Lowe’s will open mini Petco outlets inside some shops

Lowe’s is opening petco stores in some of its stores as part of a pilot program. The first is scheduled to open in Texas in February.

Source: Petco

lowes will soon be testing a new offer: A Petco Shop the stores where customers can buy dog ​​food and kitty litter, and even visit a vet while shopping for paint and other materials for home projects.

The two retailers announced a deal Thursday to test the store-in-store locations. The first will open near San Antonio in early February, with 14 additional locations planned in Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina by the end of March.

The companies declined to share financial terms or the length of the deal.

Lowe’s and Petco have been beneficiaries of the pandemic as Americans took on do-it-yourself projects and adopted pets while spending more time at home. However, retailers could face a more challenging backdrop in the coming months if consumers feel pressured by rising inflation or decide to spend a larger chunk of budget on vacations and nights out rather than pet supplies and home projects.

Lowe’s has been looking at new product categories to keep sales growing while benefiting from a strong real estate market. It added more home decor to its website and stores. It started an initiative to sell and install items that enable seniors to grow old in their own four walls. And it began piloting fitness equipment like treadmills, rowers, and free weights in about 20 of its stores. It already carries some pet-related items, like dog beds and pet-safe rugs.

For Petco, the curated version of its stores is a way to engage more shoppers and potentially get them to visit its larger stores and website as it competes with online players such as Tough.

Nick Konat, Petco’s chief merchandising officer, said he expects the stores will particularly appeal to DIY-savvy millennials. During the pandemic, many of these 20- and 30-year-olds have been leaders “Nesting” trendswhen they bought houses or moved to bigger towns, adopted cats or dogs — and in some cases treated pets as a “trial run” before having children, he said.

“They are high-spending customers and they really care about their pet like family,” he said. “And they’ve done the same to their homes, with many of them being new homeowners or new renters.”

Each shop will feature Petco’s cat and dog logo and merchandise, including some of its exclusive brands such as food brand WholeHearted and fashion brand Youly, as well as national brands. It will feature more than 700 items that customers can buy online and pick up in store if they live near a Lowe’s store that is part of the pilot. Some stores also offer services from visiting veterinarians and pet professionals, including vaccinations, microchipping, prescription pest prevention, and mobile grooming.

The store-in-store will vary in size, but the first location will be about 1,000 square feet and will be in front of the store, said Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive vice president of merchandising.

The stores will be staffed by a Petco employee, in addition to those at Lowe’s, Konat said.

Other retailers have similar partnerships. aim made a deal with Ultimate beauty to opens curated stores in hundreds of its big box stores — and has similar shop-in-shops Apple and Disney at selected locations. cabbage signed a contract with Sephora to have its beauty salons in stores. Kroger will wear something bed bath beyond Goods in selected stores and Macy’s is Toys R Us stores open.

As of Wednesday’s close, shares of Lowe and Petco are both down about 12% this year. Lowe’s and Petco shares closed Wednesday at $228.10 and $17.43, respectively. Lowe’s shares are up nearly 31% over the past 12 months, giving it a market cap of $153.68 billion. Petco’s shares are down about 37% over the past 12 months, giving it a market value of $5.27 billion.

Ceremony Support to shut a minimum of 63 shops within the coming months

A Rite Aid store is on display in downtown Los Angeles, California, the United States, October 16, 2019. Picture dated October 16, 2019.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Drugstore chain Ritual help said Tuesday it plans to close at least 63 stores as the number of locations needed is re-evaluated.

The company said the closings were identified as part of an ongoing review and expects more stores to close over the next several months.

Rite Aid said its goal is to cut costs, increase profitability and have “solid foundations”. The company said the 63 closings that began last month are expected to increase its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by about $ 25 million.

On Tuesday, Rite Aid released mixed financial results for the third quarter of its fiscal year. Although the company was making more than expected on an adjusted basis, its revenue for the three months ended Nov. 27 was lower than analysts forecast. The retailer also lowered the sales outlook for the financial year.

Rite Aid’s shares rose more than 16% in early trading. By the close of trading on Monday, the stock was down about 22% year-to-date, bringing Rite Aid’s market cap to nearly $ 692 million.

A list of the dozen of stores Rite Aid sought to close was not immediately available. Rite Aid operates more than 2,400 retail pharmacies in the United States

Last month drug store rivals CVS health said it will around 900 stores close over the next three years as it adapts to buyers who buy more online.

Both CVS and Walgreens have increased their focus on digital growth and made businesses into destinations that offer a range of health services from flu vaccinations to diagnostic tests.

Find the full press release on Rite Aid’s results here here.

Greenback Basic to open 1,000 Popshelf shops, geared toward wealthier customers

Popshelf stores are approximately 9,000 square feet and stock items such as housewares, seasonal decorations, and party supplies, including Dollar General’s own brand items.

Dollar general

Dollar general debuted a new store called Popshelf about a year ago, is aimed at wealthier suburban shoppers looking for good deal.

The Tennessee-based discounter announced on Thursday that it plans to have around 1,000 of its stores by the end of fiscal year 2025 – including around 100 other locations that will open in the next fiscal year. It has 30 popshelf stores in six states (as of October 29). It plans to open its first stores in Texas in early spring.

News of the ambitious expansion plan comes when the retailer said it will test its first international market by opening 10 stores in Mexico by the end of fiscal 2022. Dollar General expects 1,110 new stores to open in the coming fiscal year, including Popshelf, Dollar General and the international locations.

But shares fell more than 1% early Thursday after the company announced that sales in the same store will decline this fiscal year.

Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s chief merchandising officer, said in an interview that the retailer is accelerating expansion plans for the new store concept due to its popularity with customers. She said the average cart size and value are higher than the Dollar General stores of the same name, despite refusing to provide numbers.

For the dollar store chain, Popshelf is a way to attract new customers and increase profits. Its target customers are women who live in the suburbs and have annual household incomes of $ 50,000 to $ 125,000, the company said. The stores are approximately 9,000 square feet and stock items such as housewares, seasonal decorations, and party supplies, including Dollar General’s own brand items. Over 90% of the goods Popshelf sells are $ 5 or less, the company said.

Dollar General’s clients typically live in rural areas, are on tighter budgets, and are slightly older, Taylor said. Customers have an annual household income of $ 40,000 or less. Sales in the dollar stores also include a heavier mix of grocery and snack items that tend to be less profitable for the retailer.

