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Kroger expands partnership with Myxx

Meijer: 6 urban-format stores by 2021

US: Instacart is thinking about a self-checkout system, patent reveals
Instacart has filed a patent for a mobile self-checkout system that would allow shoppers to bypass in-store checkouts. While a patent filing doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is forthcoming, it provides interesting insight into the way a company is thinking about its future. Instacart is a service that does your grocery shopping for you, delivering it to your door. The patent details a mobile application and online concierge service that would allow shoppers to make purchases on behalf of customers, thereby bypassing the checkout line. Essentially, Instacart is looking at ways to speed up its delivery operations. This mobile app would ostensibly let its concierge shoppers fulfil orders without having to stand in line with regular shoppers to make purchases.

US: Publix will spend $1.5bln this year to expand and remodel stores
Publix Supermarkets plans to spend roughly $1.5bln this year to build new locations, remodel existing ones, and acquire shopping centers anchored by company stores, according to Retail Leader. The Florida-based grocer has been steadily increasing the percentage of company-owned stores it operates. In 2017, Publix owned close to 32% of its stores, compared to just over 11% a decade earlier in 2007. This expansion news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that hourly employees and some managers were getting a raise. The company also increased its stock price by close to 13% to $41.40.
US: Kroger expands partnership with shoppable recipe provider
Digital shoppable recipe provider Myxx will now be available in seven more states and 443 new Kroger-owned locations. Adding onto the 28 current states and 1,736 locations, new store lines include King Soopers, Ralph's and Fred Meyer. Myxx feeds into the growing U.S. grocery trend of easy meal solutions. The company's technology includes healthy recipes, price comparison and the location of the products in store, as well as e-commerce.

US: Meijer plans for 6 urban-format stores by 2021
Mass-merchandiser Meijer plans to operate a total of six small-format, urban-focused stores by 2021, MLive has reported. In addition to three previously announced stores, Meijer has three stores in development planned for opening in 2020 or 2021, Mike Kinstle, Meijer’s real estate VP, told the news outlet. While the original two locations will operate in mixed-use developments, the remaining planned stores are expected to enter shopping centers or serve as standalone locations.

CA: "Seamless" shopping will have huge impact on jobs & social contact
In the future of retail, it is likely that bricks-and-mortar stores and online commerce will merge into a seamless and convenient entity, says Vancouver tech entrepreneur Igor Faletski. As CEO of the Vancouver-based online-commerce platform Mobify, Faletski has had a front-row view of the trend toward using technology to create a “frictionless transaction” that maximizes convenience for consumers while minimizing the amount of time they spend waiting in line. “The days of a retail store as a place where you have inventory, you sell it and take money are short, because that’s not enough value to attract (consumers) to come there,” said Faletski. “Therefore, there is more of a focus definitely on frictionless shopping.”

India: BigBasket sets up offline kiosks

India’s largest online grocer BigBasket will set up offline kiosks that stock daily groceries. As competition heats up, with the entry of both Amazon and Flipkart into the on-demand grocery segment, BigBasket is addressing this by opening thousands of offline kiosks. Set within apartment complexes and offices, these small stores target customers seeking convenience and easy access to daily use items.

UK's John Lewis Partnership expects profit squeeze from competition
The John Lewis Partnership expects further pressure on profits in 2018 after a 22% drop last year as a result of persistent competition on the British high street. Margins at its upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose were squeezed in 2017 as the group tried to keep prices competitive while costs rose due to a fall in the value of sterling.

UK: Supermarket Morrisons partners with over 200 local food makers
Welsh ice cream and gluten-free pies from Yorkshire are some of the locally sourced products Morrisons will add to its shelves this week as its customers ask for more British food. The Big Four supermarket has partnered with more than 200 local food makers to sell everything from cheese to Yorkshire parkin in its stores.
Spain: Eroski to transform 50 stores into 'Contigo' format
Spanish retail group Eroski has announced it will transform 50 supermarkets into its ‘Contigo’ (‘with you’) format in 2018. The continued rollout of this format will be focused on the Balearic Islands, reinforcing Contigo's emphasis on customer relations and prioritising the shopper experience, according to Eroski. The retail group also announced plans to open new Eroski stores in the northern Spanish market.

Most stores shut in Poland as Sunday trade ban takes effect
A new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism's collapse. The new law at first bans trade two Sundays per month, but steps it up to three Sundays in 2019 and finally all Sundays in 2020, except for seven exceptions before the Easter and Christmas holidays.

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