Albertsons and Rite Aid: merger terminated

Kroger is closing all of its remaining Triangle stores earlier than expected

US: Aldi adds more fresh, organic products
Aldi supermarkets are going to get a whole lot fresher. The supermarket chain is bringing more fresh, organic, and easy-to-prepare options to its over 1,800 stores across the country as part of its accelerated growth plan. The supermarket chain has invested more than $5bln into remodeling and expanding its stores as well as bringing the store count to 2,500 by the end of 2022. An integral part of the expansion is bringing healthy, fresh, and convenient products to customers. According to an Aldi press release, the supermarket chain’s new offerings will include private-label products such as trendy health drink kombucha, veggie noodles, organic meats, kale and quinoa crunch burgers, and gluten-free bagels and bakery options. The store will be expanding its produce selection and including more organic items. Aldi also plans on increasing its refrigerated grab-and-go offerings with single-serving guacamole, hummus, fruit, and veggie snack packs, as well as providing more milk alternatives. The new product rollout is expected to continue through 2019.

US: 7-Eleven franchise owners urge corporation to revise terms of its new agreement
The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees is urging 7-Eleven to revise the 2019 Franchise Agreement it is pressuring store owners to sign. The proposed agreement, which approximately 19% must sign by next March and the majority within the following five years, would not only reduce franchisee net income, it would also increase store-level operating costs and force owners to stay open on Christmas Day. “Forcing stores to be open on Christmas is just another example of the lack of respect this company has for its franchisees,” said Jay Singh, Chairman of the National Coalition.

US: Rite Aid and Albertsons terminate merger amid opposition to deal

Drug store chain Rite Aid Corp and U.S. grocer Albertsons Companies Inc agreed to terminate their merger agreement, the companies said, a little over 10 days after a shareholder advisory firm opposed the deal. Last month, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISS) had said that Rite Aid investors should vote down its $24bln merger with Albertsons saying the agreement was not going to give the drug store chain’s shareholders a “fair ownership interest” in the combined company. The ISS report was seen as a blow to Albertsons and its majority owner, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, who were hoping that the deal will help them win a new business amid pressure from retailer Inc and Walmart Inc.

US: Kroger is closing all of its remaining Triangle stores early
Kroger will close all of its remaining Triangle stores earlier than expected, the grocer announced. The grocer’s 10 remaining stores in the Raleigh-Durham area will all close on Saturday, August 11, earlier than planned. Initially, when it announced it would be leaving the Triangle market entirely, Kroger said that its 14 grocery stores would all close on August 14. The stores will close at 8 p.m. on Saturday because products are selling faster than expected, said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division, in a statement.

US: Costco Wholesale Corporation reports July sales results

Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) reported net sales of $10.59bln for the retail month of July, the four weeks ended August 5, 2018, an increase of 10.1% from $9.62bln last year. For the first forty-eight weeks of fiscal 2018, the Company reported net sales of $127.40bln, an increase of 12.1% from $113.70bln last year. Costco currently operates 757 warehouses, including 526 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 99 in Canada, 38 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 14 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, nine in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland, and one in France. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, and Taiwan.

Indian regulator clears Walmart's $16bln acquisition of Flipkart
India’s anti-trust regulator has approved U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc’s $16bln acquisition of online marketplace Flipkart, beefing up the competition to Inc in the fast growing e-commerce market. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart announced in May it was acquiring about 77% of Flipkart for roughly $16bln in the biggest deal for India’s e-commerce sector, which Morgan Stanley estimates will grow close to an annual $200bln in a decade. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart, the agency said in a post on Twitter.

China's Dada-JD Daojia raises $500mln from Walmart,
Dada-JD Daojia, a Chinese online grocery and delivery firm, said it has raised $500mln from Walmart Inc and Inc in its latest round of financing. The company comprises of two businesses and is partly owned by Dada operates a network of 5mln delivery men, while JD Daojia partners with retail stores and provides one-hour delivery services of groceries and other items. Walmart said it invested about $320mln in the latest fundraising. The Arkansas-based company's partnership with Dada-JD Daojia dates back to 2016 when it invested $50mln, the company said, adding that at present, 200 Walmart stores in 30 major Chinese cities have a presence in JD Daojia.

Ireland's Henderson Family agrees purchase of 50 Poundworld stores
Ireland's Henderson family said that it has agreed to buy around 50 Poundworld stores, having struck a deal with the administrator of the collapsed British discount retailer. The 335-store Poundworld went into administration in June after its majority owner, the private equity group TPG Capital, failed to find a buyer for the struggling business which had a total workforce of about 5,100. Administrator Deloitte said last month that all Poundworld stores would close by the middle of August.

India: Flipkart forays into online grocery, launches ‘Flipkart Supermart’
Betting on the fast-growing grocery segment, Flipkart has forayed into online grocery with the launch of ‘Flipkart Supermart’, a sub-store within Flipkart. Starting with Bengaluru right now, Flipkart plans on expanding to 5-6 more cities before the year ends.

China: Hypermarket chain Sun Art's H1 same-store sales drop, turnover flat

Sun Art Retail Group Ltd’s first-half same-store sales dropped at a steeper pace than the year-earlier period, reflecting the competitive challenges facing China’s top hypermarket operator. The retailer, backed by China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said its first-half same-store sales fell 1.56%, compared with a 0.9% decline a year ago. Its net profit edged 0.1% higher to 1.758bln yuan ($257.2mln) for the six months ended June, while turnover held largely flat at 54.06bln yuan. Gross profit margin inched up 0.6 percentage points to 23.9% from a year earlier.

Mexico: Chedraui to challenge convenience stores with Súper Che, Supercito
Supermarket chain Chedraui is looking to grab a slice of the convenience store market dominated by chains such as Oxxo and 7-Eleven by opening 30 new mini-supermarkets this year. Branded under the names Súper Che and Supercito, the stores range in size from 240 to 930 square meters, whereas Chedraui’s largest supermarkets are on average 7,000 square meters. The publicly listed company will invest a total of 3.95bln pesos (US $213.8mln) in 2018, which will mainly be focused on increasing sales.

UK: Aldi aims for carbon neutral status by 2019
Cut-price supermarket Aldi has announced ambitious plans to become carbon neutral by next year. The retailer is on track to hit net zero emissions by 2019, after installing 388 solar panel systems at its stores and distribution centres since 2012. Aldi has also spent £20mln upgrading its fridges, freezers and other appliances with greener equipment, and secured a deal to use 100% renewable electricity for its sites. Overall, the retailer has managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of its sales floor by 53% in the past six years. To achieve full carbon neutral status, Aldi said it would buy carbon credits and work with ClimatePartner to offset its remaining emissions from next year.

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