Dollar General has more than 18,000 stores in 46 states. To drive growth, the retailer opened additional locations in no time at all. It also adds fresh fruits and vegetables in more of its shops and Expansion into healthcare. It rented his first chief physician in July.

Taylor said the idea of ​​Popshelf was born while Dollar General was working on its Non-Consumables Initiative, a company-wide attempt to add more items such as home accessories and party supplies to its store lineup that began in 2018. She said the company saw an opening for another store.

“We have found that there are many advantages to having a stand-alone concept, especially as it is a really exciting, fun and engaging shopping experience in the small box store,” she said.

That inspired Popshelf’s emphasis on colorful displays and frequent changes of goods to make visiting stores feel like a “treasure hunt,” whether shoppers are looking for a gift, preparing for a party, or decorating for the holidays, she said.

Depending on the season, the product mix includes toys, throw pillows, Christmas decorations, pumpkin-shaped disposable paper plates, balloons, bath bombs and specialties such as hot cocoa and cheese for a charcuterie platter.

Housewares in particular are a hot category, including decorative and organizational items, Taylor said.

She said popshelf stores offer customers the ability to purchase online and in-store for pickup. She said the company is also likely to start delivering home purchases so people who don’t live near a popshelf store can buy the products. She said it got a lot of requests for it on social media.

The company is also testing a store-in-a-store format. It has opened 14 smaller versions of Popshelf in DG Markets, a Dollar General format that’s bigger and has more food choices, and more are being added.

Looking for growth, coping with inflation

Dollar General seeks to fuel growth – and attract buyers with more disposable income – as it prepares for the decline in sales and copes with inflation. As its budget-conscious customers experience higher prices at gas stations and grocery stores, it reduces the money they can spend in dollar stores. Compared to other retailers, the discounter also has fewer opportunities to raise prices due to its good reputation and the risk of deterring customers.

His main competitor, Money tree, took a big step last week and said it would pass more of the cost on to buyers. It will start selling most goods for $ 1.25 instead of $ 1 to cover rising freight costs.

Dollar General said Thursday that it expects sales to decline between 2.5% and 3% in the same business for this fiscal year. On a two-year basis, this corresponds to a growth of around 13% to 14% if one takes into account the jump in sales during the pandemic.

The company expects earnings per share for the year of $ 9.90 to $ 10.20, slightly higher than its previous expectations of $ 9.60 to $ 10.20.

For the third fiscal quarter ended October 29th, which the retailer reported on Thursday, earnings exceeded analysts’ expectations.

The company earned $ 2.08 per share on sales of $ 8.52 billion. According to Refinitiv, an average of analysts expected Dollar General to make $ 2.01 per share on sales of $ 8.50 billion.

But net income of $ 487.03 million was lower than a year ago when it made $ 574.26 million, or $ 2.31 per share.

At the close of trading on Wednesday, Dollar General’s shares were up nearly 6% this year. The stock closed at $ 222.79 on Wednesday, which equates to a market value of $ 51.98 billion.

Black Friday buying in shops drops 28% from pre-pandemic ranges

Shoppers with bags from various stores stand side by side as Black Friday sales begin on November 26, 2021 at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Jon Cherry | Reuters

Retail store traffic was down 28.3% on Black Friday compared to 2019 as Americans shifted more of their spending online and started shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

The traffic increased by 47.5% compared to Previous year levelsaid Sensormatic. This time around in 2020, many shoppers stayed at home due to fears about the coronavirus pandemic and the somewhat reduced opening hours of retailers.

“It’s clear that shoppers are shopping earlier this season, just as they did last season,” said Brian Field, Sensormatic’s senior director of global retail consulting. He added that the two main reasons shoppers hand out their Christmas shopping are ongoing concerns about Covid and worries about the supply chain.

The peak time for Black Friday in-store shopping was 1pm to 3pm, similar to previous years, Sensormatic said. Black Friday continues to be forecast as the busiest shopping day of the season, according to Sensormatic.

On Thanksgiving Day, brick and mortar store visits were up 90.4% from 2019 levels, Sensormatic found. Retailers including target, Walmart and Best buy decided to keep their doors closed to customers on the holidays. Target has said it will be a permanent shift.

Field said that Black Friday buyer traffic was most likely to return to 2019 levels in the South, followed by the Midwest, and then the West and Northeast. He does not believe that the increasing fears about the new Omicron Covid variant have influenced consumer behavior on that day.

“If you see outbreaks in the US, that would be what I think is driving [traffic down] would be if governments and communities would lock down again, “said Field.” Otherwise the trends will be very similar to what we expect. “

Online spending on Black Friday is down from 2020 levels

Online retailers had sales of $ 8.9 billion on Black Friday. less than the record of about $ 9 billion spent on the Friday after Thanksgiving a year earlier, according to data from Adobe Analytics. It is the first time that growth has reversed year-on-year, Adobe said. Adobe analyzes more than a trillion visits to US retail sites with over 100 million items in 18 different product categories.

On Thanksgiving Day, consumers were spending $ 5.1 billion on the Internet, unchanged from last year, Adobe said.

The numbers prove even more that the Christmas season has lengthened as more Americans started shopping as early as October. Retailers have also spread their promotional offers. Corresponding a survey by the National Retail Federation, the leading retail group, 61% of consumers had started shopping for Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving.

“Shoppers are strategic about gift shopping, shop much earlier in the season, and have flexibility when shopping to ensure they get the best deals,” said Vivek Pandya, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Adobe predicts e-commerce sales on Cyber ​​Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, between $ 10.2 billion and $ 11.3 billion.

However, shoppers can expect a wide variety of items to be out of stock as supply chain complications have messed up inventory at some companies.

According to Adobe, news on retailers’ websites that are out of stock was up 124% through Friday, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Household appliances, electronics, housewares, and household and garden items have the highest outages, according to Adobe.

NRF expects Christmas sales in November and December increase between 8.5% and 10.5%, for total sales between $ 843.4 billion and $ 859 billion, which would set a record year-over-year growth.

To close about 300 shops a yr over subsequent three years

CVS health said Thursday that it will close about 900 stores over the next three years as it adapts to shoppers who buy more online.

Shares rose more than 2% on Thursday lunchtime.

The company announced in a press release that it will focus its efforts more on digital growth and transform its businesses into travel destinations that offer a range of health services, from flu shots to diagnostic tests.

Store closings will begin in spring 2022. The company plans to close around 300 per year. Overall, the closings will account for around 9% of the nearly 10,000 CVS stores in the United States. The company declined to share the specific locations of the stores that are closing.

