News Briefs


GNC unveils apothecary-designed flagship

GNC flagship

GNC has opened the doors to its new hometown flagship.

The vitamins, supplements and wellness retailer has opened a flagship  Pittsburgh's historic Terminal Strip District with a new apothecary-styled format. The 2,455 sq.-ft. store is designed to offer an elevated and interactive shopping experience that immerses customers in wellness.  An open format allows for ample product display with movable shelving, expansive counters for product sampling and available space to accommodate local events and partnerships.

The flagship is located at 1918 Smallman Street, a short walk from GNC’s corporate headquarters. It is the company’s 21st location in the greater Pittsburgh area, for a total of 2,313 U.S. storefronts. 

"Our flagship store is a reflection of GNC's rich history and commitment to Pittsburgh," said Nate Frazier, chief operating officer at GNC. "As part of our focus on creating a cutting-edge omnichannel experience through a customer-centric lens, we are proud to bring this seamless shopping approach to provide exceptional products and solutions that help our customers Live Well." 

In April, GNC said it was redesigning the role of its stores to deliver a technology-based, customer-centric shopping experience. 


The top holiday shopping product category is…

holiday shopper

One type of product comes in as the clear favorite among holiday shoppers.

According to a new RetailMeNot survey of 1,089 adult U.S. consumers, these products top holiday shopping lists:

  • Gift cards: 54%
  • Clothing, including shoes and accessories: 47%
  • Toys and games: 42%
  • Money: 33%
  • Food and beverage (e.g., food baskets, wine, liquor): 30%
  • Restaurants (e.g., restaurant gift cards, treating the giftee out to a restaurant meal): 27%
  • Electronics (e.g., laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones): 24%
  • Makeup and skincare: 24%
  • Jewelry: 23%

Holiday shoppers want electronics deals

When it comes to hunting for a bargain, electronics (83%), makeup & skincare (79%), and toys & games (77%) are the top three product categories respondents are searching for holiday deals and discounts on. Other categories include:

  • Clothing (including shoes and accessories): 77%
  • Home appliances (e.g., slow cooker, grill): 76%
  • Travel (e.g., plane tickets, hotel room, luggage): 75%
  • Jewelry: 75%
  • Home improvement (e.g., drills, tool set, gardening supplies): 72%
  • Media to own (e.g., books, movies, video games): 72%
  • Home furniture (e.g., a table, a bed: 71%
  • Sports and outdoor recreation (e.g., baseball gloves, fishing gear)71%
  • Home goods and décor (e.g., dinner plates, pillows, wall art, rug): 71%
  • High-end products: 71%

The survey found that respondents are planning to $932 on average this year vs. $725 in 2022, which RetailMeNot analysis indicates is most likely due to rising prices across all shopping categories. Of the $932 respondents plan to spend, about $732 will be spent on gifts and $200 on themselves.

Eight in 10 (79%) respondents are planning to participate in holiday gift shopping this year and 72% are planning to shop holiday sales events (October to December).

[Read more: How do holiday shoppers find purchase inspiration?]


Schnuck Markets launches co-branded loyalty app

Schnucks Upside app

Schnuck Markets Inc. is partnering with an online personalized offer marketplace in a new mobile app for members of its rewards program.

The regional Midwest grocer is collaborating with Upside to release a new version of the Schnucks Rewards appThe app pilot will be available in seven Evansville, Ind.-area stores and provide users with opportunities to connect with other local retailers that are also part of Upside’s digital marketplace.

Schnucks Rewards members will receive prompts to download the Upside app either via email or a QR code. Once registered, customers will gain access to the complete range of Upside offers within the Schnucks co-branded app, including participating fuel and restaurant retailers. 

After redeeming offers, users cash out their Schnucks Rewards dollars, which are directly deposited into their Schnucks Rewards account. Schnucks began partnering with Upside in October 2021.

“Schnucks is always looking for opportunities to provide our Schnucks Rewards members with unique programs and opportunities to save,” said Bob Hardester, SVP/CIO and chief supply chain officer at Schnucks. “Our collaboration with Upside and the launch of this co-branded app pilot in Evansville showcase our commitment to delivering value and supporting the community."

