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.
As inflation-weary shoppers prepare for Thanksgiving, grocers are declaring their intention to help keep high food prices from overshadowing the holiday. And it’s not just discounters like Aldi and Lidl that are looking to chew off a piece of the action.
On Monday, Kroger announced that it will not pass on cost increases for turkey as it rolled out a shopping guide that lays out how people can buy enough food to provide a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 for as little as $5 per person. Turkey prices are up 20 cents per pound this year compared with 2021, according to the supermarket chain.
Target, meanwhile, has a page on its website offering the components for a full Thanksgiving dinner, including a turkey, stuffing mix, potatoes and a bag of frozen corn, for $25. The deal is good until the end of the year.
Not to be outdone, BJ’s said earlier this month that it would give a free turkey in the days leading up to the holiday to shoppers who spent $150 in a single transaction between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10.
Retailers are hoping to bring cheer to shoppers as a year defined by constant cost increases draws to an end. Even as inflation showed signs of easing last month, prices were still up in October at an annual rate of more than 12%.
According to figures from Datasembly, a Thanksgiving dinner will cost consumer nearly 18% more this year, driven by rising turkey prices. And data from Inmar Intelligence suggests that people are increasingly switching from brand names to private labels as they stock up on food for Thanksgiving.
In case you missed it
Stater Bros. unveils new shopping site and app
Southern California supermarket chain Stater Bros. Markets has launched an online grocery platform and app under its own brand, powered by Toronto-based e-commerce provider Mercatus, per a recent announcement. Mercatus said that Stater Bros.’ new app was downloaded “thousands” of times in the span of a week.
With the e-commerce capabilities, Stater Bros. can offer white-label delivery and curbside pickup. The chain currently offers delivery from all of its stores and is working on building out its pickup offering, which is available at half of a dozen stores, Jeff Findlay, retail e-commerce supervisor for the grocer, noted on LinkedIn two weeks ago.
Stater Bros. is the latest grocer to launch a proprietary e-commerce service as companies look to exert more control over branding and operations in the growing channel.
Weis Markets taps local brewery
The Mid-Atlantic grocery chain announced this week its third collaboration with Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania-based Rusty Rail Brewing Company. The two teamed up to offer MisBeehavin’, an English brown ale brewed with honey, which is now available as a 16-ounce four-pack at Weis’ beer-wine cafés and the grocer’s stores throughout Pennsylvania and New York.
“We used a mix of special roasted malts to create a complex, roasty brown ale, adding honey to give it a small touch of residual sweetness,” Rusty Rail Brewing Director Guy McCarty said in the announcement.
Previously, Weis teamed up with Rusty Rail Brewing to launch a sour ale called Tropsicle Mango Popsicle earlier this summer and a chocolate peanut butter stout called Plush Bunny, which was made in partnership with Rusty Rail and Asher’s Chocolate Co., in March.
AutoStore names new CEO
The warehouse robot technology company announced Thursday the appointment of Mats Hovland Vikse, currently its chief revenue officer, as CEO, effective January 1, 2023. Hovland Vikse will succeed current CEO Karl Johan Lier, who is retiring as part of a planned leadership transition. Lier will stay with the company until March, AutoStore said.
AutoStore co-Chairman Jim Carlisle said in a statement that Hovland Vikse is a “key figure” behind the company’s growth: “Both the Board and Karl Johan agree that his demonstrated strategic leadership, relentless focus on commercialization and deep internal support make him the clear choice for the role.”
Hovland Vikse joined AutoStore in 2017 as its chief strategy officer, after serving as an advisor for MHWirth, an offshore and onshore drilling equipment provider, which is now a subsidiary of oil-services investment company Akastor, according to Hovland Vikse’s LinkedIn profile. Hovland Vikse was promoted to chief revenue officer in July 2021.
Number of the week: $1.38
That’s the new price of Sam’s Club’s hot dog combo, served at its in-store cafes. The club retailer says it lowered the price of its combo by 12 cents to boost the value of its membership — but it’s also a clever swipe at rival Costco and its popular $1.50 hot dog combo.
Kroger and Dollar General announce Q3 earnings
Both retailers will report their latest quarterly financial results on Dec. 1. Kroger will be holding its first earnings call since announcing its planned merger with Albertsons just a few weeks ago, while Dollar General could offer further details about its fast-growing grocery business.
What was the turkey suspected of?
Happy Thanksgiving from Grocery Dive!