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01/11/2022

Foxtrot has big plans for private label in 2022

More funding means more stores and more than 200 new private label items set to launch.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
Dan Ochwat profile picture

Foxtrot is getting more funding, as it looks to grow its private label assortment by more than 200 products, grow its digital capabilities and open 25 more stores in 2022.

The convenience chain, based in Chicago, said customer demand is driving it to grow its private label assortment around meal-times, doubling down on its core offerings of coffee, ready-to-eat cafe meals and wine, all optimized for its 30-minute delivery and 5-minute pickup convenience options.

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Open packages of candy and ice cream.

The retailer said since introducing private label a year ago, it has grown to make up 30% of its assortment and accounts for nearly half of all brick-and-mortar and online sales.

Over the next year, Foxtrot plans to create and launch 200 new private label SKUs that will underscore the brand's key category differentiator of brand creation and voice, expanding on the current favorite product lines and entertaining completely new categories, the company said. Foxtrot's private label products will continue to serve as a complementary offering to the brand's company lifeblood of emerging brand partners and local purveyors, where Foxtrot said it will continue to allocate nearly a quarter of all shelf space to locally sourced items from neighborhood artisans and to emerging purveyors. 

Store Brands earlier exclusively interviewed Foxtrot, discussing its private brand strategy, as well as its local exclusives, which includes growth into store brands outside of food in 2022. The retailer also introduced a national online gift box service called Foxtrot Anywhere.

Additionally, the funding will be used to open 25 new stores in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, two stores in Austin, and notable openings in Chicago's iconic Willis Tower, Tribune Tower and near Wrigley Field. 

As for the latest funding, Foxtrot announced $100 million in Series C funding led by D1 Capital Partners with continued participation from existing investors Monogram, Imaginary, Almanac, Wittington, Fifth Wall and Beliade, joining historical investors Lerer Hippeau and Revolution. The total Series C funding has reached $160 million.

Previously, the retailer announced it would be adding 50 stores over the next two years, growing from a dozen locations in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C., into New York, Austin, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and Houston, based on earlier investments. Since launching first as a digital-only delivery service, Foxtrot has since opened 16 brick and mortar locations. Looking ahead to 2023, Foxtrot will continue expansion to additional markets such as New York, Nashville and Miami, while simultaneously also expanding its presence in current regions.

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a sign out front

The funding also expects to improve scaling its proven merchandising model, which melds the best of local artisans with core pantry essentials, favorite treats and hand-picked wines, spirits and local beers. 

To power its internally developed omnichannel operating system, Foxtrot will prioritize hiring engineering talent, with a plan to triple the team's size over the next 12 months, bringing on dedicated hires to optimize logistics, store payments, inventory management, personalization and Perks, Foxtrot's loyalty program.

"As we exit the pandemic and our lives continue to normalize following a challenging and eye-opening two years, we expect that retail and hospitality will become increasingly important in creating a sense of community and driving discovery in a world that's been lacking this experience for quite some time," said Mike LaVitola, co-founder and CEO of Foxtrot. "With this new round of funding, we'll continue to accelerate the expansion of our brick and mortar presence, enter new and emerging markets and double down on new store formats that answer consumer demand for immersive programming and highly curated assortment.  Our investments in technology will enhance our retail experience and drive omnichannel growth. We look forward to bringing Foxtrot to new neighborhoods, and highlighting the small makers that make our industry so exciting."

At the core of Foxtrot's capabilities is its unique operating model, which leverages retail stores as delivery hubs.  Foxtrot will invest in logistics technology to power 30-minute delivery while optimizing store designs and UX design for 5-minute in-store pick up.  Foxtrot's 5-minute market pickup has grown 250% this year, with cafe orders within the channel increasing at an even faster clip — +375%, year to date.