US: DoorDash eyes driverless vehicles for grocery delivery
DoorDash is looking to autonomous vehicles to help grow its online grocery delivery business. The food delivery company said that it has teamed up with Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of driverless cars, to test food deliveries from restaurants and grocery stores. Plans call for DoorDash to begin piloting food deliveries using Cruise autonomous vehicles in March, initially in the San Francisco market. In the test, DoorDash customers will receive deliveries from restaurants via Cruise vehicles. The companies said they also will explore grocery fulfillment using the Cruise cars for grocers already partnered with DoorDash.
US: Publix empowers fans in the kitchen with online cooking school series
Southeastern grocer Publix Super Markets is empowering shoppers in their kitchens with a new series of monthly online classes set to premiere this month. Aprons Cooking School will debut its first online episode January 12 at 6 p.m. on YouTube, with additional classes planned for February and March, each viewable any time after its premiere. The free-to-watch classes will be taught by two Publix Aprons Cooking School chefs, who will hold a live chat during each class' premiere.
Report: Grocers could lose up to $700bln to alternative channels by 2026
Grocers face a bleak future as they continue to face price pressure and competition around the globe, a new report from McKinsey predicts. According to the firm, sales growth in the grocery sector has grown just 2% over the last decade in North America and Western Europe, and from 2012 to 2017 more than half of the grocery sector’s economic profit disappeared. The report attributes disruption in the industry to consumers’ changing habits and preferences, intensifying competition, and new technologies. If retailers don’t make some serious changes, they could see anywhere from $200bln to $700bln in grocery spending to discount, online and non-grocery channels by 2026. Though challenging, McKinsey says the disruption can be overcome by those who make the right moves, and the report sets forth six imperatives where retailers can make improvements to combat this possible fall and remain profitable.
US: Plan to create electric car charging stations at Walmart stores nationwide coming to Milwaukee area
A plan to create electric car charging stations at more than 100 Walmart store parking lots nationwide is coming to the Milwaukee area. Electrify America LLC wants to install an electric vehicle charging station at the Walmart at 4140 W. Greenfield Ave., West Milwaukee. The firm is seeking Plan Commission approval for the charging station, according to the commission's new agenda.
US: Western Supermarkets closing, selling 2 stores to Publix
Western Supermarkets, an independent grocery store with four locations in the Birmingham, Alabama area, is closing after 70 years in operation. Lakeland, Florida-based Publix Markets, which currently operates 10 stores in the area, will purchase two of the four stores: the Lane Parke store in Mountain Brook that will become a Greenwise location set to open this summer, and the Rocky Ridge store in Vestavia Hills, which will be torn down and rebuilt as a Publix. The Highland Avenue store is located in a shopping center that is under redevelopment and will close in the coming weeks. The Village Market in the East Lake area of the city is for sale.
US: Ahold Delhaize acquires supermarket pioneer King Kullen
Stop & Shop, Ahold Delhaize’s largest brand in the United States, has taken over its competitor King Kullen Grocery. That retailer, with 37 stores on Long Island, was once the first American supermarket chain. The agreement includes King Kullen’s 32 supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of its corporate offices located in Bethpage, New York. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019. "This transaction underscores our commitment to further strengthen the position of our great local brands in the United States, both through organic growth and fill-in acquisitions," said Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller. He had already announced last year that the group wants to play a role in the further consolidation of the American food retail sector. He pointed out that several supermarket chains are currently struggling, while Ahold Delhaize is financially strong.
Japan: Changes to FamilyMart UNY and Don Quijote deal
FamilyMart UNY has failed to secure enough shares to make Don Quijote an affiliate. The discount operator, however, will proceed with its plan to make UNY a fully owned subsidiary. In the deal announced in October, FamilyMart UNY was to purchase a 20.17% stake in Don Quijote. FamilyMart UNY has released a statement to confirm that the deal is being "postponed at this point in time." Nonetheless, Don Quijote will purchase the remaining 60% stake of UNY tomorrow, making it a wholly owned affiliate. The two companies will continue to collaborate on product development, procurement and sales promotion. Another takeover bid from FamilyMart UNY in the future cannot be ruled out.
Poland: Dino opens 202 new stores in 2018, up 37% YoY
Dino Polska SA reported: 202 new stores opened in 2018, up 37% year-on-year. In Q4 it opened 82 stores and had 977 stores at the end of the year. The total selling area in Dino stores at end-2018 was 375,700 square meters, up 27.3% year-on-year. Szymon Piduch, Co's CEO said: "In 2018 the macroeconomic environment acted as a strong tailwind. We expect these positive trends to persist in 2019".
China: JD driverless delivery vehicles in live mainland test
JD driverless delivery vehicles have been deployed in live testing in two Mainland China cities. The technology-cum-e-commerce company has opened two smart-delivery stations in the cities of Changsha and Hohhot, strengthening its autonomous logistics capabilities. The stations are carrying out research and development testing and personnel training to solve issues related to last mile delivery. The JD driverless delivery vehicles can be loaded with up to 30 parcels before autonomously delivering them within a 5km radius. The vehicles can plan routes, avoid obstacles and recognise traffic lights.
Poland: Kaufland to expand own-brand range, modernise stores
Kaufland Poland plans to modernise its stores, introduce a wider range of private label products, and improve its sourcing capabilities for fresh products, particularly meat, the retailer's president, Gunnar Günther, has revealed. Speaking to trade platform portalspozywczy.pl, Günther said that the year 2018 saw the opening of new outlets in Jarosław and Głogów, as well as the modernisation of stores in Jabłonna, Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Tarnow, Zabrze and Wołomin. These stores feature more spacious fresh produce counters, energy-saving lighting and heating and in-store cafés among other services, facilities which will be rolled out to further stores this year, he said.
Costco Australia grows revenue 14%
Costco in Australia has seen revenue grow 14% to AU$1.8bln in the 12 months to 3 September 2018. The retailer continues to see good growth in Australia, with growth aided by both new store openings and also LFL growth of 5-6%. As well as strong revenue growth, Costco saw net profit more than double to AU$29.5m, aided by a one-off credit. The retailer opened two new stores in FY18, taking its total to 10 trading stores. The retailer has strong plans for continued expansion in 2019, with two new stores planned, the launch of an online platform, plus the opening of its new distribution centre that is currently under construction in Sydney. The new centre is understood to have capacity to service up to 30 Costco's nationwide and will also aid fulfillment of online orders. Although details of the online roll out are unclear, Costco managing director, Patrick Noone, has confirmed that the service would be available in every state capital city.