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

Whole Foods announces introduction of small-format stores

Whole Foods Market just announced that it plans to open small-format “quick-shop” stores designed to “provide shoppers in urban neighborhoods a quick, convenient shopping experience,” Retail Info Systems’ Jamie Grill-Goodman reports. The Amazon-owned grocer plans to open the first Whole Foods Market Daily Shop this year in Manhattan, with additional locations planned across the country. At a quarter to half the footprint of a typical Whole Foods store, these small-format locations will range in size from 7,000 to 14,000 square feet and offer grab-and-go options, seasonal produce, meat, seafood, alcohol, local specialties and more, Grill-Goodman notes.

The takeaway: Smaller stores that offer a more manageable shopping experience continue to be a hot retail trend. See also: “Macy’s and Best Buy are banking on small-format stores to lower costs and boost consumer convenience amid an ever-shifting retail landscape” (Business Insider) and “Big-box retailers are going small” (Morning Brew).

Store brands see major growth, set a new record

Store brands continued to see major growth in 2023. That’s according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), which just released a report revealing that private-label products accounted for 20.7% of all grocery industry units sold last year — a new record. Private-label sales came in at $236 billion, representing a 4.7% year-over-year increase from 2022, per PLMA’s 2024 Private Label Report, with all categories except tobacco experiencing growth. Categories including refrigerated items, beauty products, frozen foods and general merchandise were all up, Grocery Dive’s Sam Silverstein reports, “with the beauty department leading the way with a sales gain of over 10%.”

The takeaway: As customers continue to prioritize value in the face of stubborn inflation, retailers have been putting increasing emphasis on private-label products that often have highly competitive price points.

Target announces the launch of a new paid membership program offering free same-day delivery

Building on the success of its free loyalty program Target Circle, Target announced on Tuesday a paid membership program set to launch April 7. Called Target Circle 360, the program includes free same-day delivery on orders over $35 (in as little as an hour) from Target’s delivery service Shipt. Another benefit: no-rush returns, which gives members an extra 30 days to return any unwanted items. Shoppers signing up between April 7 and May 18 will get the first year for a discounted rate of $49; after that, the cost will be $99 per year.

The takeaway: Target is taking on Amazon and Walmart, which both already offer successful paid membership programs that enable them to engage in highly personalized marketing.

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Leica Camera opens immersive flagship store in New York City

Leica Camera just formally announced the upcoming (March 14) opening of a flagship store and gallery in New York City’s Meatpacking District that’s meant to serve “as a destination for the art and culture of photography,” per a company statement. With two floors and more than 3,000 square feet of space, the store provides a space for photographers of all levels to “find inspiration and explore tools.” The first floor includes the Leica boutique, featuring the German camera company’s full range of products — from cameras to the new Leica Cine 1 Laser TV — as well as the Leica Gallery NYC, showcasing works from renowned photographers and up-and-coming talent, while the second floor includes the Leica Library and a photo studio.

The takeaway: Leica is leveraging the rising immersive retail trend to help build a sense of community among photographers in the nation’s creative capital.

Athleta announces partnership with female swimming champion Katie Ledecky

Athleta just announced a partnership with Olympic medalist Katie Ledecky in honor of Women’s History Month. Through a five-year partnership, Ledecky joins the retailer’s Power of She Collective, a group of elite athletes who “champion Athleta’s purpose to empower women and girls to build confidence, strength and well-being through movement,” per a company statement. Ledecky also stars in Athleta’s new “Find Your Movement” multichannel campaign.

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