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Southeastern Grocers: 22 stores closing

Sprouts Farmers Market: Q4 and full year 2018 results

US: Grocery pickup service coming to Lima Walmart stores in March
Grocery pickup service is coming to Walmart’s two Lima locations. The new service is expected to launch at Allentown Road and Harding Highway Walmart stores on March 20, allowing customers to order their groceries online and pick up at the store later that same day, the company confirmed to The Lima News. To use the new service, customers can shop online at, select their store and designate a pickup time. Walmart’s personal shoppers then fill the order and alert customers when their groceries are ready for pickup. Chris Steingrass, store manager at the Allentown Road Walmart, said grocery pickup customers will be directed to designated parking spaces where they can wait for a personal shopper to load their order directly into their vehicle, without ever having to step inside the store. “The associate will retrieve the order that’s been prepared and load it into the customer’s car”, he said.

US: Southeastern Grocers closing 22 stores
Having recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a financial restructuring that involved the closure of 94 stores, Southeastern Grocers is again shuttering locations that have failed to hit sales targets. The Jacksonville, Florida-based company has informed associates that it will close 22 stores across its Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets banners by March 25. “We realize that the closure of an underperforming store in these communities can be challenging”, said Joe Caldwell, Southeastern Grocers’ senior manager of corporate communications, in a statement supplied to Progressive Grocer. “We do not take these decisions lightly, and only make this tough choice after careful consideration of its impact on our associates and our customers has been made.”

US: Kroger to stop carrying paper bags with handles at Michigan stores
Kroger shoppers in Michigan will soon have one less option for hauling their groceries out to the car. Starting March 1, the Cincinnati-based grocery store chain will stop offering paper bags with handles. That bag choice has been available at about 40 of the 121 Kroger stores in Michigan, primarily those in higher-income areas, said Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager for The Kroger Company of Michigan. Shoppers at all Michigan Krogers would then have the same three bagging options: plastic, standard paper bags without handles or a for-purchase reusable tote bag. "The main purpose is really just to have a consistent standard from store to store", Hurst said of Kroger's decision to stop carrying a fourth type of bag.

US: Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. reports fourth quarter and full year 2018 results
Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. reported results for the 13-week fourth quarter and 52-week year ended December 30, 2018. Fourth Quarter Highlights: Net sales of $1.3bln; an 11% increase from the same period in 2017. Comparable store sales growth of 2.3% and two-year comparable store sales growth of 6.9%. Net income of $13mln, compared to $40mln from the same period in 2017. Adjusted net income of $24mln; compared to $21mln from the same period in 2017. Diluted earnings per share of $0.10; compared to $0.29 from the same period in 2017. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.19; compared to $0.16 from the same period in 2017. Fiscal Year 2018 Highlights: Net sales of $5.2bln; a 12% increase from 2017. Comparable store sales growth of 2.1% and two-year comparable store sales growth of 5.0%. Net income of $159mln; compared to $158mln in 2017. Adjusted net income of $168mln; compared to $140mln in 2017. Diluted earnings per share of $1.22; compared to $1.15 in 2017. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.29; compared to $1.01 in 2017. Repurchased 11.1mln common shares in fiscal 2018 for a total investment of $258mln.

Amazon pursues exclusive brand deals
Amazon has made a strategic U-turn away from manufacturing its own exclusive products and is having them made by third parties instead. The e-commerce giant has already closed over 220 exclusive deals. Amazon changed tactics last year and ceased the creation of ever new private labels for exclusive products, because of the prohibitive costs of the whole endeavour. The group decided to focus on promoting their existing private labels and to sign exclusive deals for new products with other manufacturers. Exclusivity – meaning the products are only available on Amazon – remains essential for the company to stand out among its competitors, of course. American business website RetailDive was able to get hold of a report from market research agency Gartner L2, which points out that Amazon now has more 'Exclusives' partners than private labels: 223 compared to 119. The most important categories are groceries, health and beauty products and appliances.

Belgium: Aldi appoints new Chief Executive Officer
Aldi Belgium has appointed Wim Voet as its new chief executive officer, reports He will succeed Hendrik Van de Walle, who will join the board of directors of Aldi Nord on 1 March. Voet has been a part of the retail group for 32 years, and presently serves as the vice-CEO at the business. The director of Aldi Erpe-Mere, Dirk Moyaert, will step in as the vice-CEO of Aldi Belgium, the news portal said.

France: Carrefour signs pact to phase out plastic packaging by 2025
Retail giant Carrefour has signed an agreement with the ministry of ecological transition in France, formalising its pledge to phase out plastic packaging by 2025. The pact will enable the retailer to step-up efforts in designing and implementing eco-friendly packaging alternatives. Auchan Retail France, Biscuits Bouvard, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone, LSDH, Nestlé France, L´Oréal, Système-U, Unilever, the Tara Foundation and WWF France are already a part of this agreement.

Swedish grocer braces for radical change in online food shopping
Sweden’s largest food retailer ICA is preparing for its largest transformation yet to cater to a growing number of customers who want to shop for groceries online and have them delivered home. The 81-year-old company is following in the footsteps of other Swedish retail giants like Hennes & Mauritz AB and Ikea in shifting investments toward e-commerce, advanced analytics and services to meet customers’ changing preferences. ICA Sweden Chief Executive Officer Anders Svensson said he expects online to account for 10% of ICA’s total sales in 2025, up from a mere 1.5% currently and driven by annual growth of about 30-40%.

Russia: X5 partners with PickPoint for parcel locker network
Russia's X5 Retail Group has announced a joint venture with PickPoint to develop a network of parcel lockers across the retail group. Commenting on the partnership, X5's director for strategic business development, Igor Pletnev, said: "By partnering with PickPoint, one of Russia's leading express delivery companies, we are seeking to maximise locker usage and increase parcel delivery from major online retailers." The 50:50 joint venture will be registered as a new company, and is expected to operate 1,500 parcel lockers by the end of 2019.

Thailand: CP ALL posts 7.9% revenue growth for FY2018
CP ALL, the Thai operator of convenience chain 7-Eleven and wholesale business Siam Makro, reported total revenues of THB 527.9bln (US$ 16.9bln) last year. Total profit recorded 7.8% growth over the previous year, due to improved performance from both 7-Eleven and Siam Makro’s businesses. 7-Eleven store sales gained 10.8% to THB 30bln (US$ 959mln) compared to FY2017. This is helped by 720 new stores, bringing the total to 10,988, beating the yearly target of 700 new stores. Besides aggressive store expansion, the retailer also responded to consumers’ change in lifestyle and adapted products and services to their needs. Same store sales were sustained strongly at 3.2% in 2018. Siam Makro sales rose by 3.2% year-on-year, but profit declined 2.6% over the same period. This is due to pre-opening expenses from its international business expansion. Seven new stores in various formats and two new stores in India brought the total to 129 Makro stores.

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