News Briefs

09/12/2022

Target Signs Multi-Year Partnership With FAO Schwarz, Brings Play to Store Aisles

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FAO Schwarz toy

Select Target stores will soon have toy demonstrations and an opportunity to get creative and enjoy hands-on play throughout the holiday season as part of a new multi-year relationship with FAO Schwarz. 

Starting in mid-October, FAO Schwarz toys will be exclusively available at Target stores, Target.com, and FAO Schwarz stores. All Target store toy departments will feature dedicated space with displays highlighting FAO Schwarz toys and toy demonstrations throughout the holiday season at select stores.

To celebrate the 160-year anniversary of FAO Schwarz, a capsule collection will feature several nostalgic FAO toys under $25. Additionally, consumers will get access to even more FAO Schwarz toys with exclusive product drops throughout the holiday season.

“One of the reasons families love shopping at Target is because of our incredible assortment of toys, and that selection is only getting better with our new exclusive agreement with the beloved FAO Schwarz brand,” said Jill Sando, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Target. 

“From hot new items to time-tested favorites, we’ve curated our annual list of Bullseye’s Top Toys to create an easy, fun, and affordable way for guests to find just the right gift for every toy lover on their list,” Sando added. “Simply put, there’s only one place parents and gift givers need to shop for toys this holiday season — and that’s Target.

“We are incredibly thrilled to partner exclusively with Target after having forged such a successful relationship together over the past couple of years. There truly is no better way to kick off our 160th anniversary than to announce this partnership,” saidDavid Niggli, chief merchandising officer, FAO Schwarz. “FAO Schwarz has been celebrating the wonder of childhood and bringing awe and discovery to all children — and the child inside all of us — for 160 years, and now families everywhere across the U.S. can enjoy this experience at their local Target store.”

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09/12/2022

Southeastern Grocers to Launch Delivery and Curbside Pickup Experience

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winn dixie

Winn-Dixie will soon offer a new means to shop for groceries online that will also allow customers to enjoy the same prices as shopping in stores. 

Parent company Southeastern Grocers (SEG) announces that starting in October, customers can utilize its proprietary new offering to shop their local Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores online and have their groceries delivered right to them in as little as two hours with the benefit of in-store deals and promotions. Customers will also be able to pick up their groceries curbside at their preferred store beginning early 2023.

SEG’s proprietary new offering will allow customers to conveniently shop for their groceries online through the Winn-Dixie or Harveys Supermarket app or website and receive their order in two hours or less fulfilled exclusively by DoorDash Drive, DoorDash’s white label fulfillment platform.

“After extensive research and listening to customer feedback, we recognized there was a need for delivery and curbside pickup options that reflected the same great prices and deals shopping in our stores provide,” said Andrew Nadin, chief customer and digital officer of Southeastern Grocers. “We believe shopping online should be an extension of shopping your local stores, and our new offering is just that. It’s a Winn for customers looking to save, while still enjoying the convenience of shopping from their homes or offices.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Southeastern Grocers to power their online fulfillment that will give consumers even more opportunities to enjoy the convenience of on-demand grocery, whether at home or on the go,” said Shanna Prevé, VP of Business Development at DoorDash. “We have been working closely with SEG to grow their digital offerings and are excited to continue building our partnership to offer even more convenient and affordable options for their customers.”

Customers may notice store enhancements and equipment installments in Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations over the coming months as the grocer prepares to seamlessly introduce its innovative, direct online shopping experience.

Customers will be able to connect to the online shopping site through their Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket apps or websites in October, with a rollout beginning early 2023 for convenient curbside pickup. Fresco y Más customers will be able to utilize the delivery and curbside pickup options in early 2023.

09/07/2022

Ulta Beauty Taps Low-Code-Driven Digital Innovation

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ulta

Ulta Beauty has been using a low-code strategy to facilitate fast-paced experimentation for years.

To achieve this, the beauty retailer leverages Iterate.ai’s Interplay to develop, deploy, and scale a number of innovative digital experiences for its customers. Ulta  was early to adopt a low-code strategy for rapid application development and iteration. The retailer first partnered with Iterate.ai in 2016 to empower its digital innovation team to experiment with cutting-edge digital technologies while reducing the resources needed to hardcode in new capabilities. This fast-paced experimentation process led to numerous digital experiences now familiar to Ulta Beauty shoppers, including the company’s guest services chatbot, AI-powered virtual beauty advisor, and curbside pickup, among others.

