US: Publix planning additional 'deli-centric' locations
Publix Supermarkets will launch more stores prominently featuring its deli department, but the Lakeland, Florida-based grocer isn’t quite ready to provide full details on where and when the latest locations featuring the new format will open. “Most of the design changes customers will notice are in our delis, placing the entire customer service portion of the deli onto the sales floor”, a company spokesman told Progressive Grocer. “This allows us to better serve our customers.” Asked for any additional information, however, the spokesman noted: “They’re all about 48,000 square feet, and most are scheduled for 2019 openings, but we’re too far out to give dates for any of them.” According to the company representative, the new deli-centric concept is already up and running at stores in Birmingham, Foley, Hoover-Shelby, Madison, Northport and Vestavia Hills, Alabama; Brandon, Daytona Beach, Loughman, North Port, Odessa, Palmetto and Saint Johns, Florida; Buford-Gwinnett, Georgia; and Jacksonville, North Carolina.
US: SpartanNash files suit against Gordy’s Markets
SpartanNash has filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin-based independent grocer Gordy’s Markets Inc. (GMI), asking for $46.2mln for unpaid loans. The total comes from $43,325,002 in a “rebate-able incentive,” $1mln in a principal note that SpartanNash loaned to GMI in November 2017 and $1,913,149 for accounts receivable, according to local news reports. In an affidavit filed on December 28, 2018 by Bill Jacobs, VP of treasury and corporate development at Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash, explained that GMI is in default under the terms of a “customer supply agreement” from November 2017. “GMI is unable to pay plaintiff timely since late August 2018,” Jacobs wrote. “GMI’s delinquent balance with plaintiff has grown considerably in the last few weeks.” The document added that a review of GMI’s finances indicate that the company “has no excess cash to get caught up on its delinquent balance.”
US: Wegmans hiring for Brooklyn debut
The countdown for Wegmans Food Markets New York City debut has begun. The Rochester, New York-based retailer has begun hiring and training for about 500 employees who will work in its highly anticipated new store at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Wegmans announced it would build the store in 2015 as part of a $140mln redevelopment of Admiral’s Row, a portion of the historic shipbuilding hub now recast as a waterfront industrial park. The 74,000-square-foot store, which will be Wegmans’ first store in New York City, is under construction. The unit will have a second-floor mezzanine, with nearly 100 seats for an in-store market cafe and a bar serving food, wine, beer and spirits. Wegmans is now seeking workers for about 150 full-time positions. Hiring of part-time workers will begin at a later date.
US: Dollar Tree investor pushes for sale of struggling Family Dollar and higher prices
In a sternly worded letter to the CEO of Dollar Tree stores, shareholder and investment management firm Starboard Value LP urged the retailer to sell its Family Dollar division as well as raise prices in order to drive growth. Starboard, which owns a 1.7% stake in Dollar Tree, criticized the company’s performance, particularly since the 2015 acquisition of the Family Dollar chain. “The underperformance at Family Dollar since the acquisition has persisted long enough,” according to Starboard. “It is time to consider other choices, as hoping for improvement that continues to be elusive is no longer acceptable. We believe that Family Dollar is currently being ascribed very little value in the market and is a drag on Dollar Tree's valuation multiple.”
US Report: Amazon Go could become $4bln business
The sales opportunity for Amazon Go cashierless stores could top $4bln by 2021 if reports on the high-tech retail concept’s expansion bear out, according to an RBC Capital Markets analysis. In a research note, RBC estimated average annual sales of $1.5mln apiece for the current nine Amazon Go stores. A Bloomberg report in September said Amazon.com Inc. may open up to 3,000 Amazon Go outlets by 2021. Based on the per-store sales estimate by RBC, that would translate into a $4.5bln business over the next several years.
