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Maxima Grupė's Stokrotka has acquired Polish retail chain Sano

Carrefour ends Easy chain

Australia: Kaufland applies for six stores in Melbourne
According to reports in Australia, Kaufland has applied to build six stores in Victoria. Kaufland has applied for planning permission for six stores in Melbourne, which if approved will be the first stores to open in the market. Construction could start early next year on sites in Dandenong, Coolaroo, Chirnside Park, Epping, Mornington and Oakleigh South. Store are expected to be 4,000 sq m with space sublet to third-party service providers such as foodservice outlets and dry cleaners.

Russia: O’Key Group opens new DA! outlets
Russian retail group O’Key has opened two new discounter stores under its DA! brand, in Tver and Ramenskoye. The two new outlets, which opened in the last week of November, are the fourth and fifth new stores to be launched by the retail group over the past two months. The expansion of DA! is one of the main priorities of the O'Key Group, and it plans to open around 170 DA! outlets by the end of 2020. In the first nine months of 2018, the net retail revenue generated by DA! grew by 33.2% year-on-year to RUB 9,605mln (€127.1mln). Like-for-like net retail revenue generated by DA! increased by 13.3% year-on-year, driven by steady growth in LFL traffic and LFL average ticket.

UK: Greencore posts 4.2% increase in group revenue in full year
Convenience foods giant Greencore has posted a 4.2% increase in group revenue from continuing operations in the full year to 28 September 2018. The group posted revenue of £1.499bln (€1.685bln) for the period, up from £1.438bln a year earlier. Adjusted operating profit was up 1.7% to £104.6mln, while group operating profit rose by 9.5% to £49.8mln. In the statement, which presented its US business as ‘discontinued operations’ following the recent disposal of the business for $1.075bln, Greencore said that it is ‘well positioned to drive future growth and sustainable returns in core UK market’. It also plans to return around £509mln of capital to shareholders by way of a tender offer.

Maxima Grupė's Stokrotka acquires Polish retail chain Sano
Maxima Grupė has announced that its Stokrotka banner has acquired the Polish retail chain, Sano. The merger is expected to be completed at the beginning of next year. Maxima Grupė-owned Stokrotka has acquired 100% shares of Sano from Miglione Investments Limited, based in Cyprus. Maxima Grupė’s board chairman and CEO, Dalius Misiūnas, said: "We will focus on the Polish market in the upcoming years, as we are planning rapid expansion there. One of the priorities in our strategy for the Polish market is the integration of already existing businesses."

Austria: Spar introduces consumer initiatives to cut down plastic usage
Spar Austria has announced that customers can now bring their own boxes for purchasing cold cuts, cheese, and meat, in order to avoid plastic packaging. The service, which is currently in a trial phase, is presently limited to three Spar outlets in Styria. The retailer has also installed self-service milk vending machines in two Interspar outlets in Wels and Linz, to also cut down the use of packaging in the dairy sector. The retailer will introduce trays, that comply with strict hygiene regulations for delicatessen, for transferring products. In order to prevent bacterial contamination, it will ensure that the boxes that customers bring do not come in contact with the store’s counter, scales, or cutlery.

Belgium: Carrefour ends its Easy chain
Carrefour Belgium has decided to pull the plug on its proximity store chain Easy. Most stores will transfer to the Express concept, saving the French retailer the burden of one extra store profile to maintain. "We had already decided to stop Easy's expansion, in order to focus on our brand with just three store concepts", spokesman Baptiste Van Outryve explains. "A part of our January transformation plan was to stop spending money on other brand names." The twelve existing Easy stores are to have an orange Express logo on their store fronts, but they will keep the same focus: proximity stores for daily groceries, focused on fresh produce and a small range of 'in case of emergency' food products. They will adopt the name of the Carrefour Express concept, but not its colour (green) or its focus (convenience and on-the-go). Both the green and the orange Express stores will have a part to play in further expansion plans, says the retailer.

Amazon cuts grocery prices in Australia
Amazon has ramped up competition levels in Australia, offering FMCG products at prices 50% cheaper than those available at Coles and Woolworths. Amazon has cut the price of a number of favourite FMCG brands in Australia, as the retailer attempts to gain a stronger foothold in the market. The online retailer is offering products from brands such as Colgate, Huggies, Omo and Finsih at prices up to 50% cheaper than can be found at other retailers. Alongside the price cuts, Amazon appears to be closely price matching Coles and Woolworths, but also offers free delivery to Prime members as an added advantage.

US: Despite hurricanes, Dollar General's Q3 net sales rise
Although its 13-week fiscal year 2018 third quarter was beset by bad weather, Dollar General Corp. reported an increase in net sales during the period, which ended November 2. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retailer reported a net sales increase of 8.7% to $6.4bln, compared with $5.9bln in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, same-store sales grew 2.8%. “During the third quarter, we delivered strong operating performance and financial results,” noted Todd Vasos, CEO of Dollar General.

US: Albertsons implements Okta for customer identity
The leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise Okta, Inc. announced that Albertsons Companies successfully implemented the Okta Identity Cloud to support its digital transformation. Albertsons, one of the largest U.S. grocery retailers, successfully deployed Okta Customer Identity products to support consumer programs, its eCommerce strategy and to better serve the more than 30mln customers it interacts with each week. The Okta Identity Cloud will serve as the first step of online interaction between Albertsons and its customers, powering user registration and authentication for Albertsons’ website and mobile application. Okta’s Customer Identity products Single Sign-On, Universal Directory and API Access Management will provide one central identity platform that enhances the customer experience, delights customers and builds loyalty.

US: C&S Wholesale Grocers to acquire Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, Inc.
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire premier full-service food distributor Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, Inc. based in Olean, New York. The sale is expected to close in early 2019. Olean Wholesale, a New York cooperative corporation founded in 1922, is a full-service grocery wholesaler with a variety of food products as well as non-food, household, and personal care items. The company services over 270 independent food retail and convenience stores throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and Northeast Ohio. Olean Wholesale has built its business upon their comprehensive product offerings, personalized customer service, and collaborative partnerships with independent retailers and manufacturers. Current CEO and President, Robert Ketchner, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations, ensuring consistency for the employees, customers, and vendors.

US: Publix opens 1st-ever on-campus store
Publix Super Markets Inc. has adapted its urban format for an on-campus store that opened December 6 at the University of South Florida (USF), in Tampa - the food retailer’s inaugural store on a college campus anywhere in its seven-state market area, according to a published report. Similar to an urban-focused store that the Lakeland, Florida-based grocer opened last year in downtown St. Petersburg, the approximately 28,000-square-foot location offers a large array of made-to-order and grab-and-go items, although the USF grab-and-go section is much larger than that of the earlier store.

US: Kroger's transformation moves lead to dip in Q3 sales
Big moves to transform its business and deliver on its Restock Kroger strategy left the Kroger Co. with a sales decline in the third quarter of its fiscal 2018. During the period, which ended November 10, total sales declined 0.3% compared with the same period last year, hitting $27.7bln. This was affected by fuel sales, the divestiture of Kroger's convenience store business, and its purchase of Home Chef - without those, total sales actually grew 1.7% in Q3. One significant highlight of the grocery giant's performance in Q3 lies in its ecommerce sector. The company reported more than 60% growth in digital sales; it reported a digital sales rise of more than 50% during Q2.

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