News Briefs


Meijer to Open New Grocery Store Concept


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.


Dollar General Shakes up Its Retail Leadership


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.


IKEA U.S. Opens 2 New Planning Studios


IKEA U.S. is opening two new planning studios in Long Beach and Arcadia, CA, — the first IKEA planning studios on the West Coast. 

The new Los Angeles touchpoints will focus on providing inspiration and smart home solutions for city living as IKEA continues to transform to better meet the needs of California customers. At these stores, IKEA customers will be able to book appointments and get support from design specialists, and the IKEA team will make sure that everything a customer orders is transported to their home or to another point of delivery.   

On August 29th at 10 am PST, IKEA U.S. cut the ribbon for the grand opening of IKEA Long Beach in the Long Beach Towne Center. IKEA Arcadia opens its doors in the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall on August 31st.  The two centrally located planning studios join four full-size IKEA stores in the greater Los Angeles market.

IKEA customers will be able to book appointments and get support from design specialists with planning and ordering home furnishing solutions that require a bit more help – such as kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. While customers are unable to take home any products on their shopping day, the IKEA team will make sure that everything a customer orders is transported to their home or to another convenient point of delivery. The concept for these studios is based on extensive market research to understand consumers, what logistical barriers they face, how they like to shop, how they live at home, and more. 

“The new IKEA planning studios offer a unique experience with convenience in mind, and they are tailored for L.A. living. IKEA is consistently transforming to better meet the needs of our customers in California and beyond,” said Javier Quiñones, CEO & chief sustainability officer, IKEA U.S. “We don’t want to stop pushing the envelope when it comes to accessibility and affordability. IKEA is strongly committed to the communities in which we operate. We look forward to being a good partner to both Long Beach and Arcadia, and to welcoming its residents as part of the IKEA experience.” 

On each grand opening day, IKEA customers can enjoy games, workshops, giveaways, and the opportunity to become IKEA Family Members for more exclusive perks throughout the day. 

“The all-new Planning Studios in Arcadia and Long Beach will allow customers to meet with professional consultants who can help them optimize their living space,” said Gustavo Tinajero, Greater Los Angeles market area manager at IKEA U.S. “With full-service delivery, this is a new, intimate experience that’s uniquely IKEA and uniquely L.A. We are thrilled to be opening the first IKEA planning studios on the West Coast, continuing to create customer meeting points that are more accessible and convenient to the many people of the L.A. market while continuing to offer smart and affordable home solutions.” 

In addition to opening new store formats in city centers, IKEA has made significant investments to enhance its e-commerce experience and service offerings, including new lower priced shipping & delivery, Click & Collect, and TaskRabbit assembly services. 


Macy’s Appoints Emilie Arel to Board of Directors

Emilie headshot

Emilie Arel, president and chief executive officer of Casper Sleep, has been appointed to Macy’s board of directors, effective August 15, 2022. The board will now comprise 14 members and Arel will serve on the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

“I am honored to partner with a leading retailer like Macy’s, Inc. and look forward to leveraging my omnichannel retail experience to build on the momentum the company has achieved in recent years,” said Arel.

Arel oversees all facets of business at Casper Sleep, taking the lead in 2021. She manages the company’s commercial, brand, and wholesale strategy, as well as develops retail partnerships. 

[Read more: The Workshop at Macy’s Makes Its Return, Boasting an Enhanced Program]

With over 20 years of leadership experience across the retail and CPG industry, Arel brings with her a background working with companies like Target, Gap, FULLBEAUTY Brands, and Quidsi, an Amazon company.

“We are pleased to welcome Emilie to the Macy’s, Inc. board of directors,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. “She brings two decades of impressive, digital-first and brick-and-mortar retail experience to our board, including leading the digital transformation at FULLBEAUTY Brands and implementing Casper’s omnichannel strategy to drive consistency for consumers. Emilie’s experience putting customers at the center of the shopping experience will benefit our board and the broader organization as we continue to provide Macy’s, Inc. shoppers with a more personalized and immersive brand experience.”

“We are confident Emilie’s insights, retail merchandising expertise and proven ability to maximize the customer experience will be a valuable addition to our board as we engage both new and existing customers with our leading assortment of categories, products and brands via our omnichannel ecosystem,” said Paul Varga, Macy’s, Inc. lead independent director. “We look forward to her contributions as we continue to deliver against our long-term Polaris growth strategy, while positioning Macy’s, Inc. to capture additional consumer demand and market share.”


Office Depot to Deliver Office and School Supplies Nationwide

office depot

Thanks to a new partnership, consumers will be able to get school supplies dropped at their door in time for the new school year.  

Office Depot, a wholly owned subsidiary of The ODP Corporation, and Uber Technologies, Inc. are teaming up to bring business, office and school essentials to customers nationwide. Office Depot is the first business solutions and office supply retailer to be available on Uber Eats.

[See also: Back to School: Tips, Trends, and Predictions]

Over 900 Office Depot and OfficeMax stores across the country are now available to shop through the Uber Eats platform. Consumers can shop for thousands of items and Uber One members benefit from a $0 Delivery Fee and 5% discount on all Office Depot orders with a $15 minimum purchase.  

“With the start of a new school year and new busy schedules for many, we’re excited to team up with Uber Eats to provide students, parents, teachers, small business owners and home office workers with an additional on-demand delivery option to help them get the tools they need, when they need them,” said Jamie Columbus, VP of eCommerce for Office Depot. “We’re proud to offer a wide assortment of business, teaching and learning products on the Uber Eats platform, with significant savings off our best-selling school supplies available through Sept. 10.”

“We know this is the busiest time of year for many, with back to school and even going back to the office, at Uber, we’re always looking for ways to make peoples’ lives easier by helping them get whatever they need—whenever they need it—delivered to their doorstep,” said Christian Freese, head of New Verticals for Uber Eats in the US & Canada. “Whether it’s a printer paper shortage or a school project glue stick emergency, Uber Eats customers can find what they need to handle any business or school supply need with Office Depot on the platform.”


IKEA U.S. Launching Public and Fleet Charging Across 25 Locations

electric vehicle charging

IKEA is looking to improve accessibility to electric vehicle charging, offering public charging stations and delivery fleet electric vehicle charging at more than 25 IKEA retail locations across the U.S.  

The effort is part of IKEA’s goal to be a climate positive business by 2030. To do so, the company has partnered with Electrify America and Electrify Commercial — a collaboration that will allow IKEA to quadruple its total number of EV chargers. 

There will now be a total of more than 200 individual ultra-fast chargers being offered at IKEA retail locations across the country in states like Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. 

The first locations are expected to open in late 2022 and be completed by the end of 2023.  

[Read more: Amazon Rolling Out Electric Delivery Vehicles Across the U.S.]

“At IKEA, we believe that we must work together with our partners to tackle climate change and create solutions for a greener future. This collaboration with Electrify America will not only bring ultra-fast public chargers to our stores for the first time, but it will also help us take a big leap as we work towards our targets to become circular and climate positive,” said Javier Quiñones, CEO and chief sustainability officer, IKEA U.S. “We look forward to continuing to innovate around new ways we can make our everyday lives more sustainable.” 

“We are excited to establish both public and commercial fleet charging stations with IKEA — a brand that shares our goal of a more sustainable future,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America. “Through this collaboration, Electrify America, Electrify Commercial and IKEA U.S. are leading a path forward for customers and businesses toward zero-emission transportation.”