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Dollar General to launch sexy, hip little DGX convenience stores

(BUSINESS NEWS) The nostalgic discount store has announced a new concept expected to premiere early next year (and yeah, we are really excited).

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Plot twist

Pizza hut sells sandwiches and Starbucks sells wine, so we were not completely surprised, but rather excited, that Dollar General now sells fresh coffee and grab-and-go snacks. Yeah, you read that right: the nostalgic discount store has announced a new concept expected to premiere early next year.

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“DGX” to premier in Nashville

The new stores, or “Dollar Bodegas” as one of our writers coined, will be (tentatively) named DGX, and feature an unrecognizable urban store front complete with their new white and yellow logo.

Unlike the larger 16,000 square foot stores Dollar General opened a few years back, the newer stores will occupy much smaller areas, for the metropolitan guy or gal (or person) on the go. The first one is set to occupy an old, 3,400 square foot TGIFriday’s in Nashville, Tennessee. The second will be in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Along with a change in scenery, the new DGXs will feature an entirely renovated selection of products, including consumption stations equipped with soda fountains, coffee options, and grab-and-go-sandwiches. The concept sounds a lot like a 7-11 or the average corner bodega downtown, but it will be so much more.

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How much more?

Limited grocery items will also be offered in the new stores, and are expected to include various items “not typically found in quick trip stores”. According to their statement to the Nashville Post, select assortments of home essentials, electronics, and seasonal items will also be available.

Now, I have to admit I am a pretty huge fan of Dollar General, and am therefore ecstatic about the new DGX stores. There’s something liberating about walking into a store full of items all under $20 and knowing no matter how much you spend, you’ll have a little extra left.

The last time I visited Nashville, I saw Beyoncé and ate mind blowing BBQ. The next time, I will have a shopping spree at DGX. I’m positive I’ll enjoy the latter the most. Can’t wait.

#DGX

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

Business News

The final nail has been put in the Jet.com coffin by Walmart

(BUSINESS NEWS) Walmart is shutting down their main Amazon competing idea, Jet.com didn’t meet Walmart’s expectations even with COVID ramping up home deliveries.

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Walmart announced it will discontinue Jet.com, its online-only marketplace, after a poor showing in their Q1 earnings report. Once promising to tackle Amazon competition head-on, Walmart acquired Jet for $3 billion in 2016 and championed its potential to strengthen company e-commerce. Last year, Walmart saw a $2 billion loss in the division despite the efforts to compete as a digital-facing store.

The earnings report showed Jet.com saw a growth of less than 10% in its main US market. Thus, Walmart will withdraw guidance entering the 2021 fiscal year. Jet.com has seen its fair share of trials since Walmart took over and has faced multiple reorganizing attempts such as the full integration of Jet’s teams into Walmart’s, the shutdown of experimental shopping service, Jet black, and a site relaunch.

Although consumers are turning to online shopping and deliveries in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, digital marketplaces face their own challenges in a changing retail landscape. Intuitively, e-commerce should be thriving, however, the pandemic has increased overhead costs for companies like Ebay and Amazon. This is setting aside what the broader effects may follow in the wake of a collapsing economy.

A statement by CFO Brett Briggs highlighted these broader concerns and the decision to remove guidance from Jet.com. “The decision to withdraw guidance reflects significant uncertainty around several key external variables and their potential impact on our business and the global economy, including: the duration and intensity of the COVID- 19 health crisis globally, the length and impact of stay-at-home orders, the scale and duration of economic stimulus, employment trends and consumer confidence,” he noted. “Our business fundamentals are strong, and our financial position is excellent. Customers trust us to deliver on our brand promise, and I’m confident in our ability to perform well in most any environment. While the short-term environment will be challenging, we’re positioned well for long-term success in an increasingly omni world.”

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Business News

Amazon may take advantage of COVID-19 decimated AMC and acquire them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon is eyeing AMC as a possible purchase because of the how COVID-19 has affect theaters, but some worry that the industry won’t bounce back.

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AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. increased 56% (to $6.41) after reportedly in talks with Amazon regarding a potential takeover. The report, made by U.K.’s Daily Mail, is yet to receive confirmation by other company. However, the market has clearly responded to the spicy rumor. If seriously considered, the move could easily solidify Amazon’s ambitions to compete with major Hollywood studios by creating another avenue for their movies and television series.

Chinese real estate billionaire Wang Jianlin acquired AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion as part of his conglomerate, Wanda Group’s expansion into the entertainment realm. AMC shares rose 12% to a two-month high this week after the reported talks with Amazon. However, it’s been far from sunshine and rainbows for AMC. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the company hard. In mid-April, their stock was down 70% year to date. Past reports have also speculated the when AMC may announce bankruptcy rather than if.

Last month’s straight-to-streaming release of “Trolls World Tour” offers a glimpse of the entertainment market in a post-COVID world. The movie’s success offers a glimpse of an future where physical theaters are obsolete. Taking x-amount of months of social distancing into account and Amazon’s takeover makes less sense.

Amazon has carved out space on the streaming market over the past several years with Prime originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag having racked up Emmy awards. With other great shows like Undone, Bosch, and their recent grab of The Expanse, along with new shows like Upload I would say Amazon knows a thing or two about good content.

Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley FBR wrote this week that since AMC is projected to see its fourth consecutive year of stock declines, the company wouldn’t appeal from an investor standpoint. If the acquisition talks are active, a cash offer for AMC is more likely.

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Business News

One big brand got $10M in PPP funding, refuses to return it

(BUSINESS NEWS) Quantum has been asked to give back its $10 million portion of the PPP loans given out, but they refuse. As if small businesses have it hard enough.

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Quantum burning ppp loan

Quantum, a data storage company, is getting pressured by Congress to return its loan from the federal Payment Protection Program, however, the company is refusing to back down and announced it is keeping the money.

Last week a House panel asked five public companies, including Quantum, to return their loans immediately. All five companies received $10 million from the program. Quantum told CBS MoneyWatch they intend to respond to lawmakers but will be keeping the funding. They are required to explain in writing why they are still eligible for the PPP loan and submit supporting documents by Friday, May 15th.

Likewise, banks have come under criticism for prioritizing PPP loan approvals for larger companies rather than small businesses where they were intended to offer much-needed aid. The program offers low-interest, government-funded loans, targeting businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The best part is the loans can be forgiven if businesses keep their workers and use those funds towards payroll. Larger public companies have jumped on the opportunity while the local mom-and-pop shops are unable to receive the highly-sought after loans before funds run out.

The congressional committee wrote in a letter to Quantum that the company currently employs 800 workers and has the option to raise funds from investors. Quantum’s largest shareholder is B. Riley Capital Management, an investment fund valued at $500 million owning 21% of company shares. As of May 11th, Quantum’s market capitalization was $173 million.

In a statement by a Quantum spokesperson, the company said “Quantum believes it owes a duty to its American employees who would lose their jobs if Quantum returned its PPP loan to demonstrate why Quantum not only falls within the technical eligibility requirements of the PPP loan program, but also falls squarely within the spirit of what was intended by the [Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act].”

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