Picnic is retailer of the year in Germany
Picnic, the popular online-only supermarket from the Netherlands, has won an ecommerce prize in Germany. At the Shop-Award 2019, the company went home with the award for Retailer of the Year. About 200 invited guests came to Munich to witness the presentation of this year’s Shop-Award. This year’s edition was a lot different than last year, organizer Internet World explained. For example, for the very first time there was a honory award for the retailer of the year. For this audience award, readers of Internet World Business got to select, from ten nominations by the jury, the online retailer that impressed them the most in 2018. Eventually, about 2,700 readers voted and decided that the Dutch online grocery retailer Picnic would receive the award for Dealer of the Year 2019. In addition, during the eighth year of its existence the jury awarded the Shop Award in four, instead of five categories. Previous awards for the Best Online Pure Player and Best Multichannel Retailer have been merged into the Best Online Retailer. “After all, the customer no longer differentiates between different sales channels, but buys wherever the shopping experience is the easiest and most satisfying.”
Portugal: Consumers increasingly opt for premium products, study finds
Portuguese consumers purchase more premium products than their European counterparts, a Nielsen study has found. Some 89% of Portuguese regularly purchase premium products when out shopping, Nielsen found, well above the European average of 60%. Also, 21% of Portuguese consumers said they also premium products from Portuguese retailers' online platforms. This figure is up 3% compared to 2016. For Portuguese consumers, the benefits attributed to premium products include higher quality (62%), superior function or performance (53%), additional service provided to the customer (50%), and offering something unique (43%). In addition, around a third of Portuguese consumers say they would be 'strongly willing' to pay more for natural, organic and sustainable products.
Poland: Carrefour Bydgoszczu urges customers to bring bags, containers for groceries
Carrefour Polska has announced that customers in its Fordon Gallery store in Bydgoszcz can now bring their own containers and bags for grocery purchases. It is the first store in the network to allow customers to buy products by weight in shoppers' own containers. Customers can buy a range of products including meats, cheese, cabbage, and pickled cucumbers, as well as fruit and vegetables. In the store, customers hand over their packaging containers to shopping assistants at respective counters, who weigh the products and add a label that can be scanned at the checkout counters. The move is a part of the retail group's strategy to cut plastic consumption in product packaging. By 2025, it aims to switch to own-brand packaging that can be recycled or composted. The retailer also encourages customers to buy coffee in their own reusable cups in its 'Smacznie' bistro outlets, operating at Carrefour hypermarkets.
UK: Morrisons confident of prospects as profit rises
British retailer Morrisons has said it is confident about the future as it reported a 9% rise in full-year profit. The Bradford, northern England, based group, which trails market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Walmart's Asda in annual sales, said it made an underlying pretax profit of £406mln in the year to February 3. That compared with analysts' average forecast of £407mln and £374mln made in 2017-18. Total revenue rose 2.7% to £17.7bln, with like-for-like sales up 4.8%. "We remain confident that Morrisons still has many sales and profit growth opportunities ahead, and expect that growth to be meaningful and sustainable", the firm said.
Sweden: ICA sees sales growth of 3.3% in February
Swedish retailer ICA Gruppen has posted a 3.3% year-on-year growth in sales for the month of February. Sales in like-for-like stores increased by 3.0%. Total sales for the month amounted to SEK 8.85bln (€836.13mln) excluding VAT, with its Maxi ICA Stormarknad banner recording highest sales of SEK 2.7bln (€254.62mln). ICA Supermarket registered sales of SEK 2.67bln (€252.35mln), while ICA Kvantum generated SEK 2.17bln (€205.11mln). Sales for January and February 2019 amounted to SEK 18.19bln (€1.72bln), which corresponds to a rise of 3.2% when compared with the data for the same period in 2018. The retail group has estimated the calendar effect for February sales to be 0.0%.
Australia: Three sites approved for Kaufland
Kaufland Australia has been approved for development in Victoria, on three sites. The German branded supermarket has received planning approval for its first three stores in Victoria. According to InsideRetail: “the stores at Chirnside Park, Dandenong and Epping received planning approval after an independent Advisory Panel process and despite the objections of many other players in the market”. A headquarters for Melbourne was also approved.
Maxima launches International Sourcing unit in Poland
Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupė has announced that it has launched a new unit of its procurement arm, Maxima International Sourcing, in Warsaw, Poland. Commenting on the launch, the CEO of Maxima International Sourcing, Tomas Palevičius, said: “With this decision, we are strengthening the purchasing function in Poland. Having a permanent unit here will make it possible to maintain closer ties with existing suppliers and producers, also develop new contacts with potential partners." Maxima International Sourcing Poland will provide agency services to the group’s retail chains in the Baltics, Poland, and Bulgaria. The new procurement arm, which presently comprises five employees, will be headed by Maxima International Sourcing board member Gintaras Jasinskas. It will work closely with suppliers operating in neighbouring countries, including Polish companies as well as local representatives of international companies.
