The Kalibrate retail round-up: July 2022

In this monthly feature, we look across the industry and mainstream news to uncover some stories of note that we think are worth your attention.

Kalibrate works with a diverse range of retail organizations, so we always have our ear to the ground to see how the environment is evolving. This helps us understand the challenges and opportunities facing the brands we support, but it also helps us keep across the news, innovations, transformations, trials, and tribulations, within retail concepts.

ZaLat Pizza has a tattoo artist on retainer

Wellness programmes, stock options, dental – how about company tattoo artist? Many retailers are improving their employee benefit offers to attract and retain staff given the current recruitment challenges, but one pizza brand has taken things a step further.

After a year’s service, staff at ZaLat Pizza (30 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) can have themselves inked on the company. Understanding your customer profile is one thing but aligning your workplace benefits package to the types of staff you’re trying to attract is a smart move to strengthen recruitment and retention.

We’re tempted to trial this at Kalibrate – we’re sure there are few team members that would enjoy winding down from a hard day building forecast models by sitting down for some new body artwork.

Read more about ZaLat’s retention strategy


Starbucks explores UK business sale, reports say

News that the world’s largest coffee chain is weighing up the sale of its UK operation will do little to cheer the caffeine-dependent Brits among us, but it’s a significant development.

Starbucks says it’s ‘not in a formal sale process’ and continues to ‘evaluate strategic options’ – those well-versed in corporate-speak can venture their own translations. Starbucks adds that its focus is on key city and drive-through outlets. Newspaper reports suggest Starbuck has engaged advisers on possible exit options.

With over 1,000 outlets in the UK, any exit would shake up the UK’s coffee scene and it would be fascinating to see who’s interested in acquiring the portfolio.

Read more on the BBC website


Focus Brands builds appeal with ‘Horizontal Growth Opportunity’

With a number of brands within its portfolio, Focus Brands is leveling up through what it’s terming ‘horizontal growth opportunity’. While some Focus Brands reduced unit counts when compared with their pre-pandemic position, McAlister’s bucked the trend by adding 62 units over the same period.

Zeroing in on middle America, Focus believes there’s more room for growth than urban areas subject to acute labor and real estate competition, and higher costs.

Clearly, Focus is living up to its name in terms of strategy. Knowing where to focus your real estate activity is half the battle in execution. If its location strategy is backed by quality insight and sensitive to the competitive pressures of its markets, it’s sure to see continued success.

Read more about Focus Brand’s growth objectives


From pizza earrings to tie-dyed scrunchies: inside Claire’s remarkable turnaround

We caught this fascinating piece from Fast Company on Claire’s – a brand particularly close to our heart as an Intalytics’ (a Kalibrate Group company) client.

From defying gravity as those around it failed, a knack for spotting trends, the prioritization of off-mall locations, and the execution of a successful digital marketing strategy, Claire’s success is a case study in quality customer- and location-centric decision making.

Read more about Claire’s ‘remarkable turnaround’


55-unit Rock N’ Roll Sushi to add 25 stores in Western franchising deal

It’s a time-tested truth that adding ‘Rock N’ Roll’ to something makes it at least 30% cooler – and we’re specialists in data, so we should know. The latest evidence of this phenomenon came courtesy of the sushi arena with Rock N’ Roll Sushi signing a 25-unit deal in Colorado, with further expansion in Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Originating in Alabama, Rock N’ Roll Sushi has been expanding rapidly in the 12 years since its founding and prides itself on being inclusive to those who may have been put off by high-end or more traditional sushi concepts.

America’s palette has been diversifying for years so it’s little surprise that cuisines once considered niche now have multiple mainstream QSR options. Competition for diners is intense – particularly in Las Vegas, one of the new markets – but if Rock N’ Roll brings the location and marketing acumen that has brought it this far, there’s a good chance its western expansion will be another hit.

Read more about Rock N’ Roll’s go-west project


These pandemic snacking and drinking habits are here to stay, candy and booze companies say

We all love a buzzword and ‘premiumization’ was one that caught our eye this month. Drinks industry representatives suggest being confined to our homes during the pandemic led consumers to splash out on more expensive spirits – and that taste for the finer-drinks-in-life has sustained.

It seems many of us channeled Tom Cruise at the end of the movie Cocktail and splashed out on expensive spirits to hone our mixology skills from the comfort of our homes – tequila/mezcal saw a 30% uplift in sales, Irish whiskey at 16% growth, and cordials at 15%.  Despite this, many of us are also resigned to the mixology acumen of Tom Cruise at the start of the movie Cocktail; pre-mixed spirit and mixers have seen a 42% year-on-year growth.

Read more about drinking habits that have sustained the pandemic


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