GfK: Romania’s retail sales set to maintain highest growth rate in Europe
The retail stores in Romania and Lithuania will boast the highest growth rates in sales this year, 7% and 5.9% respectively, but the purchasing power of the buyers in these countries remains among the lowest in Europe, resulting in lower productivity for retail spaces here, shows a GfK study. The consultancy company estimates a 2% average increase in retail business in the 27 EU countries (less the UK). Compared to the average productivity of EUR 7,250 per square meter of retail space in Luxembourg (the highest in European Union), or EUR 6,430 per sqm in Norway, the retail spaces in Eastern Europe yield much lower sales: between EUR 2,680 per sqm and EUR 2,760 per sqm in Romania, Poland and Bulgaria. The eastern countries also rank low in terms of retail spaces per capita: Romania has only 0.73 sqm of retail space per capita, up 1.7% from last year, compared to an EU average of 1.13 sqm per capita.
Belgium: Delhaize expands e-commerce to franchise stores
Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize hopes to expand its current e-commerce service to its 400 franchise stores and has started a same-day delivery test in five of those stores. The test hopes to allow the chain to offer faster processing of online orders, as the independent stores (like Proxy Delhaize or AD Delhaize) would pick the products straight from their own shelves. Until now, customers had the choice of getting their online orders delivered at home or to pick them up in one of Delhaize's self-owned stores: these are processed in a central distribution centre and need a day for fulfilment. The trial would also allow customers to pick up their groceries on Sundays.
UK: Water bottle refill stands in 326 Sainsbury’s supermarkets
From August, fresh water stands will be available in cafes for customers to refill their own water bottles and reduce the reliance on single-use plastic water bottles. Sainsbury’s also announced that customers can now bring their own re-usable containers to fresh and deli counters in Supermarkets for meat, fish, cheese and deli products. This will be clearly signposted on the counters. Sainsbury’s already offers 25p off hot drinks across all cafes when a customer brings a re-usable cup. Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe said: “Our customers want to use less plastic so I am determined that Sainsbury’s continues to find ways to help them do that. Allowing customers to refill their own water bottles and re-use food containers is further evidence of our commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic waste.”
Spain: Mercadona launches new e-commerce offering in Barcelona
Mercadona has launched a new mobile and web interface for customers in Barcelona after opening a new distribution centre in the city. The new online shopping service, which is designed to be more user-friendly and offer more product information, will be available across four postal codes in Barcelona and is set to expand to the rest of the city over the next few months. The service is built around a new €7mln logistics centre in the Zona Franca industrial estate called Colmena, which will allow an eightfold increase in productivity and efficiency by centralising the preparation and delivery of orders. The centre will receive orders on the same day they are dispatched to guarantee freshness and use a fleet of 50 vehicles with three different models able to transport up to 15 orders and feature three differentiated temperature zones for different products.
Romania: German retailer Kaufland launches new hypermarket concept
German retailer Kaufland revamped its store on Soseaua Colentina in Bucharest and brought there a new concept of hypermarket that offers clients “a completely modernized shopping experience inspired by shopping malls.” The revamping process increased and diversified the store’s offer, which now includes a Sushi Bar, a Fresh Bar and a Sandwich Bar, as well a self-service bar and new assortments of fresh products ready to serve. The store also has a new design, both indoor and outdoor, and a simplifying shopping route, the retailer said. Moreover, automated recycling machines have also been installed in the hypermarket’s parking. People can use these self-service devices for three types of packaging, namely plastic bottles - PET (up to three liters), glass bottles and aluminum cans (up to one liter). Those who use these collection points get discount coupons that can be used in the store.
European e-commerce continues to flourish
E-commerce continues its double-figure growth in Europe: online turnover this year is expected to climb 13% to 621bln euros as many people's fear to buy online is clearly evaporating. According to a new annual report from trade federations Eurocommerce and Ecommerce Europe, European B2C e-commerce will generate a turnover of 621bln euros in 2019. This double-digit growth is mainly achieved in Western Europe, a region that now represents 66% of all European e-commerce. Last year, B2C e-commerce already represented 3.82% of the gross domestic product in Western Europe. While Northern Europe has the highest internet penetration, it is nearly complete in Western Europe as well. In Belgium, 90% of the population has access to the internet. 67% made an online purchase last year, which ranks Belgium in the middle among all European countries but at the bottom of the list for Western Europe. With 84 % online shoppers, the Netherlands is among the top performers.