“We could not have built the cutting-edge applications as efficiently as we did without our partners at Iterate.ai,” said Michelle Pacynski, VP of digital innovation, Ulta Beauty. “As early believers and first-movers on Iterate’s low-code invention, we quickly understood which applications were going to work and which weren’t. The ability to experiment rapidly allowed us to make confident, data-backed decisions that have allowed us to capitalize on opportunities where we can authentically and directly engage our guests in various experiences.”

Powered by Interplay, Ulta Beauty’s guest services chatbot provides a virtual assistant interface to help guests track orders, ask questions, learn about beauty services, and understand shopping options across channels and categories. The company’s AI-powered virtual beauty advisor provides personalized skincare recommendations based on dynamic questions in response to individual needs. Curbside pickup, which became essential as the pandemic unfolded, was swiftly built and deployed within weeks.

To enable rapid application development, iterative improvements, and large-scale production deployments, Interplay delivers a low-code environment featuring both extensive tooling and drag-and-drop simplicity. The intelligent, low-code platform includes 475 pre-built modules that offers users full command of advanced AI/ML, IoT, voice, headless commerce, blockchain, data integration, and API connections to both startups and legacy systems. Leveraging Interplay’s architecture and intuitive interface, developers of any experience level can assemble modules to quickly and securely build and test new applications. Compared with teams utilizing traditional code-writing methods, the solution regularly achieves significantly faster development for its users.

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09/06/2022

CVS to Buy Signify Health for $8 Billion

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a store front at day

CVS Health will acquire Signify Health for around value of approximately $8 billionSignify offers proprietary analytics and technology platforms to enable a network of more than 10,000 clinicians across all 50 states to make house calls. 

"Signify Health will play a critical role in advancing our health care services strategy and gives us a platform to accelerate our growth in value-based care," said CVS Health president and CEO, Karen S. Lynch. "This acquisition will enhance our connection to consumers in the home and enables providers to better address patient needs as we execute our vision to redefine the health care experience. In addition, this combination will strengthen our ability to expand and develop new product offerings in a multi-payor approach."

CVS and Signify anticipate that the transaction will close in the first half of 2023.

Signify Health

Signify Health's network of clinicians physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants utilize home-based visits to identify a patient's clinical and social needs, and then connect them to appropriate follow-up care and community-based resources. In 2022, Signify Health's clinicians expect to connect with nearly 2.5 million unique members in the home, both in-person and virtually, and on average they spend 2.5 times longer with a patient in the home than providers spend in the average primary care office visit.

Since acquiring Caravan Health in March 2022, Signify Health has further expanded its focus on value-based care and population health. Today, Caravan is already a partner to over 170 providers participating in accountable care organizations (ACOs) serving Medicare beneficiaries with a focus on improving the health of underserved communities. Signify Health recently announced that its ACOs generated more than $138 million in gross savings in 2021, and in 2023 the Caravan business is expected to serve ACOs representing over 700,000 people rivaling many standalone platforms.

As part of CVS Health, Signify Health will continue to advance its extensive primary care enablement capabilities, including turnkey analytics, network, and practice improvement solutions, to help providers transition to value-based reimbursement and improve quality of care.

"Signify Health's mission is to build trusted relationships to make people healthier by using actionable intelligence to understand what's really impacting outcomes and cost today," said Kyle Armbrester, CEO of Signify Health. "As we carefully considered our long-term strategic options, we determined that CVS Health is the ideal partner, given its focus on expanding access to health services and helping consumers navigate to the best sites of care. We are both building an integrated experience that supports a more proactive, preventive and holistic approach to patient care, and I look forward to executing on our shared vision for the future of care delivery."

"We formed Signify Health and recruited Kyle and the team to build a strategic innovation platform focused on leveraging technology as a catalyst for connecting key health care stakeholders to drive better patient outcomes," said Matt Holt, chairman of the board, Signify Health and president of private equity and managing director at New Mountain Capital, which owns a majority stake in Signify Health. "Together with CVS Health, Signify is uniquely positioned to continue to lead the transformation to value-based care. We look forward to the significant impact this transaction will make on health care for years to come."

Following the close of the transaction, Kyle Armbrester will continue to lead Signify Health as part of CVS Health. Signify Health's extensive network of over 50 health plan clients and their members will further augment CVS Health's offering of payor-agnostic solutions for a diverse set of health plan and employer clients.

09/02/2022

Meijer to Open New Grocery Store Concept

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Meijer will launch a new brick-and-mortar store concept next year, the grocer’s latest since introducing the neighborhood market small format concept in August 2018.

