Story, a New York City concept store that positions itself as a “magazine-like” curator, has partnered with Wal-Mart’s Jet.com for a grocery effort called “Fresh Story,” according to a Story blog post. Merchandise also includes some non-grocery items, such as sushi socks and smart cooking gadgets.
The pop-up shop opens on Wednesday and will run for six weeks, according to a report from The Street.
The shop will feature in-store events like presentations from chef Mario Batali, makeup guru Bobbi Brown and mixologists from Hella Cocktail Co., according to Story’s blog post.
Jet isn’t the first retailer to partner with Story — Target took a spin in 2014, as has The Home Depot, among others. Story rotates its merchandise every few weeks with the tagline: “point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, sells things like a store.”
It’s a curious move for Jet, though, considering the e-commerce upstart’s appeal as a money-saving juggernaut, with a “secret sauce” algorithm that helps shoppers save via a variety of fulfillment choices. That algorithm is widely seen as the main attraction for Wal-Mart, which ponied up $3.3 billion to acquire Jet last year and hire its founder, Marc Lore, as its U.S. e-commerce chief in the process.
The tie-up between Story and Jet, temporary though it is, comes as Amazon — the retailer that Jet was first positioned to disrupt — continues to work on its decade-long fresh grocery effort. Jet, meanwhile, has been selling fresh groceries online since last year in select cities.
Wal-Mart is the largest grocer in the U.S., with the category delivering half of the company's overall sales. But no-frills grocery stores from abroad — Aldi, Lidl and Aldi cousin Trader Joe’s — threaten to disrupt the space with bottom-of-the-barrel prices and streamlined inventory. That has helped spark a price war this year in consumer products and food sales, led by Wal-Mart and increasingly joined by the likes of Kroger and Target. Similar competition from those retailers in the U.K. has been devastating to Wal-Mart's grocery efforts there.