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•  Ahold Delhaize USA yesterday said that has reached "a milestone in its supply chain transformation to create an integrated self-distributed supply chain of the future" as one distribution center, Freetown Grocery in Massachusetts, "transitioned procurement from a third-party vendor to the self-managed network, providing direct control of inventory and replenishment at this facility … Freetown Grocery was founded in 2004 and is a 1.1 million square foot facility fulfilling grocery demand for the Stop & Shop brand. Stop & Shop continues to own the facility and fulfill orders, while ADUSA Procurement manages replenishment and inventory."

“Our work to transform the supply chain to an integrated self-distribution model of the future is not only on-time, but ahead of schedule,” said Chris Lewis, EVP, Supply Chain for Retail Business Services, Ahold Delhaize USA’s services company. “Today marks an important milestone in our journey with the transition of procurement at this facility, and we’re looking forward to other facility transitions this year. On top of that, we’ve launched new programs to begin to help us as we optimize the network at scale.”

•  Southeastern Grocers, parent company and home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announced that it will "work to identify and increase sourcing from suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people who are: disadvantaged, disabled, LGBTQ+, military veterans, minorities and/or women and sell grocery, general merchandise and/or beauty and personal care products."

Dewayne Rabon, Chief Merchant for Southeastern Grocers, said, “It is our responsibility to take purposeful steps to form stronger partnerships with our minority suppliers and connect with new, diverse businesses whose products reflect the tastes and preferences of our associates, customers and communities that we serve in our stores."

•  The National Grocers Association (NGA) is moving closer to where the power is, with the relocation of its offices from Arlington, Virginia, to Washington, D.C. - on Pennsylvania Avenue, about a mile southeast of the White House and a half-mile northwest of the US Capitol.

•  One casualty of the pandemic:  long retail leases.

CNBC writes that "as thousands of retail leases come up for renewal, their duration is increasingly shrinking, as businesses grapple with an unpredictable future and look for ways to slash costs, stay flexible and maintain leverage over their landlords, even after the health crisis abates.

"The risk is a two-way street, though. Because on one hand, in two or three years, mall and shopping center owners could have the chance to turn the tables back in their favor, by hiking rents or booting retailers out for another tenant. But more short-term deals could also leave landlords with even greater vacancies down the line."

•  CNBC reports that "Nordstrom has struck a deal with Tonal, a company that sells a wall-mounted workout station for $2,995.

"The department store retailer is bringing 40 mini Tonal shops into its stores beginning this month to showcase Tonal products and stir up interest around the brand.

"The tie-up comes as Nordstrom is plotting growth for its active business and is dedicating more space in its stores for athletic apparel and other fitness accessories."

The story goes on:  "For Tonal, the partnership will expand the fitness equipment maker’s reach to new customers at a time when many Americans have been investing in high-tech devices to enhance their at-home workouts during the pandemic. The company has just 16 brick-and-mortar locations - six of its own stores and 10 'shop in shops' with other business partners.

"Nordstrom, meantime, hopes to become a top destination for active gear and to give shoppers more reasons to visit its stores. Many of them are in malls that have been frequented less during the health crisis."

•  From the New York Times:

"Apollo Global Management and at least one other private equity firm have expressed interest in acquiring Michaels, the hobby retailer, according to two people familiar with the situation.

"A buyout would return the retailer to private hands after seven years as a public company. The values of the bids weren't clear.

"Bolstered by a pandemic boom in home crafts, shares of the retailer, which has more than 1,200 stores and some 44,000 employees, have risen by nearly 300 percent over the past year, giving it a market capitalization of around $2.3 billion.

"The people, who requested anonymity because the outreach is still confidential, said it is possible that Michaels would opt against a deal."