Wegman’s nearly decade-long search for a site in Natick, Mass., about 20 miles east of Boston, ended in 2018 when it landed a 134,000-sq.-ft. spot in Natick Mall.
Five years later, its rare mall residency has ended for lack of traffic.
“Making these decisions is never easy. However, we do it for the long-term benefit of our people, our customers, and our communities,” said Brien MacKendrick, human resources director of Wegmans’ New England division. “With this non-traditional location we are unable to attract enough customers for our business model to work.”
The store’s 365 employees all are being offered positions at other Wegmans locations in the Greater Boston area, where it operates five other stores employing some 2,700 people.
The Natick Wegmans was the Rochester-based mega-market chain’s first multi-level store and one of its largest. It operates 110 stores along the East Coast, 49 of them in New York State.
“We love our Natick community and customers, and we’re eager to pursue new store locations in the area for the future,” MacKendrick said.
The family-owned and run company led by chairman Danny Wegman and president andCEO Colleen Wegman celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 25 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2023.
The retailer, which describes itself as the modern convenience brand, is set to unveil its largest location to date, in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Foxtrot combines neighborhood retail and e-commerce technology with a curated selection of local faves and emerging brands. The company is headed by former Taco Bell executive Liz Williams, who took the reins from co-founder Mike LaVitola in April.
Opening on June 5, the 6,000-sq.-ft. Austin outpost, which includes an indoor-outdoor covered patio, was once two buildings: an auto repair shop and a grocer. Both are now bridged together, pulling in different elements of each to create a cafe, market and courtyard. The space was designed by Foxtrot’s in-house design team in partnership with Scott Magic, of Magic Architecture. Neon Jungle’s Evan Voyles, created a custom neon marquee sign for the store.
This is Foxtrot’s second location in Austin, with a third set to open in the upcoming weeks, at the base of Austin City Hall. The company currently has 27 locations across Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin, with plans to continue expansion in existing markets this year.
The new Foxtrot features the retailer’s all-day café offerings, which include coffee, seasonal drinks, fresh smoothies, breakfast tacos, chef-prepared salads and bowls and grab-and-go meals for lunch and dinner. The curated market selection ranges from craft beers and wines to everyday essentials, with an emphasis on local products from local makers.
Foxtrot offers pickup and on-demand delivery through its mobile app.
Amazon is reportedly negotiating with several major wireless carriers about including their service as an option for Prime members.
According to CNBC coverage of news first reported by Bloomberg, Amazon has been talking to wireless carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Dish about reselling or packaging their mobile services as a free benefit for Prime subscribers for the past six to eight weeks. It could be several months of negotiations before any deal between Amazon and a wireless carrier occurred.
“We are always exploring adding even more benefits for Prime members, but don’t have plans to add wireless at this time,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.
This would not be Amazon’s first attempt at offering a mobile phone service. In June 2014, the e-tail giant released the proprietary Amazon Fire phone, which never took off with consumers and was discontinued in 2015.
According to CNBC, it has not yet received commentary from Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish, or AT&T. Read the article here.
Vestar taps industry veteran to energize its NorCal centers
Charles Martinez has joined the Phoenix-based company as its regional director of 11 shopping centers with a charge to help each to evolve in ways that provide greater and more rewarding experiences for guests.
“This is an exciting time to be in retail real estate,” Martinez said. “Trends are shifting and consumer expectations are changing, which means it’s the perfect time to devise and implement creative strategies that will make Vestar’s Northern California properties among the strongest in the market.”
A UCLA alumnus, Martinez has served as a board member for nonprofit and charitable organizations including Yerba Buena Alliance, South of Market Child Care (Family Resource Center) and Culver City Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, he was appointed as the industrial/commercial sector representative for the Economic Advisory Commission in Fremont, California.
“With his wide array of experiences both in California and abroad, Charles brings a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the table,” said Pat McGinley, Vestar’s president of management services. “His ideas and leadership experience in development and redevelopment projects will help Vestar take these centers to the next level.”
Aldi cutting prices on more than 250 items
Aldi is lowering prices on some of its best-selling summer products.
As food prices remain stubbornly high, the discount grocer is dropping prices on more than 250 items in a move that will save Americans over $60 million, according to the company. Aldi said it made the decision based on its finding new efficiencies in its supply chain and transportation side.
The price cuts cover a wide array of products, from trail mix (down to $2.19 from $2.79) to parmesan chicken tenders (down to $8.49 from $9.49). The company noted it has also been No. 1 for price according to the dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index Report for six years running.
Earlier this month, Aldi said it would open 120 new stores this year, giving it a total of more than 2,400 locations nationwide by yearend.
“We’re reducing our already low prices on some of the season’s most popular items to make sure summer plans aren’t disrupted,” said Dave Rinaldo, co-president at Aldi U.S. “Whether our shoppers are traveling, heading to a game or enjoying time by the pool, we are committed to offering quality food and essentials at the lowest prices possible so they can enjoy life outside the grocery aisle.”
As summer arrives, Aldi is again partnering with Alex to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Foreach limited-time ALSF-branded bag of lemons purchased throughout June, ALDI will donate 50 cents to ALSF, up to $1 million.
China-based value retailer Miniso opens Times Square flagship in U.S. push
Miniso Group is celebrating its 10th anniversary as it continues to expand its U.S. footprint.
The China-based discount retailer has opened a 5,400-sq.-ft. flagship on the first floor of 5 Times Square. The store houses nearly 2,500 items, including licensed products from brands such as Sanrio, parent company of Hello Kitty. Miniso said it plans to bring more brand collaborations to the U.S. market, including Peanuts, Barbie and Mario Bros.
The store is divided into dedicated zones that, in addition to licensed collections, include blind box collectibles, toys, plushies, fragrances, accessories, makeup tools, snacks, electronics as well as gifts & stationery.
With more than 70 stores and a dedicated local team, the U.S. market has been Miniso’s top-performing overseas market for two consecutive quarters, the company said. The brand is looking to surpass 100 U.S. stores by the end of 2023. (As of March 31st, Miniso has 5,514 stores worldwide, increasing by 401 stores year-over-year and 74 stores quarter-over- quarter.)
“We’re delighted to be opening our new flagship store here in Times Square,” said Jack Ye, founder and CEO of Minisom, which is headquartered in Guangzhou. “Establishing a presence in one of the world’s most recognizable commercial and culture destinations allows us to effectively reach new audiences on a daily basis, introducing our fun, quality products to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and tourists who pass through these streets every single day.”
Miniso opened its first U.S. stores in 2017, in California. Since 2021, the company has focused on expanding its presence along the East Coast and in the Southern states. In November 2022, Miniso opened four new mall stores in time for the holiday season, with two in Texas and two in Florida.
Miniso's North American sales grew 100% in the March quarter from the year-ago period and the 10-year-old retailer expects the U.S. to eventually outpace China to become its biggest market.