US: Walmart pilots grocery delivery via autonomous vehicles in Arizona
Walmart is piloting grocery delivery via autonomous vehicles in partnership with a company that, a year ago, launched what it calls the "world's first autonomous grocery delivery on public roads" in partnership with Draeger's Market, which operates four independent grocery stores in Northern California. In Surprise, Arizona, the mega-retailer will team with Burlingame, California.-based technology company Udelv to introduce the latter's second-generation autonomous delivery van: the Newton. With 32 secure compartments to help keep groceries safe and chilled, the new van was developed over the past 12 months following thousands of deliveries for dozens of clients.
Hungary: Spar invests €13mln in store modernisation programme
Spar Hungary has announced that it has invested around €13mln in a store modernisation programme to create a 21st-century shopping experience for customers. As a part of the programme, the retailer has renovated five existing Spar stores, modernised the Interspar Hypermarket in Miskolc, and opened a new store in Győr that has created around 280 jobs. The renovated stores, with state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly, store design and equipment, offer a high level of service, and an extended product range.
Spain: Alcampo expands its presence in Zaragoza and Pamplona
Auchan Retail Spain has expanded its presence in Zaragoza and Pamplona with the opening of two supermarkets in which it has made a joint investment of more than 1.9mln euros. Specifically, the establishment of Zaragoza, which operates under the Alcampo Supermarket banner, is located on Avenida de Cataluña and has 800 square meters and 14,000 references. The centre has required an investment of 1.04mln euros and has generated 21 jobs. For its part, Pamplona is the third supermarket of Auchan Retail Spain in this city. The store, which has 580 square meters and operates under the My Alcampo banner, which is located at Monasterio de Urdax street, 36. This inauguration has involved an investment of 900,000 euros and the creation of 23 jobs. Both establishments emphasize the local and the fresh products and incorporate traditional fishmonger, deli and butchery counters attended by professional craftsmen, as well as a self-service bakery with the bulk sale of freshly baked products.
Germany: Alibaba takes over Berlin-based streaming analytics startup, Data Artisans
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has taken over the Berlin-based startup, Data Artisans, for a price tag of €90mln. Founded in 2014, Data Artisans’ platform provides a turnkey streaming solution for businesses, enabling them to manage and deploy live data applications so they can react to data instantaneously, and make better and faster business decisions. Global companies including ING, Netflix, and Uber use Data Artisans’ platform Apache Flink to power large-scale applications for real-time analytics, machine learning, search and content ranking, and fraud detection. Data Artisans counts among its investors Btov, Tengelmann Ventures, and Intel. It previously raised two funding rounds for a total of €6.5mln.
Holland's Jan Linders: 5.4% growth in turnover to €431mln
Jan Linders Supermarkten saw turnover increase by 5.4% to €431mln. Leo Linders, CEO of Jan Linders Supermarkten, said: “We can look back on a successful year. Our customers have once again expressed their appreciation for us this year. In addition, we have once again attracted more consumers and we have been able to continue the growth of recent years. A sign that the course with a renewed formula is bearing fruit”. Jan Linders refurbished a dozen branches in 2018, with around half of stores now upgraded to its new store concept, which was first launched in 2015. The refurbishments focus on fresh, quality and service and will continue to be rolled out in 2019. Jan Linders also hopes to open three new supermarkets in Eindhoven, Reusel and Veghel this year.
UK: Asda the best Christmas performer of UK's big four grocers - Kantar Worldpanel
Asda was the best performer of Britain’s big four supermarket groups in the key Christmas quarter, though all lost market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl, industry data showed. Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said sales at Walmart’s Asda, which has agreed to be taken over by Sainsbury’s, rose 0.7% in the 12 weeks to December 30. Market leader Tesco’s sales rose 0.6%, whiles sales at No. 4 Morrisons edged up 0.1%. Sales at Sainsbury’s fell 0.4%. Sales growth at Aldi and Lidl was 10.4 and 9.4% respectively, taking their combined market share to 12.8%, the Kantar data, which broadly mirrored data from rival researcher Nielsen, showed.