Walmart is making more of its workforce full time and said 66% of its US store hourly jobs will be full time, up from 53% five years ago, by Jan. 31. The move is in response to improved worker retention as well as the lower need for staffing at odd hours due to higher at-home deliveries.
Kroger and UK-based Ocado have opened the first of up to 20 fully automated fulfillment centers, which use artificial intelligence, robots with totes and a proprietary control system to pick and pack deliveries. "This could not come at a better time and is really helping us accelerate the growth and capture all of that growing demand from our customers," said Kroger's Yael Cosset.
With a goal of opening 1,050 stores this year, Dollar General announced it will hire 20,000 workers during spring, including store clerks, warehouse workers and truck drivers. Dollar General plans to double its store count of more than 17,000 stores.
A winery near Eugene, Ore., whose employees work in close proximity to one another on bottling lines is requiring all workers to get a COVID-19 vaccination. King Estate Winery recently held a vaccination clinic and is offering paid sick time for recovery from any side effects of the shots.
Businesses in Washington state selling alcoholic beverages to go may soon get a two-year extension of the rules allowing such sales. A bill authorizing the extension is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee and is seen as a step toward possibly making the law permanent.
Food Lion has received the 2021 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award from the EPA and Department of Energy, the only US company to earn the recognition for 20 consecutive years. The N.C.-based grocer uses LED lighting in half of its 900 stores, and two its stores are GreenChill-certified for reduced refrigerant emissions.
British Columbia-based alternative meat company Very Good Food is moving into US territory via grocery distributor Green Spoon. Very Good Food's products, such as jackfruit steaks and adzuki bean pepperoni sticks, are available in 150 stores in Canada but previously were only available online in the US.
Shoprite will sell its operations in Nigeria to property group Persianas as part of the supermarket operator's decision to divest its business in markets outside of South Africa, sources said. Shoprite, which operates upwards of 2,300 stores across the African continent, is reportedly awaiting regulatory approval for the deal.
Winemakers feared the worst a year ago when pandemic shutdowns brought their businesses to a halt -- but adaptations such as direct-to-consumer shipping and enhanced outdoor tasting areas, along with government loans, helped many of them close out 2020 in a stronger position than they had dared hope, writes Eric Asimov. On the West Coast, however, wildfires created substantial problems even for vineyards that were not directly in the path of the flames.
Diageo continues to strengthen its ready-to-drink beverage portfolio with the acquisition of vodka-based drink brand Loyal 9 from Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. The move comes as demand for prepared cocktails soars and multiple large beverage companies expand operations in the category, writes Rachel Arthur.
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