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Carrefour China: 11-fold profit

Romania: Lidl hikes wages to improve employee retention rate
Lidl Romania, the discount supermarket chain owned by German retail group Schwarz, has decided to raise the wages of all its employees to combat labor migration. As of March 1, the lowest monthly average gross pay among Lidl’s employees will be RON 3,500 (EUR 745), which accounts for RON 2,180 (EUR 460) in net terms. This amount includes the salary and meal vouchers, annual Easter and Christmas bonuses, and other bonuses. Additionally, Lidl has a payroll policy step by step, with yearly salary increases in the first years of activity within the company. Starting this year, the company guarantees salary increases in the first four years of employment.

Jumbo Belgium considering more than 100 stores in Flanders: report
Dutch retailer Jumbo is considering opening more than 100 stores in the Flanders region of Belgium, according to media reports. In an interview with trade publication Gondola, Jumbo Belgium managing director Peter Isaac said that the business is planning to introduce three store formats to the Belgian market, including its Jumbo Foodmarkt operation. The first Jumbo outlet is set to open in Belgium in November, in Pelt, with three outlets set to open their doors by the end of the year, followed by 12 to 15 the following year.

France: Capgemini's LYONSCG announces Unified Commerce Solution for Grocery
Capgemini announced the launch of Unified Commerce Solution for Grocery, a new Salesforce Fullforce solution designed to help grocers capture loyalty in the rapidly expanding online grocery market by improving the ordering experience. Developed by Lyons Consulting Group (LYONSCG), part of Capgemini, Unified Commerce Solution for Grocery integrates eCommerce with marketing and customer service systems to help grocers personalize offers and deliver groceries faster.

Croatia: Interim Creditors' Council of Agrokor d.d. decide for Fortenova Group to become operative April 1st, 2019
Interim Creditors' Council of Agrokor d.d. approved the proposal of the Extraordinary Commissioner and decided to suggest to the Commercial Court of Zagreb to determine for the Public Announcement Date to be March 1st 2019, to set the Implementation Commencement Date on April 1, 2019 and to approve the public announcement of the Implementation Commencement Date through the courts’ e-bulletin board as at the Public Announcement Date. Following the aforesaid approval of the Commercial Court of Zagreb the transfer of the commercial entity under the Extraordinary Administration to the Fortenova Group will take place on April 1st 2019 and the new company will commence its operation.

Technology helps boost Carrefour China profit 11-fold
Carrefour China has boosted its profit 11-fold according to documents filed in France, where its parent company is based. In China, Carrefour achieved €45mln operating income from its 245 outlets and online business, which it put down to investments in previous years in boosting its operations and profile there. The company said it has transformed the commercial model of its Le Marche hypermarket chain, and boosted sales online. An investment in technology allowing facial recognition and Scan & Go had particularly paid off.

Portugal: Lidl opens stores in Lisbon train stations
Lidl Portugal has opened supermarkets in two of the busiest railway stations in Lisbon, which see some 18mln passengers pass through each year. The contract for the opening of stores at Entrecampos and Sete Rios was signed with infrastructure company IP (Infraestruturas de Portugal). According to Alexis Latorre Garcia, Lidl's director for the Lisbon region, the intention is to reformat the stations from simple transit points to spaces where people can spend more time, while also attracting residents of these areas that are not train users. The value of the investment was not revealed, however the project has resulted in the creation of 60 new jobs. The Entrecampos supermarket has a sales area of 1,300 square metres, while the Sete Rios supermarket is slightly smaller (1,000 square metres).

UK: Central England Co-op welcomes first female CEO
Debbie Robinson has started her new role as chief executive at Central England Co-operative this week. Appointed in November, Ms Robinson will be responsible for developing the strategic and commercial direction of the society, which boasts 8,000 staff and over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties. She is taking over from Martyn Cheatle, who has been at the helm of the business since 2010. Under his leadership the society grew with the transfers of Anglia, Shepley and Wooldale societies. The number of food stores grew from 168 to 266, while the funeral division expanded from 81 to 131 branches. Ms Robinson joined from SPAR UK, where she was UK managing director. Prior to this, she worked at the Co-op Group, Marks & Spencer and WHSmith.

