US: Aldi opening doors on shared Kohl’s space
Food discounter Aldi and department store chain Kohl’s Inc. this week are beginning what they hope will be a fruitful run as next-door neighbors. The Aldi store opened February 7 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was built into a portion of a building that formerly belonged entirely to Kohl’s. The pairing is the first in the U.S. where a downsized Kohl’s is leasing space to be taken over by Aldi; five to 10 such sites are expected to open. Kohl’s officials announced the partnership last year in connection with an overarching “right-sizing” initiative for the chain, which is seeing many of its stores take on smaller footprints with reduced inventories, in part as a response to effects of e-commerce on its business. The move may also make Kohl’s locations more comparable to fashion and home-goods competitors such as Walmart and Target, each of which have become significant players in grocery.
US: Giant Heirloom Market to expand in Philadelphia
Giant Heirloom Market is coming to more neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Giant Food Stores said that it plans to open three more locations for its compact, urban store concept this year in the city’s University City, Northern Liberties and Queen Village districts. The first Heirloom Market, a 9,500-square-foot store, opened January 25 at 2303 Bainbridge St. in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of downtown Philadelphia. “Giant Heirloom Market is the next chapter in our innovative growth story. The response to our first location in Graduate Hospital has exceeded our expectations, and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of our Giant Heirloom Market brand”, Giant Food Stores President Nicholas Bertram said in a statement.
US: UNFI to consolidate Pacific Northwest facilities
United Natural Foods has announced plans to optimize its food distribution network in the Pacific Northwest as it combines facilities belonging to it and its newly acquired counterpart Supervalu. The move contemplates building a new distribution center in Centralia, Washington, and more than doubling the size of an existing facility in Ridgefield, Washington, while closing existing centers in Tacoma, Washington; Auburn, Washington; and Portland, Oregon, after the new facilities are complete.
US: Costco Wholesale Corporation reports January sales results
Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) reported net sales of $10.71bln for the retail month of January, the four weeks ended February 3, 2019, an increase of 8.0% from $9.92bln last year. For the twenty-two weeks ended February 3, 2019, the Company reported net sales of $63.70bln, an increase of 9.3% from $58.30bln during the similar period last year. Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year will occur in February same as last year; however, 11 days earlier this year. The holiday shift favorably impacted January’s Other International sales by approximately 4.5% and Total Company sales approximately 0.5%. February sales will be adversely impacted accordingly.
Canada: Sobeys Inc. partners with Profitect
Profitect Inc., the leading prescriptive analytics provider for the retail and CPG industries, announced the company has signed a partnership agreement with Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and the newest organization to join Profitect’s growing global customer community. Sobeys is replacing their legacy Exception Based Reporting (EBR) solution with Profitect’s Sales & EBR module. The retailer will use Profitect’s pattern detection and machine learning technology to analyze their sales data and create actionable opportunities that deliver value to their business. Areas of focus include fraud, shrink, process failures, training opportunities, loyalty behavior, returns, and labor efficiencies.
US: Ingles posts higher Q1 sales, pretax income
Ingles Markets Inc. has reported strong quarter-one results for its fiscal 2019, and that it is moving ahead into the year backed by "significant" corporate investments. For its first quarter ended December 29, 2018, Ingles reported a total sales rise of 4.7% over the year-ago period, while pretax income totaled $28.1mln for the quarter ended December 29, 2018, a 10.9% increase from the $25.4mln logged last year. Ingles’ net sales came to $1.06bln for the December 2018 quarter, compared with $1.01 in the year-ago period, a $48.1mln increase. The grocer’s store comps, excluding gasoline, rose 3.9%.
US: Kroger adds customisation to meal kits offer
In addition to expanding its Home Chef meal kits range to 500 additional stores, Kroger is also enabling shoppers to customise their kits online. Kroger introduced the Home Chef range of meal kits into its stores last October following its acquisition of the company. Although the retailer had developed its own range, Prep & Pared, in-house, the acquisition enabled it to accelerate its progress in this area. Home Chef is operated as a subsidiary of the second largest grocery chain in the US and continues to offer a subscription-based delivery service. The expansion of the offer to these additional stores will take the deployment to 700 locations. While most meal kit companies started as online-only services, most of the major brands have migrated into the in-store environment. For many customers, this is a more convenient option, rather than having a regular subscription. Several retailers are building a multi-channel offer for meal kits.
UK: Walmart has Plan B if Asda-Sainsbury's merger falls through
If the British competition watchdog blocks the proposed merger between Walmart's subsidiary ASDA and Sainsbury’s, an investment fund could offer a way out. In April last year, Walmart announced a proposed merger of ASDA with Sainsbury's, the second biggest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. In the new company, the American retail giant would then own an interest of 42%. In case the deal is blocked, Walmart is said to already have an alternative plan: supermarket chains are interesting targets for venture capital funds as they generate a lot of cash. In addition, ASDA owns a lot of real estate that can be sold. Previously, Walmart sold all of its Brazilian subsidiaries to a private equity firm. A sale of ASDA would however be hampered by the high price tag and the uncertainty of Brexit. The merger with Sainsbury's remains the best scenario, but there is an emergency exit.
UK: Sainsbury’s extends trial of disabled shoppers scheme
Sainsbury’s has announced it would extend a trial scheme that aims to help customers with hidden disabilities when shopping in-store. The scheme provides shoppers the option to collect a lanyard in-store, which helps shop floor staff recognise if they need additional support with their shopping. This includes having a new checkout lane opened for them, receiving help with finding shopping items, or to simply be given more time at the checkout. The trial was first introduced at Sainsbury’s shop in Barnstaple before being rolled out to a handful of other stores. The retailer plans to roll it out to even more stores this month.
Finland: K Group sees sales up 3.5% in full-year 2018
Finnish retailer K Group has reported that its net sales in full-year 2018 totalled €10.38bln - a 3.5% increase in comparable terms. Comparable operating profit was €332.2mln, compared to €296.2mln last year. In the group’s grocery trade division, sales development was ‘good’ across all chains, the group reported, with K Group seeing an improvement in customer numbers and market share. Net sales in the grocery business were €5.39bln - a 5.1% increase in comparable terms. Operating profit in the division was €228mln.
Tesco Hungary targets fully recyclable packaging
Tesco will make packaging of all of its own brand products in Hungary renewable by 2025, the retailer announced. By the end of 2020 all non-recyclable materials will be removed from own-brand packaging. Tesco is initiating co-operation with other retailers, suppliers, packaging and recycling companies to recycle as much plastic as possible. Environmentally friendly packaging is a priority for Tesco from now on, Tesco Europe CEO Matt Simister declared at the Retail Summit in Prague. Tesco is aiming to establish a closed circle of packaging material movement, where all materials are recycled or used for other purposes, reducing waste.
Sweden: Axfood sees sales up 4.6% in fourth quarter
Swedish retailer Axfood has posted a 4.6% increase in consolidated net sales in the fourth quarter of its financial year. The group posted sales of SEK 12.37bln (€1.19bln) for the period. Operating profit totalled SEK 425mln (€40.64mln) - an increase of 7.0% - while operating margin was 3.4%. Net profit for the period totalled SEK 328mln (€31.36mln).
UK: Ocado to trial one-hour delivery service
Online grocery retailer Ocado is to trial a one-hour delivery service in London next month. The one-hour delivery service, Ocado Zoom, is set to launch in March in west London initially, with plans to expand the service if customer feedback is positive. Around 10,000 products will be available to customers for delivery within one hour. The service will cater for smaller basket sizes of less than £60 versus Ocado’s average order size of £107.