Amazon announced the expansion of delivery of natural and organic products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now to more cities. These include Charlotte, Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Raleigh, Seattle, and Tucson. The company also expanded the service to additional neighborhoods in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.
US: Natural Grocers closes its first store ever
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. plans to shut a store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which will mark the first store closing in the 63-year-old chain’s history. Lakewood, Colorado-based Natural Grocers said that it will close its Tulsa-Central store at 9137 East 71st St. by November 9. The retailer noted that the store was underperforming and the company has been engaged in efforts to improve operating efficiencies across its store base.
US: 7-Eleven gets 'smart' with new digital payment offerings
For many smartphone users, shopping at 7-Eleven stores will just got even faster and more convenient with the touch of their smartphone or smartwatch. 7-Eleven, Inc. - the largest chain in the convenience retailing industry - now accepts Apple Pay, which is transforming mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay, and Google Pay for contactless payments at participating U.S. stores. Support for each service is expected at most U.S. stores throughout September and adds to the company's portfolio of mobile payment options that includes Samsung Pay.
Aldi, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the U.S., has been named the 2018 Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News. This award, which Aldi also received in 2015, highlights the grocery retailer's unwavering commitment to quality, value and setting the standard to exceed shoppers' expectations. The Retailer of the Year recognition encompasses many noteworthy achievements by Aldi and reinforces its leadership position in the grocery industry. Aldi is deep into a $5.3bln investment in new and remodeled stores, continuing to grow its U.S. footprint and product portfolio. Aldi recently launched a major product expansion emphasizing fresh, organic and easy-to-prepare options. The company also has expanded online ordering and delivery in major markets, and it has earned more than 300 product awards and recognitions since 2017 for its exclusive brands. "We're honored to be recognized as Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News," said Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi U.S. "As Aldi grows and reaches more shoppers, we'll continue to earn their loyalty with our focus on delivering the highest quality at the best prices in the industry."
Leading Asian-American supermarket chain iFresh has agreed to become the exclusive distributor of biometric retail payments and unmanned smart retail technology from Xiamen Yidong Intelligent Technology Co. in North, South, and Central America. The retail technologies use palm prints, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps to replace traditional labor with automated checkout machines and provide a seamless customer experience. "We plan to both use Xiamen Yidong’s smart products in our own stores and sell these products to other interested parties. We expect our customers to be attracted to the convenience of these unmanned checkout stations and we also plan to integrate the technology with current US payment systems to make it easier for US vendors to use," says iFresh Chairman and CEO Long Deng.
Walmart Canada teams up with Instacart
Walmart Canada announced that select regions in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Winnipeg will be eligible for same-day grocery delivery through Instacart, a North American leader in online groceries. The service is available in the GTA from September 13, followed by Winnipeg on September 27 as part of a pilot program between the two companies. Online grocery orders from Walmart Canada can now be delivered same-day by Instacart to customers' homes in as fast as one hour in the GTA and Winnipeg. Walmart Canada currently offers next-day delivery and grocery pickup in many areas of the GTA. This is Walmart's first grocery delivery service in Winnipeg, after the company already introduced Walmart Grocery Pickup in all Winnipeg stores earlier this year. Rollout to additional markets will be based on customer engagement and adoption of the platform.
CAN: Sobeys parent Empire Co. reports Q1 sales and profit up from year ago
Empire Company Ltd. reported a first-quarter profit of $95.6mln, up from $54.0mln a year ago. The parent company of Sobeys says the profit amounted to 35 cents per share for the quarter ended August 4 compared with a profit of 30 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Sales totalled $6.46bln, up from $6.27bln. Same-store sales excluding fuel sales were up 1.3% compared with a 0.5% increase in the same quarter last year.
Italy's retail sales fall for second month
Italy's retail sales dropped for the second straight month in July, the statistical office Istat reported. Retail sales value decreased 0.1% each on a monthly basis in July and June. July's drop was driven by a 0.3% fall in non-food goods sales. Meanwhile, food product sales were up 0.2%. Year-on-year, retail sales value declined for the first time in three months. Sales declined 0.6%, reversing June's 1.4% increase. Food sales rose 0.2%, while non-food sales decreased 1%.
Spain: Eroski food retail co-op commits to more sustainable product lines
Spanish retail co-op Eroski has expanded its own-brand Eroski Natur range of fresh food to over 500 items. The new ranges - mostly fruit, vegetables, meat and fish - come as the co-op continues to do business with suppliers that endorse its commitment to sustainability, either through certifications or quality and geographical origin regulations. All Eroski Natur fruit and veg comes from producers that have a Global GAP or ‘Producción Integrada’ sustainability certificate. Both guarantee that the products have been cultivated in a more sustainable way that minimises environmental impact.
Finland's Kesko steps up measures to fight plastic pollution
Finnish retailer Kesko has announced the implementation of a number of measures to reduce plastic waste production and promote the recycling and reuse of plastics. The retail group aims to remove microplastics from its entire range of private-label detergents by the end of this year. In 2017, the company had eliminated the material from its cosmetics range. The company has also introduced washing bags that collect around 99% of the microfibres released while washing clothes. Since microfibres are released from synthetic fabrics, these washing bags prevent microplastics from entering water bodies.
Belgian organic chain Sequoia celebrates and expands
Belgian organic chain Sequoia celebrates its thirtieth anniversary with the opening of its eighth store in the Brussels area and the promise of more to come. The chain was founded in Brussels in 1988, celebrating its anniversary with a discount action on 300 products. Moreover, it has recently opened its eighth store and marketing manager Milena de Halleux saw more opportunities in magazine Bio Info: "Sequoia is like the tree with the same name: growing incessantly but keeping its roots firmly in the ground." New store openings are envisaged, but only in the greater Brussels area.