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Supermarket ambitions, also for France confirmed by Amazon

Target: favorable fourth quarter

Amazon confirms its supermarket ambitions, for France too
Amazon has once again confirmed its food distribution ambitions, this time through French CEO Frédéric Duval. The American online giant is eager to launch its grocery service in France as well. Amazon is raring to go in France, he said, although he did add that it will take its time and that the move will require considerable investments. Nevertheless, it seems to be moving in the right direction: supermarket group Système U announced last week that it is talking to Amazon about a possible collaboration.

US: Target’s higher Q4 comps due to strong in-store, digital traffic

Significant investments in its team and business throughout 2017 resulted in a favorable fourth quarter for Minneapolis-based mass-merchandiser Target Corp., with growth in same-store sales, ecommerce and profits. Target’s Q4 sales rose 10% to $22.8bln from $20.7bln in the year-ago period, thanks to an additional week in 2017’s Q4, the aforementioned 3.6% increase in comps, and sales in non-mature stores.

China: Growth slowing FY2017 for Sun Art

Sun Art Retail has posted its 2017 annual results, with revenue rising 1.9% to RMB102,320mln (US$16,130mln) and profit up 2.9%. However, its revenue growth has slowed down compared to previous years, having grown 6.6% (CAGR) between 2012 - 2016. During the year, the Group opened 18 hypermarkets, of which one was under the Auchan banner and 17 under RT-Mart. As of 31 December 2017, it had a total of 461 hypermarkets in China. The Group has identified and secured 78 sites to open hypermarkets in the coming year. The retailer's smaller and premium supermarket banner, HiAuchan!, continued to show strong progress. Both sales and the number of customers increased by more than 30% compared to 2016.

Russia: Dixy rolls out Alipay to attract Chinese customers
Russian retailer Dixy has announced that it is the first major grocer in the country to introduce the Alipay payment system into its stores. The company trialled the technology in a number of Dixy stores in Moscow and St Petersburg last month, but now has plans to rolls it out to a further 150 stores. Looking ahead, Dixy plans to extend Alipay to all of its stores, as well as the Victoria supermarket chain, where the system is currently being tested.

Co-op becomes first UK supermarket to scrap queues for customers
The Co-op has become the UK's first supermarket to introduce a no-queues policy - and shoppers can simply pick up their groceries and walk out. The new initiative, dubbed shop, scan and go, will allow time-pressed customers to complete payments on their phones, without visiting a till. It's currently being piloted at the Co-op's retailer support centre store in Manchester, with a wider roll-out beginning this summer.

Carrefour Belgium promoting online ordering
Carrefour Belgium has lowered the cost of fulfilling shoppers’ online orders. Carrefour said that orders delivered by PostNL or Parcify cost €9.50, down from €19.15 previously, while for grocery orders over €150, the order’s fulfilment would be free. For non-grocery orders delivery is free on purchases over €50. Separately, the retailer said it wanted to open 70 new Drive collection points in the country by the end of 2018, adding to the 179 in operation at the end of 2017. Underlining its commitment to hitting the target Carrefour Belgium opened 12 pick up points in the first two months of the year. Shoppers can order from a selection of around 15,000 SKUs.

DIA to invest in Portugal
Spain-based DIA’s chief corporate officer Amando Sánchez Falcón has said the retailer plans to invest more in Portugal in 2018 compared to 2017. DIA plans to invest over €25 million in Portugal. The investment will be channelled into remodelling more than 100 stores and new openings. The group plans to expand its convenience store presence in Portugal. To achieve this, the group will open more Minipreço Express stores. A pilot Minipreço Express store is already operating in Lisbon. A focus for the group is strengthening its leadership in proximity. In Portugal this will be key to remaining competitive, especially given Mercadona’s entry in 2019.

Spain: Covirán reports positive results for 2017
Spain-based cooperative Covirán has released its results for 2017 and plans for 2018. Luis Osuna, president of the Covirán Group declared ambitious plans for 2018, with a goal to grow 15% compared to 2017. Covirán reported strong sales, up 6.3% on the previous year to reach €1,340mln. Of this figure €1,220mln came from Spain, and €120mln from Portugal. Covirán maintains a strong position in the Iberian Peninsula, with more than 3,300 supermarkets. A key part of the company’s success is that is faces little competition in the areas it operates. The retailer said that it is the sole operator in 17% of towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants, and in 31% of towns with less than 2,000 inhabitants.

Finnish retailer K-Group implements parcel terminals
K-Group, a major retail company from Finland, has started a pilot with automatic parcel terminals. The new service allows online buyers to have parcels from online stores from everywhere in the world to be shipped to a terminal at a K-Group store. The automatic terminals are available for shared use by all parcel service providers and are in use at a K-Citymarket and a K-Supermarket in Tampere since the first of March.

France: Carrefour launches Europe's first food blockchain
The launch of blockchain technology marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Carrefour 2022 transformation plan. Already used for free-range Carrefour Quality Line Auvergne chickens, it will be rolled out to eight more animal and vegetable product lines, such as eggs, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and ground beef steak. An innovative system designed to guarantee consumers complete product traceability. A blockchain is a secure digital database that cannot be falsified in which all information sent by its users is stored.

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