US: Ahold ups Albert Heijn grocery ecommerce manager to Peapod president
International grocer Ahold Delhaize has named Selma Postma president of its U.S. online grocer, Peapod, effective January 1, 2019. Currently, Postma is general manager of Albert Heijn Online, the grocery ecommerce arm of Ahold Delhaize Dutch banner Albert Heijn. With nearly 20 years of experience at the chain, she has led the transformation of Albert Heijn into an omnichannel retailer by optimizing ah.nl and creating such customer-facing features as list predictors, voice assistants and subscription services. "Selma has a proven track record of building an omnichannel experience at Albert Heijn, where she accelerated online growth to more than 20% annually and launched several customer-facing solutions, such as the popular mobile app, Appie; single sign-on with bol.com, the largest online nonfood retailer in the Netherlands; and much more," said JJ Fleeman, chief ecommerce officer and president of Peapod Digital Labs. "We are confident her expertise will accelerate the ecommerce experience for Peapod customers and continue to grow sales."
US: Costco Wholesale Corporation reports October sales results
Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) reported net sales of $11.16bln for the retail month of October, the four weeks ended November 4, 2018, an increase of 10.6% from $10.09bln last year. For the nine-weeks ended November 4, 2018, the Company reported net sales of $24.80bln, an increase of 10.4% from $22.46bln during the similar period last year.
US: Sears to shut 40 more stores early next year
Sears Holdings said it plans to close 40 more stores early next year as it continues to slim its business and seeks to stymie losses under bankruptcy protection. The retailer filed for bankruptcy on October 15 with roughly 700 Sears and Kmart stores in operation. It announced at the time it would be closing 142 unprofitable stores and warned more closures could follow. The additional store closures come as Sears is still looking to formally secure the money it needs to stay in operation long enough until it can find a potential buyer to avoid liquidation. It had interim approval for $300mln in emergency financing and was in talks with hedge fund ESL Investments for another $300mln loan, according to bankruptcy filings.
Amazon Alexa goes to Mexico
Amazon announced that its voice-activated digital assistant Alexa and its smart speaker Echo are now available in Mexico. In a press release, Amazon said Alexa has learned to speak and understand Spanish tailored for the Mexican market. What’s more, the company said developers around the world are making skills and devices for Alexa for Mexican customers. “Tens of millions of customers around the world are already using Alexa, and today we’re excited to introduce the service to our customers in Mexico,” Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid said in the press release. “We’ve built an entirely new experience from the ground up that honors Mexican culture, enabling customers to just ask to play their favorite music, get the news and weather, control their smart home, set reminders, enjoy local skills, and more. Plus, in addition to Echo, device makers like Sonos, Bose, and Harman Kardon are also launching devices with Alexa built-in. This experience has been custom-made for Mexico, and we cannot wait to hear what our customers think.”
Carrefour Brasil beats profit estimates for third quarter
Carrefour Brasil, Brazil’s largest retailer, beat quarterly profit estimates thanks to a solid performance in its operations and a marked reduction in financial costs. In a securities filing, the company said net income came to 391mln reais ($104.8mln), 67% up from the same period a year ago and above the IBES consensus estimate from Refinitiv of 386mln reais. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of cash generation known as EBITDA, were 991mln reais, a 32% improvement year on year.
Romania: Metro consolidates distribution operations in new 58,000 sqm warehouse near Bucharest
Metro Cash&Carry, one of the biggest modern commerce groups on the Romanian market, has consolidated its distribution operations in a new warehouse in Stefanestii de Jos, North of Bucharest. The group leased 58,000 sqm of warehouse facilities from Belgian logistics developer WdP, this being the largest transaction on the industrial and logistics segment this year, according to real estate consultancy firm JLL Romania, which brokered the deal. “Together with Metro we have designed a very structured tender process with a strict timeline that allowed to conclude the contract in only six months from the start. It was a complex project involving both ambient and temperature control areas, the biggest challenge being to set up all the details for a record transaction of more than 58,000 sqm,” said Costin Bănică, head of Industrial Department JLL Romania.
UK: Co-op plans for £45mln distribution centre
Co-op has announced plans for a new £45mln distribution centre to support its ongoing growth. Co-op is currently on-track to open 100 new stores in 2018. The new facility, which will be in Bedfordshire’s Symmetry Park, Biggleswade, will support the retailer’s growth across London, the South, and the South East of England. Construction of the distribution centre is due to begin in H2 2019. Jo Whitfield, Co-op Retail CEO, said: “This is a vital step in our journey to get closer to our customers’ and their shopping needs by offering the products they want and care about from stores which are closer to where they live. The new site will extend capacity across our logistics network. This will help stores to better serve communities and support our ambitious growth plans across London, the South and South East. This is an exciting development, we believe a strong Co-op can create stronger communities and the investment is indicative of both the performance of the Co-op and the delivery of our food strategy.”
South Africa: Pargo partners with Spar and the Lewis Group
Pargo, South Africa’s leading smart logistics platform, announced their partnership with Spar and the Lewis Group to become the largest pick-up point network in South Africa with over 2000 stores. People can now use selected Spar, Lewis, Beares and Best Home and Electric stores as parcel drop-off and pick-up points. The partnership allows Pargo to further strengthen their already extensive network, especially in the more rural regions in the country where parcel delivery is particularly challenging and can be very expensive.
Thailand: 7-Eleven launches campaign to 'reduce and stop' use of plastic bags
Following its “7 Go Green” policy, CP All, the founder of 7-Eleven in Thailand, has begun a campaign to “reduce and stop” plastic bags at its stores nationwide. In a press release issued by the company, Tanin Buranamanit Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of CP All, said that CP All has initiated the project to encourage the public to reduce and stop plastic bags since 2007. The firm said it is determined to nourish sustainable environment via the company’s various programs, in accordance with CP ALL’s brand purpose “giving and sharing opportunities for all”.
Spain: Mercadona prepares for ecommerce in Barcelona
Mercadona is constructing a new logistics platform in Barcelona, exclusively for online orders. It is expected to be operational by 2020, according to Europa Press. ‘Colmena’ or the hive, is the name Mercadona gives to its warehouses dedicated to online orders. The warehouse will be Mercaona’s first in Barcelona that is dedicated to online orders. It marks the company's strategy to focus on the online channel, although it will be a while before it is operational. Goodman Group is constructing the 10,500sq m warehouse, 2,500sq m of which are dedicated to the fresh category, including an area for frozen and refrigerated products. Elements to reduce energy consumption are included in the design, such as solar panels or an electric charging station for vehicles. Its design is also tailored towards online and last mile deliveries. For example, the height of loading platforms has been reduced to better accommodate the smaller vans which are used for city centre deliveries.
Spain: Paying with cash on amazon.es
Amazon customers in Spain can deposit cash into their Amazon account, and therefore buy from amazon.es without using a debit or credit card. The service is called ‘Amazon recargas en tienda’, which translates to 'Amazon top ups in-store'. In order to top up their account with cash, customers essentially buy a digital gift voucher in-store, whose amount is added to their online gift voucher balance automatically. Over 50,000 stores offer the service and link to the customer’s account in one of three ways: (1) by scanning a bar code on the customer’s device, (2) by using the customer’s phone number, or (3) by printing a 15 character top up code that customers exchange online. Through options one and two, customers can pay between €5 to €500 into their account. The top up codes in option three are available in amounts of €10, €25, €50 and €100. Customers can also top up their account online using a credit or debit card in-store.