Austria's Hofer: 50th anniversary

Strong Dutch performance lifts Ahold Delhaize in Q4

UK: Co-op pledges £50mln of price cuts for grocery staples
The Co-op is investing £50mln in cutting the price of grocery staples in response to “tight” competition on the high street, it has announced. The retail giant said it was lowering the price of some products by more than 40%, with more than 600 products now costing an average of 14% less. Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “We are the most visited food retailer on the high street but competition is tight and we want to keep attracting shoppers through the door.” She said the ongoing price cuts were part of a strategy to “make Co-op the UK’s number one convenience retailer”.

UK: Tesco cuts up to 1,700 jobs in bid to 'simplify operational structure'

UK supermarket chain Tesco has said that it is removing a number of roles from its stores, in order to 'simplify its operational structures to improve efficiency'. The retailer is removing the role of People Manager, Compliance Manager and Customer Experience Manager, which is set to affect 1,700 staff members. Tesco added that, as a result of these changes, 900 new roles with broader remits will be created at its stores and fulfilment centres. "These changes remove complexity and will deliver a simpler, more helpful experience for colleagues and customers," said Matt Davies, CEO of Tesco UK and ROI.

Holland: Strong performance at home lifts Ahold Delhaize in Q4

Ahold Delhaize’s home market of the Netherlands posted a 6.0% increase in comparable sales in the fourth quarter of the year, its best performing division, according to the group’s fourth quarter and full year sales. Its Belgium business was flat (0.0%) in Q4, while its Central and Southeastern Europe business was up marginally, with comparable sales growth of 0.3%. In the US, Ahold USA posted a 0.6% increase in comparable sales in Q4, with Delhaize America rising by 1.5%.

Austria's Hofer celebrates 50th anniversary
Austrian discounter Hofer is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The retailer started operations in the east and southeast of the country back in 1968, and has since expanded its discount retail concept to over 480 stores nationwide, with over 100 in Vienna. The company has over 11,000 employees and offers a range of around 1,000 products to meet everyday needs of its customers, according to Hofer.

Vietnam: VinMart expands further in Vietnam
After three years in operation, VinMart supermarkets and VinMart+ convenience stores form the largest retail chain in Vietnam. Building on this success, the retailer is looking to continue its development over the next two years. In December 2017 alone, the retailer added 100 new outlets in 11 provinces. On average, three convenience stores were opened per day. At a recent supplier conference, Vincommerce's owner, Thai Thi Thanh Hai, said that there were 65 VinMart supermarkets and over 1,000 VinMart+ convenience stores across 26 provinces.

UK: Sainsbury's targets cost savings with store management shake-up
Sainsbury‘s, Britain’s second largest supermarket group, said it would restructure its store management as it seeks to achieve another round of targeted cost savings. Sainsbury‘s, which has reported three straight years of profit decline, said the role of store manager across its circa 1,400 British stores of various formats would remain but management roles below that would change.

China: Tencent to back Carrefour in challenge to Alibaba in retail
Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to invest in Carrefour SA’s China unit, following Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s footsteps to uproot traditional grocery and department stores with technology. The social media giant, along with local retailer Yonghui Superstores Co., agreed to take a stake in Carrefour China, the companies said. They plan to work together on data, smart retail, mobile payments and data analysis. Tencent’s investment could help revive the struggling French retailer’s business in China, while expanding WeChat mobile payments across the country.

UK: Supermarket checkout designed to scan entire shopping basket trialled
A checkout designed to scan an entire basket or trolley’s worth of shopping in one go is being trialled in London. The centrepiece of IBM’s “shop of the future” is said to be 15 times faster than standard self-service checkouts. The system could also render traditional barcodes obsolete as each shopping item has a tiny “radio frequency identification” chip embedded in it containing much more information.

CA: 10 Safeway stores to close in B.C.'s Lower Mainland
Ten Safeway supermarkets are slated for closure in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. Safeway's parent company, Sobey's, said the closures are due to falling sales and changing customer demand. "It's no secret that many of our stores in British Columbia have been struggling for the last few years," said Jacqueline Corrado, director of external communications at Sobey's.

US: The Fresh Market halts new openings
The Fresh Market is pulling back all of its planned new store openings for 2018 so as to concentrate on existing operations, the company told WGB. It was not immediately clear how many locations would be affected by the decision, in part because precise opening dates for its stores are not set, and some openings had already been delayed. According to Planned Grocery, a service tracking grocery store developments by Beitz and Daigh Geographics, the Greensboro, N.C.-based Fresh Market currently has 12 stores in development: four under construction; five planned, meaning they have signed leases with developers; and three proposed stores in pre-development.

US: MyWebGrocer announces new advanced analytics capabilities
MyWebGrocer, the leading enterprise software and digital media company to the grocery and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries, announces Looker as its choice to transform raw data from its Digital Experience Platform (DEP) into meaningful insights for its grocery retail partners. By embedding Looker analytics and dashboards in MWG’s solution, teams throughout an organization are empowered to take informed action and drive their eCommerce business, sales, and shopper engagement. "Our grocery DEP clients will now have unparalleled access to their valued data," says Michelle Coté, MWG’s VP of Data and Insights. She adds, "powering our advanced platform with Looker will help grocers understand every aspect of their eCommerce channel.”

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