CVS didn’t say how many employees will lose their jobs due to the closings, but said it will help those affected find another opportunity or role in a different location.

CVS mixes up its business as the pandemic accelerates changes in consumer behavior. More and more people are filling out prescriptions online, picking up personal care items by picking them up from the roadside and visiting doctors via telemedicine. The drugstore chain and health insurer announced that they are closing stores due to changes in the population, customer habits and health needs.

However, CEO Karen Lynch said business will continue to play a key role.

“Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and our company,” she said in a press release. “We continue to focus on the competitive advantage our presence in thousands of communities across the country provides that complements our rapidly growing digital presence.”

Three different types of business

CVS is in the process of converting more of its businesses into health goals, which could lead to more pedestrian traffic and more claims for its insurance business. There are already around 1,100 MinuteClinics that provide urgent help with common diseases such as streptococci or give flu vaccinations.

A store format called HealthHub has been expanded. These locations sell a wider variety of medical products, offer more services from mental health therapy appointments to chronic disease screenings, and have other wellness features like rooms where yoga can take place.

The company plans to have 1,000 HealthHub locations by the end of the year.

CVS plans to use three different store formats. One group will provide basic services. Another one will be HealthHubs. And a third will remain traditional businesses filling out recipes and selling items from shampoo to milk.

In addition, the stores will be further integrated into the health insurance business Aetna, the Acquired in 2018. Some of its benefit plans encourage Aetna members to seek help in CVS businesses, such as its MinuteClinics with little or no co-pay.

It also owns a prescription management subsidiary, Caremark.

CVS spokesman TJ Crawford said in addition to reviewing store density and market dynamics, the company had decided which stores would stay open or closed based on the number of people with Aetna and Caremark coverage nearby. He said it also takes into account the needs of underserved communities.

‘Stuck in the past’

CVS has outperformed its Wall Street drug store rivals as its healthcare acquisitions and focus attract investors. The stock is up about 38% this year, outperforming its 31% growth S&P 500. Stocks hit a 52-week high of $ 96.57 earlier this month and traded just below $ 95 on Thursday lunchtime. Its market value is $ 125.15 billion.

Yet the entire drugstore industry is affected by disruption, as a retail giant including Amazon and Walmart – and even like discount stores Dollar general cracked in healthcare and chased market share.

This competitive landscape has forced CVS and its competitors to Walgreens Boots Alliance and Ritual helpto take a close look at how they can stand out from others and stay relevant. They got a boost in sales during the pandemic as consumers turn to stores for Covid-19 tests, vaccines, and more recently, home test kits – and sometimes toss other items in their carts as well.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said the high number of CVS store closures was a natural consequence of the company’s own development. He said it had “neglected stores for far too long and pushed some of them into the downward spiral of irrelevance”.

“The retail side of CVS ‘business is shabby,” he said. “Too many stores have stuck in the past with poor lighting, depressing interiors, messy merchandising and poor assortment.

How CVS is languishing in stores, he said target, Walmart, Ulta beauty and Sephora stole part of their business. Now more shoppers are going to these retailers’ stores to buy makeup, lotion and cold medication, he said.

To turn things around, CVS needs to clean up its act, he said.

“Your future depends on real investment in both retail and healthcare,” he said. “And there is no point simply investing in health services if the environment in which they are presented is bad: consumers have a choice and will just move their business elsewhere.”

Shake up leadership

CVS expects the proposed store closings to decrease in value by $ 1 to $ 1.2 billion, or $ 56 to $ 67 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. The depreciation includes the cost of operating leases, property, plant and equipment.

As a result, the company expects earnings between $ 5.46 and $ 5.67 per share for fiscal 2021. It had previously forecast a profit of between $ 6.13 and $ 6.23. The adjusted earnings per share forecast remains unchanged as the impairment loss is not included in these results.

CVS is also changing some of its leadership roles. It created a new role, Chief Pharmacy Officer, and appointed Prem Shah to the position. Shah and Michelle Peluso, Chief Customer Officer, will become Co-Presidents who will run the two parts of the company’s retail business – the front of the store and the pharmacy. Both will report to Lynch who took over the top management role in February.

Neela Montgomery, President of CVS Retail / Pharmacy, will leave the company in late 2021.

Goal so as to add greater than 100 Disney retailers to shops forward of holidays

A child holds a Walt Disney Co. Pixar Cars toy in a Target Corp. store. in Chicago.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

target said Monday that the number of will roughly triple Disney Doing business in its stores, helping to increase foot traffic as the holiday season approaches.

The national retailer with around 1,900 stores in the USA began 2019 with the opening of Disney stores in select locations. With the expansion, more than 160 Target stores will sell Disney merchandise, from toys to costumes, by the end of the year.

In a sense, Target’s partnerships transform its stores into mini-malls where shoppers can conveniently browse a variety of products under one roof. Buyers can get a vaccine or fill out a prescription in a reduced form CVS health. You can have a frappuccino at a. order Starbucks Coffee shop. You can find dedicated displays from Apple Gadgets and Levi Strauss Denim. And with mini. try a lipstick sample or get beauty tips Ulta beauty Shops that started opening in select stores earlier this month.

The retailer’s expansion of Disney stores comes before Christmas time – an important time for toy sales. Macys recently announced that it will also expand its toy range. It Made a deal with Toys R Us To open shops in more than 400 branches of the department store chain and online. A larger selection of Toys R Us merchandise is now available on Macy’s website.

Steve Dennis, a retail strategy analyst, said the Toys R Us shutdown “had market share and many retailers wanted to recapture it.” That has led to increased competition between retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Target – and made toys an appealing product category for Macy’s.

He said the Disney stores could help Target stand out and raise the price of its toy department.

“One of the trends I think you are leaning on is ‘how do you create more uniqueness and differentiation for your brand’ and somehow differentiate it from the typical type of merchandising?” he said. “What is that additional reason to go to the store, or website, or maybe buy something else on your trip?”

Toys were a growth category for Target and continued to show momentum in the second quarter that ended July 31, according to Christina Hennington, chief growth officer. She said on the company’s conference call that toy sales were up the low 20% year-over-year over the three-month period.

Target’s mini Disney stores and website can be used by shoppers to find items from popular Disney items, including Star Wars and Raya and the Last Dragon.

Together with Disney, Target announced that it would be working with the well-known toy retailer FAO Schwarz for the second year in a row. There will be an exclusive 70-piece toy collection with FAO Schwarz, including items from Barbie and Paw Patrol. It will also have a pop-up shop inside The FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City.

