Canada: Longo’s tests self-checkout in Toronto
Ontario-based independent grocery retailer Longo’s has started testing self-checkout at one of its stores in downtown Toronto. The six terminals were introduced earlier this month on a trial basis at the Maple Leaf Square store. The intent of the self-checkout systems is not to reduce staff but to provide a better in-store experience, said Bill Zachopoulos, senior director of operations for Longo Brothers Fruit Markets. “We want to make sure they are in and out of the store as quickly as possible.”
Fusion announces launch of advanced cloud communications solutions to Costco Canada Business members
Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, has announced the launch of its award-winning cloud communications and connectivity services to Costco Canada Business members. Fusion services will be offered at kiosks at all Costco retail stores in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, with Quebec City to launch in early 2019. The Fusion cloud communications offering is a fully managed, cloud-based UCaaS solution that delivers the features and functionality of large-scale enterprise solutions to businesses of all sizes. Fusion’s cloud communications solution increases business productivity with features and applications that support the needs of the increasingly mobile business professional. Business continuity is built in, with call routing capability that enables communication and collaboration from anywhere on any device. An online customer portal makes it simple for business customers to manage calls and features for increased efficiency and control.
US: Walmart looks to radical Supercenter reinvention
Walmart intends to transform parking fields and land adjacent to some its of Supercenters behind a radical new “town center” concept that would lease space to restaurants, services, entertainment options and other community uses. The move would take advantage of Walmart’s traffic draw and massive physical footprints to create experiential retail hubs not unlike shopping malls as the company contemplates how physical shopping could evolve amid growth of e-commerce. The projects could also help cast a new shadow for the Walmart brand, which is also using the omnichannel revolution to widen its appeal to new audiences, even as virtual shopping wears away store trips.
US: Meijer adds store pickup option
Meijer is expanding its Shipt-based delivery program to include pickup options at stores across the Midwest. Pickup will be available at all 227 Meijer supercenters in six states that currently offer Meijer Home Delivery. Customers will have the option to choose between having their orders delivered to their home or brought out to their car. The pickup service will be available from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week but, because Meijer is open 24 hours, delivery is available around the clock.
Germany: Metro reports 1.3% sales growth
Metro Group has posted its annual results, recording sales of €36.5bln for FY2017/18. The company also reported an increase in LFL sales of +0.7% compared with last year. Metro achieved LFL sales growth in Asia (+4.0%), Eastern Europe excluding Russia (6.1%) and Germany (+0.8%). However, Metro Wholesale’s total sales declined by -1.4% to €29.5bln due to negative currency effects. In Russia, Metro has been reviewing its marketing strategy. This has resulted in a lower customer frequency and a decline in LFL sales by -7.0%. Meanwhile in Germany, Metro attributes its growth to an increase in HoReCa customers. Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of Metro, commented, “Delivery is becoming a driver of growth, especially for our important HoReCa customers, who we are able bringer closer to Metro with our strong digital innovations. We are confirming the outlook for the financial year 2017/18.” After a positive period of growth in H1, Real’s LFL sales declined by -4.1% in Q4 in 2017/18. The decline was partly due to hot weather and contributed to Real’s overall LFL sales decrease of -1.7%. Real’s sales also declined by -2.3% to €7.1bln, while its online business increased by 85% to €280mln.
Australia: Coles MD plans overhaul of convenience offering
Managing Director of Coles, Steven Cain, has hinted at plans to introduce a new convenience strategy for the supermarket which would include smaller-format stores, meal kits and express deliveries. In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Cain said that he was “fascinated” by the popularity of meal kits, which allow customers to make a meal from scratch using ingredients and recipes delivered to their door.
Carrefour Romania and Mastercard launch instalment program for FMCG purchases
Mastercard, one of the biggest card issuers in the world, and French retailer Carrefour have launched a new program that allows Mastercard card owners to pay for their purchases in Carrefour hypermarkets in several instalments. This is the first program in Romania that allows instalment payments for FMCG products. The instalment payments are mostly used in the electro-IT retail sector. The option is available for Mastercard card owners that have opted for the “Instalment payment” service, which was launched at the end of 2016. The clients who use this service will be able to opt for instalment payments when they pay by card in Carrefour stores.
UK: Co-op launches in-store radio with regional content
The Co-op has re-launched its in-store radio station with a service that allows retailers to select content relevant to the local area. The new service, developed by Imagesound, replaces a 'one-size-fits-all' satellite transmission with a more targeted digital approach. Retailers will be able to select from a tailored music library including regional artists, as well as colleague and community call-outs, information on local events and a focus on local causes supported by Co-op's charitable donation scheme. Dedicated programming will see regular shows hosted by local broadcasters. The service will also include meet the producer features to build awareness of local suppliers and new products.
Japan: Rakuten & Seiyu open online grocery store
Rakuten Inc and Seiyu GK announced the grand opening of Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, an online grocery delivery service jointly operated by both companies. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper is a jointly-operated online grocery delivery service that combines Rakuten’s roughly 99mln-strong membership base and proficiency in e-commerce along with Seiyu’s extensive experience in the sale of fresh food and other supermarket operational experience cultivated over the years by operating its physical stores. The service offers many advantages, including a wide array of merchandise backed by a robust delivery service designed to meet the changing needs of customers in Japan. It is also linked with the Rakuten ID system.
Brazil's GPA hits quarterly targets as 'cash-and-carry' delivers again
Brazilian food retailer GPA posted in-line quarterly results as the end of food deflation and another strong performance from its wholesale division offset rising costs and lingering weakness at some traditional supermarkets. In a securities filing, GPA, owned by France’s Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, said net income grew 37% from the 2017 third quarter to 138mln reais ($37.2mln). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 49% over the same period to 611mln reais, but below the Reuters consensus estimate of 657mln reais.
Richemont & Alibaba join forces in China's online luxury market
Cartier-owner Richemont is teaming up with Alibaba to try to crack China’s online shopping market, potentially a major growth driver for luxury firms but which has proven difficult to tackle for outsiders going it alone. The partnership will feature offerings of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP), the online retailer now fully-owned by Switzerland’s Richemont, to Chinese consumers, the companies said. YNAP and Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce player, will launch mobile apps in the country for the multi-brand Net-a-Porter store and men’s fashion specialist Mr Porter under a joint venture.