US: Hannaford tests technology for more interactive in-store grocery shopping
Northeastern chain Hannaford Supermarkets is testing new grocery technology at a store in Portland, Maine, to provide shoppers with a more interactive in-store experience, the Portland Press Herald has reported. The Scarborough, Maine-based banner is piloting such innovations as digital displays, touchscreens and shelf-level sensors to help promote specific categories and drive additional sales by offering a more convenient shopping experience, the news outlet said. The technology all serves a newly redesigned section of the store near the pharmacy, focusing on health, beauty and active-lifestyle products - each category bearing its own unique color (green for lifestyle, blue for health, yellow for beauty).
US: SpartanNash completes Martin’s acquisitions
SpartanNash has completed its previously announced acquisition of Martin’s Super Markets on December 31, 2018. Under the terms of the agreement, SpartanNash acquired the previously independent grocer’s 21 Martin’s Super Markets; eight Fuel Centers; 17 in-store pharmacies; a pharmacy at Saint Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, Indiana; a Martin's Express convenience store in South Bend, Indiana; and a Side Door Café at Elkhart General Hospital.
Jumbo releases 2018 results and plans to open new stores in Belgium
Jumbo has announced strong growth and an increase in market share. Online has performed particularly well, with Jumbo’s share of total online revenue increasing to 4% at the end of 2018. Jumbo will focus on a move “from food retail to food experience” says CEO Frits van Eerd. This will include innovation, introducing the Jumbo Food College and an increase of digital content. There are plans for further distribution centres in Amsterdam and Middelburg, and the first Jumbo stores in Belgium are scheduled to open in Q4 2019. Construction of the new mechanised distribution centre in Nieuwegein will continue through 2019, with plans for it to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
European bank loans 60mln euros to Turkish retailer
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has issued a 60mln euro loan to the Turkish retailer Migros. "The loan will be available in Turkish lira and in euros and will finance an upgrade and expansion program," the bank said in a statement. Migros will use the loan to upgrade its existing stores and the digital infrastructure; modernize its logistics and use "the best" energy efficient technologies, in line with EU standards, at its new stores. The bank has invested in two Turkish-lira-denominated bonds issued by Migros earlier in 2018. The supermarket chain operates in 81 Turkish provinces, through a network of 2,048 stores. It is also active in Kazakhstan and Macedonia through 42 Ramstore outlets.
Carrefour opened in Pakistan
Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, announced the rebranding of Hyperstar to Carrefour across Pakistan effective from 20 December 2018. Majid Al Futtaim holds exclusive rights to operate Carrefour in 38 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. It has a portfolio of more than 257 hypermarkets and supermarkets in 15 countries. Majid Al Futtaim had presence in Pakistan since 2009 through the Hyperstar brand, which introduced modern retail to the country. Hyperstar grew from one store to six hypermarkets and expanded to three major cities in Pakistan: Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The rebranding to Carrefour will further enhance modern retail in Pakistan and provide customers with the retailers bespoke shopping experience and customer service offering.
Holland: Ahold Delhaize commences €1bln share buyback program
Ahold Delhaize commences the €1bln share buyback program announced on November 13, 2018 and expects to complete the program before the end of 2019. Maintaining a balanced approach between funding growth in key channels and returning excess liquidity to shareholders is part of Ahold Delhaize's financial framework to support its Leading Together strategy. The purpose of the program is to reduce the capital of Ahold Delhaize, by cancelling all or part of the common shares acquired through the program. The program will be executed by intermediaries allowing the execution of share repurchases in the open market during open and closed periods. The program will be executed within the limits of relevant laws and regulations, the existing authority granted at Ahold Delhaize's 2018 annual general meeting of shareholders on April 11, 2018 and the authority (if granted) by the annual general meeting on April 10, 2019.
UAE: Dubai retailer Union Coop reveals major expansion plan
Dubai retailer Union Coop has announced plans to nearly triple its portfolio to 6.26mln sq ft by 2022 as it predicts an 84% jump in revenue. Union Coop’s total retail area will grow by 264% from its current 2.36mln sq ft while revenue is estimated to rise to AED5.69bln. The company's investment in assets is also expected to nearly double to 3.92bln by 2022, its chairman Majid Hamad Rahmah Al Shamsi said.
UK: Last-minute demand boosts John Lewis Christmas sales
Britain’s John Lewis said sales in its department stores rose 4.5% in the week ending December 29, boosted by strong demand on Christmas Eve and “a confident start to post-Christmas clearance both online and in shops”. John Lewis is the first retailer to update on trading at the end of a tough year for a sector that has seen a string of chains going out of business and rival department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser announcing store closures.
Holland: Sligro achieves 9.6% turnover growth
Dutch food service wholesaler Sligro Food Group has achieved a 9.6% turnover growth in 2018. Total turnover went up to 2.346bln euros, in line with expectations. The turnover growth was influenced by the 2017 deal with Heineken and the acquisition of its wholesale activities. Excluding that and other technical factors, Sligro achieved an autonomous growth of 3.1%, the retailer said in a press release. More detailed results will only be announced on 24 January.
UK: Iceland to fight HMRC over wage dispute 'madness'
The chief executive and founder of Iceland Foods has described a dispute with HMRC over the company's Christmas savings scheme as "just madness". Under the scheme, staff can voluntarily set aside money from their weekly wages and claim it back later. However, HMRC has told the company the payment means staff are technically falling below the minimum wage. Iceland founder Malcolm Walker intends to fight the HMRC claim, which was first reported in the Times. If it loses, the retailer could face a bill of £21mln. HMRC said it did not comment on individual cases.
South Korea bans disposable plastic bags from big supermarkets
A South Korean government ban on the use of disposable plastic bags at big supermarkets came into effect on January 1 in a bid to protect the environment and encourage recycling. The revised law affects about 2,000 supermarkets over 165 square metres in size, all of which used to provide disposable plastic bags for free, South Korea's Environment Ministry said. Ahead of the ban on December 31, shoppers in Seoul thought the move was the "right way to go" but an inconvenience that will take time to get used to. One shopper felt it might be better to find ways to reuse plastic bags, rather than ban them altogether.