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Whole Foods flagship to offer wine and beer

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Whole Foods is becoming the latest retailer to offer in-store bars, according to published reports.

USA Today reported that the chain opened a bar selling local wine and craft beer at its flagship store in Austin, Texas, as well as stores in California, Arizona, Illinois and other states, with plans to open at least seven more bars by 2012. The article quoted CEO Walter Robb as saying it was a response to customers coming out of the recession and wanting affordable luxuries.

The store sells beer and wine by the glass for $4 to $10 and growlers of beer for $6.99, the article reported. The service is similar to one recently rolled out by retail pharmacy chain Duane Reade at two of its stores in New York, and the article reported that Starbucks was conducting a similar pilot program at some of its stores in Seattle.

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PepsiCo appoints new EVP government affairs

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo has appointed Maura Abeln Smith as its new EVP government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective May 5.

Smith, who now will be responsible for the company’s worldwide legal function and government affairs organization, succeeds current EVP Larry Thompson, who is retiring from the company.

Prior to this position, Smith served for eight years as SVP, general counsel, corporate secretary and global government relations of International Paper. She has worked as a corporate attorney for more than 30 years, Pepsi said.

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Making ‘fresh & local’ a reality

BY Jim Frederick

COVINGTON, La. — Winn-Dixie’s chairman, president and CEO, Peter Lynch, calls them “state of the art.” The company’s VP pharmacy, John Fegan, calls them “transformational.” They’re talking about the Jacksonville, Fla.-based supermarket chain’s glitzy new prototype store, an upscale and eye-popping showcase for everything from locally sourced foods to gluten-free and specialized dietary offerings.

The new format — which debuted last year in Margate, Fla., and Covington, La., at a cost of roughly $5 million per remodel — also features fresh-caught seafood, a deli with seating, gourmet cheese shops, garden supplies in the spring and a pharmacy with space for immunizations and private medication therapy management. The stores have been a hit with consumers by showcasing Winn-Dixie’s “Fresh & Local” market image and expanded “fresh” departments that offer “locally grown produce and other products local to the area,” according to the company. In fiscal 2011, the chain plans to remodel 22 stores, 17 of which will closely resemble the Covington and Margate stores, and plans to open two new stores.

For photos, click here.

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