US: Online natural and organic grocery Thrive aims to fill niche
Thrive Market, a four-year-old online membership-based natural and organic food retailer, has successfully filled a niche modelled after Costco but just for healthy items. CEO Nick Green, along with his two co-founders Gunnar Lovelace and Sasha Siddartha, saw a big opportunity to make healthy food more accessible for middle-class American shoppers who found Whole Foods too expensive and were overwhelmed by the increasing choices at discounters. Members pay an annual membership fee of $59.95 to enjoy a 25 to 50 percent discount off traditional retail prices. For every membership it sells, Thrive gives away one to a low-income family.
US: Sam’s Club expands Instacart delivery nationwide
Building on its initial launch in February, Walmart’s Sam’s Club division is expanding same-day grocery delivery via Instacart to more than 90 new markets by the end of October and nearly half of all Sam’s Club stores across the nation by the end of 2018. Customers in nearly 1,000 new ZIP codes and more than 100 new clubs will be able to shop Sam’s Club without a membership while still receiving member-only pricing and the option for same-day delivery in as little as one hour. The expansion follows the companies’ successful pilot programs in Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas; Austin, Texas and St. Louis, as well as recent launches in San Diego, California, and Los Angeles.
US: New high-tech Walmart distribution center in Shafter bringing 300 full-time jobs
Walmart is set to break ground on a new high-tech perishable grocery distribution center in Shafter, the company announced. The center is set to open in the fall of 2020 and will be Walmart's first high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries, according to the company. This will create 300 full-time jobs, 100 of which will require STEM skills. The new high-tech distribution center will allow them to move products to stores and clubs faster, and result in fewer crushed strawberries, according to Walmart.
Amazon Australia adds grocery
Amazon has introduced a new range of grocery products in Australia, under the category Pantry Food & Drinks. The products include a range of food and beverages, including; health foods, specialty tea, snacks and confectionery, drinks, cereals and breakfast items, cooking ingredients, rice, pasta and grains. There is also a dedicated section for Australia’s favourite brands. There are over 1,000 SKU’s available from over 400 local and international manufacturers. The launch marks the 27th category that Amazon has introduced since entering the market in December 2017.
UK: Half of online shoppers are willing to pay more for within-the-hour grocery deliveries
Nearly half (48%) of online grocery shoppers say they are willing to pay for rapid delivery of their groceries to receive within one hour of placing their order, research from IGD reveals. The findings, discussed today at IGD’s Digital Commerce Summit, highlight the significant role the online retail channel will play in meeting rising shopper expectations and changing behaviours in future. There are some online shopper groups which show a higher interest than others: 54% of London shoppers are interested in this service, compared with those living in the Midlands, North (49%) and South of England (41%). 71% younger shoppers (18-24), compared with 18% of older shoppers (65+). 53% lower socio-demographic shoppers (C2DE) compared with 43% of more affluent shoppers (ABC1).
Kaufland steps up Australia investment
The German retailer has invested a further AU$60mln to speed up its expansion into the Australian market. The extra investment is expected to help with the set up of its Australian head office, as well as new store openings. According to local media, the first two Kaufland stores are expected to open in fiscal 2019. While in advance of this, Kaufland continues to build its management team in Australia and will be busy establishing its supply chain and logistics networks.
Lotte Mart to exit the Chinese market
South Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart, which was once popular in China, will reportedly completely leave the Chinese market by the end of the year. Lotte Mart started operations in China in 2004, and set up 112 retail stores in 11 years, but as of now, the company has sold 93 of its retail stores, and the remaining stores that were not sold are planned to be shuttered before the end of the year.
France: Casino continues debt-cutting plan with property asset sale
French supermarket retailer Casino has agreed to sell a portfolio of real estate assets for 180mln euros (£158mln), as it continues an asset-sale programme to cut debts which have concerned some investors. Casino signed an agreement with the firm AG2R la Mondiale for the disposal of 14 Monoprix real estate assets, for a net amount of 180mln euros and for an annual rent of 8.6mln euros. The proceeds from the disposal will be received no later than January 2019, Casino said in a statement.
Holland: Hema finally finds new owner
Dutch retailer Hema has finally found a new owner: Ramphastos Investments. This investment company in the hands of Dutch entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn has paid an undisclosed amount for the internationally successful chain. New owner Boekhoorn has shares in thirty companies in various sectors, with (locally) well-known names such as retailer Bakker Bart, telecom operator Telfort and High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Hema's CEO Tjeerd Jegen calls this "the best scenario for Hema, our customers, employees and franchisees: Marcel Boekhoorn and his team have shown in recent years that they are involved in their participations, stimulate entrepreneurship and have a strong investment vision."
UK: Doubt placed on Costcutter's ability to continue trading
Auditor KPMG has cast “significant doubt” on Costcutter’s ability to continue trading should it make further losses. The chain’s official financial results this month reveal that annual turnover for the year ending 31 December 2017 dropped from £622mln to £506mln. KPMG said in a statement on the results: “Further support may be required should the forecast improvement in trading not materialise. “These conditions constitute an uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.” The auditor indicated Costcutter was reliant on loans from its parent company, Bibby Line Group. A Costcutter spokesperson said: “With the changes made to our business following the collapse of P&H, our new supply arrangements and the wider uncertainties facing the market, our auditors are highlighting that there is uncertainty.”
Singapore: Lazada customers can now collect parcels from 7-Eleven stores
Customers of online store Lazada will now be able to collect their orders from 7-Eleven outlets across Singapore, instead of having to wait at home for the deliveryman to arrive. The new parcel collection service is available at 159 7-Eleven stores from October 18, and will be rolled out to the rest of the 350 participating outlets by the end of the year. The 7-Eleven delivery service - which will be fulfilled by Ninja Van - is free. This compares with S$1.49 for normal and S$2.99 for express drop-off home deliveries. “With a 7-Eleven within reach of most Singaporeans, this provides consumers with an unparalleled number of locations to collect their parcels,” Lazada, Ninja Van and 7-Eleven said in a joint press release.
Ecommerce in Russia will grow 170% next five years
Ecommerce in Russia is showing an active growth. Last year, it was worth 13.7bln euros and for this year it’s predicted to be worth 17bln euros. And by 2023, the Russian ecommerce industry is predicted to grow to almost 46bln euros. This would mean an increase of 170% in the next five years. The predictions come from a Morgan Stanley report on ecommerce in Russia. The analyst claim Russia is the last major emerging market without a dominant online retailer. But they think the country is at an inflection point and predict a leader “being worth over 8.5bln euros” will emerge by 2020.
Australia: Aldi’s new pointless points campaign
Aldi in Australia has launched a new marketing campaign ‘No pointless points’, with the slogan ‘Just more savings than any other supermarket’. The campaign is Aldi’s latest attempt to showcase how it differentiates itself in Australia. With its ongoing focus on low prices, it also highlights that by not having a loyalty scheme, Aldi can invest back into offering cheaper prices than its competitors. The retailer has also launched an online calculator, so that customers can see how long it takes and how much money they have to spend in order to earn a reward via a standard terms loyalty scheme, where one point is earned for every one dollar spent.