News Briefs


REI creates new technology executive position

REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

REI Co-op is tapping a food industry veteran to fill a newly-created role overseeing technology supporting foundational business capabilities.

The national specialty outdoor retailer is naming Guillaume Ledieu as VP of  foundation technology. The role is focused on supporting the teams responsible for product flow, enterprise systems, technology management for product merchandising, and enterprise and domain architecture. 

Ledieu will also be responsible for helping to drive operational efficiencies and effectiveness of REI’s end-to-end value chain. He was most recently VP, business transformation at food manufacturing company McCormick & Company, where he led a global business transformation across enterprise functions including finance, order management, end-to-end supply chain, product lifecycle management and master data management. 

Prior to McCormick & Company, he held leadership roles at Glatfelter and Black & Decker. As a member of REI’s technology leadership, Ledieu will be part of its corporate officers.

“Guillaume’s experience in helping companies transform will support our foundation team’s effort to continue their excellent work and to scale up to meet our cumulative business needs. This will enable the co-op’s ability to deliver complex, process-oriented change in an increasingly demanding space,” said Dan Shull, REI senior VP, CTO.

[Read more: REI expansion continues into 2025]

Headquartered near Seattle and the nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI has more than 23 million members and operates 187 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as, REI Outlet and the REI shopping app.


Foot Locker celebrates sneakers with NBA stars

Foot Locker with Anthony Edwards

Some of the biggest names in pro basketball, including Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, are helping Foot Locker launch a new marketing platform.

Foot Locker is introducing the platform, “The Heart of Sneakers,” in tandem with its 2023 holiday campaign. The Heart of Sneakers celebrates sneaker culture and places the retailer’s store associates, known as “Stripers,” as the connection between sneakers and customers.

The Heart of Sneakers is an ongoing platform that will feature in all of the retailer’s campaigns, online and in-store experiences, community events, and other activities moving forward.

In tandem with The Heart of Sneakers platform unveil, Foot Locker debuted its 2023 global holiday campaign. In the campaign, Foot Locker partners with the following NBA players and their sponsor athletic shoe companies: Kevin Durant with Nike, LaMelo Ball with Puma, Anthony Edwards with Adidas, and Steph Curry with Under Armour; as well as global musician, Enisa.

"For nearly 50 years, our authentic connection to sneaker culture and our Stripers have been the magic behind Foot Locker," said Kim Waldmann, Global chief customer officer at Foot Locker. "Through The Heart of Sneakers platform, created with our advertising agency of record, Preacher, we'll continue to put the heart of our company's DNA front and center in communities globally, creating an unrivaled experience only found at Foot Locker."

Consumers will see this campaign, promoting “hype for the holidays,” cross TV, digital out of home, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other social channels throughout the holiday season. Foot Locker is launching the platform as it enacts its “Lace Up” plan,  which includes closing underperforming stores, shifting to off-mall locations and opening new formats.


GNC unveils apothecary-designed flagship

GNC flagship

GNC has opened the doors to its new hometown flagship.

The vitamins, supplements and wellness retailer has opened a flagship  Pittsburgh's historic Terminal Strip District with a new apothecary-styled format. The 2,455 sq.-ft. store is designed to offer an elevated and interactive shopping experience that immerses customers in wellness.  An open format allows for ample product display with movable shelving, expansive counters for product sampling and available space to accommodate local events and partnerships.

The flagship is located at 1918 Smallman Street, a short walk from GNC’s corporate headquarters. It is the company’s 21st location in the greater Pittsburgh area, for a total of 2,313 U.S. storefronts. 

"Our flagship store is a reflection of GNC's rich history and commitment to Pittsburgh," said Nate Frazier, chief operating officer at GNC. "As part of our focus on creating a cutting-edge omnichannel experience through a customer-centric lens, we are proud to bring this seamless shopping approach to provide exceptional products and solutions that help our customers Live Well." 

In April, GNC said it was redesigning the role of its stores to deliver a technology-based, customer-centric shopping experience. 


The top holiday shopping product category is…

holiday shopper

One type of product comes in as the clear favorite among holiday shoppers.