India: Walmart is expected to pump in $1.2bln to fund Flipkart's operations
Walmart is looking at using $1.2bln of its cash reserves parked outside the US to fund the operations of Flipkart, the home-grown e-commerce major in India which it acquired for a whopping $16bln last year. This is expected to give the much-required firepower to Flipkart, which is facing intense competition from Amazon in the domestic digital commerce space.
France: Carrefour agrees credit deal tied to social responsibility push
French retailer Carrefour has reached a deal to amend and extend two credit lines worth a total of €3.9bln ($4.4bln), integrating a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component. The company's move reflects a growing interest among the financial community for ethical and responsible investing and ties in with Carrefour's ambition to become a leader in the global transition towards healthier and more sustainable food. As part of the deal, an investment structure dedicated to the 'food transition' will be systematically funded by Carrefour and the banks based on Carrefour's 'CSR and food transition index'.
Mexico blamed Walmart's size & access to rivals' data in blocking app deal
Mexican officials blocked Walmart Inc’s deal to buy delivery app Cornershop because Walmart could not guarantee a level playing field for rival retailers, whose customers use the app to order groceries and other goods, according to an official document and an interview with the top competition regulator this week. Cornershop operates in Mexico and Chile, promoting the app as providing delivery of “groceries to your front door in one hour” from retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp, Chedraui and Walmart. It charges retail chains a commission for its services. Walmart had struck a deal to buy the popular app for $225mln in a bid to boost its e-commerce ambitions in Mexico, one of the retailer’s priority markets, and better compete with Amazon.com online.
Amazon is closing its Restaurants service
Amazon has announced it will close its US Amazon Restaurants delivery business, as reported by GeekWire. Amazon is set to close its Amazon Restaurants service later this month. The food delivery service launched in Seattle in 2015, offering Prime members meal delivery using the Amazon Restaurants website or via the Prime Now app. Amazon Restaurants was available across more than 20 cities in the US, and was later expanded into London. The closure of the service follows Amazon’s decision to end Amazon Restaurants in the UK in November 2018. Amazon’s workplace lunch delivery service, Daily Dish will also end this month.
Canada: Dollarama reports Q1 profit and sales up from year ago
Discount retailer Dollarama Inc. says it earned $103.5mln in its latest quarter, up from $101.5mln a year ago, as revenue grew by 9.5%. The Montreal-based company says the profit amounted to 33 cents per diluted common share for the quarter ended May 5 compared with 31 cents per diluted common share a year ago. Sales for what was the first quarter of the company’s 2020 financial year totalled $828.0mln, up from $756.1mln in the same quarter last year. Comparable store sales grew 5.8% in the quarter.
US: Target customers report issues checking out for second day after weekend outage
Target customers Sunday reported issues checking out at stores across the country, after registers were down for nearly two hours Saturday due to a system outage that created long lines. Customers said card readers weren’t working and they had to pay in cash. In a statement to CNBC, a Target spokesperson said the company’s payment processor, NCR, experienced issues at one of its data centers. As a consequence, Target was unable to process card payments at some stores for about 90 minutes. The spokesperson said the issue was not security related and was not connected to the outage on Saturday. The issue has since been resolved and payments are being processed normally, according to Target.
Amazon in talks with NinjaCart to put funds in fresh produce space
Online retail behemoth Amazon has held discussions with Bengaluru-based B2B fresh produce supply chain company NinjaCart for a potential investment, as the US-based technology leader looks to get a foothold in the sector. The talks, which are still at an exploratory stage, have been ongoing since NinjaCart was in the midst of closing its $100mln equity financing round led by New York-based investment firm Tiger Global Management, according to three sources aware of the development who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The startup’s latest financing round, which closed in April, also saw hedge fund Steadview Capital invest an undisclosed sum. Sources also indicated that NinjaCart received significant interest from other retail conglomerates. ET, however, could not ascertain the names of the other parties.