The first two Meijer Grocery stores will open in early 2023 in neighborhoods within southeast Michigan's Orion Township and Macomb Township.

"Our customers know they can count on us for the freshest foods and best value, which has always been at the core of what we do at Meijer," Meijer president & CEO Rick Keyes said. "Meijer Grocery will now provide that same combination of freshness and value in a foods focused format in your local community."

Meijer Grocery stores will range from 75,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet, and will include the following departments in a condensed, and quick-to-navigate footprint: Fresh Produce; Fresh Meat Counter; Bakery equipped with in-store cake decorators; Full-service deli; Dry Grocery; Pharmacy; Health & beauty care; Baby, pets, and consumables; Card & party and floral.

"We're excited to provide our customers with yet another way to shop," said Don Sanderson, group vice president of Foods at Meijer. "This new concept store will not only provide our customers with everything they need on their weekly shopping trip, but also a quick and easy solution for when they realize they left the key ingredient off their list while cooking dinner."

In addition to their smaller footprint, Meijer Grocery stores will be convenient by design with parking wrapped around a singular corner entrance to maximize the number of parking spaces near the door. Meijer Grocery will also offer some of the same features as a Meijer supercenter, including mPerks, Shop and Scan, Meijer Home Delivery and Pickup.

08/31/2022

Dollar General Shakes up Its Retail Leadership

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DG

Dollar General is updating its leadership team with a slew of new hires and promotions, including a new president and CFO, SVP of technology engineering, SVP of store operations, and VP of end user support.

John Garratt will be promoted to president and chief financial officer effective September 1, 2022. He will retain his role as CFO, and as president, Garratt will add responsibilities for the company’s strategic initiative relating to healthcare and its international expansion to Mexico. Garratt joined Dollar General in 2014 as senior vice president of finance and strategy and has served as executive vice president and CFO since December 2015.

Shweta Bhatia has joined Dollar General as senior vice president of technology engineering. Bhatia brings more than 20 years of retail, technology and leadership experience in solution delivery and transformational strategic initiatives to the IT team. In this role, she will lead the company’s technology product engineering plus technology and data engineering domains.

Zak Brining has been promoted to senior vice president of corporate store operations. In this role, Brining will continue overseeing store operations workforce management, communication and compliance, and store process improvement while adding responsibilities in store facilities management. He joined Dollar General in 2016 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in store operations.

Donny Lau has been promoted to senior vice president and chief strategy officer. Lau joined Dollar General in 2017 and most recently served as vice president, investor relations and corporate strategy. He will continue focusing on developing and evolving DG’s strategic vision and initiatives, implementing strategic partnerships and identifying long-term growth catalysts.

Jim Sullivan has been promoted to senior vice president of store operations with responsibility for more than 8,000 locations across the northern half of the U.S. He joined the Company in 2003 as a regional director and has held roles of increasing responsibility including divisional vice president of two divisions. Jim will continue to provide training support for field leaders, elevating operations and merchandising acumen across the enterprise.

Rich Szellan has been promoted to senior vice president of procurement and margin improvement. He joined Dollar General in 2009 as senior director of merchandising operations and has held roles of increasing responsibility in procurement, global sourcing and private brands and in 2017 was promoted to vice president of marketing and private brands. In his new role, Szellan will expand his role in driving profitability and procurement, including supplier diversity.

Dan Connow has been promoted to vice president of store operations. He joined the company in 2017 as director of demand chain management and most recently served as senior director of store operations. In his new role he will be responsible for workforce management and labor planning in addition to his current responsibilities over process improvement.

Maty Kiser has joined Dollar General as vice president of end user support. She brings more than 30 years of experience in technology-related roles across multiple industries, including expertise in enterprise-level change management transforming how organizations work with a customer-first perspective. In this role, Maty will lead the DG End User Support Services team providing customer service support, both internally and externally.

Matt Sikes has joined Dollar General as vice president and chief compliance officer. Sikes’ 20-plus years of experience, including several years in retail and financial service sectors, will bring a focus on building international compliance and protecting corporate brands to DG. In this role, he will collaborate with multiple teams to ensure the Company continues to incorporate compliance into its operations.

Kevin Walker has been promoted to vice president of investor relations. He joined Dollar General in 2010 as a senior staff account and earned roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as senior director of investor relations in 2019. In this role, Walker will manage the company’s relationships with the investment community, helping communicate earnings, growth benchmarks, and long-term strategy.