US: Aldi store brands dominate BrandSpark awards
Aldi has once again been recognized as a fan favorite for its private label products in marketing firm BrandSpark International's 2019 Best New Product Awards. Award winners are determined by a national vote among 10,000 shoppers. Aldi won nearly half the awards in BrandSpark's Food & Beverage category, receiving nods for its private label children’s snacks, fruit snacks, hummus, juice, milk, protein bar, ready-made salad kits, snack bars, specialty dairy drink and vegan burgers. Trader Joe’s had the second highest number of items on the winner's list, earning three awards for its fresh chicken product, pasta and pastry item.
U.S. retail sales rebound but not enough to jolt slowing economy
U.S. retail sales rose modestly in January after a December drop that was even larger than originally estimated, but the recovery was not seen strong enough to alter the course of a U.S. economy that was losing momentum in early 2019. The report from the Commerce Department was welcome news for the economy after a raft of weak December data, as well as a sharp moderation in the pace of job growth in February. Still, January’s increase in retail sales recouped only a fraction of December’s plunge, leaving expectations for a slowdown in consumer spending in the first quarter intact. Sales managed only a tepid reversal in January from December’s deep freeze”, said Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. “While we expect some further comeback in the next couple months, the big story is that the economy’s big engine is cooling.”
US: Trader Joe's to curb plastic packaging in stores
Trader Joe’s has pledged several sustainable packaging initiatives following pressure from consumers and environmental groups. Following recent moves to curb packaging waste, the chain now says it will sell fewer produce items in plastic packaging, swap out Styrofoam trays in the fresh meat department with recyclable PET1 trays, replace plastic greeting card sleeves and floral wrapping with renewable alternatives, and ditch the foil and plastic pouches for its tea bags. With the new measures, which were announced in the February issue of its Fearless Flyer circular, Trade Joe's hopes to cut 1mln pounds of plastic each year. The retailer has already been taking incremental steps to address its plastic use, including phasing out single-use plastic bags. It has also swapped out Styrofoam produce trays for compostable options and asked its vendors to avoid using certain chemicals in packaging including Polystyrene, Phthalates, and BPA.
US: H-E-B surprises guests with fine dining meal at SXSW
H-E-B took a creative approach to promote groceries and highlight its "In the Kitchen" program at South by Southwest last week, according to a press release emailed to Grocery Dive. At the festival in Austin, Texas, H-E-B hosted a fine dining experience with a surprising twist for 85 influencers and foodies. The dinner was held at Austin's Hotel Saint Cecilia where guests were told meals would come from "ITK Restaurant Group." What guests didn't know was that ITK stands for "In the Kitchen," H-E-B's cooking program that encourages shoppers to cook at home. The Texas-based grocer dished up a six-course meal including Herb-Infused Tenderloin, Raspberry Lavender Demi, Black Garlic Winter Squash Risotto and Ginger Halibut Ceviche. After guests enjoyed their dinner, H-E-B chefs walked out with baskets full of ingredients to reveal the surprise chef behind the meal.
US: SpartanNash introduces Clean Ingredient Initiative for private label
SpartanNash has introduced a Clean Ingredient Initiative for the wholesaler’s Our Family and Open Acres private label brands. The initiative is focused on simpler products with reduced ingredient lists and clean, easy-to-read labels. In 2018, more than 425 private label products underwent packaging redesigns or reformulations to remove synthetic colors, MSG and other ingredients. This year, another 175 products will be added to the Clean Ingredient Initiative. For example, Our Family ice cream now has four SKUs that contain only four or five ingredients, including milk, sugar, cream and the appropriate flavoring. SpartanNash has also successfully partnered with its manufacturers to remove added MSG from a number of Our Family soups, and Our Family fruit and grain bars have been reformulated to remove synthetic colors.
US: Lidl wants $9.5mln from Pennsylvania for 6 stores
As it ramps up its U.S. expansion, deep discounter Lidl is requesting a combined $9.5mln in state redevelopment grants for six stores in Pennsylvania, according to a published report in The Philadelphia Inquirer citing the retailer’s applications for state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding with the Pennsylvania Budget Office. The Inquirer noted that three of the stores were in the Philadelphia area, including a previously undisclosed location on Roosevelt Boulevard. In its application for this project, Lidl said that the $2mln requested for the location “is the expected amount of costs to remediate the land and remove the structure on the site”, warning that the project was over budget and could be terminated. The company also requested $2mln each for the two other Philadelphia-area stores.
US: Weis Markets sees record sales in 2018, with online a standout
Weis Markets Inc. reported record total sales of more than $3.5bln for the 52-week period ended December 29, 2018, a 1.2% uptick from the same period a year ago, while annual comparable-store sales edged up 0.7%. Income from operations increased $7.2mln, or 9.4% to $83.6mln, versus $76.4mln for the year-ago period. For its 13-week fourth quarter ended December 29, 2018, the Mid-Atlantic retailer’s sales increased 1% to $892.9mln, compared with the same period in 2017, while Q4 comps rose 0.9%. Weis Markets attributed this growth to targeted holiday promotions via its loyalty marketing program, as well as ongoing improvements in store-level efficiencies, price optimization enhancements and better store-level inventory management.