US: Stalled labor talks prompt grocery union to schedule strike vote
As contract talks continue to drag on without progress, workers at Southern California’s major supermarkets will vote later this month on whether to authorize their union leaders to declare a strike. The announcement of the strike authorization vote came late Monday after a round of contract negotiations between leaders of the seven United Food and Commercial Workers locals and representatives of Vons, Albertsons, Pavilions and Ralphs. According to union sources, the vote will be held June 24-25. Such a vote doesn’t mean a work stoppage is imminent and is often used by unions to put pressure on employers during negotiations. It gives union negotiators consent of the members to call a strike if they deem it necessary. The announcement indicates UFCW’s frustration after three months of stalled contract talks. The two sides met Monday and Tuesday, with the next session scheduled for July 1, 2 and 3.
US: Discount grocers will account for more than half of store openings this year
Discount retailers, led by dollar stores and Aldi, will account for more than half of retail store openings this year, according to data from Coresight Research cited by CBS News. Out of the almost 2,780 new locations slated for 2019, about 1,800 belong to discount chains. Dollar General leads growth by a wide margin, with 975 openings planned in 2019, followed by Dollar Tree, which is planning 350 new stores, then Family Dollar, Aldi and Five Below, according to the report. Discount retailers are gaining the most traction in rural areas where there are fewer store options and where larger retailers like Amazon have been less successful compared to metropolitan centers.
US: Grocery Outlet kicks off IPO
After unveiling plans to go public earlier this year, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market launched an initial public offering. The extreme-value grocery chain said that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO of 17,187,500 shares of common stock at a price of $15 to $17 per share. Made as Grocery Outlet Holding Corp., the IPO is expected to fetch net proceeds of $249.8mln, based on the $16 midpoint of the offering price range, according to the company.
US: Retail giant Target unmasks its blockchain framework aimed at supply chain
While many major US companies have publicized their entry into the blockchain space, Minnesota-based retailer Target has been quietly working on a blockchain-powered solution for supply chain management, dubbed ConsenSource. ConsenSource has been in the pipelines since mid-2018, but now Target is stepping up its involvement in the blockchain space with a pledge to support the Hyperledger Grid project. The Hyperledger Grid project is a Linux Foundation ledger-based solutions for all types of cross-industry supply chain scenarios. Already in this Hyperledger Grid network is food giant Cargill, one of Target’s suppliers, as well as Intel and blockchain startup Bitwise.io. Target - the eighth-largest retailer in the U.S - is going so far as to also advertise for a blockchain engineer and systems developer on its careers page.
US: Weis Markets opts for Birdzi’s customer engagement ecosystem
Mid-Atlantic grocer Weis Markets has chosen Birdzi, billed as “the supermarket industry’s only comprehensive customer engagement ecosystem” to support the marketing strategy. Weis Markets will employ Birdzi’s real-time digital ecosystem, which is especially designed to support regional food retailers. A key component of the system is the AI relationship engine, which uses several hundred attributes for each shopper, updated with each purchase, to power contextual relevancy. This allows retailers to better address shopper needs, including through more relevant real-time recommendations than have previously been possible.
UK: Lidl’s £500mln London expansion to create 1500 jobs
Lidl has revealed its £500mln expansion program in the capital, as well as its plan to open the first ever central London store on Tottenham Court Road. The German discount grocer will invest over £500mln across the next five years to open over 40 new stores in locations including Alperton, East Acton, Hackbridge and Watford, creating around 1500 new jobs in the capital. Its plan also includes opening a new warehouse in Luton and the expansion of its Belvedere distribution centre. The company will also invest in its new 250,000sq ft head office in Tolworth, south west London, where construction has already begun.
Amazon tipped to open up its Australian website to Kiwis next month
Amazon is likely to cut New Zealand delivery times and shipping costs for many of its most popular products next month when it is tipped to begin supplying New Zealand orders from Australia, a retail consultant says. The change would see Amazon switch Kiwi customers from its United States online shopfront to its Australian website and may pave the way for Amazon to offer a version of its Amazon Prime free-shipping service in New Zealand for the first time, Hamish Conway said. "They will do a version of Prime, it might just not be with a two-day delivery promise."
Portugal: KuantoKusta to enter food retail business in 2020
Portuguese price comparison site KuantoKusta (KK) plans to expand into the food retail business from the beginning of 2020. According to the company, its goal is to allow customers to access different and exclusive products from several distribution chains in a single shopping basket, in a single delivery, without having to visit different companies. In practice, this means that KK's 'supermarket' segment, which enables users to compare prices of 15 grocery chains, will become a part of its marketplace business model.
