DRUG

Walgreens Boots Alliance co-chief operating officer Ornella Barra was commended for her sustainability leadership at the Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards 2020, which recognized her innovation and her commitment to promoting community health. Barra chairs WBA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and leads the company’s CSR strategy, partnering with multiple organizations. The Business Leader Award category celebrates an outstanding business leader who has demonstrated pioneering, inspiring, motivational and passionate leadership, clear commitment to long-term impacts and a commitment to a sustainable future.

Rite Aid is partnering with digital promotions, media and analytics company Quotient to expand its digital media capabilities and connect brands with its shoppers through the launch of its own media platform: Rite Aid Performance Media. The platform will enable brands to execute targeted digital media campaigns to its shoppers across Rite Aid’s digital properties, social media platforms, offsite programmatic display ads and digital out-of-home channels, driving in-store and online conversion. Rite Aid and Quotient will begin welcoming brands to Rite Aid Performance Media and running campaigns as soon as this month.

Rite Aid has named Angele Gaylord-Robinson senior vice president of store development to join its senior leadership team driving the company’s RxEvolution strategy. In her role, Gaylord-Robinson will execute and manage the chain’s store renovations, which are a central component of the RxEvolution and the rollout of Rite Aid’s “store of the future” format intended to make Rite Aid stores vibrant health-and-wellness destinations. She also will manage all aspects of the company’s retail facilities, including store planning, development, construction and management of the Rite Aid real estate portfolio. Gaylord-Robinson has more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate, most recently as president of Ikea’s North America real estate cluster. Before Ikea, she was the lead property manager for McDonald’s USA’s east division.

Rite Aid is rolling out a paid time off policy to ensure its associates are able to vote on Election Day this year. The company is offering up to two hours of paid time off for hourly associates scheduled to work on Nov. 3 and limiting the hours for meetings scheduled for its corporate employees as well as providing flexible hours on Election Day. 

SUPERMARKET

Ahold Delhaize's Giant Co. has for the third time teamed up with Pennsylvania-based Caputo Brothers Creamery and Troegs Independent Brewing to bring an exclusive cheese offering, Mad Elf Beer Cheese, to its Giant Co., Martin’s and Giant Heirloom Market banners for a limited time.

Southeastern Grocers is opening the first four of eight new Winn-Dixie stores in Florida on Nov. 11, completing conversion of three former Earth Fare stores located in Boynton Beach, Jacksonville and Lakewood Ranch and one former Lucky's Market in Gainesville. The new stores will focus on fresh produce and quality meats and seafoods plus offer new signature categories with a wide product selection and specialty items in each department, among other new features.

All Publix pharmacies in Georgia have begun filling pet medication prescriptions after the grocer’s Florida pharmacies began doing so in July. Available medication categories include allergies, antibiotics, arthritis and anti-inflammatory, bronchitis, dry eye and heart failure, among others. The prescriptions, except those that need to be refrigerated, can be delivered via Columbus, OH-based prescription delivery service ScriptDrop for those who live within a 5-mile radius of a Publix Pharmacy, for a $5 fee.

Kroger launched its first generation of Chefbot, an artificial intelligence-powered Twitter recipe tool that offers mealtime inspiration and personalized recommendations based on images of groceries found within a shopper's fridge or pantry. To use the bot, shoppers snap a photo of three ingredients from their refrigerator or pantry and Tweet their image to @KrogerChefbot. Within seconds, Chefbot can respond to a user's original Tweet to deliver a list of personalized recipe recommendations based on the selected ingredients. Developed in partnership with integrated creative and media agency 360i, and technology partners Coffee Labs and Clarifai, Chefbot uses artificial intelligence to analyze photographs and can recognize nearly 2,000 ingredients, unlocking 20,000 Kroger recipes for users to cook. Kroger uploaded an Oct. 12 video (see below) to its YouTube channel introducing Chefbot.