Target’s shares are up around 43% this year. The enterprise Last week’s earnings expectations exceededas it saw a strong start to the back-to-school season.

The 10 greatest Mexican-style sizzling sauces from grocery shops and what meals to make use of them with

With palates and sinuses ablaze, the Taste team took on a monumental challenge this week: tasting two dozen hot Mexican-style sauces to identify the 10 bottles worth your hard-earned dollars and coveted pantry space .

And it’s fine work, as anyone who has walked through the spice shelves in the supermarket knows. The number of hot sauces that Texas grocers have on offer is seemingly unlimited, with dozens of bottles from around the world inviting potential buyers to whip their taste buds with the painful hot peppers of chillies.

To narrow down this overwhelming choice, Emily Spicer and I, the grocery editor for Express-News, focused solely on hot sauces, which are popular in Mexico and Texas. Think Cholula and Valentina, not Louisiana-style sauces like Frank’s RedHot or Crystal or the Srirachas of Southeast Asia or the peri-peri sauces popular in South Africa – all of which are also abundant in stores in the San Antonio area. (Don’t worry, salsa verde fans. We’ll be taking a close look at the green stuff in a future taste test.)

Of the many hot sauces we’ve tried – oh, it still burns as I write this – some were easy to eliminate because they got too close to fresh salsa. Others were just plain inedible for a variety of reasons, such as poor taste balance, chemical aftertaste, or – worst crime of all – just being boring when the tongue calls for a fiery feast.

With the hard work (and several gallons of water through the hatch) we’re bringing you the 10 best sauces we’ve tried and our recommended uses for each.

Classic buffalo sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Classic buffalo sauce

This thick, smooth sauce is having an identity crisis in the best possible way. It’s somewhere between a traditional Mexican hot sauce and chamoy, with a robust fruity taste and a hint of sweetness thanks to guajillo chillies and a little sugar. We want a splash of it with fresh fruit, tequila-based cocktails, and micheladas.

Cholula Original hot sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Cholula Original hot sauce

This sauce based on chilli arbol and chilli pequin is a real classic and has a light taste full of vinegar and spices. It is not only suitable as an all-purpose table sauce, but is also a welcome addition to hearty stews such as carne guisada, chilli and picadillo.

De La Viuda Original hot sauce

De La Viuda Original hot sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

De La Viuda Original hot sauce

This Jalisco Arbol Chili Sauce finds a perfect balance between the flavor of Cholula and the flavor of Valentina and is remarkably well balanced in salt, vinegar and heat with a persistent, slow burn. This was one of our favorites. It’s like a glittering, younger sister of Cholula and deserves pride of place as a hot sauce suitable for everyday use.

From the first red sauce

From the first red sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

From the first red sauce

If you can’t decide between fresh salsa and hot sauce, Del Primo is the bottle for you. It’s a little chunky with seeds of tomatillos, jalapeños, and arbol chilies, enhanced by a lively plant-like taste of onions and coriander. This sauce would be a winner if drizzled on almost any type of taco.

Humble House Ancho & Morita Smokey Tamarind Sauce

Humble House Ancho & Morita Smokey Tamarind Sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Humble House Ancho & Morita Smokey Tamarind Sauce

A really unique sauce made from ancho and morita chillies, tons of spicy tamarind, raisins and balsamic vinegar. Born in San Antonio, this product is perfect for adding a mild smoky and fruity flavor to quick-grilled or oven-fried meat. It would also be a perfect complement to greasy sour cream or cream cheese based dips and mac and mac and cheese.

Trader Joe's hot jalapeño pepper sauce

Trader Joe’s hot jalapeño pepper sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Trader Joe’s hot jalapeño pepper sauce

Jalapeños are clearly the star here, with their distinct flavor that shines through. This sauce has a pleasant taste of charred chili skin without becoming smoky, balanced with lots of salt and spice. It’s a versatile sauce that can be used almost anywhere you would use a fresh salsa.

Valentina hot sauce

Valentina hot sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Valentina hot sauce

This hearty sauce with a strong nose of cumin and garlic is based on puya chillies grown in Jalisco. It’s thicker and less acidic than many of the sauces we’ve tried, with a pretty tame heat. This rounded sauce would be a welcome addition to eggy breakfast tacos or quesadillas.

Whisker Bomb Pepper Sauce Pepper

Whisker Bomb Pepper Sauce Pepper

Paul Stephen / staff

Whisker Bomb Pepper Sauce Pepper

ZZ top frontman Billy Gibbons and his bearded music colleague Tim Montana have teamed up to create this surprisingly personable sauce that crosses the line between cantina and barbecue pit. It contains an unusual blend of spices like mustard, ginger, and allspice without losing its Texas twang. This would be a perfect partner with brisket tacos or as a glaze on ribs.

Yucatan Sunshine prepared habanero pepper sauce

Yucatan Sunshine prepared habanero pepper sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Yucatan Sunshine prepared habanero pepper sauce

Of the various habanero-based sauces we tried, this version was by far the best with a crisp and lively taste of this particular chilli. It’s very fruity with some sweetness of carrots in the mix. While it was the hottest sauce we fell for, it remains very tasty and would be a welcome flavor boost on grilled chicken, seafood, or any other dish that requires a touch of heat and a delicate floral aroma.

Zaaschila pequin sauce

Zaaschila pequin sauce

Paul Stephen / staff

Zaaschila pequin sauce

While this sauce is clearly Mexican and made with tomatillos and chili pequin, it has a remarkably global flavor profile thanks to loads of garlic, onions, lemon juice, and a large serving of oregano. It is reminiscent of the hot Middle Eastern sauce called Shatta and would be a perfect alternative to chimichurri on grilled red meat, poured over a lamb gyro or drizzled on crispy falafel.

pstephen@express-news.net | Twitter: @pjbites | Instagram: @pjstephen

Fuel stations, liquor shops allowed to snap up profit cash with out offering intensive wholesome meals choices

(InvestigateTV/Gray News) – Driving through almost any town in rural America, gas stations have peculiar selections.

Of course, there’s the usual road trip fare: soda, chips and candy. Maybe a section of T-shirts with funny slogans or essentials for your car such as containers of oil and antifreeze.

But there’s often also the out-of-place package of ham in the beer cooler. A random few frozen meals tucked in near the bags of ice. Or an odd bunch of bananas in a basket at the checkout.

