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7-Eleven: 1st convenience retailer chain in Canada to accept Alipay and WeChat Pay

Metro Canada fourth quarter: positive outlook for the year ahead

US: Lidl to open first Pennsylvania store in Delaware County
Lidl, a global discount supermarket chain, just announced a store opening in Folsom. The new location, at 420 MacDade Blvd., is Lidl’s first store in the state. It’ll join a network of more than 50 American Lidl stores in Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, North and South Carolina and Virginia. Doors will open to the public on December 5 at 8 a.m. after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. New customers will be met by samples, games, prizes, giveaways and free reusable Lidl bags while supplies last.

7-Eleven becomes 1st convenience retailer chain in Canada to accept Alipay and WeChat Pay
7-Eleven Inc. announced that participating stores in Canada will now accept Chinese mobile payment systems Alipay and WeChat Pay. The world's largest convenience retailer is collaborating with cross-border mobile payment company and market leader CITCON. Alipay and WeChat Pay will now be available at 35 select locations in Vancouver and Toronto, with plans for expansion in next few months. "Digital Payments are on the rise and consumers across the world are embracing them for convenience. 7-Eleven is redefining convenience for our customers across the globe which includes providing mobile payment solutions", said Gurmeet Singh, Chief Digital Officer & Chief Information Officer of 7-Eleven. "With 67,000 stores worldwide, Alipay and WeChat Pay are just one of many solutions that we provide our global consumers so they can enjoy a frictionless experience in our stores. 7-Eleven is the first convenience retailer to provide Alipay and WeChat Pay mobile payment solutions in Canada, and we continue to drive digital transformation with the latest in consumer-facing mobile technology."

Metro Canada Q4: positive outlook for the year ahead
Metro’s fourth quarter sales increased 15.7% to $3.7bln, reflecting the acquisition of Jean Coutu. Sales were up 2.5% excluding the drugstore business. Food same-store sales grew 2.1%, with pharmacy same-store sales up 1.8%. For the full year, sales reached a record $14.4bln, up 9.2%, with adjusted net earnings up 13.0% to $605.9mln. Commenting on the results, president and CEO, Eric La Flèche, stated: "With the acquisition of the Jean Coutu Group, fiscal 2018 was a pivotal year for the Corporation that ended on a strong note with solid growth in same-store sales and adjusted net income in the fourth quarter. The integration work is progressing well and we are confident in our ability to realise the full potential of this promising business combination.”

Walmart in China is now testing same-day grocery delivery from Dada via WeChat
Walmart has just begun testing same-day grocery delivery called Walmart To Go in one of its stores in China, months after the American retail titan expanded grocery delivery in its homeland. The service is accessed through a mini-program within WeChat - the Tencent-owned messaging platform Walmart partnered with earlier this year, in order to better reach its Chinese customers. The retailer hasn’t made a formal announcement about the same-day grocery delivery because the service is being tested while Walmart collects customer feedback. However, there is signage in the store that informs customers about the option.

UK: Co-op rolls out compostable carrier bags in more than 1,000 outlets
In an attempt to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, more than 1,000 Co-op food stores in the UK have introduced home-compostable carrier bags. The bags are priced at 5p each, and will be initially available in Co-op food stores in communities where they are accepted by the local authority in the household food-waste collections. Through this initiative, Co-op expects to eliminate around 60 million single-use plastic bags across the UK.

Spain: Covirán opens new logistics centre
Spain-based Covirán has opened a new logistics centre in Sabadell, Catalonia (Spain). The centre is dedicated to the management of fresh, refrigerated and frozen goods, products essential in the business model of its convenience stores. Covirán invested 2mln euros to construct its new logistics platform. It has five loading and unloading docks and covers 2,862 sq m. It complements another larger centre Covirán has nearby in Barberá del Vallés, Catalonia. Both centres will support the 90 Dusa stores Covirán acquired in H1 2018. In total, the retailer now operates 27 logistics centres in Spain and three in Portugal.

