WinCo set to open Arizona DC
Boise, Idaho – WinCo Foods LLC will begin shipping from its newest distribution center in Phoenix, on May 14. The center, which includes more than 900,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space, will initially service 19 WinCo Foods stores located in Arizona, Southern Nevada and Southern California.
The facility will open with approximately 185 employees, most of whom have been hired from the greater Phoenix market. The 19 stores represent a little more than half of the facility’s capacity. When fully operational and at capacity the center should employ approximately 320 employees.
The center has approximately 500,000 sq. ft. of dry grocery space and more than 360,000 sq. ft. of perishable space, which is divided into several modules maintained at appropriate temperatures and humidity levels for frozen items, fresh produce, meat and dairy products. It also includes six large pressurized banana ripening rooms. The remainder of the center is comprised of offices and outbuildings. There is preplanned space at the site to expand by up to 50% in the future.
Natural Grocers net income climbs; plans six new stores
Lakewood, Colo. – Net income climbed 24.3% at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, rising to $4 million from $3.21 million in the same quarter the prior fiscal year. For the remainder of the current fiscal year, Natural Grocers plans to open six new stores and remodel one.
Natural Grocers attributed net income growth to lower store salary and television advertising expenses. Net sales increased 22.4% from the same period in fiscal year 2013 to $130.3 million from $106.5 million due to a $16.6 million increase in sales from new stores and a 6.9%, increase in same-store sales.
Looking ahead, Vitamin Grocers plans to sell only pasture-raised, non-confinement dairy products by April 2015.
"Our sales increases and disciplined approach toward operating expenses have resulted in strong financial results this quarter which allowed us to continue our investments into growth," said Kemper Isely, co-president.
Retail veteran Andrea Weiss, digital expert Bill Mirabito form consulting firm
New York — Andrea Weiss, a 30-year retail veteran, and Bill Mirabito, a digital innovator, have teamed up to form The O Alliance, a consulting firm designed to help retailers better target today’s, multichannel digitally-savvy shoppers.
“There is clearly a new paradigm, yet many retailers are still operating with outdated business models that don’t reflect the new reality, “ said Weiss, who presently serves as president of Retail Consulting and also sits on several corporate boards, including Chico’s FAS and Pep Boys. “This is evident in the focus on channel. We focus on technology-enabled consumers and helping retailers better serve them.”
Weiss has a lengthy retail resume that includes serving as president of retail at Guess (1996 to 1998), executive VP, chief stores office, The Limited and Intimate Brands (1998 to 2001) and as president of Delia’s (2001 to 2002). Since 2002, she has been an advisor to European retailer Grupo Cortifiel.
The O Alliance will take a holistic approach, Weiss explained, that is designed to create a seamless shopping experience by refocusing a retailer’s organizational practices around digitally-savvy consumers, as opposed to the channel.
“Retailers need to align their operations with technology to reach this increasingly sophisticated consumer — from marketing and social media, to in-store digital tools, to the overall company culture. Point-to-point solutions are simply not enough,” said co-founder Bill Mirabito, CEO of consulting practice B2C Partners. He previously was a senior retail analyst at Forrester Research.
The firm uses a consulting model that leverages a network of partners in such key areas as operations, change management, digital tools, store design, marketing and e-commerce.
In addition to B2C, the O Alliance partners include brand strategy and design firm JGA; visual content agency Splashlight; training platform developer Multimedia Plus; inventory and change management consultancy iVibe Global; and Olson-Ng Retail Consulting Group, which specializes in financial improvements, merchandise planning, operational and supply chain efficiencies.
Sam Decker, CEO and co-founder of social engagement platform MassRelevance, and Jeffrey Rayport, founder and chairman of global strategy firm Marketspace have joined the O Alliance as advisors.