The reason in many cases: Stores are working to meet the minimum requirements to accept food stamps – a government program meant to help America’s poorest buy healthy food. It’s a program that can also mean big money for small stores.

By law, stores in the federal program are supposed to regularly stock multiple different types of food that fall into each of the following categories: Fruit/vegetables, dairy, meat/seafood and bread/cereal.

“Not all stores meet the low standards to be in the program. So, there’s two problems. One: standards are too low. And the second problem is there’s no compliance to make sure that those standards are met. But SNAP is vitally important,” said Chicago-based researcher and consultant Mari Gallagher.

On the government’s benefits website, the stated mission of the food stamp or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is “to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.”

The healthy options are what people from food bank operators to food access advocates say are lacking, particularly in rural stores.

Many stores that accept food stamps that InvestigateTV visited had prominent shelves of chips, candy and other snack foods, as well as large coolers of beer and other alcoholic beverages. Fresh and/or healthy food was sparse. Federal regulations require stores to stock some dairy, bread/cereal, fruit/vegetables, and meat/seafood, but critics say the standards are too low.(InvestigateTV)

Seven years ago, lawmakers tried to expand the access to food for Americans on benefits by requiring stores to stock a wider variety of healthy food to be allowed to accept benefit money.

But InvestigateTV discovered that the eligibility requirements published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program, don’t meet the current legal requirement.

That’s because a few years after passing that law, Congress effectively reversed its own law by pulling funding on the new requirement. So, while the law requires more, stores aren’t required to follow the mandate.

Benefits are big business

While the intention of the program is to help families put food on their table – and make sure their options are nutritious – it’s not always happening.

There are currently around 245,000 stores that accept food stamps across the United States. Many are typical grocery stores with a meat counter, produce department and aisles of refrigerated, frozen and shelf-stable foods. Most benefit dollars are used at such stores, according to the USDA.

But there are thousands of what Gallagher refers to as fringe stores that also take food stamps. Those stores, she explains, don’t offer foods that could regularly support a healthy diet.

“Three reasons: Money, money, money,” Gallagher said.

Gas stations, minimarts, bait shops and stores with huge shelves of liquor can cash in on the benefits program, without providing many healthy options for customers.

While people who use food stamps cannot use the benefits to buy liquor, cigarettes or household supplies, they can buy nearly any food or non-alcoholic drink product including chips, candy bars and slushies.

In some towns, gas stations and minimarts are the only game in town. The National Association of Convenience Stores says nearly half of those stores are in rural areas, and more than 80% of rural Americans live within 10 minutes of a convenience store.

“Convenience stores are important because rural areas don’t always have access to as many goods and services as other places,” said NACS general counsel Doug Kantor, who agrees more fresh food options should be required at stores.

Critics say currently the small stores often don’t offer much for poor residents, some of whom also lack access to transportation to get to a town with a full grocery store. With a limited selection, some customers may only have a few healthy options and walls of sugar or sodium-packed choices.

“There are a lot of people who are missing meals because they cannot afford them, or they’re missing quality meals. They’re going to the minimart gas station and getting something that’s there because they’re really hungry,” Gallagher said.

Accepting SNAP is lucrative for stores. From a store’s perspective, accepting benefits is the same as taking a debit card or cash.

“Retailers love to be in the SNAP program, and why shouldn’t they? There’s a lot of money in the program,” Gallagher said.

In the last fiscal year, convenience stores accepted $3.8 billion in benefits.

Undercover findings

In rural Louisiana, small stores on the side of the road sell trinkets, beer, and even life-like baby dolls.

InvestigateTV journalists drove to multiple towns to visit a dozen stores that have applied for and been allowed to accept food stamps. The goal of the undercover reporting: See what residents can buy at their local convenience stores. In some towns, those stores are the only places to buy food.

The findings: Many specialized in junk food and booze – with little to no fresh fruits or vegetables, limited if any meat in the coolers or freezers, and only small containers of often pricey milk.

In one store, the only sign of fresh fruits or vegetables was a shelf with five green bell peppers and one moldy lemon.

In rural Louisiana, small stores that accept SNAP benefits sell items including life-like baby dolls, karaoke machines. The dozen stores InvestigateTV visited contained mostly sugary and salty snack foods as well as large beverage selections. Most had canned fruits, vegetables and meats to fulfill SNAP requirements. Very few had any fresh produce or raw meat intended to cook at home. One store had a few bell peppers and a moldy lemon; another had expired eggs. Rural convenience store owners say it can be hard to stock and keep perishable foods with limited truck deliveries.(InvestigateTV)

Gallagher, the Chicago-based researcher, has spent years working on food research and is credited with popularizing the term “food desert.” In her work, she has done a lot of reconnaissance herself.

“I saw a laundromat one time that was in the SNAP program. They had this little kind of dumpy laundromat and then a little table with, it was just a little like a card table, with some stuff that they sold and accepted SNAP,” she said. “I saw one convenience store that had little gambling machines in there. People were in there smoking. They had no, really no real food.”

To accept food stamps, a store fills out a nine-page form, part of which asks stores to check “yes” or “no” on whether they have the required minimum stock of staple foods.

The current requirement for most stores, according to the USDA’s website, is that each store have three packages of three varieties of food in four categories: Fruits/vegetables, meat/seafood, dairy, and bread/cereals.

For example, to meet the fruit/vegetable category, a store might have three cans of green beans, three bananas and three cartons of orange juice.

To accept food stamps (SNAP benefits), a store must stock at least three units of three types...To accept food stamps (SNAP benefits), a store must stock at least three units of three types of food in each of the four major categories. Shown are examples of food that would qualify a store to participate in the program. Congress amended the law seven years ago to require seven types of food in each category; however, that law is on hold while the USDA finalizes its rules.(Illustration: Jon Turnipseed, InvestigateTV)

Canned tomato soup is a qualifying vegetable. So is a bag of frozen tater tots. Beef jerky is a meat. Jarred alfredo sauce can be counted as milk and a qualifying dairy product.

In addition to the requirements being low and some would say strange, inspections for SNAP compliance are infrequent. According to a USDA spokesperson, the agency “in general” visits stores when they initially apply for the program. It then “may” visit again when they apply for reauthorization every five years.

“USDA colleagues that we work with are very talented and dedicated. Congress actually has to allocate money for there to be money for compliance,” Gallagher said.

Current rules fail to meet 2007 Farm Bill requirements

A law currently on the books strengthens the requirements for stores. It forces them to have more healthy food on the shelves at any time.

