Express Checkout #10

Commerce news from the week of 1/23/2023

This feels like a big milestone, issue number 10! I cannot believe I've sent out 10 newsletters... The support and love I’ve received so far has been amazing, and I appreciate every single one of you for reading and sharing. As I’m writing this there’s a smidge under 500 of you 🤯. Never thought it would grow this fast. Thank you for continuing to read my content, this will only get better from here on out!

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🔥 Big News of the week🔥

  • Healthcare and grocery

    • The healthcare devision of Kroger announced that they will be participating in clinical studies through its current 200 in-store health clinics around the US. (source)

    • Food Lion announced it has partnered with a hospital in North Carolina on a pilot program encouraging healthy eating habits in the community. (source)

  • Amazon updates

    • Amazon launched RxPass, a $5/month prescription subscription for Prime. Members can get up to 50 generic meds, treating everything from high blood pressure and anxiety to acid reflux. Those on Medicaid or Medicare are ineligible. (source)

    • Amazon is changing its free delivery minimum from $35+ to $150 for Amazon Fresh orders starting Feb 28th. (source)

  • Serta Simmons has filed for Chapter 11, listing their assets and liabilities each from $1 billion to $10 billion. (source)

  • Hasbro is set to cut their global workforce by 15%, around 1,000 jobs. (source)

  • AMASS Brands, maker of botanical beverages and spirits, is acquiring operating assets from WINC wine club. WINC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in Dec ‘22. (source)

  • Natural Light (or as I called it in college Natty Light) got a nice brand refresh. People definitely had thoughts on the rebrand, what do you think? (source)

🗞 News from the week

🛍 Retail

  • Walmart has refreshed 5 of their flagship stores to make them brighter, with roomier aisles and more mannequins. They want to sell more discretionary items that carry higher margins, so one way to do that is to make the stores more like showrooms. They’re taking a page out of Target’s book here. (source)

  • Addie, a drive-up grocery store, has opened a 22,000 square foot location in Massachusetts. The concept is nothing new — Target and other retailers have been pushing this for years, but what makes Addie different is that it has no in-store component. (source)

  • Sprouts launched a new initiative to fight food waste. The Rescued Organics program takes ‘imperfect’ produce and offers it to shoppers at a reduced price at all 130 stores in California. Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods made their whole business about rescuing ugly produce, so it’s wonderful to see a major regional retailer take the same initiative. Food waste is a huge problem and grocery is one of the top contributors, contributing 13% (around 10.5M tons) of the total food waste generated in the US. (source)

  • H&M’s experimental location in Williamsburg has morphed into its 2nd incarnation, emphasizing its Move line of athletic clothing. (source)

  • Like Fleishman, Bed Bath and Beyond is in trouble. Shares plummeted this week after the retailer said it doesn’t have the funds to pay off their nearly $2.125 billion combined debt to various creditors. As of November, they had around $225 million in cash reserves. (source)

🛒 CPG & Consumer

  • TikTok has become the place for viral food trends, and Belgian Boys is leaning into it with the release of their limited-edition Pancake Cereal! It’s available Target nationwide on Jan 30th! (source)

  • One of my favorite alt-meat brands, Jack and Annie’s, is partnering with Smashburger on a trial run of a new plant-based burger offering! (source)

  • Probiotic soda company Olipop is taking on Pepsi's Starry (RIP Sierra Mist) with its own Lemon Lime flavor. (source)

  • Wildtype is set to launch sushi-grade cultivated salmon in US restaurants this year. If you’re unfamiliar with the company, they raised an impressive $100M series B last year from investors like Leonardo Dicaprio. (source)

  • After two and a half years, Kristen Bell’s CBD skin-care brand Happy Dance is shutting down. Its parent company, Cronos Group, is looking to shift away from CBD to THC where it’s seeing more demand. (source)

  • The FDA is set to work with Congress on new regulatory frameworks for CBD products as they determined that current frameworks for food and supplements don’t suffice. (source)

