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Mercadona: electric van for home deliveries

Carrefour France: first ‘Essentiel’ hypermarket

Australia: Woolworths expands Delivery Now service to Brisbane
Australian supermarket chain Woolworths Group has expanded its Delivery Now service to offer grocery deliveries to more than 300,000 customers across Brisbane, Queensland. The service is currently available from six local supermarkets, including Ascot, Ashgrove, Bulimba, Camp Hill, Paddington and Spring Hill. Customers can now place orders for up to 30 items from a portfolio of more than 12,000 products. They can also track orders on a live map using GPS technology via their mobiles. Woolworths’ personal shoppers will hand pick all the products in store, with the delivery made through a dedicated last-mile delivery partner. The company is offering the service for a flat delivery fee of $19.

Spain: Mercadona goes electric for home deliveries
Mercadona is using a Thermo King powered electric van for home deliveries. Eneko Fernandez, product management leader, Thermo King, said: "We decided to work together to create and test this combination of clean distribution and refrigeration technologies, which brings sustainable zero-emission last mile deliveries to Mercadona’s customers." The home delivery vehicle combines the Maxus electric truck with a Thermo King multi-temperature unit fresh, frozen and ambient products. The vehicle carries up to seven online-orders per trip and is part of the Mercadona fleet carrying deliveries from its online sales warehouse in Valencia.

Carrefour France opens first ‘Essentiel’ hypermarket
After setting out its plans to launch different trials for its hypermarkets, Carrefour France has opened its first low-cost-focused ‘Essentiel’ store in Avignon. The store puts a greater focus on price, shrunk its sales area, reduced the number of SKUs it carries, especially in non-food, by between 15% and 30%, and has cut back on the way it presents products to shoppers. This has seen the store use metal shelving to display products for many categories, except for organic, which Carrefour has retained in its more traditional look and feel.

Lithuania: Maxima Grupė appoints Justas Riauba as its new CEO
Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupė has named Justas Riauba as its new chief executive officer. He has also been elected as the chairman of the company’s board of directors. Chief executive of the retailer's holding company, Vilniaus Prekyba, Mantas Kuncaitis, will also join the group's board of directors. Commenting on the appointment, Riauba said: "This new career stage at Maxima Grupė is big recognition and an even bigger professional challenge. Key priorities will continue to include ensuring the best prices and shopping experience in all markets, strengthening of positions in Poland, and attention to employees." Riauba is an experienced professional, and has held several top positions in roles related to investments since 2013.

Germany: Reusable trays at Kaufland
Kaufland continues to pursue its sustained commitment and relies on reusable trays in the fruit and vegetable sector instead of disposable cartons. Since 2003, the customer has been finding fruit and vegetables in green reusable Euro EuroGrade systems in Germany. Initially, cooperation was limited to Germany only. Between 2014 and 2015, the cooperation with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia was successfully expanded. Since the end of 2018, the green returnable packaging of the logistics service provider Euro Pool System has become standard packaging for the fruit and vegetable logistics of the Kaufland stores throughout Europe. Meanwhile, both companies are also working together in Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. “Through the use of Euro Pool System reusable packaging, Kaufland has reduced its CO2 emissions by around 35,000 tonnes per year in 2018. The additional countries will be able to save around 42,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2019”, emphasizes Stefan Lukes, Head of Purchasing Fruits and vegetables International.

Carrefour China announces Gome tie-up
Following a successful trial at 11 Carrefour hypermarkets across four cities in China, Carrefour has signed an agreement with electronics retailer Gome. Carrefour and Gome said the trial had led to ‘double-digit growth in like-for-like store sales’. The tie-up will see the latter open 200 shop-in-shops in Carrefour’s hypermarkets by the end of July 2019. The retailers said Gome will take between 300 sq. m and 500 sq. m in Carrefour’s hypermarkets, where it will stock home appliances, smart devices and other consumer electronic products. Under the agreement, Carrefour will manage the product promotion and marketing of the ranges, while Gome will supply knowledge on appliances and consumer electronics, logistics and customer services.

Amazon acquires autonomous warehouse robotics startup Canvas Technology
Amazon has acquired Boulder, Colorado-based warehouse robotics startup Canvas Technology, TechCrunch has learned. The deal makes a lot of sense from the outside, adding another important piece to Amazon Robotics’ growing portfolio of fulfillment center machines. Amazon confirmed the acquisition with TechCrunch. “We are inspired by Canvas Technology’s innovations, and share a common vision for a future where people work alongside robotics to further improve safety and the workplace experience”, a spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Canvas Technology’s fantastic team to keep inventing for customers.”

US: Walmart to expand in-store use of robots & automation
After successful pilots, Walmart plans to roll out more “automated assistants” to handle a range of repetitive tasks at stores. The company said in a blog post that the robots and automated units, currently in just a few locations, perform such functions as checking inventory, store maintenance, sorting products and fulfilling online orders, enabling store associates to spend more time serving customers on the sales floor. Coming to stores “soon”, Walmart said, will be 1,500 more autonomous floor cleaners (known as Auto-C, pictured above), 300 new shelf scanners (Auto-S, left), 1,200 additional FAST Unloaders and 900 more Pickup Towers. Walmart said it has been testing the technology for months and seen a strong response from store staff.

US: Stop & Shop workers go on strike in New England
Unionized workers at Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, went on strike on April 11, after contract negotiations failed to result in new contracts. In February and March, members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459, collectively covering more than 31,000 Stop & Shop employees across New England, voted overwhelmingly to authorize their union leaders to call for a work stoppage.

US: Albertsons joins IBM Food Trust blockchain network
Albertsons Cos. has become a member of the IBM Food Trust network, a blockchain-based cloud service designed to improve food safety. The nation’s second-largest supermarket retailer, Albertsons said it will first pilot IBM Food Trust to trace bulk romaine lettuce from one of its distribution centers, and then look at expanding the service to other food categories throughout its distribution network.

US: Aldi opens the first of 15 new stores in Southern California
Aldi has expanded its Southern California presence on Thursday, April 11, with a new supermarket in Panorama City and more than a dozen new Southland locations planned. The Panorama store will be the German discount grocer’s 64th market in California. “We plan to open 15 stores in 2019, including Panorama City”, said Tom Cindel, head of operations and logistics for the company’s Moreno Valley division. “That will bring the total to 78. With this growth, we’ll be looking to hire 450 employees.”

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