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Albertsons Companies Hires to Ramp up eCommerce Platform

Albertsons Companies has hired two key digital leaders who will collectively add 30 years of digital leadership experience in product and digital technology. They are Karl Varsanyi, who helped develop macys.com into one of the largest eCommerce sites in the United States, and Ramiya Iyer, who was instrumental in building and scaling Levi Strauss & Co.’s platforms and analytic capabilities worldwide.

“After being relatively unaffected by digital for many years, the grocery industry is starting to see several parts of the customer journey being transformed by digital. In this context, we need to continue to enhance our digital capabilities, and Karl and Ramiya will play a key role in this journey,” said Narayan Iyengar, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing and eCommerce.

Iyengar himself joined the company in January with more than 20 years of eCommerce experience, most recently with the Walt Disney Company where he built, enhanced and optimized eCommerce capabilities across an ecosystem spanning 20 websites and apps.

“The addition of these leaders with diverse and rich retail experiences will position us to accelerate our efforts to having a differentiated digital experience for our customers,” said Anuj Dhanda, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

Together, these additions underscore Albertsons Companies’ commitment to eCommerce leadership in the grocery industry with proven experience building winning digital strategies around well-known brands. The company already operates its highly popular just for U® digital loyalty program, a rapidly growing eCommerce home delivery program, and wide range of digital and data capabilities.

Karl Varsanyi joined Albertsons Companies as the General Vice President of Digital Product Management with responsibility for the digital experience (web, app, and in-store) for all brands and locations. Varsanyi is a customer experience leader with 16 years of practice in the digital retail and technology industries. He has a strong track record of building new innovative products, platforms, teams and cultures across digital and physical retail, having most recently turned Macy’s into an omnichannel retailing leader as its GVP of Product Management, Strategy and Experience.

Ramiya Iyer joined Albertsons Companies as the GVP of Information Technology Digital and Marketing/Merchandising. She has a deep understanding of how digital technology is changing consumers’ shopping behavior, and she brings a unique combination of retail, technology and global leadership experience. Prior to her tenure as the Vice President of eCommerce at Levi’s, she held various IT leadership roles at Walmart.com and SamsClub.com.

Jewel-Osco to Purchase 19 Strack & Van Til Stores from Central Grocers, Inc.

Jewel Foods Stores has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Central Grocers, Inc. to acquire 19 Strack & Van Til stores and other certain assets. Jewel-Osco will serve as the “stalking horse bidder” in a court-supervised sale process, which means Jewel-Osco was the initial bidder with which Central Grocers chose to negotiate prior to the auction of assets. The auction is expected to commence on June 2, 2017, assuming court approval of the bidding procedures.

Jewel-Osco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons Companies, operates 186 stores across Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, and has been a fixture among Midwest grocers since 1899 when Frank Ross and Frank Skiff launched the Jewel Tea Company, selling tea and coffee door-to-door from horse-drawn wagons. The transaction, if completed, would expand the Jewel-Osco footprint further into Indiana where the chain currently operates four stores, and build upon Strack & Van Til’s rich history of delivering quality, local products and an innovative shopping experience for their customers in the neighborhoods they serve. Jewel-Osco intends to extend offers of employment to substantially all of the current store employees as part of the transaction.

Jewel-Osco does not expect to close any store locations as a result of the transaction, pending the outcome of the court-supervised sale process and customary regulatory approvals.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from the Federal Trade Commission.

Lotus Trolley Bag Now Available

Lotus Trolley Bag, a new patent-pending, eco-friendly shopping bag system that boasts four large bags, has launched on Amazon.com. Designed to help shoppers easily organize and efficiently pack their groceries in a fraction of the time, the Lotus Trolley Bag system is reusable with durable bags that easily spread out, accordion-style, in a grocery shopping cart.

Lotus Trolley BagsEquipped with rods that are designed to fit all shopping carts including those at Costco, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, Wal-Mart, among others, the Lotus Trolley Bag features extended handles, double stitching and wider openings that make it easy to carry and unload groceries. Unlike any other bag on the market, the Lotus Trolley Bag can be made into one bag, with a simple Velcro strip, for easy transit to be placed onto the back of a shopping cart, with no hook needed, while a person shops. At check out when items are on the conveyor belt, the bag is simply placed inside the cart and spread out in one easy motion to make four separate bags. The upright bags allow the bagger to pack the goods with ease with both hands in a fraction of the time. Once at the car, the shopper can effortlessly separate each bag to individually fit in the trunk. Once unpacked, the bags are simply reattached along the Velcro strips and rolled up.

The Lotus Trolley Bag’s unique four bag design includes a large cooler bag that can hold big pizza boxes and it also offers a special patent-pending bag that securely fits two egg cartons and two wine bottles.

The inspiration to experiment and develop a new shopping bag system stemmed from two significant trends, according to Lotus Trolley Bag creators, husband and wife Farzan and Jennifer Dehmoubed. “With the recent ban on plastic shopping bags and the nation’s fever to reduce the impact of bags on the environment, we saw a need for creating quality recycled bags that would not be forgotten at home and also quickly end up in landfills. We wanted to eliminate the need for earth-damaging, animal-hurting plastic bags and tree-killing paper bags. We were also determined to create a bag that was practical, based on comfort, using soothing colors, and lets shoppers get in and out of the store faster.”

The Lotus Trolley Bag system is washable, eco-friendly, and made of recycled plastic that resembles canvas with durable double stitching. The strong mesh on the bottom of each bag ensures spills don’t pool in the bags. While most reusable bags are made of 60-75 grams per square meter non-woven material, the Dehmoubeds wanted to ensure that a much higher standard was adhered to and used premium 120 grams per square meter non-woven material that will accommodate over 70 pounds per bag. The bags are also detachable and can be used at the beach, on road trips, picnics and for gardening and more. The Lotus Trolley Bag comes in an assortment of colors including blue, purple, mint, and khaki.

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