World's second-largest retailer unveils New Zealand store
Costco Wholesale Corporation, the world's second-largest retailer behind Walmart, has just announced it will open its first New Zealand store on Auckland's north-western fringe. The membership-only United States-headquartered bulk discounter is famous for being 25 to 30% cheaper than its supermarket competitors and offering an eclectic mix of products ranging from giant teddy bears to coffins. Campbell Barbour, NZ Retail Property Group general manager, issued the announcement with Costco Wholesale Australia managing director Patrick Noone, mayor Phil Goff and Waitakere councillor Linda Cooper. "Global bulk discount retailer Costco has announced that it is coming to New Zealand. The US Giant has worked with the New Zealand Retail Property Group and secured a site at Westgate in Auckland's North West. Costco is the world's second largest retailer", the statement said.
UK: Sainsbury’s launches reverse vending recycling trial, helping customers save up to £25 on their shop
Sainsbury’s has launched a Reverse Vending Recycling trial at its Lincoln Superstore which allows customers to return plastic bottles of any size up to 3 litres and drinks cans bought from Sainsbury’s in exchange for 5p coupons towards their shop. Up to 500 items can be deposited per customer, which means customers could save up to £25 off their shopping. Judith Batchelar, Director Sainsbury’s Brand said: “We’re delighted to offer a new way to help our customers recycle while saving on their shop.” The Reverse Vending Recycling trial is the latest in a line of steps Sainsbury’s is taking as part of its drive to cut plastic by removing, reusing, replacing and recycling.
Poland: Biedronka introduces paper shopping bags
Biedronka has introduced its first paper bag: Dobra Torba. It is made of 50% recycled paper. Additionally, thanks to the purchase of the bag, the customers will contribute to supporting the operations of the Food Banks. The bag is currently available to customers of over 650 chain stores, including in Warsaw and its vicinity, Łódź, Kraków, Szczecin, Poznań, Trójmiasto, Koszalin, Świnoujście, Wrocław, Opole and Silesia. "We conduct various activities aimed at preventing food waste. Transferring surplus food to aid organizations, including Food Banks, is a very important part of them. In 2018 alone, Biedronka handed over 4,876 tons of food, which allowed preparing 9.75mln million meals. We are now starting a new Good Bag project, thanks to which Food Banks will receive additional support", says Sylwia Krzyżycka, director of the environmental protection department at Jeronimo Martins Polska S.A.
Australia: Retail union takes Woolworths to Fair Work Commission over 'non-genuine' restructure
The retail workers' union is taking Woolworths to the Fair Work Commission over the shopping giant's recent announcement of a company-wide restructure. Woolies last week announced it would be shuffling staff members around to make way for a new operating model. While it said it wouldn’t be reducing headcount, staffers were given booklet guides to redundancies and “redeployment”. The SDA, or Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, represents workers in retail, fast food and warehousing. “The SDA has serious concerns that (Woolworths) failed to properly consult workers and the union and that many of the planned redundancies are not genuine”, the union said in a post to its Facebook page.
Austria: Spar's 'Zucker-Raus' gains industry support
Spar Austria has said that the 'Zucker-Raus' (Sugar Out) initiative, which it developed alongside a number of doctors and food producers, is gaining more and more supporters. "Through this initiative, we were able to initiate a valuable alliance between retailers, food producers, medical associations and doctors", said Dr. Gerhard Drexel, the CEO of Spar Austria. "This will allow us to increase awareness of the high sugar consumption of society and seek to combat it."
Amazon becomes India’s most trusted online brand as domestic internet firms fall short
Even while domestic brands dominate India’s rapidly growing internet economy across sectors ranging from retail (Flipkart), food (Swiggy, Zomato), finance (Paytm) to healthcare (Practo), education (Byju’s), insurance (Policybazaar), transportation (Ola) etc., perhaps all of them seems to be lacking in building great customer trust when it comes to India’s top trusted brands. Amazon, however, has been able to gain tremendous strength on that part to become India’s 4th most trusted brand and the only one in the internet vertical among the top 20 brands. Amazon has earned customer trust in terms of “convenience, price, product selection and overall experience”, said a report by TRA Research, as the online retailer jumped 49 ranks from last year to be India’s 4th most trusted brand.