Emeryville's Grocery Outlet Is Strategizing for the Covid-19 Outbreak

After a wildly successful 2019, the supermarket group is "purchasing aggressively."

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GROCERY OUTLET
  • Photo courtesy of Grocery Outlet

Emeryville-based Grocery Outlet has just announced this week that its earnings throughout the last fiscal year and 2019's fourth quarter surpassed all forecasted earnings goals.

The fiscal year saw net sales up 11.9 percent to $2.56 billion for the national supermarket group compared to $2.29 billion in 2018.

For last year's fourth quarter, which ended on Dec. 28, net sales surged 12 percent to $655.5 million from $585.2 million a year earlier, as reported by Supermarket News.

In a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, the company's CEO Eric Lindberg and president RJ Sheedy discussed Grocery Outlet's strategies for going forward through the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Due to our significantly higher customer demand, our buying organizations, supply chain teams, and IOs" — independent owners" — are working around the clock to keep shelves stocked for our customers. Our purchasing team is intently focused on working with our vendor partners to replenish the high-demand products for our stores,” Lindberg said in the conference call, as reported by Supermarket News.

Grocery Outlet maintains nearby stores in Oakland, Richmond, and Alameda.

“We have been working very closely with suppliers to purchase these basic needs, such as water, paper supplies, rice and beans, and canned goods. We are, amongst many others, experiencing some delay for those items. But broadly speaking, we continue to have good access to product and are purchasing aggressively to keep our warehouses full,” Lindberg said.

“As for the supply chain,” he added, “we are working hard to get products into stores as quickly as possible. We’ve made several adjustments in the past week based on sudden spikes in demand that we’ve seen.

"I want to recognize everyone in our logistics network for their dedication to supporting stores and customers. That includes our distribution center employees, our transportation fleet drivers, our third-party vendors, our DSD suppliers and their drivers, all of whom are working nonstop to keep goods on the shelves.”

At the end of 2019, Grocery Outlet had 347 stores in six states, up from 316 at the end of 2018. Ten more stores were exected to open before the end of March, chief financial officer Charles Bracher said during the conference call.

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