Randall “Todd” Jones – Hubba Hubba

Imagine this.

You’re sitting on some panel at the 15th National Association for Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) Spring Conference & Exposition at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., maybe talking about Planogram Software or shouting down some representative from Acosta about the pros and cons of contracting space allocation services. You’re having a generally boring time.

Then, in walks this wild stallion.

Yes, Randall “Todd” Jones of the Publix. Not only is this tall drink of water named Randall (Randy if you’re nasty) but his nickname is Todd. And you know what that shopping cart lapel pin means, right? FMI, motherf$#&er. He’s a real company man, and you don’t find many of those these days.

And hes going to be having a “conversation,” which means, not only will he talk at you, but you can talk to him and expect a response! What a nice man. What a hunk of grocery retailing.

From Progressive Grocer.

Fresh & Easy Buzz Confirms My Half Theory

From Fresh & Easy Buzz Blog.

Jensen really is spearheading a shift to fresh prepared foods for drug chain Walgreens! I knew it.

Were you purposefully trying to lead me astray, F&E Buzz? You’re the one getting the real scoops anyway, so I’ll let it slide.

Buzz mentions in his commentary that  Tesco shadowed  Walgreens  real estate, opening F&E outlets  next to or across the street from many of their outlets. Interestingly enough, in Buzz’s source , a BB&T analyst calls F&E’s locations “low-rent” and “C” level compared to Walgreen’s “A” locations. If they’re in the same place, how could this be?

Either way, this is an interesting development. There are a lot more people that should be worried about this then Fresh & Easy, from your food service oriented MTO gas and convenient stores to your lifestyle format big box supermarkets. If they can pull it off, of course.

Can you say “channel blurring”?

Like Clockwork

Extra-sensory perception (see Food Retailers Capitalize on Resolution Marketing; What else is new?, January 8). Supermarket News is touting SuperBowl oriented promotional activity, as is the tradition in the Grocery Retail press every January. We GET IT. The Super Bowl is a MAJOR EVENT TO ORIENT MARKETING AND MERCHANDISING ACTIVITY AROUND WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THOSE PRODUCTS WITH THE MOST POTENTIAL TO EXPERIENCE EVENT RELATED LIFT. I don’t care how many flavors of wings Kowalski’s Deli has; I want relevant, interesting information about innovative and unique merchandising, etc.

Somebody knows somebody

This handsome guy, Giant-Carlisle’s dairy category manager Bob Schupper, has just been appointed to a federal dairy industry advisor committee.  US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, you’ve got a real winner on your hands here. His 25 plus years of dairy industry experience will serve you well, that is if you can peel the ladies off of him long enough to discuss “farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability and consolidation.”

File this one under “The Hunks of Grocery Retail.”

From Progressive Grocer

The Tale of Food Lion and the Low Sugar Cereal

Food Lion is introducing a private-label, low sugar cereal called “Good 4 Kids,” presumably named as such to take advantage of kids hatred of grammar in order to circumvent their love of sugar (high fructose or otherwise).

The question is, who is the supplier? Ralston-Purina or Malt-o-Meal? You’d think Ralston would have exercised this idea in their Post brand first, unless this is a clever private label pilot to see if the concept has legs.

Either way, if this low sugar children’s cereal becomes successful, expect to see private label iterations in every supermarket chain by year end.

From Supermarket News.

Wal-Mart’s Marketside Analysis

Another great piece from Fresh & Easy Buzz.

This one analyzes the approach Wal-Mart now seems to be taking with Marketside as a brand rather than a format. If they roll out the idea of “marketside” nationally now, it bodes better for them should they decide to try to open “marketside” formatted outlets in another geographic area.

The true potential of these small-format lifestyle stores is to penetrate the hip urban city centers where space is at a premium and the logistics of real estate prevent big box retailers from setting up shop. There are a lot of food dollars up for grabs in these densely populated, often underserved communities. Trader Joe’s has been very successful going after this market.

Consider this advice, Wegmans. Your brand is hot. Your PL program is incredibly strong. Your inhouse production capabilities have just been boosted by the Culinary Innovation Center for your already successful prepared foods endeavours. Develop a small-format limited assortment (private label focused) store to infiltrate lucrative city centers like NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, etc. Reinforce the brand with the inner city elites, boosting recognition and overall market share of these major metropolitan areas. Just an idea to consider.

Expect a more detailed case for a Wegmans small format soon.

Food Retailers Capitalize on Resolution Marketing; What else is new?

Its January again, and that means its time for the cabal of Grocery Retail journalist outlets to highlight merchandising and promotions aimed at New Years resolution-ists. This is getting a little old.

Supermarket News has been around how long? And they still think this is news?

I can’t wait to hear about all the exciting Super… ahem… Big Game themed promotional activity this year.

*cough*wings*cough*potato chips*end cough*

Maybe retailers should make private label a part of these promotions, thus increasing their PL penetration and category grosses? Duh.

This would make a good “white paper.”

Ring Bros. Needs to Update Their Image

From Progressive Grocer

Ring Bros., a Massachusetts based independent, is implementing a Retail Enterprise Suite from Episys to “further improve communication” with their customers.

Please think about hiring a designer or even using 99designs.com to update your image a bit. Your logo looks like it was made on a Mac Performa circa 1994 with Print Shop Deluxe. It’s 2010. This shit don’t fly anymore. This logo would look out of date on a small town run-down pizzeria’s flyer.

Please spare our eyeballs.

Director of Merchandising Leaves Tesco’s Fresh & Easy

Fresh & Easy’s revolving door management team has been hit again.

Reported by Fresh & Easy Buzz.

Jim Jensen was director of Fresh Foods at F&E and has supposedly joined Brian Pugh (former F&E VP of Retail Operations) at Walgreens. Brian Pugh’s title at Walgreens happens to be VP of Format Development. Is Walgreens planning a new foray into a “fresh” format? Leveraging its merchandising strengths with the “trial-by-fire” experience of its new hires, a strong possibility is indicated.

Wegmans Reveals East Ave Overhaul

Wegmans East Ave FacadeLong speculated, Wegmans has revealed its plans to overhaul one of its few remaining urban stores, East Avenue in Rochester. The current site is only 44,000 square feet and is a remnant of Wegmans pre-expansionist days when their sights were set on success a little closer to home. A very popular location, this facility improvement should serve them (and their customers) well. That is, if they can get their plan approved.

More at