Ahold Delhaize CEO says robots to speed up U.S. deliveries
Ahold Delhaize’s chief executive confirmed the Dutch retailer will partner with start-up Takeoff to build small, automated warehouses to speed order picking and cut delivery times from its U.S. stores. In as push to compete with online competitors like Amazon, Kroger and Albertsons, a pilot center will start operating at one of Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut this year. “We feel that with a robotised solution we can optimize those picking costs and be closer” to customers, Chief Executive Officer Frans Muller said in an interview.
US: Giant to open pair of new stores in Virginia
This week, Giant Food plans to reopen the first of two new locations in Virginia formerly occupied by Supervalu Inc.’s Shoppers Food & Pharmacy chain. Landover, Maryland-based Giant, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, said it will open a 37,084-square-foot store on November 9 at 2425 Centerville Rd. in Herndon and a 66,560-square-foot store at 6200 Little River Turnpike in Alexandria on November 16. Both of the rebannered stores also have been upgraded. Features include expanded natural and organic departments; larger produce, ethnic food, beer and wine selections; and hot food bars. Also offered at the stores are free wi-fi, a full-service PNC Bank, a full pharmacy department and self-checkout. In addition, the Alexandria store houses a Starbucks café.
US: Albertsons adding 10 electric semis to Southern California fleet
The Albertsons Cos. is purchasing 10 all-electric Tesla tractors for its Southern California fleet in an effort to continue decreasing carbon emissions and run a cleaner transportation program. Intended to service Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores in Southern California, the semi-trucks travel between 300 and 500 miles on a single charge, even with a fully loaded trailer, and require less than 2 kilowatt hours of energy per mile. "Advancing supply chain efficiency and sustainability is an important goal for our company," said Tom Nartker, VP of transportation, Albertsons. "We’re excited to pilot this expansion of our transportation program with trucks that help us limit our overall carbon footprint."
US: Instacart unveils national expansion of new "Instacart Pickup" grocery service
Instacart, the North American leader in online groceries, today announced the national expansion of Instacart Pickup, a new grocery click-and-collect service. Instacart Pickup gives customers the convenience of both delivery and/or pickup options, allowing them to order through Instacart and pick up their groceries from their favorite retailer. Instacart will be working with existing and new retail partners to add the Instacart Pickup service to participating partner stores nationwide over the coming months and throughout 2019.
US Report: Walmart favored over Amazon among online grocery shoppers
Walmart has officially surpassed Amazon as the online grocer of choice among consumers, according to a survey from Retail Feedback Group. Of those surveyed, 33% said they most recently visited Walmart’s site for groceries, while 31% chose Amazon. Local supermarkets came in third place with 26% of shoppers, presumably due to local grocers that partner with Instacart and other third-party delivery services. The report also found that online food shoppers are more willing to purchase perishable items online, such as meat and produce, with around 50% more online shoppers reporting they've made purchases in these categories compared to last year. However, many people still prefer to shop in store for those categories. This has ultimately held back the growth of online grocery shopping in the U.S., the report noted. Retail Feedback Group also noted that that half of online grocery shoppers plan to purchase more products through the channel next year.
US: Kroger launches voice-assistant ordering for grocery ecommerce
The Kroger Co. is furthering its efforts in contextual commerce by adopting voice-assistant technology for ordering groceries online. Customers can interact with their Kroger Grocery Pickup cart via an action in the Google Assistant voice app – which can be accessed through iOS, Android and Google Assistant devices, Kroger Technology announced on its LinkedIn page. Activating the service is as simple as saying "Hey, Google" into the device. The service has launched so far in six Kroger-owned banners: Fred Meyer, Fry's Food and Drug, QFC, King Soopers, City Market, and Ralphs. It will arrive at additional banners later this year and throughout 2019.
Belarus food retailer Eurotorg delays London IPO
Eurotorg Holdings Plc, the biggest food retailer in Belarus, delayed its plans to list its shares in London, blaming current market conditions. Eurotorg, which was expected to raise around $200mln in primary proceeds through an offering of global depositary receipts, said it would pursue its initial public offering when capital markets conditions become more favorable for emerging markets. Eurotorg announced its plans to list in London last month, and the deal, based on average valuation multiples of its peers, could have valued the company at over $3bln including debt.
October UK retail sales marked by consumer caution
The latest release from the British Retail Consortium Retail Sales Monitor (BRC-RSM), for October, show that UK sales grew by 1.3% in the month, underpinned by like-for-like growth of just 0.1%. Though food and grocery sales remained the biggest contributor to growth, non-food sales also proved more positive than in recent months, especially in the clothing sector. Over the period August to October food & grocery sales were up 2.3%, with like-for-likes running at 1.2%. However, this is now behind the 12-month average growth rate of 3.5%, owing much to a deceleration in inflation, which in October fell back to its lowest level since June. Adjusted for inflation three month 'real' (volume) growth in food & grocery stood at 0.6%.
Aldi launches biggest Belgian marketing campaign
Aldi has started its biggest marketing campaign yet in Belgium. For the first time, the German discounter comes out all guns blazing to highlight a string of positive results in quality comparisons. With a wave of ads on television and radio, large billboards, and campaigns in newspapers and online, Aldi Belgium spends its largest marketing budget ever this autumn. "In fact, we already started a new chapter in our marketing approach at the end of 2017," says Isabel Henderick, who heads the discounter's Belgian marketing and communication department. "Before, we were limited in the newspapers, but we communicated mainly through our own channels. This feels like a new milestone."
Lidl Plus app rolled-out across Spain
The discounter continues to roll-out the Lidl Plus app in Spain. It is currently available to use in over 200 Lidl stores in the country and will be deployed nationwide in the coming months, Europa Press reports. The app functions as a digital loyalty card and has already been launched across many markets in which Lidl operates. Customers download it onto their smartphones and register for benefits. To encourage downloads, registrants receive a €5 welcome coupon to use in-store. Coupons which customers have activated on the app can be redeemed by scanning their phone on checkout. Through a partnership with Shell, customers can receive a 4% discount on fuel at more than 600 service stations. Digital receipts, a weekly catalog and a store finder are also features of the app. Lidl says that it is an “innovative and unique” digital programme. It establishes close communication with the customer and shows clear support for omnichannel retailing.
UK: Sainsbury’s sees like-for-like sales up marginally in first half
UK retailer Sainsbury’s has posted like-for-like retail sales growth of 0.6% in the first half of its financial year, with the group reporting £16.68bln worth of sales in the period. Reported retail sales were up 1.2%, in the period, while underlying profit before tax rose by 20% to £302mln. Profit after tax, however, declined by 13% to £144mln due to non-underlying charges relating to the restructuring of store management teams, the integration of the Argos business, and the proposed tie-up with rival Asda, the retailer said.