UAE: Majid Al Futtaim acquires UAE mobile wallet app Beam
Dubai-based mall operator Majid Al Futtaim has acquired Beam Portal, the owner of UAE mobile wallet app, Beam, it announced. The acquisition grants Majid Al Futtaim ownership of Beam’s IP rights, branding, and e-wallet services across the region. Beam enables retailers to accept mobile payments and engage with customers directly through their smartphones. The app was recently launched in Majid Al Futtaim fashion and home retail stores in the UAE, and will be expanded across all Majid Al Futtaim retail stores in 2019, a statement said. As part of the acquisition, Majid Al Futtaim will also expand Beam’s offering across the region, and will open it out to other retail businesses. The payment platform already has a partner network of more than 2,000 stores in the UAE.

Russia: X5 and Sovcombank join forces to set up parcel locker delivery system
Russian retailer X5 Retail Group has announced a joint venture with Sovcombank to set up a parcel locker delivery concept for online orders. The service will be carried out through the Sovcombank-owned, digital technology company, TsTB (Digital Technologies of the Future). Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has approved X5's proposal to acquire a 50% stake in TsTB. Director for strategic business development at X5 Retail Group, Igor Pletnev, said: "For X5, this partnership is an important step towards the development of an ancillary service offering for our customers. We are certain that this kind of delivery solution for online shopping will become increasingly popular, and therefore intend to support further active growth in this area of our business."

Ireland: Spar operator BWG reports robust results
Retailing group BWG, the company that operates the Spar, Londis and Mace chains in Ireland, has seen turnover rise 4.2% to €1.5bln in the year to 30 September. Results from its majority owner, South Africa-based Spar Group, show positive growth for all of BWG's retail brands. Londis sales increased by 4.9%, Mace by 4.4% and XL rose by 4.5%. Weather conditions maintained growth during the period which saw consumers stockpiling during the Spring's cold snap and the increase in buying BBQ food and drinks during the hot summer.

Australia: Coles rises up to 7% on trading debut as broader market wilts
Australia’s second-biggest grocery chain, Coles Group Ltd, traded as a standalone listed company for the first time in over a decade, with its shares rising as much as 7% by the midday break. The 104-year-old mainstay of Australian life had since 2007 been owned by conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd, which in March decided to spin off the A$17bln supermarket operator to pursue higher-growth investments.

UK: Edinburgh's first zero waste shop has officially opened in Haymarket
Zero waste supermarket, The Eco Larder, has officially opened in Edinburgh's Haymarket area. Following a business start-up grant and a successful crowdfunding campaign, co-owners Matt and Stephanie Foulds have been able to realise their dream of opening an eco friendly store in the capital. The zero waste movement encourages the redesign, recycling and reuse of materials and products, in order to limit the amount of rubbish sent to landfill, for incineration or in the ocean.

France: Carrefour unveils new Bio store design
France-based trade publication LSA has reported on the new look and feel of Carrefour’s updated design for its Bio format. The new design is set to be rolled out to ‘dozens’ of stores in France and across its European operations in 2019. The new, 250 sq. m store was shown off by Carrefour’s head of organic, Benoit Soury. He said the updated look and feel was meant to spotlight the banner’s organic focus. Soury was quoted as saying: “Our old models were perceived as convenience stores that stock organic products. Now, with this new concept, we want to be seen as a distributor of organic products.” The store, in Asnières-sur-Seine, starts with its fruits and vegetables range, with 98% of the products sold loose. The number of fresh SKUs has been expanded to 115, versus 80 previously, while there is a chiller cabinet close by to stock those items that need to be chilled. Carrefour has expanded the range of products able to be bought in bulk, to 190, versus 30 previously. Soury said the retailer was not enabling certain products to be bought in bulk, such as wine, due to supply chain challenges, which mitigates the benefits of doing so.

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