Carrefour Brazil announces strong Q4 and FY 2018 results
Carrefour’s Brazil business has reported strong quarterly and full year results for 2018, cementing its position as Brazil’s largest food retailer. The retailer said it continues to strengthen its multi-channel portfolio and quicken the pace of expanding its Atacadão banner. Consolidated sales were BR$56.3bln (US$14.9bln) for FY 2018, a 7.6% increase year-on-year (YOY). Like-for-like (LFL) sales grew consistently each quarter and were up by 6.2% in Q4 (+3.9% FY). Total sales rose by 10.2% to BR$15.8bln (US$4.2bln) in Q4. This is Carrefour Brazil’s first double-digit sales growth in a single quarter since Q4 2016.

US: SpartanNash launches Kids Crew to boost children’s health
Distributor and grocer SpartanNash has introduced the Kids Crew program, designed to help kids and their parents make healthy eating choices by offering in-store activities, free fresh fruit for youngsters and online resources. The program is now available at SpartanNash banners Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket and Family Fresh Market across Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

US: Target posts best comps growth in more than a decade
Target Corp. reported fourth-quarter comparable-sales growth of 5.3% on traffic growth of 4.5%. Store comps for the quarter were up 2.9%, while digital comps soared an impressive 31%, contributing 2.4 percentage points to comps growth. According to the retailer, stores fulfilled nearly three quarters of its Q4 digital sales. For both the fourth quarter and full year, Target experienced robust comps growth and market-share gains across all five of its core merchandise categories. Full-year 2018 comps rose 5% - Target’s strongest showing since 2005. For the year, store comps grew 3.2% and digital comps increased 36%. According to the company, 2018 was the fifth straight year that its digital comps have grown more than 25%.

Canada: Loblaw partners with Flashfood to cut food waste
Loblaw is partnering with Toronto-based Flashfood, which has developed an app that enables consumers to benefit from deep discounts on surplus food at grocery retailers. The retailer has initially made the service available to customers at nine Maxi stores in Quebec. By the end of April, it expects to have it available in 113 Maxi stores and 25 Provigo stores in the province. For Loblaw, this forms part of its major initiative to reduce costs, while also tackling an issue which resonates strongly with consumers. In January, Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International’s ‘Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste’ report revealed that 58% of food produced in Canada, is lost or wasted each year, a third of which could be rescued.

AmazonFresh to feature sponsored products on website
Amazon is expanding its $3.5bln ad business to AmazonFresh, where shoppers will begin seeing sponsored products placed on AmazonFresh's website, Digiday reported. This is the first time AmazonFresh will feature sponsored posts on its own product pages. The sponsored posts will appear in regular search results and product detail pages on in addition to AmazonFresh’s search results. Ads will appear through keyword searches. Advertisers will be paid when a shopper clicks on the ad regardless of whether they purchase the item. Sponsored content will appear to shoppers in U.S. cities where AmazonFresh is available, which includes Los Angeles, Boston and New York City.

Canada’s Metro and dunnhumby renew long-term partnership agreement
Canadian food retailer Metro has selected global customer data science company dunnhumby to serve as its customer data science, loyalty and software partner across more than 600 grocery stores. This deal is a result of a ten-year partnership between both companies to enhance customer experience. dunnhumby North America president Jose Gomes said: “We have built a strong partnership with Metro over the past ten years and this new agreement reflects both the strength of our relationship, as well as the evolving needs of Metro.” The dunnhumby customer data science platform combines technology, software and consulting to allow businesses to increase revenue and profits, as well as offer enhanced experience to customers in-store, offline and online.

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