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SpartanNash: distribution drives Q4 and full fiscal year

Brookshire's to acquire 8 Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana

CA: Loblaw Q4: profits hit by new loyalty launch
Loblaw’s fourth quarter retail sales fell by 1.2% to $10.7bln, reflecting the divestment of its gas bar business. Excluding this impact, sales improved around 2.1%. Food retail same-store sales were up 0.5%, while drug retail saw a 3.6% improvement. Operating income in the quarter was down 85.7% to $56mln, impacted by costs associated with the launch of its new loyalty program, PC Optimum. The retailer also saw an impact of $107m related to the Loblaw Card Program which forms part of the company’s actions to address its role in a price-fixing arrangement involving certain packaged bread products. For the full year, retail sales increased by 0.6% to $45.6bln, with operating income up 18.2% to $2.2bln.

US: Walmart to double online grocery locations
Walmart will double the number of U.S. store locations offering online grocery pickup this year, with an eye on attracting the lucrative and happy customer that has come with the service in its first 1,000-plus locations. Shoppers who use Walmart’s online and stores to shop spend about twice as much with Walmart overall than shoppers who use stores only, CEO Doug McMillon said. Online grocery has been especially popular with shoppers, producing what McMillon said was the “highest net promoter scores of anything we’ve launched in the recent past.”

Amazon Go reportedly plotting 6 more stores
After just a month of being open to the public, the early success of Amazon Go may spur the opening of six more locations by the end of the year, multiple people familiar with the matter told Recode. Some stores are likely to open in Amazon's hometown of Seattle, and others may settle in Los Angeles, although it is unclear if stores will open in other cities, according to the report, which also states that Amazon last year had identified at least three additional locations for Go stores.

US: Brookshire's to acquire 8 Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana
Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC) will acquire eight Winn-Dixie store locations in south Louisiana from Southeastern Grocers (SEG), whose Bi-Lo subsidiary is reportedly considering bankruptcy. The deal calls for BGC to acquire Winn-Dixie stores in New Roads, Breaux Bridge, Franklin, New Iberia, Abbeville, Crowley, Rayne and Eunice, La. The stores will become part of BGC’s Super 1 Foods banner.

US: Distribution drives Q4, year at SpartanNash
Overall sales rose more than 5% for both the fourth quarter and full fiscal year at grocery operator SpartanNash, with growth driven by gains in its food distribution and military segments, while retail sales lagged amid declining same-store sales. Q4 consolidated net sales increased $96mln, or 5.3%, to $1.92bln compared with the prior-year quarter. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company attributes the rise to growth in food distribution sales, primarily due to its Caito Foods Service acquisition and organic growth of 3.2%, as well as a continuation of improved sales trends in the military commissary business, partly offset by lower sales at retail.

Spain: IFA Group expands into Italy

Spain-based retailer alliance IFA Group has continued its internationalisation with its entry into the Italian market. IFA said Gruppo VéGé will join its international central purchasing committee. Gruppo VéGé is made up of 29 regional chains that mirror the main features of IFA’s members, namely focusing on proximity formats, fresh produce and providing shoppers with a wide product range. Gruppo VéGé’s members operate 2,952 stores and generate sales of just over €6.0bln. According to the announcement, Gruppo VéGé has a combined market share of 7.2% in Italy.

Australian Woolworths grows half-year profit
Australia's No.1 grocery chain Woolworths Group Ltd said first-half underlying profit rose nearly a sixth as price cuts lured more shoppers, but its share price fell amid concerns it was sacrificing margins to win business. Woolworths Chief Executive Officer Brad Banducci has been trying to win back customers from traditional rival Wesfarmers Ltd’s Coles by triggering a price war. Australia’s supermarket sector is experiencing deflation in wholesale fresh food prices, pleasing shoppers but fuelling more aggressive competition.

Expansion boosts Spar Austria sales by 6.5% in 2017
Spar Austria has posted a gross sales revenue of €14.64bln in 2017, representing an increase of 6.5% compared to the previous year. The retailer says that this growth was driven by 'strong self-expansion', as well as the acquisition of 40 Billa stores in Croatia. In the group's home market of Austria, sales rose by 4.6% to €6.7bln. Meanwhile, its international operations, which include Italy, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, saw turnover increase by 10% to €5.36bln.

Singapore: Sheng Siong posts 9.3% rise in Q4 gains

Supermarket chain Sheng Siong Group reported a 9.3% rise in net profit to $16.8mln for the fourth quarter, as government grants gave a boost to the group's bottom line. Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 1.12 cents, up from 1.02 cents in the same period in 2016. Sheng Siong received $2.6mln in government grants in the fourth quarter, more than three times the $725,000 it received in previous corresponding quarter.

Spain: DIA posts sales of over €10bln despite domestic declines

Spanish retailer DIA has posted gross sales of €10.3bln in 2017, representing an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous year. The company saw 10.8% sales growth in emerging countries, however, this was offset by a 3.3% decline in its Iberian business, which includes Spain and Portugal. In the group's domestic market of Spain, sales fell by 3.8%, to €5.7bln, due to a reduction in selling space, but DIA says that it regained its price competitiveness in the second half of the year.

New Zealand: Countdown supermarkets 1H earnings fall 7.7%
ASX-listed retailer Woolworths Group ramped up investment in its Countdown chain of supermarkets across New Zealand, leading to a 7.7% decline in first-half earnings with a similar effect expected in the second half. Countdown's earnings before interest and tax fell to $150mln in the 27 Weeks ended Dec. 31 from $160mln a year earlier, outpacing a 3.6% increase in sales to $3.32bln, the Sydney-based parent said in a statement. It flagged that further investment is planned for the second half.

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