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British Land sells 12 Sainsbury’s stores

Casino agreed to sell assets to Apollo Global

Australia: Woolworths launches free supplier app to improve product availability and merchandising
Woolworths suppliers can now download a newly developed app that allows them to more closely monitor the sales performance of their products in each store. The app - named Compass - is available on Apple and Android and draws on historical sales patterns to calculate dynamic daily sales expectations for every product in every store. The app generates alerts for suppliers if sales drop below expectations, allowing suppliers to quickly identify and fix potential out-of-stocks or merchandising issues impacting sales opportunities. The introduction of Compass has the potential to recoup millions in lost sales for suppliers while also improving availability and product presentation for customers. Woolworths Director of Fresh Foods and Replenishment Paul Harker said: “We’re proud to be the first Australian retailer to invest in a free lost sales monitor for our suppliers. We see it as a genuine win-win because a lost sale for a supplier is a lost sale for Woolworths, and most likely an unsatisfied customer. Drawing on smartphone technology and a spirit of collaboration, we’re confident Compass will drive a step change in availability and merchandising standards for our customers.”

France: Casino sells assets to Apollo Global
French retailer Casino said it agreed to sell a portfolio of 12 Casino hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to U.S. asset management firm Apollo Global Management in a deal worth up to 470mln euros ($529.03mln). Casino said the proposed transaction was to take place by the end of July, with 80% of the value of the assets expected to be paid for by then. The company is in the process of selling assets in order to help cut its debts and ease concerns over the financial position of both Casino and its parent holding company Rallye.

UK: British Land sells 12 Sainsbury’s stores for £429mln
British Land is selling off 12 Sainsbury’s superstores from its joint venture with the Big 4 grocer as part of a wider plan to slash its retail exposure. The property giant is selling the stores to Realty Income Corporation for £429mln and said its share of the proceeds will be £193.5mln. British Land said this represented a “modest premium” to the book value recorded in September last year. The sales comes as the property firm pushes on with slashing its retail assets to around 30 to 35% of its portfolio.

Walmart targets 40 Sam’s Club stores in China by 2020
Retailer giant Walmart recently announced that it is planning to open 40 Sam's Club stores in China by 2020. Walmart said that this plan is part of the company's effort to expand its retail footprint and market visibility in China which is considered as one of the biggest economies in the world. Sam's Club is a high-end membership store that Walmart operates. As of this writing, Walmart currently operates 23 Sam's Club stores in 19 Chinese cities spread throughout the country. Walmart said that while this is a relatively small number, it currently counts around 2mln members. Sam's Club stores in China operate in fashion as those in the United States. Among the top products offered in the store is the top quality fresh produce. Walmart has consistently grown the number of its Sam's Club stores since its launch in 1996.

Amazon strengthens ties with French food retailer Casino
E-commerce giant Amazon and French retailer Casino are expanding their partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and making more of the French company’s products available on Amazon. The deal will see Amazon lockers installed in 1,000 locations across France in nine of Casino’s brands, including Monoprix, Monop, Geant, Hyper Casino, Casino Supermarche, Leaderprice, Viva and Spar by the end of the year. The lockers store Amazon products to be picked up by customers.

Chile: Cencosud to continue high-level of investment in 2019
Chile-based Cencosud are the one of the top five grocery retailers in Latin America, with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia. The business has announced plans to invest US$300mln in 2019, of which 50% will be invested into new and remodelled stores. A third will be invested into enhancing its ecommerce business. Cencosud has forecast it will achieve consolidated revenues of US$15,194mln in 2019. This figure incorporates revenues across all store formats and operations, including its non-food offer. The business anticipates increased sales (in Chilean Peso’s (CLP)) in all its operating markets except Argentina, due to the deprecation of the Argentine peso against the CLP. In 2019 Cencosud plans to invest US$300mln of Capex into its business. This represents a c. 7% increase on the c. US$280mln it invested in 2018. As in 2018, half of the expenditure is estimated to be invested in store remodelling and new store openings. Cencosud has also said it plans to invest US$100mln into accelerating its ecommerce business.

US: Wegmans extends its reach
Upcoming new stores from Wegmans Food Markets will push its Mid-Atlantic market farther south and also establish a presence in the New York City area. On April 28, Wegmans plans to open a 113,000-square-foot store near the intersection of Virginia Beach and Independence Boulevards in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which would mark the Rochester, New York-based supermarket chain’s southernmost location.

US: Albertsons Companies unveils new pledge to reduce plastic use in packaging
Albertsons Companies announced a broad plastic waste reduction pledge to advance sustainability throughout the company, starting with its extensive Own Brands portfolio. The new commitment furthers the circular economy for packaging at the company’s 2,300 Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, ACME Markets, Randalls, Haggen, and other banner stores. Albertsons Companies Plastics and Packaging Pledge: Achieve even greater sustainability of Own Brands product packaging by ensuring that 100% of packaging will be recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable by 2025; Decrease plastic usage, with an emphasis on single-use plastics; Own Brands plastic packaging will include 20% recycled content by 2025; Recycle operational (non-consumer facing) plastics for use in new retail, industrial and/or consumer items; Provide clear recycling communications on Own Brands product packaging, including the use of QR Codes, by 2022. The company is working with How2Recycle to standardize its labeling system and improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims; Source and share industry best practices with other members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a 250-company collaborative of retailers, manufacturers, governments and educational institutions focused on strengthening and advancing the business case for sustainable packaging.

US: Stanley's Fresh Fruits and Vegetables closes abruptly after 50 years in business
A popular grocery store on Chicago's North Side has closed up shop after more than 50 years in business. Stanley's Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, located at the corner of North Avenue and Elston in the Goose Island neighborhood, is now looking to sell its property. Realtors told ABC7 the store's owners decided to close now due in part to the approval of the nearby Lincoln Yards project.

US: EBay close to investing $160-$170mln in Paytm Mall
US-based online marketplace giant eBay has begun talks to lead a $160-$170mln strategic investment in Paytm Mall, as it looks to explore an offline-to-online commerce and payments strategy in India, said two people aware of the deal. eBay will continue to run its independent online portal in India, these sources said. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma took board approval to bring in a new strategic investor in December, sensing that Alibaba and SoftBank would not be pumping in fresh capital into the e-commerce company. The eBay deal is likely to be announced next month, and would mark the US online retailer’s third bet, after Snapdeal and Flipkart, in an Indian e-commerce player.

Sobey family to be honoured by Retail Council of Canada
The Sobey family is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award. David Sobey, chair emeritus of Sobeys Inc., and Donald Sobey, chair emeritus of Empire Company Limited will accept the award on the family’s behalf. The award, presented by The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) as part of its STORE 2019 conference, recognizes senior executives who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to Canada’s grocery industry. “The [Sobey] family has played significant roles in the growth of the company, showing exceptional and relentless passion to serve their customers, their employees and the community at large”, said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Since the company’s inception over 112 years ago, the Sobey Family has fostered a culture of philanthropy and community engagement throughout Empire Company Limited and its employees”, said the press release. “They have been tireless promoters of post-secondary education, advancements in health care, and the visual arts in Canada.”

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