But that law is also essentially shelved.

In 2014, Congress passed a new farm bill, a 357-page law that encompasses issues from conservation to subsidies to food stamps.

One of the changes: Instead of requiring three varieties of food in those big categories, stores would now be required to have seven types of food. For example, instead of three types of dairy products such as milk, cheese and sour cream, shops would need to have seven.

“We supported it, and it was a nice instance of bipartisan agreement in Washington that this was an achievable improvement in terms of pushing stores to offer more,” said Kantor, from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

The USDA amended its benefit rules to reflect the change.

But, NACS and a group of lawmakers said the new rule ended up being written in a way that was too limiting for rural stores.

The 2014 Farm Bill included a change to SNAP requirements for stores to participate in the...The 2014 Farm Bill included a change to SNAP requirements for stores to participate in the program. Instead of requiring three “varieties” of food in each category such as fruit/vegetables, the law now required seven varieties. The USDA wrote a new rule to reflect the changes; however, there was significant criticism. In 2017, Congress stopped enforcement of the change until the USDA addressed and rewrote the definition of variety. A 2019 rule to fix the concern has not been finalized.(InvestigateTV)

The bar, according to those in the industry and some lawmakers, was too high.

“Unfortunately when the Department of Agriculture first wrote the rules to implement this, they wrote them in a way that nobody understood or thought made sense,” Kantor said.

In 2016, more than 150 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter asking the rule be reconsidered.

Senators, including the current chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), also wrote a letter to the secretary of agriculture.

It stated, in part, “The cost and burden of complying with the proposed rule could be too high for these retailers to continue participating in SNAP. This would result in the exact opposite of what is intended- it would reduce access to healthy food for SNAP participants.”

The hang-up is in the word “variety.” Currently, only one type of product can be a “variety” – so roast beef and a steak only count for one variety of meat/seafood: beef. Orange juice and fresh oranges are one variety of fruit/vegetable.

Stores say it’s too hard to stock that much variety in a small, rural store where deliveries are few and far between. In particular, the meat and dairy categories would run out of options very quickly if only one type of beef, chicken, etc. counted toward the total as the original rule suggested.

Part of the NACS argument stated on its website: “On average, convenience stores get food deliveries 1-2 times a week, which can make stocking certain foods, particularly perishable foods, difficult. Convenience stores have limited space and storage. The average convenience store is approximately 3,000 square feet—almost 15 times smaller than the average supermarket.”

So in 2017, Congress essentially pulled back its own mandate in an omnibus appropriations bill. It said the rule established by the still-in-effect law would not be funded until some definitions are hammered out. As of this date, it still has not happened.

Many rural stores carry only canned or otherwise shelf-stable produce. Some stock frozen...Many rural stores carry only canned or otherwise shelf-stable produce. Some stock frozen varieties. These all meet SNAP requirements for stores; however, many food access experts say there should be more fresh choices to support a healthy diet. Some stores, such as Dollar General, have plans to expand fresh selections.(InvestigateTV)

Now, in 2021, while the law still technically says stores should have seven different kinds of fruits and vegetables, that’s not the requirement in practice.

“The law that Congress wrote is achievable, and frankly we think they were clear. As I said, the Department of Agriculture, I think, made it more complicated than it should have been in a way that folks would not have been able to implement,” Kantor said. “We hope that they’ll finish the job of simplifying that soon so that everybody can then comply with the new law and offer more.”

The USDA answered questions through email, but the agency declined to go on camera for an interview.

InvestigateTV specifically asked the USDA why it has not finalized the rule that would bring the program into step with the law.

A spokesperson responded through email: “USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) received significant comments in response to the proposed rule. FNS is currently determining the appropriate next steps to balance the improved retailer stocking requirements with the costs and operational realities of such changes.”

Food bank replaces grocery store

The last grocery store in Pine Hill, Alabama, closed some 30 years ago, according to the recollection of former residents.

All that’s left now is a dollar store and two gas stations.

“Even when I was small coming up, it wasn’t a whole lot here. But we had three grocery stores, and now there’s no grocery store at all,” said Edith Ruffin, who grew up in Pine Hill and now lives in Selma.

The twisted irony: Ruffin now runs the town’s food bank out of one of the old grocery store buildings.

A few times a week, Ruffin loads up her car and drives the 60 miles between her home in Selma and her hometown to run the food bank.

The Pine Hill Mission food bank co-founded by Edith Ruffin serves over 17 nearby counties. The...The Pine Hill Mission food bank co-founded by Edith Ruffin serves over 17 nearby counties. The food bank operates out of an old grocery store building. With limited options for healthy food, Ruffin said she is one of the only places people can get fresh produce and other perishable items.(Owen Hornstein, InvestigateTV)

“Dollar General is just canned goods and, you know, snack stuff. They might have canned vegetables, but there’s no fresh stuff there,” Ruffin said. “Here at the food bank, we are able to give them potatoes and tomatoes. We’ve been blessed with a three-door cooler now so I can add dairy stuff.”

An InvestigateTV videographer went into the three stores that accept food stamps in Pine Hill. There were options for canned and frozen vegetables, fruit, and meat – but as Ruffin said, fresh food was virtually non-existent.

“So, it’s just the food bank itself going on right here … just the food bank. I know a lot of them come here and they are calling me later when we have a drive-by giveaway, and they say, ‘Thank you so much, you know, because I don’t know what we would do if the food bank wasn’t there.’”

Dollar General said it offers convenient, affordable access to components to make nutritious meals such as frozen and canned vegetables and fruits. A corporate news release states the company has fresh produce in more than 1,300 of its stores, which would account for about 7% of its stores, though it has published plans to expand. The closest large grocery stores to Pine Hill are a Piggly Wiggly, 25 minutes away in Camden, and a Walmart, 15 minutes away in the next county.

“You look at people with low income, how can you pay somebody for taking you down there? You don’t have the money for it, or if you squeeze it … you get there and pay for the gas for somebody to take you, there is a dent in your money to buy food,” Ruffin said.

Gallagher deployed her special missing meals deficit model in Wilcox County, where Pine Hill is located, at the request of InvestigateTV to get a clearer picture of the hunger in the county.

The goal: Factor in all kinds of things on a local level from seasonal employment and government benefits to school lunches and food pantries to figure out how many people are missing meals each day, week and year.

Her findings: People who live in Wilcox County miss an estimated 686,000 meals a year, which is equal to almost 1 million pounds of food. Said another way, the average family or household misses an average of 3.5 meals a week.

