This sounds fun: wear your pajamas to Whole Foods Market this Saturday from 8-10 a.m. and get a free cinnamon roll. They’re calling it a “Pajama Jam.” I won’t even admit how many times I’ve gone grocery shopping in my pajamas without the promise of free food.
And on another note, Whole Foods announced today it will stop selling certain types of seafood, becoming the first national grocer to stop selling wild-caught fish that is “red-rated” at its fish counters. The red rating is given to species that are overfished or caught in a way that harms other marine life.
As of Earth Day (April 22), Atlantic halibut, grey sole, skate and others will no longer be available, Whole Foods says. Some stores already eliminated these species and for years, Whole Foods has not sold orange roughy or bluefin tuna due to sustainability concerns. Alternatives such as MSC-certified Pacific halibut, yellow-rated Dover sole and Atlantic flounder will be offered.
To read more, check out this USA Today story.
Big box retailers continue to struggle. Best Buy on Thursday said it plans to close 50 U.S. stores and open 100 small mobile locations in fiscal 2013 to help control costs and compete with internet retailers like Amazon.com. Sales of TVs, digital cameras and video game consoles have slowed while table computers, smartphones and e-readers have increased. A list of store closures has not yet been released but I’ll post an update once we know if any Oklahoma stores are on the chopping block.
Read the full story by The Associated Press here.
If you missed this story by The Daily last week, it’s worth a read. Apparently, Tide laundry detergent is an unlikely target among thieves. Bottles of Tide have become currency on the black market, worth $5-10 each. And the problem has been going on for years; I found a similar story from 2005. According to the most recent organized retail crime survey by the National Retail Federation, 95% of retailers were a victim of organized retail crime in the last 12 months. Here’s what else they had to say:
“Criminals are keen on obtaining the hottest-selling merchandise because of its high resale value. Trends retailers have identified in top-fenced merchandise include the desire for all branded merchandise, particularly exclusive licensed goods. Consumable products such as over-the-counter medications, infant formula, high-end technology devices and designer denim are some of the top targeted items to be fenced. Retailers are constantly experimenting with ways to protect targeted items. Many stores reposition products where employees can keep a watchful eye on them, others limit quantities on display, while several use special locking devices such as secure caps and a few are locking them up.
Whether it’s Tide, designer jeans, electronic games or vacuum cleaners, the dirty laundry on these criminal groups will come out in the wash eventually.”
There’s something green to wear and a glass of green beer, but for the most part, consumers spend very little on St. Patrick’s Day. According to a National Retail Federation survey by BIGinsight, people plan to spend an average of $35 this year. Eighty percent will celebrate by wearing green to avoid getting pinched and 30 percent of people will attend a party at a bar or restaurant.
Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director for BIGinsight, explains. “As a non gift-giving holiday, St. Patrick’s Day really brings out the fun in consumers every year, knowing they can splurge on gimmicky accessories like pins and buttons for their clothes and even home decor items to put their entire family in a festive spirit.”
This very green holiday is by many considered the official kick off to spring, and spending on warm weather clothing, patio and garden merchandise and even new home accents like bed sets and pillows, will begin to rise.
To read the full report, click here.
I’ll admit, I rarely add a new TV show to my roster because my TV time is so rare and precious. But I did set my DVR to record tonight’s premiere of “Fashion Star.” Yes, it’s another reality competition show. But I’m especially interested in this one because of the retail twist: buyers from H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s will be making decisions on the show on what they like. Then, you can buy them in stores the next day! I’m really curious as to how it will turn out. The show premieres tonight at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.
Sarah Roe, Oklahoma’s “Money Saving Queen,” is hosting a coupon boot camp in Oklahoma City on April 14. She promises to teach attendees secrets to smart shopping, coupon stacking, stockpiling vs. hoarding and other money saving tips. She’ll also talk about organizing your coupons. The event is Saturday, April 14 from 6-8 p.m. at Metro Technology Center’s Springlake Campus at 1900 Springlake Dr. The cost is $5. Find out more here.
A new grocer to the Oklahoma City metro, Sunflower Farmers Market, announced plans to merge with Sprouts Farmers Market. If the deal is approved, the stores will operate under the Sprouts name. So the store in Oklahoma City at NW 63 and May Avenue, plus new stores opening in Edmond and Norman, will become Sprouts Farmers Market stores.
The combined company will have an improved variety of products, lower prices and more stores resulting in more jobs, according a letter jointly written by the two companies. Read on for the rest of the letter:
Dear Customers, Employees, Friends and Family:
We are excited to announce that Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market, two of the leading grocers specializing in fresh and natural foods, are planning to merge. Subject to regulatory approval, this will create a much stronger company — with more resources, greater access to the freshest products, and a stronger commitment than ever to bring you a wide variety of fresh produce and affordable healthful foods.
The combined company, which will eventually operate under the Sprouts Farmers Market banner, will have about 150 stores and more than 10,000 employees by the end of 2012. That’s an amazing accomplishment, given that both Sprouts and Sunflower are just turning ten years old!
And if there isn’t a Sprouts in your area yet… just wait. There are new stores slated to open later this year in Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, Mountain View, and Walnut Creek in California; in Grand Junction, Colorado; and in Ahwatukee and Phoenix, Arizona. And there will be many more stores in 2013 and the years to come.
Of course, there is still considerable work to do before we get to all of that. Right now, the companies are still competitors, and will continue to operate as such until we get a green light from the government regulators and can proceed to close the deal — which we would anticipate would be in mid-Spring. Even then, the companies will still have different products, different policies, different ads, and most importantly different cultures. We will work diligently to ensure a smooth transition, taking the best of both companies and creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Yet, realistically, it will take many months to accomplish this.
What does this merger mean for you?
|•||It will bring a greater variety of fresh, interesting products to your store.|
|•||Prices may get even better, as we become more efficient and are able to combine our purchasing to get the best products at the lowest prices.|
|•||There will be more stores, and the job opportunities that come with them.|
|•||And it will result in improved operations, as we identify and incorporate the best practices of each company.|
But — please have patience. It will take time to work out all the wrinkles. It may be quite a few months before you see the name change on the outside of any store, or before it is easy to buy products at Sprouts and return them at Sunflower. We will take great care to minimize the disruptions, and to continue offering the very best values in town on fresh produce, natural and organic foods.
Stay tuned for more news and updates!
Sprouts Farmers Market
President and CEO
Sunflower Farmers Market
Retailers with a story to tell can enter the National Retail Federation’s “This is Retail” contest by submitting a video entry. The trade group says it is looking for the most creative, insightful and thought-provoking retail stories in America. Anyone who works for a retailer or owns a retail business and is 18 years or older is eligible to enter. The grand prize is $25,000! Second and third place runners up will receive cash, too. To find out how to enter, click here. The deadline to enter is March 16.
Two new stores open today at The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City. Naartjie Kids kicks off its grand opening at 8:30 a.m. and White House Black Market will open at 10 a.m. The retailers replace temporary tenants at the mall, which opened last summer. American Eagle Outfitters plans to open its outlet store there April 11.
This Sunday is AAA Day at The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, off Interstate 40 between Reno and Council Road. The motor club will have a raffle, prizes and half price deals on AAA memberships. The first 100 AAA members to customer service receive a free gift and every AAA member receives a goodie bag and coupon booklet. Members can enter a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to AAA Travel and gifts from retailers. Mall hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.