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January 17, 2023

Rite Aid

In the RITE AID CORPORATION, DIP case, the Court authorized the appointment of Hon. Shelley C. Chapman (Ret.) to serve as Mediator in the Chapter 11 Cases and to conduct and direct the mediation between the Debtors; each DIP Lenders Agent; the steering committee of the Ad Hoc Group of Secured Noteholders; the Creditors’ Committee; and the Tort Claimants Committee. The mediation is an attempt to reach resolution on various issues including the Plan of Reorganization and the sale of the retail assets. Per the order, the mediation shall terminate on January 26, 2024, unless extended to a date no later than February 9, 2024.

On January 9, Rite Aid, DIP announced the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey has approved the sale of the Company’s Elixir Solutions Business to MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., an independent pharmacy benefit solutions company. The transaction is subject to certain customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024. Until closing, Elixir remains part of Rite Aid and will continue operating as normal.

In other news, Rite Aid filed a NT-10Q notifying the SEC it will be unable to timely file its third quarter report. The filing indicated that management identified a misapplication of U.S. GAAP relating to the Company’s methodology of recording provisional closed store charges. The Company’s management has preliminarily determined that the impact of such misapplication on previously issued financial statements is not material and is still evaluating the impact on internal control over financial reporting. The resolution of this matter may result in the Company filing amendments to its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 4, 2023 and its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarters ended June 3, 2023 and September 2, 2023, respectively.


PUBLIX opened a 55,000 square-foot location at the Terra Crossing Shopping Center in Louisville, KY. The location includes a drive-thru Publix Pharmacy and an adjacent 3,200 square-foot Publix Liquors offering beer, wine, and spirits. It is the first Publix Liquors outside of Florida. Five additional Publix stores in Kentucky are in the works for Lexington, Walton, and additional sites in Louisville.


Member-owned supermarket cooperative Allegiance Retail Services LLC opened Bloomingdale Supermarket by FOODTOWN in Bloomingdale, NJ. The 8,000 square-foot space was previously occupied by an IGA supermarket. Over the past few months, new Foodtown supermarkets have opened in the New York City neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, and Astoria, Queens, while a renovated location reopened in the Bainbridge section of The Bronx. 


Freddys Frozen Custard

FREDDY'S FROZEN CUSTARD & STEAKBURGERS opened 62 new restaurants across the U.S. during 2023, including its 500th location. As a result of development agreements signed in 2023 with both new and existing franchisees, Freddy's is set to further expand its footprint in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. It currently has over 130 locations in development. Freddy's plans to open 60 to 70 locations in the U.S. and Canada in 2024. The chain says its goal is to reach 800 operating stores by 2026.


KROGER, ALBERTSONS, and C&S WHOLSALE, LLC pushed back its anticipated merger closing timeframe from early 2024 to as late as September 2024 and issued the following joint statement: "We remain in active and ongoing dialogue with the Federal Trade Commission and individual state Attorneys General regarding our proposed merger and divestiture plan.”

CVS Health

CVS HEALTH plans to close dozens of pharmacies inside Target stores between February and April this year. The closures are part of CVS's efforts to pare down its retail footprint "based on our evaluation of changes in population, consumer buying patterns, and future health needs." CVS has operated pharmacies inside Target stores since late 2015 when it bought the business from the retailer for $1.90 billion. It has pharmacies in 1,800 of Target's more than 1,950 U.S. stores. The latest round of closures account for a small percentage of CVS's Target in-store pharmacies; CVS previously announced in 2022 that it was closing 900 stores through 2024. 


CAPTAIN D'S signed its first-ever franchise development agreement in Canada, under which it will bring five restaurants to the Toronto area over the next several years. The chain added that it has "aggressive" expansion plans for new stores in Canada. On the domestic front, the Company signed multiple franchise development agreements through 2023 for new stores in New Jersey, New York, and Georgia. Captain D's operates more than 530 restaurants in 23 states. 


REI plans to open 10 new stores this year and has secured locations for two additional stores to open in 2025. The first openings this year will be in Beavercreek, OH and Beaverton, OR in the spring; three more locations will open in Glendale, AZ, Ithaca, NY, and Rancho Mirage, CA this summer; two more locations will open in Albany, NY and Tulsa, OK in the fall; and three additional stores will be announced by year end. For 2025, new stores are planned for Durango, CO and St. George, UT.


DOORDASH is adding several new retail partners to its marketplace. New retail partners include Camping World (190 locations), Golf Galaxy (100 stores), JD Sports and Finish Line (500 stores), and The Vitamin Shoppe (700 locations). DoorDash now has more than 100,000 non-restaurant stores across its Marketplace and Drive platforms, as well as nearly two million products from clothing and makeup to household essentials. 


BUC-EE'S received approval from the city of Mebane, NC to build its first store in North Carolina. The planned 75,00 square-foot facility will include 120 gas pumps and 600 parking spaces. The Company has received mixed reviews from community members praising the influx of new jobs but expressing concerns over environmental impacts and the effect on locally owned small businesses. A previous location proposed for Elfand was abandoned after community pushback. 

7 Eleven

7-ELEVEN will be acquiring the remaining 204 Stripes stores and Laredo Taco Company restaurants owned by Sunoco LP for about $1 billion. The 204 locations are spread across West Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and will join 7-Eleven's group of over 13,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada. As part of the sale, Sunoco will amend its existing take-or-pay fuel supply agreement with 7-Eleven.

The transaction is expected to close when both parties agree on closing conditions and once regulatory clearance is given. After the transaction, 7-Eleven will own and operate all Stripes and Laredo Taco Company locations across the U.S. Previously, in January 2018, 7-Eleven acquired more than 1,000 c-stores from Sunoco LP. 

Camping World

CAMPING WORLD is set to acquire Roth RV, with locations in Bamidji, Grand Rapids, and Deerwood, MN. The transaction is anticipated to close in 2Q24 and will increase the Company's Minnesota location count to 11. Over the next five years the Company aims to grow its store count to over 320 locations. 

Pure Hockey

PURE HOCKEY purchased Behind the Mask, which operates three locations in Arizona, including a freestanding store in Scottsdale and locations within the AZ Ice hockey rinks in Peoria and Gilbert. The acquired stores will be rebranded under the Pure Hockey banner. The chain now operates 77 retail locations across 25 states. It also operates two e-commerce sites under the Pure Hockey and Pure Goalie brands. 

General Interest

The December Employment Situation... U.S. online grocery sales fell 1.2% to $95.80 billion in 2023, according to the annual results of the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopper Survey released last week. It was also the second YOY decline of the order frequency of active monthly users, coming in at 6% on top of the 4% decline in 2022. The decline in orders was exacerbated by a 300 bps increase to 34% in active monthly users who said they made only one online grocery purchase per month in 2023. Online pickup held steady as the most popular way to receive online orders, growing 56 bps to end the year at 46%.

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