The Pine Hill area is one of the more stretched parts of the county. The around 1,100 residents there miss more than 67,000 meals each year.

If everyone in the county shared the missing meals at the same time, no one in the county would eat a meal for three weeks. (Full reports available at the end of the story).

This map shows how many meals are missed each year in various block groups of Wilcox County,...This map shows how many meals are missed each year in various block groups of Wilcox County, Alabama. Pine Hill is in one of the more stressed areas of the county, according to analysis and mapping. Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group analyzed Wilcox County’s local data as well as that of Ashtabula County, Ohio at the request of InvestigateTV.(Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group)

Solving hunger issues by looking at access, education

Wilcox County has been ranked the worst county in Alabama to live in. Nearly ten years ago, Census data ranked it the poorest county in America by household income.

It has a storied and complicated history, much of it tied to slavery. It is a place where descendants of slaves now live, home to people who marched from Selma to Montgomery.

And for many, it’s a home they won’t abandon. But to remain, they need help.

Tamika Dial works as the coordinator for the Wilcox County Extension Office. For her, helping rural Alabama serves a personal purpose, but she can’t do it alone.

“It’s a lot to live in rural Alabama. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it’s a lot of things that if somebody would really take the time to hear what we are saying they can see that we need help here,” she said.

Some of the biggest obstacles in the county, Dial said, come down to accessing resources and transportation to get to those resources.

Since many people are locked into their towns with only gas stations or convenience stores, they are stuck with the options that exist there. On top of the lack of choices, Dial said the prices are also worse, meaning food stamps don’t stretch as far.

“When you come to rural Alabama, you don’t have enough competition so you’re going to pay more,” Dial said.

InvestigateTV looked at prices in rural convenience stores, a dollar store and the large grocery store in Camden. Many items were double the price per weight – and often the choices were only to compare fresh foods to canned options.

InvestigateTV compared prices for various grocery items in Wilcox County in June 2021....InvestigateTV compared prices for various grocery items in Wilcox County in June 2021. Convenience and dollar store prices were gathered in person; the Piggly Wiggly prices are from the store’s weekly advertisements. Some produce items were only available in cans, which is noted in the graphic.(Illustration/Research: Cory Johnson, InvestigateTV)

Dial said they have worked with stores in an attempt to get more fresh food options, but the owners haven’t had luck keeping the stock or selling it.

“A lot of our convenience stores started complaining because they were losing money because a lot of folks will not go in and buy the fresh fruits and vegetables. They would be purchasing chips and candy and the gum, and the business owners started taking a loss in trying to do that,” Dial said.

Now, much of the focus of her office is on educating people on making healthier choices. They help teach school children about eating vegetables. They talk to people about choosing granola bars instead of candy and drinking water and 100% juice instead of sugar-filled juice mixes.

The office also works with stores to make healthy choices stand out.

“We try our very best to make sure all those good items are the items that you see when you first walk into the store. Like your water… your 100% juices,” Dial said.

For Dial and her coworkers, helping people make healthy choices even when those choices are slim is a matter of life or death.

“Healthy choices… because it makes you live longer. It cuts out obesity. It lowers the heart rate, it lowers diabetes, cholesterol, and if we can get these children at an early age, we can cut out a lot of health problems that may be in our rural communities,” Dial said.

But like many working in rural areas and putting in so much time and heart, Dial said they need help.

“We are not asking for handouts. We just ask to be recognized and noticed and help us combat all these disparities that we have in rural Alabama,” Dial said.


In Wilcox County, Edith Ruffin, who runs the food bank, plans to keep doing what she can on a small level. Her next big goal: Get a fresh food truck that comes into Camden to head the 25 minutes down the road to Pine Hill.

“I do believe that if we could get that vegetable and fruit truck coming through this area we could do more,” Ruffin said.

She once tried to haul fresh fruit and vegetables from the Camden truck, but the pallet fell from her car onto the highway. Ruffin said she nearly wrecked and is too concerned to try it again.

For now, she leans on the generosity of others, too. The food bank in Selma helps donate food, and a local company helps give money to buy more.

Dial, from the extension office, hopes more stores would consider coming to the county.

“I think that we need to be looked at closer and see the problems and see how important it is that we need to…we need more stores in our area,” she said.

The NACS wants the USDA to move the rule changes forward so the requirements are higher for stores, and the organization’s general counsel said he will continue pushing for the finalization.

“We continue to support it and hope that the Department of Agriculture will finish some rules that allow us to implement it,” Kantor said. “There are some impediments to offering more variety, especially in small stores like convenience stores. But we do think they should offer more.”

Meantime, Kantor said many stores are taking it upon themselves to offer more.

“As people have wanted to buy more different kinds of foods, more fresh foods, convenience stores have started to offer more and more of those products,” Kantor said.

Dollar General is one such store. While in Pine Hill, Alabama the store didn’t have much fresh food on hand, the corporate headquarters said it plans to expand fresh food to up to 10,000 of its stores within the next several years.

That move would mean fresh produce in more than half of its stores. With the company’s estimate of 75% of Americans living within five miles of a Dollar General, it could mean a significant increase in availability.

When it comes to the bigger picture, Gallagher hopes to see changes in mindset and policy.

“If you don’t want to do it for the moral imperative you can do it for the economic imperative. I mean, because in the end, you know, we’re going to have a workforce that can’t pay attention to this, a lot of missed work because of diet-related diseases,” Gallagher said.

One potential solution Gallagher proposes is building SNAP compliance into health department inspections, since someone already goes into stores regularly at the county level.

“Let’s put some money together for compliance because we all eat as part of human condition, and food and access to food should be a conscious part of our infrastructure maintenance,” Gallagher said.

Wilcox County, Alabama and Ashtabula County, Ohio Full Reports

Courtesy: Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

New York Metropolis Enacts Biometrics Regulation for Meals and Drink Institutions, Leisure Venues, and Retail Shops

New York Biometric Identification Information Act goes into effect July 9th. The law applies to food and beverage stores, entertainment venues, and retail stores in New York City that collect, store, convert, store, or share biometric identification information (e.g., retinal or iris scans, fingerprints, voice prints, and hand scans). of customers. According to the law, affected companies must post clear, noticeable notices near all customer entrances to their facilities. The law gives injured customers a private right to sue with 30 days’ notice and a grace period, with damages between $ 500 and $ 5,000 per violation and legal fees.

