Canada: CEO of Stong’s Market is stepping down
Cori Bonina is stepping down as CEO of Stong’s Market - the Vancouver-based grocer her great grandfather founded more than 85 years ago. Bonina spent 40 years with the company, which currently has two locations: Dunbar and North Vancouver. (The North Vancouver store won the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers’ Independent Grocer of the Year Award - medium surface - for 2017.) Brian Bradley will step into the president role June 1. Bradley, who spent more than 30 years with Safeway in a variety of roles, joined Stong’s as general manager in 2017. A press release announcing his appointment says he has been instrumental in Stong’s transformation and growth since joining the company.
US: Costco touts its low shrink
Costco is leading competitors when it comes to combating in-store theft, reporting that its shrinkage rate was just 0.11% to 0.12% of sales compared to the 1.33% that retailers on average lost in 2017, according to Business Insider. In its 2018 annual report, Costco said it mitigates theft through store layout, limited entrances and exits and its membership model, which helps the store control inventory. The retailer also attributes its low shrink to the wages it pays employees, which results in higher employee satisfaction and less theft internally.
US: Walmart is going after high school students in war for talent
Walmart has a new target for talent in a tight labor market: high school students. The nation’s largest private employer, with a workforce of 1.5mln people in the U.S., announced it plans to expand a previously announced college-education perk to high schoolers, hoping to get them off to universities to continue their education, and relieve them of staggering loan debt. Here’s what high school students will now have access to, according to Walmart: Jobs within Walmart with scheduling options for flexibility; Free ACT and SAT prep courses; Up to seven hours of free college credit through Walmart’s “Live Better U’s College Start” program; A debt-free college degree through “Live Better U” (upon completing high school) in three fields from six non-profit universities.
US: Trader Joe's continues to grow in New York City
Trader Joe’s has announced plans to open a new store in New York City’s East Village, according to the company’s website. The store is listed as "coming soon" and does not have an official opening date. This will be the ninth Trader Joe’s in Manhattan and the second in the East Village, according to Curbed. A company spokesperson told Curbed that the grocer hopes to open the East Village location this year. The store has been long-anticipated, with reports that Trader Joe’s first signed a lease for the East Village space in 2017, which consists of 8,531 square feet of ground floor space and 14,170 square feet on a lower level.
US: Moving toward major antitrust probe of tech giants
The U.S. government is gearing up to investigate whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google misuse their massive market power, sources told Reuters, setting up what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, which enforce antitrust laws in the United States, have divided oversight over the four companies, two sources said, with Amazon and Facebook under the watch of the FTC, and Apple and Google under the Justice Department. With jurisdiction established, the next step is for the two federal agencies to decide if they want to open formal investigations. Results are not likely to be quick. A previous FTC probe of Google took more than two years.
US: Walmart chooses new leader for tech incubator
Walmart's investment arm and tech startup incubator, Store No. 8, has a new person in charge. Scott Eckert, formerly of Bain Capital Ventures, replaces Lori Flees, who is the SVP of health and wellness at Walmart-owned Sam's Club. Since its inception in 2017, Store No. 8 has partnered with a number of retail startups and venture capitalists to find the next best thing in technology and improve its ecommerce strategy. Walmart's Store No. 8, located in Califronia's Silicon Valley, has acquired both virtual reality startup Spatialand and text message shopping service Jetblack.
US: Kroger's new warehouse opens in Michigan
Penske Logistics has opened a new distribution center in Romulus, Michigan, to serve the needs of The Kroger Co. The $98.5mln, 606,000-square-foot facility is built for standard freezer/cooler distribution and has brought more than 400 jobs to the area. Construction on the distribution center, which is referred to as the Michigan Fresh Center, began in the fall of 2017. The facility held its grand opening this week on Tuesday, June 4. “The new Michigan Fresh Center brings greater convenience to The Kroger Co. of Michigan and enables us to supply store locations with fresher product every day”, said Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager at The Kroger Co. of Michigan. “All products housed in the new distribution center are Kroger products, and the facility will only service Kroger’s Michigan division.”
Walmex says Mexican competition authority opposes Walmart's Cornershop purchase
Mexico’s biggest retailer, Wal-Mart de Mexico, said that the nation’s Federal Competition Commission opposes its parent company Walmart Inc’s acquisition of grocery delivery platform Cornershop. “We are analyzing the scope of this resolution and the measures we will adopt, since we are sure that this operation is positive for the competitive environment and for the consumer, and that it drives the development of eCommerce in Mexico”, said Walmex in a statement.
Sicily: Conad sees €877mln turnover in 2018
Conad Sicilia ended 2018 with a turnover of €877mln and a 15.15% market share, confirming its top position in Sicily. An estimated 650,000 Sicilian families shop in Conad stores on a daily basis, and the cooperative has around 181 local business partners and members. Its network consists of 356 stores in various formats including 35 Conad Superstore, 117 Conad, 93 Conad City, 67 Margherita, 25 discount Todis, 1 Sapori e Dintorni Conad and 18 traditional stores. It also operates 1 PetStore, 14 pharmacies, and 2 opticians.
Dunnes remains in pole position as Irelands top supermarket for ninth month
Dunnes Stores has remained in pole position as Ireland's top supermarket for the ninth consecutive month. Recent research showed that Tesco grew sales by 3.6% in the past 12 weeks to 19 May 2019, narrowing the gap with Dunnes to just 0.2%. Meanwhile, SuperValu’s growth of 0.9% puts the Musgrave-owned retailer on a positive footing for the second consecutive period ahead of the summer, when it traditionally performs strongly, the latest figures from Kantar showed.
UK: Retail sales fall in May at fastest rate in 24 years
Shoppers shunned the high street and kept their wallets closed last month, leading to sales plunging in May faster than at any time in the last 24 years, new data shows. Sales dropped 2.7% in the four weeks to May 25 compared with a month earlier, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, making it the biggest fall since records began in January 1995. There was an even bigger 3% fall in May compared with the same period a year ago on a like-for-like basis - the steepest drop since December 2008 - when Easter distortions are excluded. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), warned the poor figures could lead to further store closures and job losses in a year that has already seen several retailers go bust - including HMV, Debenhams and LK Bennett.
Walmart faces major India test over unit of Flipkart's legal spat with startup
An Indian startup’s legal challenge against a Walmart unit claiming losses caused by sharp discounting of its products is winning support from other online sellers, in what is shaping as a key test of how the giant retailer operates in the country. The legal tussle between GOQii, a seller of smartwatch-type health devices, and Walmart’s Flipkart unit, comes just months after India imposed stricter rules for foreign investment in e-commerce that were aimed at deterring such sharp discounts. GOQii sued Flipkart last month in a Mumbai court, alleging its devices were discounted by around 70% of the retail price, much more than the two sides had agreed to, legal documents related to the case showed. The case will next be heard on Friday. Flipkart has denied any wrongdoing, saying it was not responsible for any discounts which are only determined by third-party companies which sell on the e-commerce website.
Spar launches online store in Hungary
Spar Hungary has announced the launch of a new online store, which includes a home delivery service covering Budapest and 49 surrounding municipalities. The retailer said that the investment into this new online platform has created almost 100 jobs. Spar Hungary has invested €3mlnn in the online solution and expects the annual turnover of the service to equal that of an Interspar hypermarket, with an average basket spend of €46. It plans to expand the online service in the near future. “We have achieved another milestone with the launch of our online solution. Thanks to great team work, we have successfully implemented a major project for the business", said Márk Maczelka, head of communications at Spar Hungary.