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K-VA-T, Kroger, Meijer: produce promotion honors

Amazon: 1st foreign venture to foray into Indian food retail

US: Kroger debuts culinary innovation center
The Kroger Co. has opened a Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, the grocer’s hometown. “Kroger’s new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center,” noted Daniel Hammer, the company’s VP of culinary development and new business. “As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep+Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates’ culinary knowledge.”

Amazon: reportedly making a huge change to its fresh grocery business
Amazon may merge Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh, according to a new report. Both services deliver fresh groceries, though in different ways. A new service would give customers more options to shop for groceries online, similar to Amazon’s addition of Whole Foods to Prime earlier this month.

US: K-VA-T, Kroger, Meijer honored for produce promotion
K-VA-T Food Stores, The Kroger Co. and Meijer Inc. are among the top retailers featured in the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) list of 14 Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Retail Role Models and Champions for 2017. In recognition of their commitment to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, the retailers will be formally honored at an awards luncheon on April 6 during PBH’s Annual Conference: The Consumer Connection in Scottsdale, Arizona.

US: iFresh declares the acceptance of Alipay
iFresh, Inc. announced that iFresh customers will soon be able to pay for items using Alipay’s Mobile Wallet. Alipay is a leading digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial, and a popular means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers. Once available, iFresh will provide Alipay services online and in stores in the U.S. through the activation and implementation support of Citcon, a leading cross-border mobile payment and marketing solutions provider that helps connect merchants with Chinese mobile wallet users.

CA: Shopify tops expectations, revenue jumps 71%
Shopify reported a better-than-expected fourth quarter as its revenue jumped 71% compared with a year ago. The Ottawa-based online store platform company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said it lost $3mln in the last three months of 2017. That compared with a loss of $8.9mln a year earlier. But revenue totalled $222.8mln, up from $130.4mln.

New Spotsylvania location prototype for all Lidl stores in U.S.
The recently opened Spotsylvania County Lidl was the prototype for every store that the discount supermarket chain has been building in the United States. ”It served as a test facility, a sandbox for us to test every single thing,” said spokesman Will Harwood. “We used all the learnings there to replicate and build the other stores, and we’ve taken all those learnings and put them into Plank Road.” The site was chosen because it is close to Lidl’s distribution center at 6120 Smith Station Road and the German supermarket chain’s United States headquarters in Arlington, he said. It was also on a busy stretch of highway, which would be convenient for customers.
Amazon becomes 1st foreign venture to foray into Indian food retail
Beating its global rival Walmart, Amazon has finally claimed the status of becoming the first foreign company to start with its food retail venture in India. Reportedly, it will now be available on the Amazon India platform as Amazon Retail Pvt. Ltd. and will start with its pilot services in Pune. It will now sell locally made and packaged food to the consumers directly, and will compete with other leading online grocery and food retail marketplaces like Grofers, Bigbasket, Supr Daily, who received similar approvals from the government for food retailing.

Greek supermarket chain Metro expands

Conditions in the Greek supermarket sector are fluid and unpredictable, Aristotelis Panteliadis, CEO in Metro AEBE said, according to ANA. In 2018, Metro will complete a three-year programme to renovate the Veropoulos network, as part of an investment programme worth 45-50mlnn euros this year, after investing 45mln in 2017. The group plans to open its first store in Cyprus, to expand its distribution network in Northern Greece and to expand its distribution center in Inofyta in 2019.

AUS: Spudshed stores expansion
Spud king Tony Galati plans to open a string of new Spudshed supermarkets over the next two years. Mr Galati said regional WA, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, and Albany were on the horizon for new supermarkets, possibly by 2020. The regional rollout would follow the opening of further new Spudshed outlets across Perth. The family-owned business is investigating sites north of the river for two new supermarkets. The Spudshed business is self-sufficient in potatoes, carrots and onions, and supplies most of its own eggs — the farming operation is overseen by Mr Galati’s brother Vince.

Coop Switzerland sees 3.1% sales increase as market share grows
Coop Switzerland has announced that group turnover grew by 3.1% to CHF 29.2bln in 2017, with sales in its retail business increasing by 1.4%. Profit increased by CHF 10mln to CHF 485mln, and EBIT grew 5.7% to CHF 806mln, which the company attributes to its retail, wholesale and production units. The company also said that its online business is growing rapidly, with sales up 18.5% to CHF 1.7bln. "We are very happy with the year 2017," said Joos Sutter, CEO of Coop Switzerland. "We achieved the goals we had set, and I am particularly pleased that we have recorded above-average growth in retail, but also in wholesale sales."

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