's cashierless store pilot.
Nordstrom has consolidated its merchandising functions in a move designed to increase efficiency and cut costs, the retailer said in a letter to vendors last month. Merchandising duties for all channels including full-line, off-price and digital retail will now be handled by general merchandise managers and divisional merchandise managers.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers CEO Steven Tanger bet that consumers' boredom and love of a bargain would bring them back to his company's outlet centers once they reopened. The decision not to shift gears and explore new business models seems to be paying off: With 72% of stores reopened as of June 14, foot traffic was at more than 85% of year-ago levels.
Furniture retailers including HOM Furniture and Room & Board are courting home-bound consumers with perks like deeper discounts, zero-interest financing and free delivery offers. "The unprecedented nature and impact of COVID led us to consider new strategies to drive business when we temporarily closed our stores and delivery centers," Room & Board spokeswoman Dianna Bauer said.
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