Free Fruit for Kids launches in all Countdown stores

Brookshire admits possible sale | Giant-Landover drops prices

Walmart CEO's plan to fight Amazon: "Win with stores"
After Walmart Stores shares took a dive this week following a sales and profit warning, and its stock market value fell even further below Amazon.com’s. But at a meeting with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon gave a full-throttled defence of the retailer’s fleet of thousands of stores in fending off Amazon, as well as other rivals. “First, win with stores, ” McMillon told the analysts. “We know customers love shopping in stores, and they’ll want great stores.” (fortune.com)

US: Haggen begins going-out-of-business sales

Haggen said Friday it plans to begin going-out-of-business sales immediately at the 36 locations it has agreed to sell to Gelson's Markets and Smart & Final Stores. It will begin similar sales on Oct. 30 at 67 other stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, the company told SN. Those decisions follow a ruling Thursday by the bankruptcy court judge overseeing Haggen’s Chapter 11 case that said the company can move forward on the sale or liquidation of the stores it wants to dispose of, despite union objections. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union told the court the sale process was moving ahead too quickly, thereby dooming the stores before they could be thoroughly marketed as growing concerns, published reports indicated. However, the judge ruled store closing sales were an “efficient means” to raise cash for the company and its creditors, the reports said. (supermarketnews.com)

Supermarket Atak, part of Auchan, to open 120 supermarkets in Moscow

The chain will spend €499m on opening more than 120 supermarkets in the Moscow region by 2018, reports anrt.info. The regional administration stated that the company’s plans will increase the amount of taxes paid to the Moscow regional budget by more than three times, from €8.5m a year to €25.6m. Atak currently has 71 supermarkets in the Moscow region and the accumulated net investment in the region amounts to €356m of which €57mln was invested in the last year. Out of the 120 supermarkets that the company intends to build, 30-40 will be “capital construction projects” meaning new separate buildings. “To the end of the current year another 9 shopping centres are planned to open in the region,” states the regional administration. Atak is the 19th largest Russian retailer. In 2014, the company's revenue grew by 30% to €8.3bn.

German Metro sales meet estimates

German retailer Metro AG reported a drop in fourth-quarter sales that was was no worse than analysts’ estimates and pledged to use greater-than-expected proceeds from the sale of department-store chain Galeria Kaufhof for expansion. Revenue fell 1.1% to €14.2bn in the three months through September, Dusseldorf-based Metro said in a Monday release of preliminary figures. That met analysts’ average estimate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. (Bloomberg)

US: Giant-Landover tacks on more discounts
Ahold’s Giant-Landover chain on Friday announced that it was reducing prices on thousands of items across its stores, marking the second such investment in the chain in a year. The new lower prices are in addition to a round of price investments made last fall at the chain, which operates 168 stores in the Greater Washington, D.C., market. Officials at Ahold have acknowledged the division has struggled to maintain sales momentum amid heavy competition in the area. (supermarketnews.com)

Free Fruit for Kids launches in all Countdown stores
Countdown is rolling out Free Fruit for Kids to its 180 stores nationwide. From tomorrow, kids will be able to snack on fresh fruit in any Countdown while their parents shop. The free fruit will be available in clearly marked baskets in the fruit and vegetable section of each store. Baskets will be replenished during the day and fruit will be a selection of tasty fruit, for example this week will be apples and bananas. The nationwide rollout follows the success of an initial trial at Countdown Botany Downs in East Auckland in mid-August this year. Countdown’s Acting Managing Director, Pat McEntee, says Free Fruit for Kids is about encouraging kids to eat healthy snacks and help parents while shopping. “We first tried Free Fruit for Kids at our Countdown Botany store in Auckland in August. Customers told us how much they loved this idea, so we wanted to take it nationwide. (scoop.co.nz)

Walmart squeezes suppliers even tighter

Suppliers of everything from groceries to sports equipment are already being squeezed for price cuts and cost sharing by Walmart Stores. Now they are bracing for the pressure to ratchet up even more after a shock earnings warning from the retailer last week. Please, click here to read more at uk.businessinsider.com.

Convenience expansion in Vietnam

According to an article in the Bangkok post, convenience stores in Vietnam have increased by more than 260% since 2012. The domestic operator Vingroup have opened 93 stores since the end of last year and are set to double its forecast in 2016. Japan's FamilyMart expect to open more than 100 stores in 2016 and 7-Eleven have just entered the market following a franchise agreement with Seven System Vietnam. (igd.com)

Memo acknowledges possible Brookshire sale: reports

Brookshire Grocery has told its employees that it was exploring strategic options including a potential sale, reports said Friday, confirming sale speculation first raised in wire reports earlier this week. The Tyler Morning Telegraph, located in Brookshire’s Tyler, Texas, home, reported that the grocer in an internal memo to employees said, “We feel it is important for you to know that at this time we are currently evaluating potential strategic alternatives which may include a possible business combination. In connection therewith, it is our goal to preserve and strengthen the Brookshire Grocery business and heritage. (supermarketnews.com)

US: Costco adds fire to supermarket wars

US retailer Costco is expected to drive increased competition in Australia's $125bn supermarket and fuel retailing sector as it pushes down prices and gains further share in a market dominated by Coles and Woolworths. (businessspectator.com.au)

China: Womai raises US$200m, aims at becoming big
On Oct. 12, Womai, a subsidiary of COFCO, raised US$200m in series C financing with the aim of becoming China's largest food e-commerce operator. Womai did not immediately respond to an inquiry to confirm the news. According to a report by Sootoo, a market research agency in China, Womai ranks third in China's online food retailing business with a 17% market share at the end of the first half of 2015, behind Alibaba's Tmall and Tencent's ally JD.com. Because developing a fresh food e-commerce business requires huge amounts of capital, raising funds has become a necessity for Womai as it is still building its logistics infrastructure, according to the Jiemian report. (wantchinatimes.com)

Fresh Market shares soar on report founder is exploring bid

Fresh Market Inc. shares jumped as much as 14% on a report that founder and Chairman Ray Berry is exploring a bid for the grocery chain. Berry is looking into a buyout with help from a private-equity firm, according to a report from Reuters, which cited people familiar with the discussions. Berry, who owns 4.1% of the company, also may team up on a deal with son-in-law Michael Barry, who has a 6.4% stake, Reuters said. No offer has been made, and a deal may not come together, according to the report. (esmmagazine.com)

US: Expert says Walmart is pushing regional grocers to sell
This week, Reuters’ new agency reported Brookshire’s is considering a potentially billion-dollar sale. But supermarket research consultant David Livingston says many regional grocery companies have been bought out by larger ones. “The number of small regional grocers seem to be diminishing especially over the past 20 to 30 years,” Livingston says. In the end he says it all comes down to money. “A lot of these large grocery companies are almost predatory the way they go after the small regional grocers. They look at this as a chance to make money, come in, buy the grocers, milk them for all they can, and then whatever happens at the end happens,” he explains. And there are a number of companies who are big players. “There are several that are across the country: Albertsons, Safeway, Kroger, Walmart,” John Soules, Co-CEO of John Soules Foods, says. But Livingston says there's one that has been key to this trend in the market. “Some of the grocers, like Walmart, have gotten so big and very difficult to compete with,” Livingston says (esmmagazine.com)


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