News Briefs


Harps Food Stores optimizes inventory and replenishment

Harps Foods Stores

A regional grocer is ensuring it has the right products in the right quantities, at the right time, to meet shopper demands.

Harps Food Stores, which operates in six Southern and Southwestern states, is deploying inventory and replenishment optimization solutions from Upshop. The grocery chain plans to utilize Upshop technology to monitor demand signals, forecast quantities accurately, generate precise orders, and ensure optimal product availability.

As part of its Upshop implementation, Harps is rolling out the Magic platform, which will enable the retailer to optimize inventory and ordering for both center store and fresh departments, streamline its merchandising operations, enhance its IT footprint, and consolidate various functions into a single, all-in-one solution spanning the entire store.

Specific workflows Harps intends to optimize include product assortment, which it will be able to dynamically adjust to align with shopper demand; as well as merchandising, via more consistent item placement in stores. The retailer also seeks to extend fresh item shelf life and provide store associates with more time to assist shoppers.

“We are committed to providing our customers with the freshest and most satisfying shopping experience,” said David Ganoung, senior VP / chief marketing officer at Harps Food Stores.At Harps. Upshop is pivotal in achieving this goal by optimizing our inventory and ensuring that the products our customers want are always available.” 

[Read more: Harps Food Stores rewards loyalty – with a personal touch]

Headquartered in Springdale, Ark., employee-owned Harps Food Stores operates 147 stores in six states including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kansas.


Dick’s to add 8,600 seasonal employees; to close stores, DCs on Thanksgiving

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ first-quarter sales rose 5.3% to $2.84 billion.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is getting ready for the holiday rush.   

The nation’s largest sporting goods retailer plans to hire 8,600 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season. Dick’s will kick off its holiday hiring at its "National Signing Day" on Oct. 3, at which it will recruit for all of its store banners nationwide. 

Dick’s 2023 holiday hiring goal is down slightly from last year, when it said it would add up to 9,000 seasonal workers. According to a recent report by global coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, retailers will add 410,000 seasonal positions this year, the lowest number of jobs added in the final quarter since 2008.  

Similar to last year, Dick’s will again close all of its stores and distribution centers on Thanksgiving Day, which falls on November 23 this year, so that employees can spend the holiday with their families. Stores will re-open re- on Black Friday.

“Our seasonal teammates are key to creating a great holiday shopping experience for our athletes," said Julie Lodge-Jarrett, senior VP, chief people & purpose officer at Dick’s Sporting Goods. "We're looking forward to offering an unparalleled in-store experience with the most in-demand brands and styles and having a knowledgeable and friendly team is critical."

Dick’s is asking interested applicants to apply first online and then visit their local store on National Signing Day (October 3) to be interviewed. Holiday hiring will continue beyond National Signing Day until all positions are filled.



H-E-B plots more Dallas-area store expansion — here’s where

H-E-B opened its first store in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in November 2022, in Plano.

H-E-B continues its push into the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex.

The grocer said to plans to open three new stores in the area  — in Melissa, Prosper and Rockwall — in 2025. Groundbreaking is expected early next year.

 H-E-B currently has two stores under construction in the DFW area, in Alliance and Mansfield. Both are set to open in spring 2024.  In addition, the grocer will open a location in Allen, on Oct. 4. 

At 117,000 sq. ft., H-E-B Allen will include a full-service pharmacy with a drive-thru, curbside and home delivery service  and a True Texas BBQ restaurant. 

H-E-B has long been a powerhouse retailer in south and central Texas. It opened its first store in the Dallas area in September 2022, in Frisco, which was followed by locations in Plano and McKinney.

Earlier this year, the company announced the first expansion of its value retail concept, Joe V’s Smart Shop, outside of Houston. It plans to open two locations in Dallas, with one (Wheatland Rd.) opening in late summer 2024 and the other (Buckner Blvd.) opening in spring 2025.

Launched in 2010 and with nine locations to date, Joe V’s Smart Shop is described as an “innovative price format” that delivers a curated assortment of items, including the  “most relevant high-quality, fresh products H-E-B is known for at even lower prices.”  

Stores average 55,000 sq.-ft. and carry tortillas and sushi made in-house along with chef-inspired meals, fresh cut fruit, in-store cut meat and more. H-E-B said it leverages operational efficiencies and new technologies to keep prices low.



Amazon to bring adds to Prime Video — with an ad-free option

Amazon’s Prime Video will include advertisements beginning in January.

Amazon Prime members will have to pay a bit extra come January if they want to continue to see ad-free programs on its streaming service.

Amazon said that, beginning in January, shows and movies on Prime Video will include “limited advertisements.” The company noted that it aims to have “meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.”

Amazon said it is not making any changes in 2024 to the current price of Prime membership, but it will offer a new ad-free option for an additional $2.99 per month for U.S. Prime members.

Ads on Prime Video will be introduced in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Australia later in the year.

The company will e-mail Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into Prime Video with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option.

To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements,” the company said in a post announcing its decision.

Amazon’s move to include advertisements comes as other streaming services, including Netflix,  have also introduced ads into their programming.



Chico’s vet joins c-suite at Purple


Purple has ended its search for a new finance head. 

The digitally native, comfort bedding retailer has appointed Todd Vogensen as CFO, effective October 16.  He replaces Bennett Nussbaum who has been serving as interim CFO since August 2021. 

Most recently, from 2020 to August  2023, Vogensen led the finance team at Party City as CFO, where he has played a critical role in evolving the finance organization and the strategic direction of the company, which is set to emerge from bankruptcywith its debt reduced by nearly $1 billion.

Prior to Party City, Vogensen spent 10 years at Chico’s FAS, including serving as CFO, from 2014 to 2020. Before Party City, he was with Michaels. 

"I am thrilled to welcome Todd Vogensen to our senior leadership team where he will oversee our finance team and drive our path to premium sleep," said CEO Rob DeMartini, who was named CEO in March. "Vogensen is an experienced leader who has deep skill in scaling organizations through thoughtful FP&A and a focus on organizational transformation."

Purple operates more than 57 stores along with its e-commerce site. Its products are also sold in some 3,000 retailers nationwide. In addition to the company’s signature mattress,  its assortment includes pillows, cushions, frames and sheets. 



Massage Envy unveils new clinic concept

Massage Envy has debuted a new look at its location in Mesa, Ariz.

Massage Envy is updating its customer experience. 

The company’s new clinic concept is designed to transform the way guests and members experience wellness through skin care, massage and recovery services. Located in Mesa, Ariz., the redesigned location reflects Massage Envy’s increased focus on skin care and recovery  services while building on its heritage of massage. 

The brightly lit space showcases the brand’s both new and well-loved service offerings. Featuring an open concept, customers can watch as advanced skin care devices and products are used to create the ultimate skin care experience for patrons. Licensed Estheticians are available to curate a specialized home care routine to ensure patrons have the necessary tools to get results at home using professional products that are available for purchase. 

The new recovery zone features innovative body care technologies to help guests on their road to total body wellness. The location features  cutting-edge technologies not currently available at other Massage Envy locations, including full body LED light therapy, compression therapy, therasound experience and more.

These rooms feature massage tables that include enhanced technology to stimulate the senses, from heat to vibration to sound. Patented technology allows the perfect level of support and comfort for each user, taking pressure off select areas of the body.

Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., Massage Envy has approximately 1,100 franchise locations in 49 states.