Welcome to The Week in Retail, a weekly round-up for marketers from Quad Insights that covers the latest must-know news surrounding the retail space.

Online grocery sales, preference for mass retailers grow, report says

Online grocery sales in the U.S. reached $8.1 billion for the month of November — an increase of 5% over the same month last year — according to the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey. While all receiving methods — pickup, delivery and ship-to-home — remained steady or grew year-over-year, delivery saw the most sales growth in November, at 8.6%. The report attributes this jump to gains in delivery’s monthly active user base, “which helped grow order volume by 7.5%.”

Another takeaway from the report is consumers’ growing preference for mass retailers, with these grocers surpassing supermarkets “to become the primary retail format that most households relied on for their grocery purchases” in November, according to a Brick Meets Click statement. Specifically, 42% of U.S. households relied on a mass retailer for the majority of their in-store or online grocery purchases that month — versus six months ago, when 42% of households reported using supermarkets as their main store.

“The price advantage that a Mass [mass-market] rival, such as Walmart, enjoys is motivating cash-strapped households to shift where they shop, and Mass customer engagement strategies are making it easier for those customers to shop the way they want,” David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said in a statement.

Related news:

“Grocery store sales growth flattens out in November” (Winsight Grocery Business)

“AI to influence $194 billion in online holiday sales” (Chain Store Age)

Levi’s debuts new 501 jeans based on the brand’s first-ever returned pair

In recognition of Levi’s 501 jeans’ 150th birthday this year, Levi’s Vintage Clothing has released a pair of 501s modeled after the company’s first return — a pair sent back to the company by an Arizona rock miner in 1920, per Rivet’s Angela Velasquez. Homer Campbell “worked in 501 overalls six days a week for three years, changing out of them only on Sundays,” she writes. “After patching them, replacing buttons, stitching the hem and sewing a tool pocket to the right thigh, Campbell decided the circa-1917 pants hadn’t lasted as well as he expected.” The miner, taking advantage of Levi’s return policy at the time (“A New Pair Free if They Rip”) sent the tattered 501 jeans back.

The limited-edition jeans are designed to mimic Campbell’s returned pair, right down to the unique patching and stitching. Retailing for $895, however, they differ in at least one key way from the pair Campbell bought in 1917.

Amazon launches Your Book feature to drive discovery of new titles

Amazon has announced a new feature that allows customers to conveniently see all of the books they’ve ever purchased, borrowed or saved via the platform in one place; this includes print books as well as Kindle and Audible versions. Called Your Books, the searchable feature also offers “personalized discovery features to help connect you to your next great read,” per a company announcement.

Customers can access their personal list of titles by typing “your books” into the search bar and clicking on the top result. The library can then be organized based on filters such as genre or authors. By turning on Discovery Mode, users will receive recommendations based on each of their books.

Amazon’s Your Book feature is similar in many ways to its Goodreads platform — acquired by the retail giant in 2013 — but with a larger focus on driving future purchases, TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez notes. “As on Goodreads, the new tool will help users organize their own collection of the books they’ve read and those they aim to, and will help them find new ones,” she writes. “But instead of reading through reviews from other Goodreads users, the reviews here are from Amazon shoppers.”

IGA launches online Family Meals Made Easy platform

The Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) has launched an enhanced Family Meals Made Easy platform on its website to “make meal planning more accessible and convenient for shoppers, and more impactful for IGA’s independent grocery retailers,” per an IGA statement. Powered by shoppable recipe technology company Grocery Shopii, the platform offers curated seasonal recipes and content in partnership with top brands and influencers, as well as nutritional information and shopping list functions for in-store shopping.

The platform will be a boon for IGA’s 2,000-plus member locations across the U.S. — enabling them to share recipe content across their own social media and other owned media channels — as well as for IGA’s CPG partners. “This Family Meals Made Easy platform is one of many new ways we’re working with CPG partners to attract shoppers and increase sales at independent grocery retailers, which represent over one-third of the grocery industry with more than $250 billion dollars,” IGA VP Brand Development Michael La Kier said in a statement.

Further reading

“Target takes over the Sphere for the holidays” (Brand Innovators)

“Macy’s is now an M&A target valued at nearly $6 billion” (Retail Brew)

“Costco sold $100 million in gold bars last quarter” (Fox Business)

“The Container Store Opens 100th Location, Doubles Down on Smaller Format” (Retail TouchPoints)

“Amazon Briefing: How brands are preparing for the onslaught of January returns” (Modern Retail)

“Etsy expected to make Super Bowl debut in 2024” (Ad Age)

“Kroger rolls out holiday promotions spanning everything from sushi to fuel points” (Grocery Dive)

“Do Small-Format Stores have an Advantage in Retail?” (RetailWire)

“Ulta Enters the World of ‘Beauty Experience Automation’ with Pilot of New Lash Application Tech” (Retail TouchPoints)

“Ja Morant and Nike Celebrate Chinese New Year With a Dragon-Themed Ja 1 Sneaker” (Footwear News)

“Instacart partners with major retailers in holiday promotion” (Chain Store Age)

“Amazon tests retail packaging to reduce cardboard shipping boxes” (Supply Chain Quarterly)

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like to catch up on prior installments of this column, start by heading to our last recap: “The Week in Retail: December 15, 2023 edition”

Share this