More than seven in 10 shoppers want to know more about the grocery items they buy than they’re currently able to get from traditional on-package labels, according to a new national survey commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI). These shoppers seek such information as what the ingredients do and why they’re in the product. According to the industry groups, the survey findings confirm the importance of the digital tool they’ve developed, SmartLabel,which gives consumers easy access to additional, detailed information on the products, including data on allergens, usage, production methods, animal welfare and environmental impact. Almost 28,000 products carried by food retailers now feature SmartLabel.
US: Macy's takes a minority stake in b8ta and expands its pop-up marketplace
Macy's announced it is partnering with b8ta to expand Market @ Macy's, a pop-up shop within its stores. As part of that partnership, Macy's has taken a minority stake in b8ta, which helps brands build out physical stores. B8ta, founded in 2015 by Nest alums Vibhu Norby, William Mintun and Phillip Raub, helps shoppers try tech gadgets before buying them, even if those products aren't yet in stores. With its new Macy's partnership, it will sell items, such as a digital art canvas, that Macy's typically would not offer. B8ta will also provide the back-end support for Macy's constantly rotating pop-up store.
US: Supervalu floats holding company plan
Eden Prairie-based national grocer and food wholesaler Supervalu announced plans to reorganize its corporate structure to become a holding company. Among other things, the company said this plan would organize and further segregate its wholesale and retail operations, facilitate the sale of some retail assets and better segregate its liabilities into separate business segments, according to a news release. Supervalu investor Blackwells Capital has pressured the company of late. Last month it suggested the sale-leaseback of Supervalu’s wholesale distribution center and the sale or spin-off of the retail segment, according it a Blackwells website. The investor has nominated six new members to the board of directors.
France’s largest food retailer Carrefour is teaming up with Google to boost its online shopping business on its home turf, where rivals are also launching e-commerce offensives. Carrefour said that from next year its groceries would be available on the U.S. search engine’s new dedicated shopping site in France, or through Google-operated systems such as connected speakers and voice-assisted devices.
Suresite has secured the contract to process payments on behalf of the Costcutter Supermarkets Group, its first major customer in general retail. This new contract, which covers UK-wide stores under the Costcutter, Mace and Supershop brands, marks the company’s expansion into the general retail arena. David Wright, card services manager at Suresite, said: "We have spent over a decade building payment card expertise in forecourts, becoming the biggest and most respected provider to that sector. We have made the decision to now market our service wider to the general retailer and the Costcutter opportunity represents a fantastic launchpad."
Supermarket retailer Casino announced a 1.5bln euro ($1.77bln) asset sale plan to be completed in early 2019, part of a strategy to reduce its debts in France. Casino said the plan complemented its ongoing disposal of Via Varejo assets in Brazil and would enable it to reduce its net debt in France by about 1bln euros by the end of this year.
China: Alibaba digitizes 100 RT-Mart stores with new retail solutions
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. announced a new retail makeover for 100 RT-Mart stores, offering Chinese customers a seamless experience, whether they’re shopping online or offline. The hypermarkets, operated by Sun Art Retail Group, include 41 stores in eastern China and others in small cities across the country. The digital makeover underscores Alibaba’s commitment to empowering its partners to move up the value chain. The digitized RT-Mart stores will leverage Alibaba’s New Retail infrastructure, offering store operators customer insights, supply chain management, retail technologies, smart logistics and electronic payment.
Britain's Poundworld goes into administration, putting 5,100 jobs at risk
British discount retailer Poundworld has gone into administration, putting 5,100 jobs at risk and becoming the latest victim of brutal trading conditions in the UK retail sector. Business services firm Deloitte said it had been appointed as Poundworld’s administrator. Private equity group TPG Capital, Poundworld’s majority owner, put the discount retailer up for sale last month but has failed to find a buyer.
France: Auchan home delivery launched nationally
Following a trial, in conjunction with Colisweb, Auchan is set to enable shoppers to choose from a home delivery option across France, using its Drive fulfilment centres. At the beginning of 2018 Auchan began offering home delivery in Avignon, Bordeaux, Dieppe, Le Mans and Nantes. Shoppers pay €15 for home delivery, for orders under €50, €10 for orders between €51 and €100 and only €5 for orders over €150. Auchan said the trial underlined shoppers’ desire for home delivery, while the service led to an increase in average basket sizes of between 25% to 30%.