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UNFI to list stock on the New York Stock Exchange

Kroger and Nuro: first-ever unmanned delivery service for the general public

Canada: Amazon expands tech hub in Toronto, creates 600 new jobs
Amazon is firmly planting its foot in Toronto by opening a 113,000-square-foot office in the city’s downtown core to accommodate the expansion of its tech hub. The tech giant said the new location at Scotia Plaza on King Street West will focus on software development, machine learning, cloud computing, digital advertising and artificial intelligence. Amazon plans to hire 600 people to fill various positions. The company currently has more than 800 corporate employees in Toronto. “Amazon is excited to create hundreds of new highly-skilled jobs in Toronto,” said Tamir Bar-Haim, Amazon’s Toronto site lead and head of Amazon advertising in Canada, in a media release.

US: Nuro and Kroger launch first-ever unmanned delivery service for the general public
Nuro and The Kroger Co. announced the launch of the first-ever unmanned delivery service available to the general public. Since August, the companies have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, AZ with an autonomous Prius fleet accompanied by vehicle operators. The autonomous vehicles have completed nearly one thousand deliveries to the general public.

US: United Natural Foods Inc. to list stock on the New York Stock Exchange
United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is transferring trading of its common stock from NASDAQ Global Select Market to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). UNFI will continue to trade its common stock on NASDAQ until the close of the market on January 1, 2019. The common stock will continue to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “UNFI” beginning January 2, 2019. “We are pleased to partner with the New York Stock Exchange as the new home for our stock listing and look forward to joining the collection of preeminent companies listed on the exchange as we continue to focus on generating long-term value for our stockholders”, said Steve Spinner, UNFI’s chairman CEO.

Male grocery shopping surges after cutback in workweek hours in Korea
The sharp cutback in workweek hour that went into incremental force in the second half has led to increase in grocery shopping by Korean males, said South Korea’s GS Retail Co., supermarket and convenience store operating unit of GS Group. The retail company said male users at its online grocery channels rose sharply in the second half to 41% from 32% in the first half. Males on average spent 19% more on purchases than females in the second half. The increased male grocery shopping coincides with the new workweek hours that were cut back from 68 to 52 from July. Men with extra time are doing more grocery shopping for families, the retailer observed, adding they need to come up with a marketing strategy to target male customers.

Ireland: Lidl embraces solar energy with €1mln investment
Lidl Ireland is investing €1mln in the installation of solar panels at eight new and reconstructed stores between now and the end of 2019. The announcement following the roll-out of solar panels at the group's store in Nenagh, County Tipperary, which will produce 120,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year, equivalent to meeting the electricity requirements of 28 homes, and reduces the store's carbon output by around 40 tonnes annually. "Lidl is rooted in communities throughout Ireland and wants to ensure our business is operated in a way that is as sustainable as possible with the least impact possible on the environment", said Eamon Fitzgerald, project manager at Lidl Nenagh.

Alfamart Philippines to open 200 new stores in 2019
Mini-mart chain Alfamart will open 200 new stores in the Philippines next year, according to a Fitch Ratings report. It said Alfamart Philippines stores already has 400 stores in the country, of which 180 were opened this year in partnership with local operator and majority stakeholder SM Group. The 200 new stores will take its total network to 600 locations in the Philippines by the end of next year.

Russia: Lenta signs strategic partnership with Li & Fung
Russian hypermarket operator Lenta has signed a strategic partnership with Li & Fung, a global sourcing agency for non-food products. The agreement will focus on upgrading Lenta's non-food ranges, as well as improving the supply chain for non-food products for the group's stores. Li & Fung will be responsible for ensuring vendor compliance, initiating product development and assisting with shipments from Asian countries.

France: Casino opens its first supermarket accessible 24 hours a day in Lyon
Customers in Lyon are able to visit the new Casino supermarket at a late time of the night. The store started the 24-hour service on December 6th, this supermarket is expected to be the first in France opened by the brand continuously, day and night. A real revolution in the world of mass distribution that has been put in place gradually. “From April to December, we tested the opening until midnight, with possible collections at the cashier or via our Casino Max application”, says Robert How, director of Garibaldi supermarket.

UAE: Dubai's Careem to invest $150mln in new food delivery service
Dubai-based ride hailing app Careem has announced the launch of an online delivery platform for goods and services. Careem NOW is Careem’s expansion into the food delivery market as the company expands its platform beyond ride hailing to payments, delivery and mass transportation, the company said in a statement. It added that over $150mln will be invested in Careem NOW, which will initially launch in Dubai and Jeddah. Careem NOW will operate via a separate app - available for Android and iOS.

UK: Waitrose to eliminate use of glitter in its product range by 2020
British supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners has committed to eliminate the use of glitter in its own label cards, wrap, crackers, tags, flowers and plants by Christmas 2020. The decision to go glitter-free and use environmentally friendly alternatives follows after several nursery schools and music festivals in the UK, including a news programme, Strictly Come Dancing, by BBC 1 have announced to stop the use of traditional glitter. Glitter is prepared using tiny pieces of plastic, which cannot be recycled. When these pieces end up in water, they contribute to plastic pollution. Around 75% of Waitrose’s own label cards, wraps, crackers and tags, as well as 50% of its flowers and plants will be glitter-free this year.

Aeon teams with Go-Jek in new Southeast Asian drive
Japanese retail group Aeon will partner with Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek on digital payment and home delivery to speed the store operator's overseas expansion, company sources said. Starting in mid-December, the two companies will cooperate in cashless payments and other areas, according to the sources. Since Go-Jek began operations in 2015, it has grown into one of Indonesia's largest unicorns - startups with valuations over $1bln. The company claims over 100mln users of its smartphone app and has diversified into areas such as home delivery and mobile payments.

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