The Friday Checkout is a weekly column providing more insight on the news, rounding up the announcements you may have missed and sharing what’s to come.
The announcement this week that Foxtrot Market and Dom’s Kitchen & Market are joining forces sets up intriguing possibilities for the innovative Chicago retailers — but fusing the concepts into a unified retail brand, Outfox Hospitality, could be more challenging than it might seem at first glance.
While both companies have built followings by melding an artful in-store experience with a zest for local products and a carefully selected assortment of foods, Foxtrot and Dom’s are distinctly different from one another.
While Foxtrot has focused on convenience from its inception as an online retailer a decade ago, Dom’s founders have positioned the budding chain as a meal-focused alternative to traditional grocery stores. And although both chains offer seating areas, Foxtrot also draws attention to its locations as delivery hubs, while Dom’s has crafted a food-focused atmosphere resembling a restaurant as much as a grocery store even as it offers delivery as an option.
The companies’ decision to appoint Foxtrot’s CEO, former Taco Bell executive Liz Williams, to manage Outfox, offers a hint about the direction they might take. Williams will serve as the new company’s CEO, while Dom’s co-founder and CEO Don Fitzgerald, a grocery industry veteran, will stay on through a transition period.
Could that mean Dom’s will ultimately take on Foxtrot’s convenience-focused personality? Stay tuned!
In case you missed it
Grocers had a huge Turkey Wednesday this year
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest grocery shopping days of the year. So how did grocers fare amid consumers’ lingering price worries?
They crushed it, according to findings from location data firm Placer.ai.
According to the firm, grocery stores nationwide drew 92.5% more daily visits last Wednesday than they did on average during the six-week-period leading up to the all-important day. That’s the biggest increase in recent years. Traditional supermarkets performed particularly well, with Albertsons racking up a 108% increase in traffic compared to the six weeks prior, while Kroger logged an 89.7% increase.
Instacart and Wegmans uncork alcohol delivery in New Jersey
Hot on the heels of DoorDash’s announcement that it’s expanding alcohol delivery to the Garden State, Instacart has arrived on the scene alongside grocery partner Wegmans.
Wegmans, which operates nine stores in the state, is offering alcohol delivery in as fast as an hour through its app and website as well as on Instacart’s marketplace.
Meijer expands its EV charging footprint
EVgo, which operates electric vehicle fast-charging stations at close to 1,000 locations across 35 states, announced this week it’s going to add up to six high-power 350kW chargers to Meijer locations in Ohio. EVgo began working with the Midwestern retailer in 2021, and currently has 24 chargers installed across six of the retailer’s stores in Michigan and Ohio.
Meijer has EV chargers at more than 20% of its more than 500 locations and began offering the service in 2010 at its corporate headquarters.
Number of the week: -0.6%
That’s the year-over-year slip in same-store sales excluding fuel that Kroger reported during its third-quarter earnings report Thursday. This marks the first time the grocer has recorded a negative figure for that metric since the second quarter of 2021.
United Natural Foods, Inc. is scheduled to release its fiscal year 2024 first-quarter results on Wednesday, followed by Dollar General unveiling its third-quarter earnings on Thursday.
November jobs report
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to release its latest employment report next Friday, giving insight into the grocery industry workforce fared last month as the holiday season got underway.
Pie time at Costco
TikTok videos revealed just how important Costco’s pumpkin pies are to customers on Thanksgiving, and the speedy way they prep the classic dessert dish.
Just a few days before Turkey Day, a time-lapse video showed hundreds of pies disappearing throughout the day as customers claimed them — as well as employees desperately trying to keep up with restocking them by the case.
@snackolator It's almost hypnotizing to watch the pumpkin pies disappear from Costco! #costco #pumpkinpie #pumpkinpies #thanksgivingdessert #costcorun #costcolife #costcotiktok #costcohaul #timelapse #timelapsevideo ♬ Baby Elephant Walk - Henry Mancini
Another TikTok shows an employee for the bulk retailer using what looks like a vacuum wand that dispenses the pie filling into empty pie crusts. The employee is seen rapidly filling nearly 100 pies situated on a large sheet pan rack that is taller than they are!
@amandawindwalker Filling 2000 costco pies at 12am. #costco #costcopie #pie #costcopumpkinpie #pumpkinpie #thanksgivingpie #thanksgiving #happythanksgiving #timelapse #tswift ♬ ...Ready For It? - Taylor Swift