According to a new RetailMeNot survey of 1,089 adult U.S. consumers, these products top holiday shopping lists:

  • Gift cards: 54%
  • Clothing, including shoes and accessories: 47%
  • Toys and games: 42%
  • Money: 33%
  • Food and beverage (e.g., food baskets, wine, liquor): 30%
  • Restaurants (e.g., restaurant gift cards, treating the giftee out to a restaurant meal): 27%
  • Electronics (e.g., laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones): 24%
  • Makeup and skincare: 24%
  • Jewelry: 23%

Holiday shoppers want electronics deals

When it comes to hunting for a bargain, electronics (83%), makeup & skincare (79%), and toys & games (77%) are the top three product categories respondents are searching for holiday deals and discounts on. Other categories include:

  • Clothing (including shoes and accessories): 77%
  • Home appliances (e.g., slow cooker, grill): 76%
  • Travel (e.g., plane tickets, hotel room, luggage): 75%
  • Jewelry: 75%
  • Home improvement (e.g., drills, tool set, gardening supplies): 72%
  • Media to own (e.g., books, movies, video games): 72%
  • Home furniture (e.g., a table, a bed: 71%
  • Sports and outdoor recreation (e.g., baseball gloves, fishing gear)71%
  • Home goods and décor (e.g., dinner plates, pillows, wall art, rug): 71%
  • High-end products: 71%

The survey found that respondents are planning to $932 on average this year vs. $725 in 2022, which RetailMeNot analysis indicates is most likely due to rising prices across all shopping categories. Of the $932 respondents plan to spend, about $732 will be spent on gifts and $200 on themselves.

Eight in 10 (79%) respondents are planning to participate in holiday gift shopping this year and 72% are planning to shop holiday sales events (October to December).

[Read more: How do holiday shoppers find purchase inspiration?]


Schnuck Markets launches co-branded loyalty app

Schnucks Upside app

Schnuck Markets Inc. is partnering with an online personalized offer marketplace in a new mobile app for members of its rewards program.

The regional Midwest grocer is collaborating with Upside to release a new version of the Schnucks Rewards appThe app pilot will be available in seven Evansville, Ind.-area stores and provide users with opportunities to connect with other local retailers that are also part of Upside’s digital marketplace.

Schnucks Rewards members will receive prompts to download the Upside app either via email or a QR code. Once registered, customers will gain access to the complete range of Upside offers within the Schnucks co-branded app, including participating fuel and restaurant retailers. 

After redeeming offers, users cash out their Schnucks Rewards dollars, which are directly deposited into their Schnucks Rewards account. Schnucks began partnering with Upside in October 2021.

“Schnucks is always looking for opportunities to provide our Schnucks Rewards members with unique programs and opportunities to save,” said Bob Hardester, SVP/CIO and chief supply chain officer at Schnucks. “Our collaboration with Upside and the launch of this co-branded app pilot in Evansville showcase our commitment to delivering value and supporting the community."

“Upside and retailer loyalty programs serve complementary purposes, and in fact they're best together. Our data proves Upside's effectiveness in attracting new loyalty sign-ups in a cost-efficient manner." said Tyler Renaghan, Upside VP of Grocery"With Schnucks, we're taking it a step further with our new co-branded app, a tool we're confident will play a pivotal role in helping the company achieve its loyalty program goals."

Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnucks operates 111 stores, serving customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.


Publix reports strong third quarter as earnings soar

Publix plaza

Publix is on track for a banner year. 

The grocery retailer reported that its net earnings rose 111.4% to $833 million in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30.  Earnings per share more than doubled, increasing to $0.25 per share from $0.12 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Net sales rose 7.2% to $14 billion. Comparable store sales increased 4/3%. 

On a nine-month basis, net earnings rose 93.4% to $3.2 billion. Sales increased 8.1% to $42.4 billion. Comp sales were up 5.6%.  

Publix’s stellar results come as it continues to expand its footprint.  The company recently opened stores in Maryville, Tenn.; Irondale, Ala., and Greenville, S.C. 

“Our associates make a difference in the lives of our customers and communities every day,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I’m proud of their efforts and commitment.”

Effective Nov. 1, 2023, Publix’s stock price increased from $14.75 per share to $15.10 per share. (Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.)

Publix, which is employee-owned-and operated,operates approximately 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.