Google has launched shopping service in India

Aeon has acquired stake in French organic food supermarket

Germany: Metro AG anticipating 1% to 3% sales rise in 2018/19
German wholesaler Metro said it expects eastern Europe and Asia to drive a rise in sales in the 2018/19 financial year, although it sees profits falling due to its challenging Russian business and investments in digitalisation. Metro's shares, which have fallen by a quarter in the last year, were down 4.4% in early Frankfurt trading. The company said it expects sales to rise 1-3% in 2018/19, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding contributions from real estate transactions, could fall by around 2-6%. Metro has been restructuring its Russian business since poor performance at the unit forced it to issue a profit warning in April, hitting its shares. It has also announced plans to sell its struggling Real hypermarket chain.

Supervalu revealed as Ireland's most convenient supermarket
Gamma, the location intelligence services provider, has revealed that SuperValu is the most convenient supermarket in Ireland. For almost a third of the Irish population (32%), SuperValu is their closest supermarket. Lidl is the second most convenient supermarket in the country, being the closest for 17% of the entire population, followed by Aldi (10%), Dunnes Stores (10%) and Tesco (10%). Convenience varies between counties and while SuperValu is the most convenient for most counties, Lidl takes the top spot for Kildare and Louth. Meanwhile, Dunnes Stores is the most convenient supermarket in Offaly. Overall, supermarket coverage within Ireland is generally good with 71% of the population within five minutes of their nearest supermarket. Unsurprisingly, Dublin is the best covered with 98% of people within a five-minute drive, while Leitrim is the worst serviced with less than a third of people within a five-minute drive of a supermarket.

Google brings its shopping service to India, tapping into the country's digital boom
Google has launched its shopping aggregator service in India, in a bid to take advantage of the country's booming digital economy. The tech giant said that Indian shoppers will now be able to browse deals using its Google Shopping home page, a mobile-friendly web app, a new "shopping" tab on its search engine and its image recognition app Google Lens.

Dutch supermarkets expecting record Christmas turnover
Branch organization for supermarkets and food service companies CBL expects that Dutch supermarkets' turnover will exceed 1bln euros in the Christmas week. The organization calls this a new milestone, the Telegraaf reports. CBL thinks that supermarkets in the Netherlands will be at their busiest on the Sunday and Monday before Christmas. Most of the fresh produce will be sold on Monday, December 24th. A large number of supermarkets will also be open on Christmas itself - over 700 on Christmas Day and more than half of all supermarkets on Boxing Day.

UK: Spar wholesaler cuts plastic waste with new ticket rails
James Hall, the symbol group’s wholesaler for the north of England, has worked in partnership with Concept Data Display to create an innovative design for in-store ticket rails. Dave Saunders, sales director of Concept Data, said: “Ticket rails are one of our biggest selling products and large numbers are used to display prices and promotions. These rails are currently manufactured as a single piece so when the clear plastic front becomes worn or damaged, the whole unit has to be replaced. We felt that there had to be a greener solution.” Working in partnership with James Hall, the company developed a two-part ticket rail called Enviro-2. The patented design is claimed to provide a more cost-effective and sustainable solution for retailers allowing for the replacement of just the clear plastic front instead of the whole unit.

Walmart Labs acqui-hires Int.Ai to strengthen its India engineering team
Walmart Labs, the local product development division of US retail giant Walmart has acqui-hired Delaware-based data analytics and machine learning startup Int.Ai, its second acqui-hire in India in three months, as it looks to strengthen its engineering team. Int.Ai was founded by Praneeth Babu Doguparthy and Vinay NP in 2016. It analyses data and shares it with targeted users over email as well as team messenger tools like Slack. “We are very happy to let you know that our entire team will be joining Walmart Labs, India. We will continue to apply what we have learnt in order to help optimize the shopping experience for millions of customers”, Int.Ai said on its website.

Aeon buys stake in French organic food supermarket
Aeon Co. said it has acquired an equity stake of 19.9% in Bio c’Bon SAS, a French organic food supermarket operator. In 2016, Aeon set up Bio c’Bon Japan Co. jointly with the French company. The joint venture currently operates seven outlets in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture. Aeon aims to further strengthen relations with the French firm and acquire know-how on product development and logistics in the field of organic food, which is expected to draw increasing demand in Japan, informed sources said.

US: Mercato introduces Order Management and Delivery Dispatching Service
Mercato Inc., the online ordering and delivery platform for independent grocers, announced general availability of its Order Management and Delivery Dispatching Service. The software service is designed for independent grocers to easily manage customer orders and tap into Mercato's courier network. The service leverages the same robust technology Mercato offers to merchants on its nationwide online marketplace and grocery delivery service. It allows independent grocers to have their own customized service on their PCs or tablets to easily manage online and phone orders; leverage a feature-rich CRM system; arrange delivery through an automated, nationwide dispatch service; create loyalty programs; manage inventory, and more.

US: Postmates has created a robot to speed up and automate its deliveries
Postmates, the food and grocery delivery company that operates across 550 cities in the US, has announced an autonomous delivery robot called Serve. This small robot can carry 50 pounds of cargo and has a range of 30 miles, which Postmates claims gives it the capacity to handle around a dozen deliveries per day. The initial aim is to be able to make deliveries much more quickly by avoiding traffic by traveling on the sidewalk. Ultimately, it hopes to cut out the emissions of the cars and motorcycles that many of Postmates’ 350,000 couriers currently use. Serve uses Velodyne LIDAR sensors and a Nvidia Xavier processor to navigate and avoid obstacles as it makes deliveries directly to people’s homes. It’s also able to make visual cues to help it weave between pedestrians on the sidewalk and vehicles as it crosses roads. A light ring on its top acts as a set of turn signals, while a pair of eyes on its front aims to give more subtle hints to passersby about which direction the robot might be heading in next. If things go wrong, a small touchscreen on the top of the bot can be used to make a video call for assistance, although the robots will also be supervised remotely.

Deliv signs up 20 new U.S. retailers for same-day delivery
Deliv Inc, which uses contract drivers to deliver online orders from stores and malls for a fee, said it is partnering with twenty new U.S. retailers including Nike and Bed Bath & Beyond as demand for same-day delivery surges. Deliv handles last-mile delivery to homes and businesses, for malls and retailers like Walmart Inc, Macy’s Inc, Kohl’s Corp and Best Buy Co Inc. The delivery company, which uses independent contractors to deliver packages in 1,400 cities around the country, recently raised $40mln in a new round of funding from investors.

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