German retailer Kaufland improves revenues and profit margin in Romania
The Romanian subsidiary of German discount retailer Kaufland last year achieved a net profit margin of 7.2%, one of the highest in the food trade industry and the highest since the company entered the local market in 2005, Ziarul Financiar reported. Kaufland Romania last year maintained its leading position in local retail for the sixth consecutive year as its turnover neared RON 11bln (EUR 2.37bln), 8% more than in the year before. The advance came amid a robust 5.5% rise of the retail sales in comparable prices and 4.6% average consumer price inflation. Kaufland's net profit was also on an even faster upward trend, having advanced by more than 17% year-on-year, to RON 800mln (EUR 172mln) according to ZF calculations.
Lithuania: Maxima names new top boss for online grocery business Barbora
Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupė has named Andrius Mikalauskas as the new chief executive officer of its online grocery business, Barbora. The company also announced the appointment of Vitalij Rakovski as the chairman of the board of Radas - the company which owns Barbora. In February of this year, Mikalauskas was appointed as the interim CEO and a member of the board of Radas. Before joining Maxima Grupe in September of 2017, as the CFO of Barbora, he worked at Ernst&Young for more than six years.
Russia: Yandex.Market partners with JD.com
Russian online marketplace Yandex.Market and major Chinese online retailer JD.com have closed a strategic partnership deal. Since this month, Yandex.Market will sell JD.com’s goods in Russia through its ecommerce platform. Yandex.Market is an ecommerce venture between Russian internet company Yandex and Sberbank, the biggest bank in Russia. It’s an online platform used by over 17mln people every month. Yandex.Market is a comparison shopping engine, an online marketplace and an cross-border ecommerce platform in one.
Australia: Woolworths reaches major milestone in fight against food waste
In a bid to tackle the $20bln food waste problem in Australia and its commitment to reduce food waste from going to landfill, Woolworths has announced that 100% of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place. From rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger relief charity partners, donating stock feed to farmers or sending it for commercial organic composting, all Woolworths supermarkets nationwide now have at least one active food waste diversion partner in place. With these programs in place, Woolworths has recorded an average year-on-year reduction of 8% in food waste sent to landfill over the past three years.
Russian retailer Dixy using ethereum tech to streamline trade finance
A new ethereum-based trade finance platform has been launched in Russia with the third largest retail player in the country as a key participant. Following a six-month pilot phase, Russian blockchain startup Factorin announced that it’s launching its system into production with Dixy - a supermarket chain with 2% of the Russian market and almost $5bln in revenue in 2018 - already on board. Developed on a private version of ethereum, the new system will allow Dixy’s suppliers to receive payments within one business day instead of the previous two weeks. The platform connects with several banks and factoring companies (which facilitate the settlements between the retailer and multiple suppliers) via a single interface, according to Factorin co-founder Andrei Maklin.
French govt hopes to ban supermarkets from destroying unsold non-food items
France is examining legislation banning supermarkets and producers from destroying unsold non-food items, said prime minister Edouard Philippe, as governments around the world look to cut down on waste and protect the environment. "We can avoid the scandalous waste of products and objects that are in perfectly good condition", Philippe told reporters. France already has legislation in place to ban supermarkets from destroying unsold food items, and any new legislation would tackle objects such as clothing, electronics or plastics. France's main supermarket retailers include Casino, Carrefour, Auchan and Leclerc.
UK Consumer grocery spend stalls in May: Nielsen
The UK grocery sector saw a 1.6% decline in sales in May, compared to the same month the previous year, according to Nielsen. The research firm said that consumer spending in the UK grocery sector continues to slow. Compared to the bumper spring period in 2018, this spring has been tougher for supermarkets, Nielsen said. This is a significant drop in grocery spend compared to the same month last year, which saw an uplift of +5% driven by the early heatwave and the Royal Wedding, according to the report. This year, Nielsen's data shows that while sales have declined in the last four weeks, there is a slight increase in supermarket promotional activity. The period saw promotions account for 27% of sales, with price cuts celebrating Sainsbury's and Tesco's milestone anniversaries, as well as Morrisons' Price Crunch campaign. Supermarkets are also investing more in advertising to support these campaigns, Nielsen said.
Ireland: Dunnes Stores loses appeal relating to tax assessments on plastic bag levy
Dunnes Stores has lost its Supreme Court appeal concerning the validity of laws under which the Revenue Commissioners later raised tax assessments of €36.5mln on the supermarket chain concerning certain plastic bags. The five-judge court, while critical of the "overly complex" legislation, rejected the company's claim the "flimsy" plastic bags at issue did not fall within the scope of the plastic bag levy.
US: Semtech’s LoRa Technology integrated into Axino’s Smart Refrigeration Solutions
Semtech Corporation, a leading supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, announced that AxinoSolutions, an innovative software and systems integrator for the planning and implementation of comprehensive IT solutions, has integrated Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) into its smart refrigeration solutions to track food temperature for the food retail industry. Axino’s LoRa-based solution has been deployed globally including with Migros, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain. Since deployment of a LoRa-based solution, Migros has measured hundreds of thousands of Euros of savings per year.
US: Sprouts to host National Hiring Day
Sprouts Farmers Markets is hosting walk-in interviews at all of its more than 300 supermarkets on Tuesday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The National Hiring Day aims to fill 1,500 open full-time and part-time positions. Sprouts added 3,500 new jobs in 2018 and plans to open 13 additional stores in the second half of 2019, resulting in Sprouts Farmers Markets in 22 states.
Canada: Empire ramps up FreshCo expansion
FreshCo’s expansion in the West continues with plans to convert six Safeway locations in British Columbia by spring 2020. In a press release, FreshCo parent Empire said the combined closure costs related to the six conversions were “estimated to be approximately $15mln, which will be charged to operating earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.” Five FreshCo stores across Manitoba and British Columbia are currently up and running, and an additional seven stores are slated to open in B.C. over the coming months. In all, 18 locations have been confirmed in Western Canada.