With Project ROAR, the distribution center modernization initiative, in full swing, this year’s fall case lot sale brought new challenges to the AFS team. Despite these hurdles, dedicated team members from across the company came together to conquer them. 

The sale was significantly impacted by the loss of 2,000 pick slot locations and 8,000 storage slot locations at the distribution center. Furthermore, the execution of preplanned routes was relocated to the nearby BDO (Business District Ogden) storage facility. To complicate matters further, challenging economic conditions influenced shopper behavior, with many guests working within tighter budgets than usual. 

Notwithstanding the challenges, the sale was successful for many retailers including Macey’s, Dan’s, Lin’s, Dick’s Market and Fresh Market. In fact, it was the second biggest fall case lot sale in Associated Retail Operation’s (ARO) history. Also of note, the second week was the larger of the two weeks, which is not typically the case. 

Traditionally, AFS splits the fall case lot into two regions. Case lot ran from September 6 to September 19 in region one and is running from September 27 to October 10 region two.  

Round one had 69 preplanned case lot routes with 42 routes pulled from the BDO. There were 58 extra routes created in addition to pre-pulled and regular scheduled routes. Both dollar (17.52%) and unit sales (8.67%) increased over last year despite supply chain restrictions to entire process.  

Nearly every team at AFS plays a role in executing effective case lot sales. Without procurement, distribution, transportation, marketing, advertising and many others, the sale would be impossible to accomplish.  

Of special note on the wholesale side are team members Terri Jensen in receiving, Landen Paulsen in logistics, Debbie Smith, Kate Rundell and Loni Erickson in inventory management and Dari Perry, case lot project manager. These team members are incredibly instrumental in positioning the entire company for case lot success.  

“Once again, our teams came together to place commit orders, work with suppliers to procure inventory, plan logistics, receive and ship product to retail and then execute a terrific event for our guests at store level,” said Todd Bell, vice president of procurement. “It’s amazing to see everyone’s hard work paying off.”  

On the retail side, the operations team, store directors, ASD’s, grocery managers, GM managers, front- end teams and many others deserve praise for their efforts. They committed product, planned displays, merchandized and created a great shopping experience for store guests.  

“The success of the case lot sale at ARO depends on so many people and practices coming together to make it work and I am grateful to each individual involved for their hard work and dedication to make it happen,” said Darin Peirce, senior vice president and president of ARO. “Speaking specifically of the store teams, I am proud of the great merchandising execution we see in our ARO stores that makes the sale enticing and easy to shop for our guests. I am also very proud of how good our store directors, assistant store directors and grocery managers have become at pre-committing product for the sale. I see this as a vital step in executing a successful case lot sale to assist the procurement and distribution center teams in getting the needed product to us and making certain we have the product needed to serve our guests and maximize the sales opportunity.” 

Vice President Greg Welling agreed. “I am so proud of our team that puts together the case lot promotion,” said Greg. “Case lot is a promotion that we own and the stores within the AFS system execute the promotion better than any others because of the hard work of the entire Associated Food Stores’ team. We are so grateful for our amazing distribution center that managed to do more with less, our procurement team and our retail stores that work very hard to deliver a happing shopping case lot experience.”