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Metro's German hypermarket chain Real: Nationwide strike

Albert Heijn: smart door locks experiment

Italian retailers launch initiatives to limit food waste
Penny Market Italia has developed the first private label line of Italian organic fruit and vegetables designed to limit food waste. MyBio Bellezze Naturali consists of six aesthetically-imperfect seasonal references - courgettes, lemons, tomatoes, potatoes, apples and carrots - presented in biodegradable and compostable packaging. According to research conducted by the Food Sustainability Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, 12% of the surplus in production in Italy is due to non-compliance with aesthetic standards required by the market. In Italy, 5.1mln tonnes of food is wasted each year, accounting for 15.4% of food consumption, with an economic impact of €12.6bln and environmental impact of 13mln tonnes of CO2. However, Penny Market is not the only grocery retailer in Italy to have launched initiatives to combat food waste. Since February, Lidl Italia has been cooperating with Banco Alimentare (Food Bank) on a nationwide project that recovers food surpluses (mainly fruit and vegetables) and distributes them through a network of local charities. The results after nine months are encouraging: the more than 250 stores involved have collected and donated more than 1,000 tonnes of food. Also working with Banco Alimentare is Pam Local which, for the second year in a row, plans to distribute 100,000 meals to the most needy. Coop has been involved in food donation since 2013, and last year the Buon Fine project involved 647 stores, corresponding to 75% of the sales network.

Carrefour France opens Darty corners
Carrefour France has opened Darty corners inside two of its hypermarkets, as reported by trade publication Lineaires. It will employ specialists for the new corners to help its attempts to increase its non-food sales. Carrefour and Fnac-Darty formed an alliance in December 2017 based on a franchise model. As part of the extended partnership, Darty stores have been opened in Carrefour’s La-Ville-du-Bois and Limoges Boisseuil hypermarkets. Franchising the Darty brand, rather than operating concessions, will enable Carrefour to maintain more control of the areas, while creating a distinct zone for a part of its non-food offer. Carrefour has employed sales specialists, who receive four weeks of training at Darty stores, as it looks to improve sales in the department.

Holland: Albert Heijn trials smart door locks
Albert Heijn is trialling smart door locks to enable home delivery even when the customer is not there to accept it in the Netherlands. The experiment is part of Albert Heijn Online Labs, which aims to improve the retailer’s service through developing new innovations. Homes are fitted with the SecuFirst smart doorbell and the Nuki smart door lock. When the delivery driver arrives, they can ring the smart doorbell which sends a notification to the customer through the app. The customer is then connected to the driver through a live camera feed. After receiving identification, the customer can open the door remotely through the app. Once opened, the driver can enter the home and leave the chilled products in the fridge or freezer. When the driver is finished and exits the home, the door is automatically locked behind them.

Aldi most trusted brand in Australia
Aldi has retained the top spot on Roy Morgan’s net trust score survey, but major changes have occurred on the bottom half of the list over the last six months. While Bunnings, Qantas and the ABC remained in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position on the list of 10, Samsung, Myer, RACQ and IGA fell off the list altogether. “Trust is vital to the success of any business, but the key message of the Roy Morgan Net Trust Score survey is that growing distrust can be a disaster, leading to customer churn, loss of market share and in some cases a long slide into oblivion”, Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine warned. “Trust is not just a ‘marketing’ or ‘comms’ issue - it goes to the heart of corporate culture and governance for every company.”

Spar Saudi Arabia opens two new stores in Riyadh
Spar Saudi Arabia has announced that it has opened two new supermarkets in the capital city of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The stores, located in upper-middle-class suburbs, will cater to both nationals and expats. The main highlights of the stores include fresh bakery units, fruit and vegetables sections, a wide range of imported food items, and around 150 products from Spar’s own brand. Both stores have been built to match world-class standards, with modern and dynamic store designs.

Belgium: "Delhaize forced to rebrand into Albert Heijn after Jumbo's arrival"
The announced arrival of Dutch chain Jumbo in Belgium will shake things up quite a bit. Market leader Colruyt will be forced to adopt a more up-market store concept, while Delhaize may be forced to rebrand (some of) its supermarkets to its sister chain Albert Heijn, a new report predicts. The LZ Retailytics report assumes that Jumbo will enter the Belgian market with its larger Foodmarkt concept, including food service expertise from its restaurant chain La Place, and added to that a web shop with a number of pick-up points.

Spain: Lidl’s first sustainability report
Lidl Spain has published its first sustainability report. By the end of 2018, Lidl will have eliminated the purchase of plastic bags across its 550 stores in Spain. In the last five years, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 27% in its logistics processes. This achievement is recognised by AECOC who awarded Lidl, Alfil Logistics, Chep Spain, DHL Supply Chain, Nestlé Spain and Unilever Spain the Clean and Green award for reducing CO2 emissions by 20% or more. In 2017, Lidl received the Green Energy certification, meaning that nearly all the energy used in its stores and logistics centres is renewable. It has received a zero-waste certificate for all its logistics centres in Spain.

UK: First airside M&S Food to Go set to open
M&S is set to open its first airside M&S Food to Go in partnership with SSP, a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide. The new Food to Go store will open at Birmingham Airport, which serves 13mln passengers a year, in early 2019. The store offers food and drink products across all day parts including wholesome wraps, freshly made baguettes, salads, sushi, smoothies, confectionery, beers and wines. Additionally, a range of hot food will also be available including bacon rolls, hot sandwiches and soups. The store will also have a M&S coffee and hot drinks offer, made by specially trained baristas. Sacha Berendji, Retail, Operations and Property Director at M&S said: “We’re excited to be opening in Birmingham Airport early next year. This is a great opportunity to continue to grow in travel locations where we know customers love the convenience of our offer. From sushi to salads, our Food to Go will have a tailored range of quality products for customers to enjoy before they board or on their flight”.

Nationwide strike called at Metro's German hypermarket chain Real
German services union Verdi has called a nationwide strike at Metro AG’s Real hypermarket chain for Monday to press a demand for its 34,000 staff to be covered by a collective pay deal. Verdi said in a statement that Metro had in June bailed out of the pay agreement so that it could hire new staff more cheaply, and had also let go 4,500 staff on fixed-term contracts to cut costs. Metro CEO Olaf Koch said the strike would not deter him in his determination to sell Real, which was put on the block in September as he focuses on Metro’s wholesale operations. “We are striving to sell Real as a whole,” Koch said in a statement. Private equity firms are seen as the most likely bidders for the hypermarkets business that has struggled to compete in the cut-throat German market.

Canada: Loblaw lets shoppers scan as they go
Loblaw began testing new self-serve technology that effectively turns smartphones into checkout scanners, allowing people to scan their groceries as they shop. “This is just one way we’re looking to make the in-store experience as convenient and easy as possible, and to provide our customers with options that best suit their shopping needs and styles,” said Catherine Thomas, senior director of external communications for Loblaw Companies Ltd. The new shop and scan option is part of an updated PC Express mobile app. Payment still happens at checkout, but Loblaw hopes to add payment capability to the app in the future so that users can simply scan their groceries and pay, all from their phone, without any queuing.

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