“Upside and retailer loyalty programs serve complementary purposes, and in fact they're best together. Our data proves Upside's effectiveness in attracting new loyalty sign-ups in a cost-efficient manner." said Tyler Renaghan, Upside VP of Grocery"With Schnucks, we're taking it a step further with our new co-branded app, a tool we're confident will play a pivotal role in helping the company achieve its loyalty program goals."

Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnucks operates 111 stores, serving customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.


Publix reports strong third quarter as earnings soar

Publix plaza

Publix is on track for a banner year. 

The grocery retailer reported that its net earnings rose 111.4% to $833 million in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30.  Earnings per share more than doubled, increasing to $0.25 per share from $0.12 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Net sales rose 7.2% to $14 billion. Comparable store sales increased 4/3%. 

On a nine-month basis, net earnings rose 93.4% to $3.2 billion. Sales increased 8.1% to $42.4 billion. Comp sales were up 5.6%.  

Publix’s stellar results come as it continues to expand its footprint.  The company recently opened stores in Maryville, Tenn.; Irondale, Ala., and Greenville, S.C. 

“Our associates make a difference in the lives of our customers and communities every day,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I’m proud of their efforts and commitment.”

Effective Nov. 1, 2023, Publix’s stock price increased from $14.75 per share to $15.10 per share. (Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.)

Publix, which is employee-owned-and operated,operates approximately 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.




TGI Fridays CEO departs after two months on job; successor named

TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays has named a new chief executive for the second time in less than a year.

The casual dining chain appointed board member Weldon Spangler as CEO, effective immediately. He succeeds Brandon Coleman, who has resigned for personal reasons. Coleman, who joined TGI Fridays in 2022 as global chief marketing officer, was promoted chief executive at the end of August. 

Spangler, a TGI Fridays board member since 2019,  brings extensive background in the restaurant industry with over 30 years of experience, that includes seven years at Dunkin’ Brands and 12 years at Starbucks. He also served as CEO of Papa Murphy’s International, from 2017 to 2019. Most recently, he was senior VP of market operations at Subway. 

 Spangler will lead implementation of the company’s new strategic growth plan to revitalize the iconic brand on a global scale. There are currently 700 TGI Fridays restaurants in 51 countries.

Rohit Manocha, co-founder of private equity firm TriArtisan Capital, the controlling shareholder of TGI Fridays, will continue to collaborate closely with   Spangler and the dedicated team at TGI Fridays in his role as “active” chairman for the company.

"I thank Rohit and the board for their trust in me and look forward to working closely with the board on executing on our new growth-oriented business plan focused on revitalizing TGI Fridays,” Spangler said. “We are a well-loved brand around the world, which is a strong foundation on which to build our business and brand."



Jack in the Box expanding in two new markets

Jack in the Box has approximately 2,200 restaurants across 21 states.

Jack in the Box is entering new markets as its continues to grow its footprint. 

The quick-service restaurant chain has opened its first location in Kentucky, in the Louisville market. The site offers dine-in, drive-thru, mobile ordering options and will be open 24 hours per day. 

The opening represents Jack in the Box’s second new market entry in the past three months, joining Salt Lake City. 

The brand also announced a new agreement, signing a group of veteran Jack in the Box franchisees to open six new restaurant commitments in the Louisville market.

“We’re pleased to announce the opening of our first Jack in the Box location in the state of Kentucky,” said Tim Linderman, chief development officer. “This marks a significant milestone for our brand as we continue to expand our presence across the country."

In May, Jack in the Box  signed its first new development agreement in Mexico in more than 30 years, a 22-unit commitment in four northern Mexican States. The signing came on the heels of the brand’s recent announcements for expansion into the new markets of Orlando (Florida) and Arkansas, along with additional commitments in Hawaii, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, and California.

Jack in the Box Inc., headquartered in San Diego, California, operates and franchises Jack in the Box, which has more than 2,180 restaurants across 21 states, and Del Taco, the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the U.S. with approximately 600 restaurants across 15 states.