RETAIL NEWS

HBC e-commerce company Pharmapacks raises $32.5M

BY DSN STAFF

E-commerce company Pharmapacks has brought in $32.5 million by selling a minority stake at an undisclosed valuation in a strategic round led by Reckitt Benckiser. Additional investments in the round came from McKesson Ventures, Sealed Air and the Emerson Group.

Islandia, N.Y.-based Pharmapacks said that its proprietary platform allows brands to reach consumers with a complete solution that includes logistics, fulfillment, marketing and sales components. Pharmapacks selles direct-to-consumer through such sites as Amazon and Walmart.com, as well as on its own website. The company touted its ability to offer emerging brands access to its consumer base, enabling brands to focus on product research and development. Pharmapacks said it strategically sets competitice price points and builds a connection between shoppers and the brand.

“We are excited to see Pharmapacks growing at a rapid pace, especially in an ecosystem monopolized by big e-commerce players,” said Andrew Vagenas, CEO of Pharmapacks. “The fundraising, together with the associated partnerships, will enable us to scale operations both domestically and internationally as well as serve our customers in an even more efficient and cost-effective manner, while expanding the number of brands we can support with our unique logistics/e-distribution capabilities.”

Pharmapacks said it would use the dunding to increase its 350-person employee base by 20% and scale its current warehouse, as well as further its automated technology and expand inventory levels and delivery reach to Europe, Asia and beyond.

“With ecommerce becoming a leading driver of growth for our brands like Enfamil, Lysol, Mucinex and Airborne, we are excited to partner and invest with Pharmapacks,” said Nitish Kapoor, executive vice president, North America, RB. “We believe that this partnership will help both companies serve our online shoppers better and grow at an even faster pace.”

Pharmapacks started seven years ago at a Bronx-based independent pharmacy. After building out its e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment software to easily integrate into existing sales platforms, the company now has a 28,000-item catalog and ships more than 30,000 orders daily.

“The Emerson Group is pleased to partner with Pharmapacks. With a shared commitment to excellence in providing our clients industry-leading capabilities and cutting-edge logistics technology, we can deliver the efficiency that is so vital to success in these challenging retail times,” said Scott Emerson, CEO of The Emerson Group. “Our alignment with Pharmapacks will help us deliver increased consumer exposure to our client brands resulting in the brand growth which is the core of our corporate mission.”

Pharmapacks’ in-house tech team is dedicated to building automated assistance tools to better streamline the fulfillment process. Its partnership with Sealed Aid is aimed at improving its throughput and reducing deployment time while cutting down on excess air and wasted space in a package..

“In addition to enhancing the consumer experience upon delivery, Sealed Air and Pharmapacks are having a positive impact on the environment by eliminating excess packaging waste, and nearly eliminating the risk of damage during transit,” said Ken Chrisman, President of Sealed Air’s Product Care division. “Pharmapacks shares our commitment to use technology and data to solve fulfillment complexities. Through the upcoming expansion, we will continue to work with Pharmapacks to provide reliable and sustainable packaging solutions that address today’s social and environmental challenges.”

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Peapod to offer Midwest market regional ice cream favorites this summer

BY Antoinette Alexander

Online grocer Peapod is gearing up for summer and has partnered with several local Midwest-based ice cream brands to deliver sweet treats to Midwestern customers.

The new flavors will be available for order on Peapod.com through Labor Day.

Currently available in Peapod’s Midwest market, the brands are Fronen, Massa Gelato, Purple Door, Scratch, Loves, Jeni’s, Graeter’s and Homemade.

The new offerings also coincide with Peapod’s launch of its new “best value” PodPass Midweek subscription offer, thousands of lower everyday prices on the site and the announcement of a new $30 minimum order requirement in the Chicagoland area. The new minimum is a lowered offer from the previous minimum of $60.

“At Peapod we are committed to delighting our customers with new seasonal items so we’re celebrating the kick-off of summer with great local ice cream brands,” said Spencer Baird, senior vice president of merchandising at Peapod. “We went out and found some of our customers’ regional favorites, many of which are not on grocery store shelves, and are taking them straight to their doors.”

Peapod will offer an array of flavors, including:

  • Salted Caramel and Raspberry Chip from Wisconsin based Purple Door Ice Cream
  • Mint Chip Brownie and Door County Cherry from Wisconsin based Scratch Ice Cream
  • Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Malt from Michigan company, Love’s Ice Cream
  • Brambleberry Crisp and Gooey Butter Cake from Ohio based Jeni’s Ice Cream
  • Buckeye Chocolate Chip and Limited Edition Summer Peach from Ohio based Graeter’s Ice Cream
  • Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Natural Vanilla Bean from Ohio based Homemade Ice Cream.

In addition, each month in the summer will feature a special flavor.

  • June: Graeter’s Handcrafted Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • July: Jeni’s Frose Sorbet
  • August: Purple Door’s Brandy Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Peapod will be sampling a variety of ice creams at upcoming Millennium Park Summer Film Series showings in Chicago during July and August.

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Food Lion snaps up Kroger store in Raleigh, N.C.

BY Antoinette Alexander

Food Lion announced on Wednesday that it is broadening its footprint in Raleigh, N.C., with the acquisition of a Kroger store.

Food Lion will complete an extensive remodel of the store, and expects it to open in early 2019. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We are so excited to add this new location to our network of more than 160 stores serving the Raleigh area,” said Meg Ham, Food Lion president. “We’ve been the neighborhood friend that our customers can count on for more than 40 years in Raleigh. With the addition of this new store, we have an even greater opportunity to serve more customers – our neighbors – with fresh, quality products at affordable prices every day with the caring, friendly service they expect from their local Food Lion.”

Food Lion also will extend its commitment to supporting the Raleigh community through its hunger relief philanthropic platform, Food Lion Feeds. As part of the announcement, Food Lion is donating 30,000 meals to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to help local families in need. Food Lion will also ensure the new store is assigned a feeding agency partner to receive weekly food donations through the company’s food rescue program.

Through Food Lion Feeds, the company has made a commitment to provide 500 million meals to individuals and families in need by the end of 2020. Since the launch of Food Lion Feeds in 2014, Food Lion has already donated more than 380 million meals through in-store campaigns, in-store food rescue programs and associate volunteerism.

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