US: Blue Apron to reduce workforce by 4% in push to reach profitability in 2019
Blue Apron will reduce its workforce by 4% as it aims to become profitable in 2019, the meal kit company announced. In a release outlining the company's strategic goals for profitability, it said the reduction is aimed at "streamlining personnel to create a more agile and focused organization." It will spend $1.6mln in the fourth quarter on severance charges and other exit costs. The company estimates it will save $16mln in 2019.
US: Ahold Delhaize’s Leading Together strategy focuses on 3-year growth
Ahold Delhaize introduced its Leading Together strategy at the 2018 Capital Markets Day in New York City. Supported by its local banners, best-in-class cash generation and balanced approach to capital allocation, this comprehensive strategic program focuses on driving comparable sales growth and market share gains over the next three years. Frans Muller, president & CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “In an industry that’s undergoing rapid change, fueled by shifting customer behavior and preferences, we will focus on growth by investing in our stores, omnichannel offering and technological capabilities which will enrich the customer experience and increase efficiencies. Ultimately, this will drive growth by making everyday shopping easier, fresher and healthier for our customers.”
India: Flipkart boss resigns after misconduct investigation
Binny Bansal, chief executive of India's biggest online retailer, Flipkart, has resigned following an investigation into his conduct. Flipkart and its owner, Walmart, launched the investigation after a complaint of "serious personal misconduct" was made against Mr Bansal. The inquiry did not find evidence to back up the allegation, but did "reveal other lapses in judgement". The companies did not give any further details about the allegation against Mr Bansal. However, in a combined statement, they said he had shown "a lack of transparency" in his response to the situation. In an email to staff, seen by the BBC Mr Bansal said: "The allegations left me stunned and I strongly deny them. These have been challenging times for my family and me. I am concerned that this may become a distraction for the company and the team. In light of these circumstances, I feel it is best to step away as chairman and group CEO."
E.Leclerc launches ecommerce platform in Spain
France-based retailer E.Leclerc has launched a new online shopping website for one of its hypermarkets in Pamplona. The retailer hopes to extend the service to all of its Spanish stores in the coming months, infoRetail reports. Vice president of E.Leclerc Spain, Patrick Rigault, said that through its new online channel, the company will make shopping easier and more comfortable for its customers. Fresh products, ambient and non-grocery items will all be sold through the platform. E.Leclerc said that it will aim to use local and regional suppliers where possible, and have a dedicated organic and free-from area online. Shoppers will be able to collect their order in-store or opt for home delivery, choosing a time slot they prefer. E.Leclerc already has a well-established online operation in France, which will help it to roll-out its Spanish service. It has around 15 hypermarkets in Spain.
Retail trade turnover, up 5.2% in Romania in first nine months
The retail trade turnover in Romania increased by 5.2% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period of 2017, as a gross series, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INS). In seasonally adjusted terms, the growth was 6%. The sales of food, beverages and tobacco increased by 6.5%, in gross terms, compared to the first nine months of 2017, non-food sales went up 6.1% and fuel sales grew by 2%. In September, the retail trade turnover increased by 2.3% (gross series) compared to September 2018, as food sales went up 4.5%, fuel sales increased by 1.9% and non-food sales grew by 0.6%.
UK: Grocery spending growth halved in October as retailers hope for Christmas boost
Grocery spend halved in October in comparison to last year, but discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to ramp up their market share. According to new data from Nielsen, headline growth in the four weeks to November 4 slowed to 1.5%, less than half the 3.1% growth seen in the same period last year. Christmas promotions in the latter week offered some respite, with sales of beers, wines and spirits rising 4.9%. Nielsen’s head of retailer insight Mike Watkins said this meant in-store promotions and media campaigns were therefore “more crucial than ever for supermarkets this Christmas”. “With weaker than expected growth in October, the industry is under pressure to get shoppers into the habit of spending more over the next six weeks by showcasing what’s new and different in store,” he added. A separate report from Kantar Worldpanel confirmed this slowdown in sales, with total market sales increasing 2.6% in the 12 weeks to November 4, less than recent months.
Israel: Supermarket chain Shufersal wants to go cashier-free
Tel Aviv-listed Shufersal Ltd., Israel's biggest supermarket chain, has partnered with Tel Aviv-based shopping automation startup Trigo Vision Ltd. to offer a no-checkout shopping experience within the chain’s 272 stores, the companies announced. Founded in 2017, Trigo Vision uses in-store ceiling-mounted cameras to identify items picked up by customers, automatically charging them as they leave the store. The cost of implementing Trigo Vision’s system is estimated at NIS 50,000 (approximately $13,500) per store, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke with Calcalist on condition of anonymity.
Singapore: Qoo10 to enable package collection at 7-Eleven by end of 2018
E-commerce platform Qoo10 is enabling customers to pick up purchases across 7-Eleven stores by end-2018 as it bids to enhance convenience against an environment of stiffer e-commerce competition. Customers opting for the 7-Eleven collection service will receive SMS and in-app notifications once the item has arrived. They have 48 hours to retrieve the package by showing a unique QR code to the store cashier. The first phase of the roll-out will see the collection service available at 75 7-Eleven stores which will then be progressively rolled out to all 342 store locations across the city.
UK retailer B&M's shares dented by dip in quarterly sales
British discounter B&M European Value Retail reported a dip in quarterly underlying sales at its main UK business, after warm spring weather pulled forward sales of gardening and outdoor products, leaving little stock left to sell in August. Shares in the group fell as much as 13% on Tuesday, after the company said B&M store sales were flat on a like-for-like basis in its first half to September 29, following a rise of 1.6% in the first quarter.
Chinese grocery market set for solid growth, says IGD
A report released by the international grocery research organisation IGD has forecast growth of 32.6% in the Chinese grocery market by 2022, preserving its status as the largest grocery market in Asia. Grocery retail sales in China are set to rise to CNY 11.4tln (US$1.637bln), more than India, Japan and Indonesia combined. The market is expected to see a CAGR of 5.8% over the next five years, on par with Thailand but slower than markets such as India, Vietnam and Bangladesh, where the economy is growing faster. Globally, China will remain the second largest grocery market in the world by 2022, behind the US in terms of value.
UK: Central England Co-op appoints Debbie Robinson as CEO
Debbie Robinson, UK managing director of Spar, has been appointed chief executive of Central England Co-op. She will replace Martyn Cheatle, following the announcement that he will retire in May 2019. Robinson, who has been UK managing director of Spar since 2011, brings a wealth of experience, with over 30 years in retail with the likes of Co-op Group, Marks and Spencer and WHSmith. Elaine Dean, society president, said: “Central England Co-operative is delighted to welcome Debbie Robinson at a time of growth and development for our Society. Debbie is no stranger to co-operative ethics and values, having previous experience at a senior level within the co-operative movement. She has a sound track record of success and is highly respected in the retail sector.”