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.
Kroger has been a near-constant lightning rod for attention ever since it announced plans to buy Albertsons more than a year ago, but one of the most electrifying updates surrounding the supermarket giant since it announced the deal struck this week.
On Monday afternoon, Kroger announced that Gary Millerchip — its high-profile CFO and one of the top executives driving its merger plan — had suddenly decided to leave the company, but didn’t say where he was heading. By the time Wall Street opened the next morning, the mystery was over: Millerchip is going to Costco, where he will take over as finance chief on March 15.
The differences in the way Kroger and Costco revealed details about Millerchip’s move were stark.
Kroger was coy about why Millerchip had suddenly decided to leave, with Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen simply noting in the company’s press release that the grocer appreciated his contributions. Only in an SEC filing did the company point out that “Millerchip’s decision was not due to any disagreements with Kroger on any matter relating to Kroger’s operations, policies or practices.”
Costco, on the other hand, pointed out that its outgoing CFO, Richard Galanti, would remain with the company as an adviser until early 2025, giving him nearly a year to help Millerchip learn the intricacies of the club retailer’s finances.
Millerchip’s unexpected jump from Kroger to Costco might only turn out to be a blip in how its effort to combine with Albertsons ultimately unfolds. But the speed of the change certainly raises questions about what’s going on behind the scenes as the nation’s two biggest supermarket chains try to fuse into one.
In case you missed it
Two NYC grocers join Grocery TV’s network
D’Agostino and Gristedes are now available on Grocery TV’s in-store retail media network, according to a Wednesday announcement. The partnership will provide the grocers with an end-to-end solution for managing and monetizing in-store retail media networks as well as allow them to push their own content through Grocery TV’s Retail Marketing Platform.
Hy-Vee expands Instacart partnership
The regional grocer announced Thursday it is integrating Instacart’s fulfillment capabilities for same-day delivery into its owned and operated e-commerce capabilities. With the integration, Hy-Vee shoppers on the grocer’s own websites and apps can choose from options that include access to Instacart’s gig worker network to assist with picking, packing and delivery.
Hy-Vee and Instacart first partnered in 2018 when they rolled out same-day delivery services through the Instacart App.
Natural Grocers’ egg-cellent private label
In the specialty grocer’s Environmental, Social and Governance report for fiscal year 2023, it claims to be the first national grocery chain to offer regenerative-certified private label eggs. Natural Grocer’s suppliers have a “chicken-first system” where the hens live on acres of rangeland, and track soil health and the effectiveness of regenerative farm practices.
“Regenerative farming practices improve soil health, water quality, biodiversity, and ecosystem resilience while enhancing the lives of animals and farmers and the nutrient content of your food,” according to Natural Grocers.
Number of the week: 500 million
That’s the number of single-use plastic bags Natural Grocers claims it has kept out of circulation for the last 14 years, the specialty grocer said in its ESG report. The grocer noted that it has raised $2 million for local food banks through 5 cent donations for each customer who uses their own shopping bag. Natural Grocers also provides upcycled cardboard boxes for customers to pack up their purchased goods.
Inflation figures due
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to reveal Consumer Price Index data for January on Tuesday.
Latest retail stats
The U.S. Census Bureau plans to release retail sales data for January on Thursday, indicating how inflation and other factors affected grocery sales.
Next week kicks off a string of announcements about fourth-quarter earnings. Instacart releases its results on Tuesday, followed by Ahold Delhaize on Wednesday and SpartanNash on Thursday.
A Kimberton Whole Foods’ produce aisle is sure to get shoppers amped up for this weekend’s Super Bowl.
Right in the center of the produce aisle at the company’s store in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, is a can’t miss massive field goal made out of avocado boxes.
Wholesaler Four Seasons Produce fashioned the display at the store, the grocer’s Director of Operations, Bob Cartner, wrote in a LinkedIn post.
Let’s just hope shoppers aren’t tempted to try kicking an avocado through this field goal.