Today in Retail: Target Continues Upward Momentum; Kohl’s Spending Big on Sephora Expansion


Today in retail, Whole Foods Market launches an accelerator program to mentor local food brands, while small businesses look local while acting globally. Plus, AutoZone continues to increase inventory as it opens new stores across North and South America.

Whole Foods Wants to Accelerate Local Brands

Whole Foods Market is taking applications for its Local and Emerging Accelerator Program, designed to mentor local food brands, through April 8. The program offers mentorships from the company’s exports, education for small and emerging producers and the possibility of financial support.

Select producers will see their products placed on the shelves of their hometown Whole Foods stores, according to an announcement on the company’s website. Successful applicants will participate in a 10-week curriculum, spend a year under the mentorship of a “local forager” and get access to “other growth-related supplier benefits,” the company said.

Whole Foods added 500 new local brands to its list of suppliers and 6,500 new local items to shelves last year.

96% of Target’s Q4 Sales Fulfilled in-Store, Retailer Invests in Ease and Convenience

Target capped off a “year of record growth,” noting it fulfills 96% of its sales through its stores, with 19% of revenue originating from its digital platform. The Tuesday (March 1) announcement came less than a week after the retail giant rolled out a curbside return offering and Starbucks car delivery.

The company has also paired with big brands to grow its portfolio of store-in-store offerings, including deals with Apple, Disney, Starbucks and Ulta Beauty.

AutoZone Inventory up as Company Opens New Stores in Q2

In addition to net sales growth of 15.8% to $3.4 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 ending Feb. 12, AutoZone reported an uptick in inventory of 6.2% from the same time a year earlier, thanks to 31 new stores, hubs and megahubs in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, according to a Tuesday (March 1) press release.

AutoZone opened 26 new stores and closed one in the U.S. and opened three stores in Mexico and two stores in Brazil in the quarter. The company had 6,091 stores in the U.S., 669 in Mexico and 55 in Brazil for a total of 6,815 as of Feb. 12, according to the release.

Kohl’s Plans to Spend $850M on Sephora Expansion, Other Capital Expenditures

Kohl’s topped its own fiscal 2021 expectations and it plans do even better in 2022, according to a Tuesday (March 1) press release on its earnings for the full year and fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 29.

After nearing $6.5 billion in Q4 sales and closing in on $19.5 billion in sales for the year, Kohl’s said in the release that 2022 net sales are likely to increase 2% to 3% compared to its record-setting last 12 months.

The company also plans to spend about $850 million in capital expenditures, including the expansion of its partnership with Sephora.

The Small Business Case to Act Global, Look Local

Robert Clarkson, chief revenue officer at Payoneer, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster there’s been a shift in how small companies, even sole proprietorships, come to market. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have had to embrace a digital-first strategy, while keeping an eye on the global stage and multiple channels.

Many small businesses are now jumping into the international marketplace across multiple direct and marketplace channels. They have also had to invest more in their digital strategy through digital advertising, online storefronts and social media. In an age of increased cross-border commerce, expanding one’s customer base can lead to more complexity and localization demands.