Another Kmart Reincarnated As A ShopRite

Jeff has been reporting, analyzing and opining about the retail grocery business since 1973. He has served as publisher of Food Trade News and Food World since 1978 and as president since 2007. He can be reached at jeff@foodtradenews.com.

‘Round The Trade

The Garafalo family has opened its sixth ShopRite unit, a 67,000 square foot supermarket in Cromwell, CT – part of that store was a former Kmart. ShopRite, as well as Walmart and Amazon, will shortly begin a two-year pilot program in New York that would potentially enable the state’s 2.7 million SNAP recipients use their benefits to purchase groceries online. ShopRite and Amazon will service the New York City area while Walmart will cover upstate. Other retailers will be added to the program and ultimately the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants all 38 million national SNAP users to have the opportunity to purchase their groceries online.

This is a big market to tap – food stamp volume was $63 billion last year. And it’s potentially a win/win scenario for the Federal government and for food retailers…and while it’s been a relatively calm period in the grocery wars, don’t underestimate the impact of what the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China will mean to grocery, HBC/GM prices in the coming months. If you’re skeptical about this, check out how much washing machine prices have increased over the past year.

Local Notes

Campbell’s Soup seems to be on the verge of moving forward on phase one of its operations restructuring with the reportedly close-at-hand sale of its Bolthouse Farm business to former Bolthouse CEO Jeffrey Dunn (and PE firm Butterfly Equity) for about $500 million. And several published reports that the Camden, NJ-based manufacturer is considering selling its Kettle potato chips brand, a key part of the Snyder’s-Lance portfolio which it acquired in early 2018.

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Congratulations to Niagara University’s (NU) Food Center for Marketing Excellence which held its third annual innovation summit earlier this month in Buffalo. I had the privilege of moderating a stellar grocery industry panel – Frank Curci, Tops; Mike DeCory, Wegmans; Jim Dorey, Price Rite; Ian Prisuta, Giant Eagle; and Kurt Schertle, Weis – in which we focused on customer loyalty and other evolving consumer issues of interest. It’s great to see another fledgling academic program, focusing on training and preparing students for this great industry, enjoy the success that it has already achieved. Thanks go out to NU faculty members Dr. Paul Richardson, Alan Stock and Peggy Choong as well as to “Captain” Bill Chiodo, who just began his new gig as president of brokerage firm Affinity Group, who served as the driving force behind the summit.

From the obit desk, we have a few deaths to report. Peggy Lipton has died at the age of 72. The former teenage model from Long Island was best known for her role as Julie Barnes, the street-smart undercover cop on the TV show “The Mod Squad” (1968-1972). Later, she married musician and record producer Quincy Jones in 1974 (they divorced in 1990) and put acting somewhat aside to raise their two daughters, Kidada and Rashida Jones, both actresses. Just a personal side note: as a teenage boy in the late 60s, I don’t think I was the only pubescent adolescent to have a big crush on her…

Also passing away earlier this month was Doris Day, arguably the biggest female star of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The former Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff began her show business career as a big band singer in the 1940s and by the early 1950s she was cast in a few romantic comedies. By the end of that decade and into the early 1960s, she was at the top of the heap with such films as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” (1956- in which the song that she is most identified with, “Que Sera, Sera,” was performed; “The Pajama Game” (1957); “Pillow Talk” (1959); and “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies” (1960). Day also reportedly turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” (1967). She retired from acting in 1973 after her TV series “The Doris Day Show” ended. During the last 50 years of her life she devoted much of her energy to animal welfare issues as the founder of the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Day was 97.