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Are things really ‘golden’ for Costco.png

5 things: Are things really ‘golden’ for Costco?

Here’s 5 things you may have missed in grocery

Like printing your own money, sort of: Sales of gold bars have turned into a cash cow for Costco. In fact, writes CNBC, the bars have been so in demand that analysts at Wells Fargo expect revenue “may now be running at” $100 million to $200 million a month, a rapid acceleration since the warehouse club first started selling the 1 ounce gold bars late in the summer of 2023. It’s not all shiny news though. In terms of bottom line profit, the big-box retailer sees a low premium on the gold bars, and additionally it further offers 2% cash back for executive members and another 2% for those who use their Citigroup credit cards. The sales are adding about 3% to general merchandise sales but not contributing much to profit, one analyst said. All that glitters is not gold. —Chloe Riley

A salad produces a lot of green: Single dad Brant Edgington walked into a Baker’s grocery store in Fremont, Neb., just looking for a little salad for lunch, and now he’s thinking about taking a permanent lunch hour. On a whim, Edgington bought a Mega Millions Nebraska lottery ticket and it turned out to be a million-dollar winner. Edgington admitted he does not play the numbers often because, “As a single parent, baloney is more important, financially.” Edgington’s ho-hum approach almost cost him a fortune. He didn’t even bother checking the winning numbers and for a time forgot that he bought the ticket. Once he returned to the grocery store, he had trouble with the Check-a-Ticket scanner and had to get a Baker’s associate to help out. The store will get a nice bonus for selling the winning ticket, so I guess a little help really does go a long way. —Bill Wilson

You just got Aldi-ed: April Fool’s Day came a week late this year for fans of German discount grocer Aldi with the grocer’s announcement that it had changed course and decided to launch its first membership program known as Aldi+. The press release, put out on April 8, noted that its membership program gained 331.9 million members on its first day, roughly the equivalent of the total U.S. population. And the cost to join? Nada. Something seems fishy, so we at Supermarket News put on our investigative reporter hat and dug deeper (into the press release) only to learn that it was a farce. “We’re only kidding, unlike other retailers, exclusive memberships aren’t an ALDI thing,” the discount grocer joked. –Tim Inklebarger

Take a (price) hike: A mystery shopper is on the prowl in Canada, using Post-It notes and pen to let fellow grocers know about better deals…at other stores! On the Loblaws is Out of Control Reddit page, a photo was posted of a Post-It note left at a Real Canadian Superstore, indicating a price comparison for 400-gram bags of Quebec-made Imperial popcorn. The Superstore price? $4.79. The Post-It price? $3.25 at “Dolarama” [sic]. Perhaps the mysterious bargain tagger is not aware of the internet, where you can pick up the correct spellings of grocers (it’s Dollarama) for free. —BW

Self-checkout but it’ll cost you? Could self-checkout lanes at grocery stores follow suit with airports, which offer a quick passage through security for a fee? Programs like Clear and TSA PreCheck enable passengers to skip the regular line for a fee, so why not grocery stores, asks Forbes senior contributor Chris Walton. Walton points to a recent Business Insider report claiming that Walmart may have been testing limiting self-checkout lanes for Spark drivers and Walmart+ members, but that story was later dismissed by an article in Reuters. “But what if they were?” Walton asks in his latest column. He says it should not be a question of if but when and for how much. How much would you pay to skip the line? We’re uncertain of the answer, just don’t ask us to take our shoes off. –TI

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