H-E-B opens the new format “Beauty by H-E-B”

Grocery chain H-E-B has opened the doors to its first Beauty by H-E-B store-within-a-store in San Antonio, TX. The highly-curated department features an expanded beauty and personal care selection and an experienced, dedicated team of trained beauty advisors to provide expert advice.

“Beauty by H-E-B provides that oasis within the store where the customer can pamper themselves,” said Tracy Bliss, H-E-B director of Beauty. “We’ve created a destination within the store where a talented team of beauty advisors will help customers pick out the perfect items that lend themselves to the creation of new beauty rituals.”

The first Beauty by H-E-B is located inside the H-E-B plus! store at Highway 281 and Evans Rd. and spans nearly 4,000 square feet. Designed with the customer experience in mind, it’s an interactive space that allows customers to shop as well as experiment and play with everything from foundation and facial cleanser to lip stick and lotions. Throughout the department are digital screens that provide informational videos, bright tester stations with mirrors and a voice activated screen where customers can take photos to share on social media.

Each beauty advisor, who received more than a hundred hours of expert training for the position, can provide personalized services such as establishing skin care routines and personal care rituals as well as identify products for more precise color matching. At the Beauty Connections kiosk located at the front of the space, the advisors will showcase new products and offer customers product recommendations and demonstrations daily.

Leading the group of beauty advisors is Ashley Gallegos, a 13-year H-E-B Partner and licensed esthetician. The former pharmacy technician worked her way into the beauty department after graduating from H-E-B’s School of Retail Management.

“For me it’s simple, we want to make people feel good about themselves and connect with customers in a positive way,” Gallegos said. “We have such an amazing, talented team here to educate and help our customers look and feel their best.”

Source: risnews.com

Amazon confirms plans to open a new grocery brand

Amazon said it plans to open its first new brand of grocery store in California next year, as it amps up its ambitious push to become a bigger name in food.

“Amazon is opening a grocery store in Woodland Hills in 2020,” an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNET, soon after the company published four new jobs postings for the location. Woodland Hills is a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

The store will be different from Amazon-owned Whole Foods, the company said. It didn’t say whether it will open more of these locations, what its selection or pricing will be, or what the brand name is. But in the jobs postings, the company described the Woodland Hills location as “Amazon’s first grocery store,” suggesting that it will have the Amazon brand name and that the company could expand to multiple sites.

The store won’t use the company’s Amazon Go technology, which allows customers to check out without waiting in line. Instead, checkout will be conventional as at other grocery stores, the company said.

In addition to Whole Foods, which Amazon bought for $13.2 billion in 2017 and has over 500 stores, the company offers grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh, the main Amazon website and Prime Now, as well as food at Amazon Go.

The Wall Street Journal in March wrote about the existence of Amazon’s new grocery store format, which the company hadn’t confirmed until this week. Last month, the publication said Amazon was already working on additional stores in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The new store, though with only one confirmed location so far, points to Amazon’s growing ambition in the roughly $800 billion US grocery market, where rival Walmart is the leader and Amazon, even after its Whole Foods deal, remains a small player. Expanding in the grocery sector helps Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, in a number of ways: It reinforces customer loyalty because people tend to shop at a local store every week and it could allow the company to continue its fast revenue growth, which typically hovers around 20% every quarter despite its massive size.

Additionally, the new line could let Amazon move into the more mainstream grocery store business, while maintaining Whole Foods as a higher-end store for organic and specialty foods. This work could offer new competition to KrogerSuperValu and many other supermarket chains.

While Amazon is known for skillfully pushing into new markets, the new store comes with lots of risk. Several of Amazon’s other physical store lines, including Amazon Go and Amazon Books, aren’t yet huge moneymakers. It’s also shuttered its line of mall kiosks, which sold Amazon devices and smart-home gear. Plus, the company would have to spend years building out a new chain of stores then bank on people switching their weekly habits to go to them. Added to that, the grocery business offers razor-thin margins, so there’s little wiggle room for Amazon to lower prices while still trying to bring in a profit.

Amazon posted job openings for a store lead, grocery associates and food service associates at the Woodland Hills store. The store has been reported to be a former Toys R Us that’s about 35,000 square feet in size.

When asked if the new stores will compete against Whole Foods or signal a move away from investing in that brand, Amazon said no, offering strong support for continuing to grow that business.

“When it comes to grocery shopping, we know customers love choice, and this new store offers another grocery option that’s distinct from Whole Foods Market, which continues to grow and remain the leader in quality natural and organic food,” the Amazon spokesperson said, noting that Whole Foods opened 17 locations this year and that more are planned. The spokesperson said Amazon will continue to invest in grocery delivery with Whole Foods.

In another sign of Amazon’s growing interest in the grocery business, the company last month did away with its $14.99 monthly fee for Amazon Fresh grocery delivery. The change undercuts rival Walmart’s new Delivery Unlimited program, which costs $12.95 a month and was just introduced in September.

Source: cnet.com

Wegmans’ first New York store opens in Brooklyn

Wegmans, the 103-year-old grocery chain that has a rabid following, opened its first New York City store. The 74,000-square-foot location, which was first announced in 2015, is located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Wegmans is the buzziest part of the former military base on the East River that’s currently undergoing a billion-dollar renovation with new offices and retail space.

The grand opening reportedly drew long lines of thousands of fans, according to multiple news reports. The grocery store has developed a fanatical following for its affordable prices and high-quality food. Wegmans said its Brooklyn store sells nearly 50,000 items, 2,000 of which are organic.

Besides the usual array of grocery food, the new Wegmans is a destination in itself. The location has several seating areas for people to eat fresh pizza, sushi and from assorted food bars. There’s also a cocktail bar and coffee shop.
A “vast majority” of the nearly 600 employees were hired locally, the company previously said. The Brooklyn location is its 101st store; its other locations are primarily on the east coast, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and upstate New York.
Besides the usual array of grocery food, the new Wegmans is a destination in itself. The location has several seating areas for people to eat fresh pizza, sushi and from assorted food bars. There’s also a cocktail bar and coffee shop.
A “vast majority” of the nearly 600 employees were hired locally, the company previously said. The Brooklyn location is its 101st store; its other locations are primarily on the east coast, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and upstate New York.