Albertsons Cos.'s Acme Markets division has won the bid for 27 Kings Food Market and Balducci's Food Lover's Market locations shortly after the banners’ parent company, KB US Holdings Inc., begun voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in August. The package and expected price for the upscale grocery stores was $96.4 million plus the assumption of various liabilities. The sale is expected to close later this fiscal year and the stores will eventually become part of the Mid-Atlantic division of Albertsons Cos., which operates Acme and Safeway stores on the East Coast. It’s unclear which stores Acme plans to purchase. Kings Food Market currently operates 25 locations, while Balducci's has seven standalone stores and two to-go locations.

“Our company has a history of managing small, differentiated chains that offer an elevated experience, like Andronicos and Haggens in the western U.S." said Jim Perkins, Mid-Atlantic division president, Albertsons Cos. "When we leverage their team’s expertise and continue to deliver what their customers want, these stores can thrive. We are excited to add these two premium gourmet banners to our East Coast operations, and plan to continue to operate the stores as Kings Food Market and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, respectively.”  

AMAZON

While reporting record-breaking sales for third-party sellers during the 2020 edition of Prime Day, Amazon was mum about other results. Third-party sellers across the globe, nearly all of which are small- and medium-sized businesses, had their two biggest days ever with sales surpassing $3.5 billion in total. Third-party sales increased nearly 60% over Prime Day 2019, growing more than Amazon’s retail business. Top-selling categories for third-party sellers included bedding; wireless accessories; nutrition & wellness; arts, crafts & sewing; and health care. 

WSJ sources say Amazon has struck a (non-exclusive) deal with the National Football League to carry the January 10 playoff game on Amazon Prime Video. Earlier this year, Amazon renewed its deal for 11 Thursday Night Football games annually for a reported $75M/year, and the playoff game is reportedly priced "significantly higher" than what Amazon was paying per game for the regular season matches.

Deadline.com reports Amazon has closed a $125 million deal to take over Paramount's Coming 2 America (a sequel to 1988 hit Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy), which was set for a Christmas release in theatrical venues, but now heads to Amazon's service amid ongoing uncertainty over when theaters will open in two key U.S. markets, New York and Los Angeles.

Amazon is offering an interactive AR experience with new Halloween-themed shipping boxes that are made with less material.

WALMART

Walmart will host more than 140 contact-free events in its store parking lots from now through the end of October consisting of Halloween Camp by Walmart, an extension of Walmart’s virtual summer camp program launched earlier in the year; a game day experience; and a Halloween event.

PET

Focusing on more active dogs in need of a high-protein diet, Petco has debuted a line extension under its WholeHearted store brand called WholeHearted Active Performance. The products come in two varieties — chicken and rice, and beef and rice — and are available in stores and online. Petco’s WholeHearted brand has been around since 2016 and includes a range of wet food and treat products for both dogs and cat

HOME CENTER/HARDWARE

The Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper and Motel 6 have cut ties with Dallas-based advertising agency The Richards Group after the agency's founder reportedly made racist remarks in a meeting recently. During an Oct. 8 Zoom gathering of more than three dozen Richards Group employees, a creative team working on the Motel 6 account presented an idea for an ad to Stan Richards, who founded the agency in 1976, according to The New York Times. Though the ad would have featured Black, white and Hispanic guests, Richards responded the proposed ad was "too Black," a person at the meeting told the Times. Richards, who is white, added the ad might offend or alienate Motel 6’s “white supremacist constituents,” the person said.

A Richards Group spokeswoman confirmed in an email to the Times that Richards had made the “too Black” remark, but said that he was trying to convey that the proposed ad “was not multiculturally inclusive enough.” When asked about Richards’ comment on white supremacists, which was first reported by the publication AdAge, the agency spokeswoman said, “Although his comments did reference that group, that quote is not correct.” Richards apologized to hundreds of the agency’s employees on a Zoom call Oct. 9.

“We do not tolerate discrimination in any form, so we were shocked and saddened when we learned of this incident," Home Depot spokeswoman Sara Gorman told Bloomberg. "We have immediately begun the process of finding a new advertising agency." The hardware chain was a client of the Richards Group for more than 25 years.