News Briefs


Amazon to open third-party seller platform in South Africa

Approximately 25% of Americans shop on Amazon once a week or more.

South African independent retailers and brands will soon have a new online commerce option.

Amazon is launching in 2024, providing South African-based sellers the ability to reach customers across the country starting next year. Starting Oct. 17, 2023, independent sellers in South Africa can register their businesses on

“We look forward to launching in South Africa, providing local sellers, brand owners, and entrepreneurs—small and large—the opportunity to grow their business with Amazon, and delivering great value and a convenient shopping experience for customers across South Africa,” said Robert Koen, GM of the Sub-Saharan Africa region for Amazon.

Amazon actively assists third-party retailers to sell on its e-commerce platform with at least 150 tools and services, and regularly adds new offerings. These include the recent introduction of a revamped version of its Account Health Rating, designed to help its 2 million third-party sellers adhere to Amazon’s policies and maintain positive account activities.

Some of the company’s other offerings for third-party sellers include a hosted distribution center solution called Amazon Warehousing & Distribution (AWD), which is designed to provide low-cost, long-term storage that gives sellers the option to store their inventory in Amazon distribution centers and then seamlessly replenish to Amazon fulfillment centers. The e-tail giant is supporting the service with new, purpose-built facilities for bulk storage and automated distribution.


Rite Aid Bankruptcy: Fitch Ratings experts weigh in

Rite Aid logo

Rite Aid, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has been on Fitch’s Top Market Concern Bond list since November 2022.  Two experts from the firm weigh in on the filing.

David Silverman, senior director, retail, Fitch Ratings

"Rite Aid’s bankruptcy filing follows years of challenged operating performance, a weakening competitive position particularly against larger peers, elevated financial leverage and limited cash flow, which has limited Rite Aid’s ability to invest in its business and stabilize market share. The company’s bankruptcy plan would turn some creditors into equity holders, reducing debt and cash interest expense. Lower cash interest could allow Rite Aid to increase its investment in strategic initiatives. Conversely, the company also plans to close a number of its existing store base. A smaller footprint could leave an already structurally challenged Rite Aid further weakened in terms of competing for inclusion in pharmaceutical networks and negotiating with vendors and partners."

Judah Gross, senior director, leveraged finance, Fitch Ratings

"In connection with the filing, and in order to provide adequate liquidity for the duration of the bankruptcy process, Rite Aid is seeking court approval to enter into DIP facilities totaling $3.45 billion, consisting of a $2.85 billion ABL facility, a $400 million FILO term loan facility and a $200 millio  term loan facility. The company envisions a restructuring where ABL and DIP term loan claims will be repaid in full in cash and secured note lenders will receive either 100% of the new common stock in the reorganized company if Rite Aid is to emerge or cash proceeds pursuant to a waterfall if Rite Aid is to be sold in bankruptcy."


California Pizza Kitchen revamps consumer app

California Pizza Kitchen app (Photo: Business Wire)

California Pizza Kitchen is adding several customer-centric features to its mobile app for consumers.

The pizza chain, which opened its first location in 1985, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and became renowned for the BBQ Chicken Pizza made by Spago’s pizza chef Ed LaDou, is rolling out an upgraded version of its mobile app.

Starting Monday, Oct. 16, customers who download or update the retailer’s free app will receive easier access to their rewards, a pay by mobile feature for faster check out in-restaurant, new personalized promotional offers, and access to exclusive weekly specials.

To celebrate the release of the updated app, California Pizza Kitchen is providing members of its loyalty program with weekly rewards through Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. The exclusive offers include free menu items, bonus points, and discounts for future purchases. The exclusive perks appear automatically in the app wallet, allowing customers to take advantage of the offers immediately.

“We are always looking for new ways to enhance the California Pizza Kitchen customer experience,” said Ashley Ceraolo, senior VP of marketing at California Pizza Kitchen. “Our new app allows our loyalty members to not only enjoy our innovative California-inspired menu items, but also provides them with new easy-to-use features for more customization, faster payment, and exclusive access to special offers.”

The updated mobile app can now be downloaded in the app store. Other fast casual restaurant retailers, including Sweetgreen and Panera, have also recently enhanced the functionality of their consumer apps.

Editor's Note: The photo of the California Pizza Kitchen app is courtesy of Business Wire.


