DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Home furnishings giant expanding out West

BY Marianne Wilson

Ikea is looking to expand its presence in Arizona.

The home furnishings retailer plans to open a store in Glendale, Arizona. It would be the company's second location in the state.

Pending approvals, construction of Ikea Glendale could begin in fall 2018 with an opening in spring 2020. The 348,000-sq.-ft. proposed store would be located six miles northwest of downtown Phoenix. The retailer said it will evaluate potential on-site power generation to complement its current U.S. renewable energy presence at nearly 90% of its U.S. locations.

Ikea currently operates 44 stores in the U.S.

“We are thrilled with the reception afforded us after entering Arizona nearly 13 years ago, so we are excited about submitting plans for Ikea Glendale to extend our Phoenix-area reach,” said Lars Petersson, Ikea U.S. president. “This proposed Glendale store would complement our Phoenix-area presence established in Tempe and bring the unique family-friendly shopping experience closer to customers in the West Valley and beyond.”

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FINANCE

Grocery giant to buy meal-kit company

BY Marianne Wilson

Albertsons Cos. has become the first national grocery retailer toacquire a prepared-meals company.

The nation's second largest supermarket chain is acquiring online meal company Plated in a deal that is expected to close later this month. The move taps into Americans' growing demand for meal delivery services and also shores up Albertsons' defenses against Amazon, which has become a key player in grocery with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market.

Plated, which was founded in 2012, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons Cos., with its own leadership team led by co-founder and CEO Josh Hix. The company will continue to be headquartered in New York City, with fulfillment centers across the country.

Albertsons will enable Plated to expand beyond its existing subscription model by offering Plated meal kits at many store locations, across its digital channels, and through a variety of distribution. The supermarket retailer operates more than 2,300 stores nationwide under some 12 banners, including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Pavilions, and Star Market.

In teaming up with Plated, Albertsons adds a company with leading technology and data capabilities, a strategic step for the grocery retailer as it continues to focus on innovation, personalization, and customization.

"With Plated, we've found a partner who shares our commitment to delicious, affordable food; superior technology and innovation; and world class customer service," said Bob Miller, chairman and CEO of Albertsons Companies. "Plated knows its customers better than anyone, and together we will accelerate our ability to serve them."

In addition to benefitting from Albertsons' resources and national reach. Plated will also gain exposure to the estimated 35 million customers per week who do business with the grocery giant.

“This move highlights that as the grocery space continues to adapt to changing customer needs and expectations, grocery players will need to evolve their offerings into more of a service model than the existing product model,” commented Matt Sargent, senior VP of retail at Magid.

Sargent noted that with its acquisition of Plated, Albertsons is tapping in to the on-demand and dip-in culture, which has slowly taken over the grocery space. According to Magid Retail Pulse data, 41% of Millennials have purchased groceries online, with 23% shopping online exclusively.

"Albertsons recognized that this group will soon be the largest shopping group in the U.S., and this deal plays right into their desires for the convenience and ease of online grocery shopping,” Sargent said.

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ECOMMERCE

Report: Toys ‘R’ Us preps for a turnaround with ‘Project Sunrise’ plan

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Looking toward the future, Toys ‘R’ Us’ CEO has established a recovery plan.

In a meeting at Toys “R” Us’ pop-up store in Times Square, chief executive David Brandon outlined the company’s turnaround plan, internally called “Project Sunrise.” From a high-level, it includes integrating its online and in-store shopping experiences, adding faster shipping and better technology and customer service, according to Reuters.

The chain’s older suburban big-box shops will also be overhauled to give kids a chance to try out toys in the store. The chain will also open smaller stores in urban areas, including Washington, D.C., Boston and Detroit. The chain’s 64,000 workers could also see wage increases, Reuters said.

Toys ‘R’ Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Monday night in federal court in Richmond, Va. The company is to working with its debt-holders and other creditors to restructure the $5 billion of long-term debt on its balance sheet.

To read more, click here.

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