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Industry Eyes Customer Trends

Union Push at Costco, Grocery Merger Update

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Shoppers have reached their limit in bargain hunting among private labels and are keeping their remaining purchases with preferred brands, according to Proctor & Gamble.

Stability in market share for private label products means that consumers have discontinued their trends of brand trade-downs, according to industry reports.

The next question for brands is whether price increases to offset rising brand costs will push customers back down to lesser brands, according to PYMNTS.

One area where customers continue to feel the crunch is club memberships, according to other reports. While club membership fees continue to rise for Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s, the upfront pricing of memberships are considered a hurdle to growing those numbers further.

Amazon, however, has introduced a new grocery subscription membership that includes items bought with EBT.

Prime members (a separate subscription) can get free grocery deliveries for orders over $35 from Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh and affiliated grocers for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For non-Prime members using EBT cards, the delivery subscription is $4.99 per month.

In other retail news, Costco is the latest retailer to face a unionization push from employees. Drivers from the Costco distribution center in Sumner, Wash., voted to join the Teamsters union. More than 18,000 Costco workers are now represented by the union, a drive that began in Dec. 2023. The national contract between Costco and the Teamsters runs through Jan. 31, 2025.

Kroger and Albertsons, seeking approval for their proposed merger, have added 166 more store to the sell-off list in a move to appease regulators.

The new proposal would sell a total of 579 store currently operating under several Kroger- and Albertsons-owned banners to C&S Wholesale Grocers. C&S will pay $2.9 billion for the stores, up from $1.9 million for the lesser number of locations.

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