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Tops Friendly Market – Another Grocer Going into Bankruptcy

Touch the Soil News #945 (Feature photo – Tops Friendly Market – CCA SA 4.0 International) Tops Friendly Market in the Northeast is filing a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. This is not a liquidation, but an attempt to re-organize it’s roughly $723 million in debt and try to keep its doors open. If their plan works, they will emerge from the bankruptcy sometime in the future to keep on selling groceries. Tops Friendly Market has 169 stores and some 15,000 employees across three states. Earlier this month another much larger grocer – Winn Dixie Stores – also filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Winn Dixie has almost 500 stores and 41,000 employees.…

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Odd, but Interesting

Touch the Soil News #823 (Feature photo – public domain by Caldorwards4) How much is a typical Albertson’s grocery store building and parking lot worth? On September 25, 2017, the Albertson’s company entered into an agreement to sell the real estate facilities of 71 of its grocery stores and lease them back from the new buyer. A rather unusual transaction, we were able to find the original terms of the deal as registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The purchase price of the real estate associated with the 71 Albertson’s stores is $720,661,534. This equates to an average of $10,150,162 per store location. Unfortunately, the document did not include…

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Investment and Job Nonsense?

Touch the Soil News #789 (Feature photo courtesy of Aspersions) Events in the food chain are ripe with insights. The recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon has heightened the competition. This morning, it was official that the Amazon owned Whole Foods. Shoppers to Whole Foods found some of the prices reduced. This sent shock waves through the stock market as relates to grocery stocks. Amazon stock was up by about $1.00 which translated into about $504 million in new wealth. However, NASDAQ had a different story about Amazon’s grocery competitors. Over the past few days, the market value of Wal Mart, Kroger, Costco, Sprouts and SuperValue were down almost…

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Cash for Groceries

Touch the Soil News #761 (feature photo – Ellin Beltz – CC SA 3.0) An Editorial by Benjamin Gisin Do you ever get tired of using debit cards at the grocery store? People are always fussing with the card reader and being asked if you want e-mail stuff. When checking out, folks leave loads of statistics about what they purchased. Grocers use this information target you with ads, promotionals and may even stalk you when shopping online. Over the past few years I have been favoring the use of cash. There are no questions asked, no hassling with the swipe machine, no risks of identity theft and I leave no…

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Food Titans – Prepare for Battle

Touch the Soil News #725 We have all been taught that competition is good thing. Today it is not just about a better product or a better way to do things – it is often all and only about the money – regardless of the economic consequences to the nation and its working people. The ongoing consolidations in the grocery business, for example, have created huge Titans that are preparing for an economic battle. It is no longer about the big swallowing the small. It is about the big battling the big. When big battles big, the fallout can be more dramatic and happen more quickly. For example, it took…

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Duking it Out Update

Touch the Soil News #712 LIDL grocery store company is coming to America and opening its first nine (9) stores on June 15, 2017. We did an earlier news piece (#703 – Duking it Out) where we touched on the LIDL’s entry to the U.S. They plan to open some 300 stores in the next couple of years. The first nine (9) stores will be located in: North Carolina in the cities of Kinston, Greenville, Sanford, Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem. South Carolina in the cities of Spartanburg and Greenville. Virginia in the cities of Virginia Beach and Hampton.   LIDL, headquartered in Germany, has over 10,000 stores in 27 countries…

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Duking it Out

Touch the Soil News #703 Grocery stores are the realm of big capital. Unlike the small neighborhood grocers of 50 years ago, billions of dollars of investments have muscled into the backrooms of every grocery chain. Big investors have always warred against each other, but more aggressive incarnations are erupting in the grocery industry. As we speak, Canadian grocery stores continue to take a walloping from U.S. grocery giants that moved in. A recent story by the Canadian Press revealed that between 2004 and 2015, Canadian grocers lost over 11 percent of their market share to the likes of Costco and Wal-Mart. In the United States, American grocery stores are…

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Who Is LIDL and Does it Matter?

Touch the Soil News #699 (photo courtesy of Beyond Meat) LIDL is a German grocer that has over 10,000 grocery stores in 28 European countries. LIDL considers itself to be a “discount” grocer/retailer. Part of the retailing strategy of LIDL is a no-frills shopping experience where most products are still in the original shipping box. As boxes are emptied, new ones are put in place. Part of the strategy is to use a minimal number of employees to run a store. The company employs about 315,000 people in Europe. LIDL is owned by the Swartz Gruppe which is the fifth largest retailer in the world. It is the second largest…

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Wasteless – A Better Approach to Grocery Shopping

Touch the Soil News #677 Wasteless is a start-up tech company from Israel. It is re-inventing how grocery stores manage inventory (food), pricing and minimizing waste. The new technology is headed for America and other parts of the word. In the U.S., almost 50 percent of food from the farm field never gets into a consumer’s stomach. All along the food chain the waste takes place. The largest concentration of waste takes place in grocery stores. Modern grocers are inefficient when it comes to managing perishable and processed food. Estimates are that U.S. grocers lose a $1 billion a day in food losses. Wasteless is placing RFID chips on food…

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World’s Largest Costco – An Experience

Touch the Soil News #535 Recently, we heard that the world’s largest Costco was in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake metropolitan area is an asphalt jungle that meanders along the Wasatch Front (mountain range) for over 125 miles. This sprawling metropolitan region is home to 2.5 million people. Following developments in the food chain made us curious about what it’s like in perhaps the largest grocery (and other goods) store in the nation. At 235,000 square feet, we arrived at the largest Costco on a Wednesday – hoping it would be easy to get into. Ironically, the parking lot was full, but when we got inside it was not…

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