Albertsons Cos. has named current President and COO Jim Donald its new president and CEO, effective immediately. Current CEO Robert Miller will continue as chairman. Donald came back to Albertsons earlier this year, replacing retiring President Wayne Denningham. Previously president and CEO of coffeehouse chain Starbucks and Pacific Northwest grocer Haggen, Donald has extensive knowledge of Albertsons’ operations, having held senior leadership roles at both Albertsons and Safeway. He was also a member of the board from 2008 to 2013 at drug store chain Rite Aid, with which Albertsons recently abandoned a planned merger. In his role, Donald is responsible for the operations of 2,300-plus stores and helping accelerate a growing omnichannel platform.
US: Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. now offering grocery ecommerce to members
Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. is introducing online grocery shopping to its independent grocery stores across the Southeast. Partnering with Ithaca, New York-based grocery technology provider Rosie for the initiative, each independent grocer will now have a digital storefront, enabling local shoppers to grocery shop online via their computers or mobile devices for click-and-collect or delivery. The platform helps make looking for new items easier, highlights nutrition information, allows access to weekly ads, and more.
US: Walmart builds a new vending machine that retrieves groceries within seconds
Walmart is expanding a test of automated grocery kiosks. The company is testing a second version of the concept, which serves as a vending machine for online grocery orders, at a Walmart supercenter in Sherman, Texas. The kiosks allow customers to pick up online grocery orders within seconds, without interacting with employees.
US: H-E-B unveils fresh-focused store in Texas
H-E-B on September 12 opened its newest location in College Station, Texas, with a focus on fresh food and convenience services. Located at 11675 Wellborn Road in the Jones Crossing Shopping Center, the 106,000-square-foot store features the largest kerbside pickup in College Station. Customers can order groceries online with customized notes for the San Antonio-based retailer’s personal shoppers to select items based on individual preferences, such as thin-sliced deli meat or a ripe avocado. Customers can then opt for home delivery or kerbside pickup at a scheduled time.
Australia: Costco the leading discount store
New research from Roy Morgan has Costco as Australia’s leading discount department store with a customer satisfaction rating of 88.6%, just ahead of Target on 88.5% and Kmart on 88.4%. These ratings for the industry underlie that 87.5% of customers of discount department stores are satisfied, an increase of 1.1% points over the year with all five leading discount department stores increasing their customer satisfaction.
UK: Morrisons LFL growth reaches nine year high
Morrisons has reported impressive interim results with a surge in the scale of its wholesale operations lifting group like-for-like growth. Profits also rose significantly, enabling Morrisons to pay a special dividend to shareholders. Key numbers: Group LFL (ex VAT and fuel): +4.9% (Q2: +6.3%); Revenue +4.5% to £8.8bln, +4.4% excluding fuel; Retail LFL: +2.1% (Supermarkets 1.9% and Online through Dordon CFC 0.2%; Wholesale LFL: +2.8%; Underlying profit before tax +9.0% to £193mln; Net debt reduced by £221mln to £973mln, below £1bln end of year target. Group sales performance accelerated during the period due principally to the expansion of wholesale operations, particularly the roll-out programme of supply to 1,300 McColl's stores during the period. It has also now opened nine Morrisons Daily stores in the Channel Islands with Sandpiper CI and 40 forecourt stores in partnership with Rontec. Morrisons also continued to increase the range it sells through Amazon. Some 10,000 branded and private label lines are now offered.
Slovenia: Mercator more than doubles its first-half operating profit
Mercator Group more than doubled its operating profit in the first half of 2018, as it reached EUR 16.9mln. The Group's revenue from retail rose by 6.6% relative to the equivalent period of the preceding year, while normalized EBITDA amounted to EUR 48.1mln, which is EUR 6.1mln, or 14.6%, more than in the equivalent period of the year before. Mercator Group's net profit in the period at hand amounted to EUR 1.5mln, exceeding the comparable figure from the same period of the year before by EUR 6.1mln. The parent company Poslovni sistem Mercator d.d. wrapped up the first half of the year with a net profit of EUR 9.3mln.
Retailer Leclerc targets French residential power market
French supermarket and retail chain Leclerc will start selling electricity to French households this week, offering a discount of at least 10% to regulated prices as it aims to recruit 3mln clients by 2025. Privately-owned Leclerc is France’s largest food retailer by market share, having overtaken rival Carrefour, thanks mostly to its focus on low prices. Leclerc hopes entering the market will diversify revenue and boost customer loyalty in a retail world increasingly challenged by technology giant Amazon and other innovators.
India: Grofers partners with local businesses for last mile delivery
Online grocery firm Grofers said it is partnering with local entrepreneurs to help with last mile delivery, a model that it expects will be used to deliver half of its overall order volumes. Under its 'Grofers Service Partners' Programme (GSP), the SoftBank-backed company has already signed up over 600 delivery partners in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, it said in a statement. "The programme, which includes collaboration with local entrepreneurs, who are well versed with the neighbourhood, will help the brand create a supreme delivery experience for consumers with better efficiency and scalability in last leg of the delivery," it added.
Australian retailer Woolworths faces $100mln lawsuit
Australia-based supermarket Woolworths is facing a $100mln lawsuit in the Federal Court. According to the lawsuit lodged by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, the supermarket chain breached continuous disclosure obligations and misled investors by issuing and reaffirming false profit guidance in 2015. International Litigation Funding Partners (ILFP) is funding the lawsuit. Maurice Blackburn’s class actions principal Andrew Watson said: “Cases such as this reinforce the need to increase and enhance transparency and proper disclosures from large listed companies, and to ensure they are held to account if they fail to provide the market with accurate information.”
France: Carrefour launches ‘Act for Food’ initiative
Carrefour Group has launched ‘Act for Food’, which will see it invest in definitive steps to help Carrefour shoppers and its staff to eat better. The retailer says that the initiative will also aim to make healthy food more affordable. Carrefour said the ‘Act for Food initiative’ would enable it to increase the pace of its food transition. The global campaign will be initiated in France and will focus on nine commitments: Guarantee 100% French organic for its fresh products under the Carrefour Bio brand; Ban 100 controversial substances from all Carrefour food products; Reduce or completely end the use of chemical pesticides with its plant product lines; Reduce or completely end the use of antibiotics in livestock farming; Guarantee transparency in relation to product traceability using blockchain technology; Feed the livestock used for its product lines on GMO-free animal feeds; Double the number of products in its vegetarian range; Promote biodiversity by selling fruit and vegetables grown from farmers' seeds; Guarantee a selection of fish sourced using responsible fishing methods and aquaculture.