US: Stater Bros. Markets expands to Pasadena, California
Stater Bros. Markets is debuting its first store in Pasadena, California. The grand-opening ceremony will take place on November 14 at 8 a.m. This is the company's 14th store in the San Gabriel Valley and 26th location in Los Angeles County. The new store is led by Christy Gragg, who has more than 28 years of service with the San Bernardino, California-based privately owned retailer. “We are excited to expand our presence in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “Customers can look forward to an exceptional shopping experience and will be pleased with our extraordinary customer service, wide variety of services, and fresh product offerings.”
US: Walmart to open in-store AI lab
Walmart has announced its intention to open up a new AI lab called the Intelligent Retail Lab. The lab will be operational inside one of Walmart's New York stores in Levittown, as part of the firm's plans to integrate AI into its day-to-day operations. The AI project is being helmed by Walmart's Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) team made up of "AI and machine learning experts, data scientists and experts in product and retail operations" who are "focused on testing AI in a physical grocery store," according to a source from Walmart.
US: H-E-B expanding frictionless checkout
H-E-B has expanded a test of frictionless checkout to seven stores in Austin area, according to local reports. The technology works through a mobile app known as H-E-B Go, which debuted earlier this year in two stores in H-E-B’s San Antonio home market. The expansion continues a period of heavy investment in technology for H-E-B, which earlier this year said it was seeking to become “a dominant force in the digital retail space.”
Amazon France launches producers’ boutique
Amazon France has launched a shop-in-shop, La boutique des Producteurs, which has seen it add almost 2,000 grocery products to its assortment. The shop offers mainly delicatessen and fresh produce sourced by local producers and suppliers. The focus is on high quality and premium products, such as olive oil, meats, spirits, foie gras and oysters, among others, which are sold in France and Europe. Patrick Labarre, director of the Amazon.fr marketplace, explained that a “number of companies in the agriculture world are still struggling to get involved in the digital economy”. The shop will, therefore, help them “develop their activity” whilst keeping control of their stock and prices. Producers can also choose to manage their own shipping or choose shipped by Amazon.
Australia: Coles reveals new ‘specialty’ store
Coles has opened the first of its small-format "local neighbourhood supermarkets" in Melbourne's Surrey Hills. Dubbed Coles Local, the new store is about half the size of a full supermarket at 1280sq m, and features gourmet local produce, specialty ranges, an in-store chef and barista and a "Foodie Hub". It's Coles' answer to the smaller "Metro" stores, which have been around for several years, but is more akin to Woolworths' failed up-market Thomas Dux grocer or United States chain Whole Foods. "Coles Local gives the Surrey Hills community the convenience of a supermarket with the character of a specialty store," Coles chief executive Steven Cain said in a statement.
Sri Lanka: Softlogic to open first modern supermarket in Delkanda
Diversified conglomerate Softlogic Holdings PLC said it will soon be opening its first modern supermarket outlet “with the launch of a truly global market experience” in Delkanda, a rapidly expanding suburb of Colombo. A statement by Softlogic Holdings said the group is entering modern retail trade to tap into the strong potential this segment holds. Softlogic has already established a dominant player in the retail space, leading the consumer electronics and apparel segments, while innovating in the restaurant and food business. “This launch will herald a new chapter in the history of the retail industry in Sri Lanka. Customers can expect a truly global experience, which was not available in the country thus far,” the statement noted.
Holland: Ahold Delhaize’s AIRLab to explore robotics
Ahold Delhaize has embarked on a partnership with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands to expand its newly launched Artificial Intelligence for Retail Lab, or AIRLab, into robotics research. The program with TU Delft will establish a test lab for developing what Ahold Delhaize calls “state-of-the-art innovations in the retail industry” to explore how robotics can be deployed in a retail setting, including how robotic grippers can handle delicate items such as fruits and vegetables and how to improve image-recognition of products and packaging.
Sotiris Poulos opens first Greek supermarket in Germany
A supermarket offering Greek products only has opened in Frankfurt, Germany. Sotiris Poulos, from Greece, is the owner of Griechischer Top Markt, the first Greek supermarket in Germany, where consumers can buy over 1,800 Greek products. Mr Poulos who has a degree in economics and a postgraduate degree in business management wanted to find a way to help the Greek economy and to promote Greek products to the rest of Europe.
eCargo takes 85% of Metcash China export business
ECG, a China-based eCommerce technology company trading in China and Australia as eCargo, is to acquire 85% of Metcash's China export business. Metcash supplies and supports more than 10,000 independent retailers and over 90,000 wholesale customers across the food, grocery, liquor and hardware industries in Australia and a number of supermarkets and retail groups in China. It also operates cross-border e-Commerce stores in key platforms of Alibaba's Tmall Global and JD Worldwide. ECG said the acquisition would enable ECG to create a one-stop offering for Australian businesses into China's consumer market.
UAE: Dubai retailer Union Coop unveils $70mln mall project
Dubai retailer Union Coop has unveiled plans for a new community mall project in Al Warqa, which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020. Al Warqa City Mall is the latest in its series of community malls, a concept that started with its Al Barsha and Etihad Malls. Khalid Humaid Bin Diban Al Falasi, CEO of Union Coop, said the project had an estimated budget of AED257mln ($70mln) and will include a Union Coop hypermarket called Extra Coop. It will also include a range of financial services and a chain of gold and diamond jewellery shops, healthcare facilities and a total of 44 retail options, the company said in a statement.
India: online-to-offline grocer Kirana11 rebrands to Avenue11
Kirana11, a Bengaluru-based online-to-offline (O2O) grocery platform, has changed to Avenue11 to reposition itself in the e-grocery segment. As an O2O marketing platform, Kirana11 leveraged the offline presence of local stores in an area to serve customers better, while reducing the delivery cost at the same time. As Avenue11, the start-up aspires to deliver a better O2O experience to consumers by temporarily shifting away from tie-ups with local stores. “Transition from Kirana11 to Avenue11 is a strategic rebranding move that represents our shift from a hyperlocal model to an inventory-based model that will also allow us to offer premium products to consumers,” stated Nakkyun Chong, chief executive officer, Avenue11.
Japan: Aeon makes Southeast Asia malls e-money friendly
Japanese retailer Aeon is employing digital tools at brick-and-mortar stores in its quest to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving markets of Southeast Asia. The company's Aeon Mall Sen Sok City, which opened in May in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, is not only a popular destination with a water park and indoor amusement park, but also an exhibition of cutting-edge technology. The mall's tenants offer shoppers a convenient way to pay with mobile payment services like Cambodia's Pi Pay: All users need to do is register the app, deposit cash in designated kiosks around town, and scan a QR code at the storefront. Aeon aims to employ financial technology such as this more.
A new hypermarket has opened in Qatar
The Amana Puregold general store opened its first branch in Qatar, offering particularly Filipino items. This hypermarket will be serving a huge number of Filipinos living in Qatar. There is a plan to open five more outlets as a feature of its extension sooner rather than later to take care of the developing demand for Filipino items. The 500sqm outlet has 70% Filipino sustenance items in its racks while nearby things and various brands from different nations are likewise in plain view. Vegetables and organic products, (from salted eggs to ‘calamansi’, banana, pineapple and mangoes), and canned merchandise, and in addition non-nourishment things, for example, beautifying agents (Ever Bilena), are all offered. Numerous Filipinos, particularly the individuals who live in the Al Sadd zone, remain to profit by the recently opened Puregold outlet.