Effective July 9th, pursuant to Section 22-1202 (a) of the New York City Administrative Act, New York City businesses that collect, store, transform, store, or disclose biometric identification information from customers must disclose, or share, such collection, storage, conversion, storage , if applicable, by placing a clear and prominent sign near all customer entrances to their facilities. This signage must use plain, simple language.

Essential elements of the law are:


  • Commercial establishments. The definition of commercial establishments is limited to entertainment venues, retail stores, or catering establishments.
  • Places of entertainment. Entertainment venues refers to any private or public entertainment facility such as theaters, stadiums, arenas, race tracks, museums, amusement parks, observatories, or any other location where attractions, performances, concerts, exhibitions, sports games, or competitions are held.
  • Biometric identifier information. The term biometric identifier information means a physiological or biological characteristic used by or on behalf of a commercial entity, individually or in combination, to identify or help identify an individual, including, but not limited to: (i ) a retinal or iris scan, (ii) a fingerprint or voice print, (iii) a scan of the hand or face geometry, or any other identifying feature.

Prohibition of the use of biometrics

  • Section 22-1202 (b) prohibits commercial establishments from selling, renting, trading, sharing, or otherwise using such biometric identifier information.

Private right of action

The law contains a private right of action that provides for the following:

  • Notice and healing period. Aggrieved parties must give written notice to the offending parties at least 30 days prior to commencement of a lawsuit alleging a commercial establishment of violating 22-1202 (a). Actions alleging violation of 22-1202 (b) do not require prior written notice stating that commercial entities may not sell, share, or benefit in any way from a customer’s biometric information.
  • Statutory Compensation. Dominant parties may reclaim: (i) US $ 500 for any unhealed disclosure breach or negligent breach of prohibition on sale / disclosure of biometric information; (ii) $ 5,000 for each willful or negligent breach of the No Sale / Transfer; (iii) reasonable attorney fees and expenses; and (iv) other remedies, including an injunction, as the court deems appropriate.


  • The law does not apply to government agencies, employees, or agents.
  • The disclosure requirement in 22-1202 (a) does not apply to financial institutions or companies that collect biometric identification information through photos or video recordings if: (i) the collected images or videos are not analyzed by software or applications that identify or assist with identification by persons based on physiological or biological characteristics, and (ii) the images or videos will not be shared, sold or rented to any third party other than law enforcement agencies.

Consultants see innovation and pop-up shops

A shopper browsing used clothing at a pop-up swap event in Singapore.

CATHERINE LAI | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – The future of physical business has been challenged by the Coronavirus Pandemic, but experts believe the key to survival will be reinvention.

For some time now, retailers have been trying to attract customers by creating in-store experiences. Now, however, they need to get creative as shopping habits change and customers become more demanding.

Online shopping has been booming since the pandemic began. In the UK alone, internet sales rose from under 20% to over 32% in just three months at the start of the first Covid-induced lockdown. And experts expect the convenience of buying online means consumers will continue this habit even after the pandemic.

According to accounting firm PwC, nearly 50 stores closed every day in the UK in 2020.

Both trends show how important it is for retailers to get their physical presence right.

Kristina Rogers, Ernest Young’s global consumer leader, told CNBC in March that there is “a real redefinition” in the way retailers use their physical spaces.

“It’s no longer just an exchange,” she said, adding that retailers need to understand who their customers are and what they want.

Customers are browsing clothes at the Pangaia pop-up in Selfridges department store in London on April 12, 2021 as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

GLYN KIRK | AFP | Getty Images

She highlighted how aim, one of the largest retailers in the US, has chosen to have more space in its stores for Apple products. This effectively enables customers to be interested Apple Devices you can use to check them out in Target while shopping for other things. This is also handy for current Apple users who can merge two trips into one.

“They’re building a ‘mini mall’ in their shop,” she said.

But not every retailer has such a large area to work with. In fact, some experts believe that successful businesses of the future could be those that keep offering new things regardless of their size.

“There will undoubtedly be fewer physical stores going forward,” Matt Clark, managing director of consulting firm AlixPartners, told CNBC’s Street Signs Europe in March. “But the remaining stores need to offer an even bigger experience, additional services and just the ability to purchase products.”

One way for retailers to stand out is to focus more on pop-up stores. These are spaces that are temporarily open to showcase a particular line or product and that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Stella McCartney Store on Bond Street in November 2020.

SOPA pictures | LightRocket | Getty Images

“One of the most important ways for pop-up shops is to create new opportunities for exploration. It’s not about a consumer walking into a Ralph Lauren store that is the same today as it was 10 or 20 years ago,” says Alex Cohen. A commercial real estate expert at Compass told CNBC.

Some well-known brands have already searched for pop-ups to attract more customers. British fashion designer Stella McCartney is showcasing a variety of local businesses in her flagship store on Old Bond Street in London to celebrate the lifting of restrictions on retailers in the UK. Guess is about to open its first pop-up store in Germany for activewear.

Pop-up areas allow retailers to create something “really fresh” while saving costs, Cohen said.

“Brands have the ability to spend a lot less, not have to commit to a long-term contract, spend less on modular installations, and do it very quickly,” he added.


In addition, this type of business promotes the idea of ​​exclusivity – a feeling that is becoming increasingly popular with many customers.

“The whole idea of ​​exclusivity is really important. The fact that a pop-up is expiring … is causing excitement among consumers. ‘Wow, if I’m not looking at this pop-up retail offer … at the In den in the next 3 months it will go away, I will never be able to see it, “he said. This adds the kind of excitement that is lacking in many traditional stores.

So it’s not just about the feeling of having an exclusive product, but also about an exclusive experience. This means that retailers can benefit from this exclusivity trend in other ways.

“In terms of exclusivity, many retailers now, either by agreement or actually, when you arrive at a store require you to be connected to a seller. You can’t surf and that creates a sense of exclusivity for better or worse,” added Cohen.


Brands are also recognizing the increasing importance of sustainability, both from a business perspective and due to growing customer awareness.

And it’s not just reflected in more “ethical” product lines, but also in what services are available in physical stores.

On its flagship in Stockholm, H & M offers services to repair old clothes and rents out some of its outfits for special occasions.

“The sustainability movement really highlights one of the core dichotomies that the fashion industry is particularly facing, but also a broader retail sector,” said Clark of AlixPartners.

“The debate between value and value: The need to really clearly define your sustainability traits, your ethical sourcing, etc, while delivering great value that is not only cheap but also great value for money which means consumer. “