The Fresh Market is now on DoorDash

The Fresh Market DoorDash

North Carolina-based specialty grocer The Fresh Market has arrived on DoorDash Marketplace just in time for the holiday season, expanding access for its shoppers.

Delivery is now available from the grocer’s 161 locations in 22 states, where customers can order a wide variety of items, including the chain’s private label products and prepared foods. To celebrate the launch, guests can receive $20 off delivery orders of $60 or more at The Fresh Market—now until Dec. 31, 2023.

“It’s exciting to bring our guests another way to shop our stores that fits their daily lifestyle needs,” states Kevin Miller, chief marketing officer at The Fresh Market. “Being able to find The Fresh Market on the DoorDash Marketplace and place an order for delivery will help our guests’ holiday shopping needs, solve “what’s for dinner tonight” on a busy day, or everyday if they prefer or need the convenience of delivery.”

All participating The Fresh Market stores will be available on DashPass, DoorDash’s membership program that offers members $0 delivery fees from thousands of restaurants, grocery, and convenience stores nationwide. DashPass members can enjoy these benefits on all eligible orders of $35 or more from The Fresh Market.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Fresh Market ahead of the busy holiday season to offer their leading fresh selection to new and loyal customers with stress free on-demand delivery,” added Fuad Hannon, VP of new verticals at DoorDash. “The Fresh Market is a welcome addition to the 100,000+ non-restaurant stores on our Marketplace and Drive platforms in North America, bringing top notch selection and continued convenience to consumers."


Family Dollar to reopen Arkansas supply chain hub

Dollar Tree Family Dollar

Family Dollar operations will return to West Memphis, Ark. in 2024 with a refreshed distribution center.

The West Memphis distribution center will have the capacity to serve up to 1,000 Family Dollar stores in the region. Combined, there are currently more than 200 Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores in the state. Through 2026, the company plans to open dozens more Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores in Arkansas.

The 850,000-sq.-ft. facility, scheduled to be fully operational by fall 2024, reflects more than $100M million in current and future investments. The opening of the distribution center will create more than 300 new jobs initially, with plans to add more in the coming years.

The facility will include a full interior demolition and remodel, with new features like added building-wide temperature control, automated LED lighting, racking, expanded associate amenities and office space.

“This is more than a reopening, it’s a transformation. Our West Memphis facility will have a full interior demolition and wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling rebuild,” said Mike Kindy, executive VP and chief supply chain officer, Dollar Tree, Inc. “This integral distribution center will drive industry-leading product safety standards, offer an excellent employment experience, strengthen our bonds with the community and better support our Family Dollar stores who depend on us throughout the region.”

[Read more: Dollar Tree ramping up store growth]

Headquartered in Chesapeake, Va., Dollar Tree operated 16,476 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of July 29, 2023. Stores operate under the brands of Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada.


RELEX Solutions partners with restaurant supply retailer


Wholesale food and restaurant supplies retailer CHEF’STORE has tapped a new supplier for its supply chain and retail planning solutions.

RELEX Solutions will support the more than 95 CHEF’STORE locations throughout the United States, allowing the chain to achieve greater supply chain efficiency and improved customer experience through the use of RELEX’s AI-driven, machine learning technology. The chain will leverage RELEX to forecast demand and optimize replenishment, automate planograms to improve store layouts and optimize promotions that will lead to an enhanced customer experience.

“We are pleased to be working with RELEX to advance our merchandising planning solutions needs,” said Irfan Badibanga, president of CHEF’STORE. “RELEX has a comprehensive platform and deep expertise in retail making them an ideal choice for helping us drive additional operational efficiencies as we focus on providing restaurateurs, smaller foodservice operators, and price-conscious community members the products they need, when they need it.”

RELEX works with a number of retailers to boost retail planning operations, including Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, Stokke, Rite Aid, Sprouts Farmers Market, AutoZone and PetSmart.

“It’s an honor to be supporting the more than 85 CHEF’STORE locations with AI-driven forecast and replenishment, space planning, and promotion planning solutions,” said Keith Adams, senior vice president for North America at RELEX. “We believe RELEX is the ideal solution for their operations as our unified platform enables CHEF’STORE to simplify supply chain and store planning management processes to ensure enhanced efficiencies and value.”