Mass Retailer

Eye on Retail: Kroger in deal to sell some former Toys ‘R’ Us brands

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger is the latest retailer to jump into toys for the holiday season, but it’s doing so via a partnership with the hedge fund owners of brands that were exclusive to Toys “R” Us.

The nation’s largest supermarket retailer will sell Geoffrey’s Toy Box exclusive brands in nearly 600 stores across its portfolio for the 2018 holiday season. Geoffrey’s Toy Box is a division of Geoffrey LLC, which owns and operates a portfolio of more than 20 exclusive brands that were previously exclusive to the now defunct Toys “R” Us.

Starting this month, Geoffrey’s Toy Box branded toys and displays will appear in select stores operated by Kroger, with a curated selection of 35 items, ranging in price from $19.99 to $49.99. The holiday program will feature exclusive toys from such brands as Imaginarium, Edu Science, and Just Like Home. The product assortment will vary by location.

“Geoffrey’s Toy Box delivers a unique shopping destination within Kroger stores,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s VP president of merchandising. “We’re excited to offer Geoffrey’s Toy Box this holiday season to provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase a selection of toys once exclusive to Toys “R” Us.”

With the shuttering of Toys “R” Us, an array of retailers, ranging from J.C. Penney Co. and Target to Party City and Five Below, have expanded their toy selection as the holidays approach.

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Eye on Retail: Meijer adds a new twist to its delivery options

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Meijer is turning up the heat in the online grocery delivery battle.

The retailer is expanding its home delivery program with a pick-up option at stores across the Midwest. The new service gives customers more flexibility in how they receive their online orders.

The service, called Meijer Pickup, is available at 227 Meijer supercenters in six states, and is included as part of the company’s home delivery membership. As part of the membership, customers can order online, keep track of their total basket, note any preferences, choose between pickup and delivery, as well as a preferred delivery window via ShopMeijer.com. Customers receive a text from their personalized shopper when they begin creating the order, and are contacted when the order is ready to be delivered or picked up.

All home delivery and pickup orders are fulfilled by Shipt. There are 80,000 items available through the service, according to the company.

“Customers are always looking for ways to manage busy schedules and maximize their time, so we believe offering pick up enhances our Meijer home delivery program, especially around the holiday shopping season,” said Keith Rothstein, group VP of merchandise services. “Being able to choose between store-to-door delivery and pick up is another personalized option that ultimately makes it easier than ever to shop at our stores.”

The service takes a swipe at Whole Foods Markets, which is working with parent company Amazon to expand its own time-saving online delivery options to more cities. Whole Foods currently offers free two-hour delivery through Amazon’s Prime Now service in 63 cities, and curbside pickup is available at Whole Foods stores in 14 cities. Both services will continue to expand into more markets throughout the rest of 2018, according to Amazon.

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Eye on Retail: Walmart teaming up with Advance Auto Parts

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart continues to strengthen its omnichannel offerings via partnerships and acquisitions.

On the heels of its acquisition of online retailer Bare Necessities, the discount giant announced it has entered into a partnership with Advance Auto Parts to create a specialty auto parts store on Walmart.com. The site, expected to begin rolling out in the first half of 2019, will provide customers with access to Advance’s extensive assortment of aftermarket automotive parts, accessories and maintenance items.

The two companies also plan to work together to explore new fulfillment options, including home delivery, same-day pickup in a Walmart or Advance store and installation of some parts.

“This year, we’ve been incredibly focused on building our offering on Walmart.com to ensure we have the specialty assortment that our customers are looking for,” said Phillip Oaks, VP and group general manager, retail merchandising, Walmart eCommerce. “In line with this focus, we are thrilled to be partnering with Advance, which will bring us its industry leading automotive product assortment and know-how. This comprehensive partnership will enhance almost every aspect of the automotive customer shopping experience – from the product offering online to fulfillment capabilities.”

The new online specialty store will complement Walmart’s automotive offering of common parts and accessories online and in stores, including its offering of tire, lube and battery services in more than 2,500 Walmart Auto Care Centers across the country.

“This is an exciting partnership for both Advance and Walmart customers,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts, which operates nearly 6,400 stores. “At Advance, we are absolutely committed to building a best-in-class omnichannel experience and Walmart is an undisputed omnichannel leader. Partnering with Walmart enables us to share our extensive product offering and trusted advice with an increased number of do-it-yourself customers and supports our long-term strategic objectives.”

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