  • Newell Brands — which owns well-known brands like Yankee Candle, Sharpie, Elmer’s, Mr. Coffee, and Rubbermaid — announced a boldly named cost saving initiative called Project Phoenix. They plan to realize savings of around $250M by implementing a new operating model and reducing their workforce by 13%. (source)

  • White Claw has announced the launch of a new line of flavored Vodkas, expected to hit the shelves in March. I wonder if “ain't no laws when you’re drinking Claws” applies here as well. (source)

  • In their half-year fiscal 2023 results, Diageo saw net sales increase 18.4% crediting the premiumization of their portfolio. Their premium brands contributed 57% of reported net sales and drove 65% of organic net sales growth. According to their CEO, they’re not shifting interest away from high-quality brands anytime soon. (source)

  • Oreo has introduced a new limited-edition cookie: The Most OREO, OREO. And boy is it. It’s a extra stuffed Oreo with Oreos mixed in the filling 🤤. Is this too much? Maybe. Will I try it? Yes. (source)

🏭 Supply Chain

  • E&J Gallo is closing their California-based operations, shifting their Cali distribution to RNDC. This move will affect a reported 355 workers. (source)

  • Amazon Air has launched in India, currently its third operating market after the US and Europe. Quikjet Cargo Airlines will operate two Boeing 737-800 aircrafts, shipping thousands of packages every day. (source)

  • Tractor Supply has opened its largest distribution center in Ohio as they seek to expand their one-day delivery option. (source)

  • Sam’s Club is embarking on a multi-year plan to modernize and improve their supply chain through new distribution centers and automation. Their first of five new fulfillment centers is set to open Q3 ‘23. Along with this, they’re set to open 30 new Clubs across the US starting in 2024. (source)

💻 eCommerce

  • Walmart launched Walmart Business, a dedicated ecomm site for SMBs to easily buy supplies and other products to run their business more effectively. (source)

  • Shopify has updated their pricing for their various plans (source)

    • $29/mo → $39/mo - up 34%

    • $79/mo → $105/mo - up 33%

    • $299/mo → $399/mo - up 33%

  • Bounty, a tool that enables shoppers to share products to TikTok and get paid for it, has released a new tool called Invites. It allows a merchant to segment their Shopify customers and invite them to partner through Bounty with custom offers. (source)

  • BoldCommerce is partnering with PayPal to offer a service that will allow retailers to embed their checkout across various places like blogs, social, even QR codes on packaging. It also adds a variety of payment methods from PayPal like Venmo and Pay Later. (source)

  • ShopRite has launched a set of new lifestyle filters on their website, such as dairy-free, Vegan, low sodium, and Keto friendly. (source)

  • Reserve Bar, an e-commerce site for alcohol brands, has launched a new delivery platform called Get Stocked. The platform is meant to serve "The Cooler Occasion," featuring over 600 exclusive SKUs of craft beers, RTD cocktails, canned wines, and hard seltzers. (source)

💸 Funding, Exits, M&A, and VC

  • Kind Snacks founder, Daniel Lubetzky, has recently unveiled Camino Partners, his new startup incubator and investment platform. He expects to deploy $350 million into the next-gen of amazing CPG companies. (source)

  • The ISH Co., maker of plant-based seafood alts, has just raised around $5 million in an oversubscribed seed round. (source)

  • Quevos has been acquired by the Stryve Foods founders. (source)

  • Speakeasy, an e-commerce solution for alcohol brands (similar to Reserve Bar), has raised $6.8 million led by InvestBev. (source)

  • Boxed Inc, which has been in some financial trouble recently, has secured $20 million in funding - $10 million from an unknown lender with an additional $10M subject to the completion of certain milestones. (source)

  • Patco Brands has acquired Kyla Hard Kombucha. (source)

  • General Mills sells Food Should Taste Good to From the Ground Up, maker of plant-based snacks. (source)

🧐 Interesting reads

💡Reports, research, and trends

🐦 Interesting Tweets

😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week

Al Roker’s Babka - it’s lemon flavored! Apparently only available at Breads Bakery in Rockefeller Plaza.

Yabai! - thanks Jason!

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with more commerce news straight to your inbox. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories or posts I missed, let me know!

Nate :)

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