Walmart has filed two patent applications for virtual reality technology that would allow customers to shop virtual showrooms and 3D versions of Walmart stores from home. Users would wear headsets and sensor gloves to virtually stroll store shelves and select items to be shipped from fulfillment centers.
Following a breakdown in merger plans, both Albertsons and Rite Aid must find ways to stimulate growth and economies of scale on their own, Russell Redman writes. Albertsons has some innovative ideas but also substantial cost challenges, Redman writes, while Rite Aid faces continued issues with geographic scale.
Washington, D.C.-based Cava Group will acquire publicly traded Zoe's Kitchen for $12.75 per share or about $300 million, the companies said. Investors including Act III Holdings, an investment firm led by Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich, will finance the deal.
New York state is offering additional funding for schools that use about 30% of school-meal funds on locally-produced foods. Allissa Eiser, food services director in one district, says says the additional funding will help to cover the higher cost of buying local.
The search for transparency in products has extended beyond food to cleaning supplies and personal products, according to Nielsen, and customers are increasingly analyzing ingredients in more detail. "Consumers are reading ingredients and analyzing them in different ways -- so it's not necessarily 'what's the protein here, what are the carbs and fat' -- they're bringing it down to a different level," said Megan Reamer of Jackson's Honest during a panel at the recent GMA Leadership Forum.
Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel were marketers at Nestle when they came up with the idea for Wetzel's Pretzels, a startup that aspired to be the "Ben & Jerry's of the pretzel category," Phelps writes. "Listen to the operators," he advises franchise companies. "You never know where the next great idea is coming from."
Students are entering college with more sophisticated palates than their predecessors and campus foodservice operations are taking a cue from restaurants to cater to their needs. Diverse offerings at campus food halls including vegan pasta bars, gluten-free menus and Korean barbecue are university recruiting tools, as well as a means to keep more dining dollars on campus, industry experts say.
The opening of a Cash Saver store has offered shoppers in the Tennessee community of South Memphis, an alternative to a series of bus rides to reach a full-service grocer. "That look on people's faces when they walk into the store, and to realize that particular burden has been lifted, and they have a store of their own again, that's rewarding to me," said grocer Rick James.
Changes made at two former Sam's Club locations to become distribution centers could point to the future for more shuttered or struggling retail sites, Warren Shoulberg writes. With e-commerce growing, warehouse-style shopping locations could be more useful to merchants as true warehouses, he writes.
Some Texas school districts are working with federal contractors that run migrant shelters to provide educational services for migrant children during their detainment. Officially, the federal government, not local districts, is responsible for educating these children, according to the Texas Education Agency, but some school leaders are stepping in voluntarily.
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