AEON plans to quadruple the value of products it purchases from Vietnam

Carrefour has opened its first restaurant in Paris

Carrefour sees more retail sector consolidation, including in France
The boss of Carrefour said the retail sector was bound to consolidate in the coming years, notably in France, as competition intensifies, and that his mission was to make sure the French retailer came out a winner. When asked if Carrefour could exit underperforming countries such as Italy or China, Alexandre Bompard told an annual shareholders meeting he was confident his overhaul plan "could improve the operational situation in each of our countries". Carrefour, which is Europe's largest retailer, is in the midst of a five-year plan it launched in January 2018 to cut costs and jobs, boost e-commerce investment and seek a partnership in China with Tencent. Carrefour's plan, which also entails a greater focus on areas such as fresh local products, organic food and sustainability, is aimed at helping the retailer boost profits and revenues, and tackle competition from Amazon. "There are a lot of competitors in markets like Italy or in France and weak sector margins and we are only at the beginning of the arrival of large platforms like Amazon. There will be difficulties and more consolidations in the coming years", Bompard said.

AEON plans to quadruple sourcing from Vietnam
Japanese retail giant AEON plans to quadruple the value of products it purchases from Vietnam to $1bln by 2025. AEON executives told the Ministry of Industry and Trade officials at a meeting in Hanoi last week that the company would first double the value of products it procures from Vietnam from the current level to $500mln next year, the government website reported. The total value of Vietnamese goods imported for AEON outlets in Japan rose 7.6% in 2018 to $245mln, with clothing accounting for 55%, the company said.

UK's Iceland: growing sales and looking to the future
Iceland has released its results for the 52 weeks ending 29 March 2019. Sales increased by 4.5% to £3.08bln in the 52 week period. This was driven by new store openings as like-for-like sales were broadly flat. This year has however been challenging for the retailer. With the introduction of the National Living Wage and the rise in fuel prices Iceland's profits have fallen. The retailer saw a loss of £13mln in earnings on a comparable 52 week basis. During this time the retailer opened a net 43 stores, 38 of which were in The Food Warehouse format, bringing its total to 90. It has also been testing new formats. This has included developing its strategic alliance with The Range, adding its food offer to nine stores, and opening a new express store in Moraira, Costa Blanca. This will be part of the British-run Overseas Supermercados.

Carrefour franchisee to open first Ugandan store
Carrefour will open its first store in Uganda this year, expanding in the region after a successful launch in neighbouring Kenya, the Dubai-based operator of the French retailer’s outlets said. Majid al Futtaim (MAF), a United Arab Emirates-based mall developer that holds Carrefour franchise rights in 37 countries, opened its first store in Kenya in 2016, securing rapid growth in a country where just 30% of retail transactions take place on the formal market. MAF has already secured space at a large mall in the Ugandan capital Kampala and has hired 150 workers ahead of the launch of the store, said Hani Weiss, CEO of MAF Retail in a statement.

Mercadona to launch Portuguese operations in July
Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona is set to enter the Portuguese market in July of this year. The first store will open in Vila Nova da Gaia on 2 July, followed by three more launches in the coming weeks in Matosinhos, Maia, and Gondomar. It is the retailer's first launch outside of Spain, where it is has a 25% share. In November of last year, Mercadona confirmed plans to launch in Portugal. The retailer has already invested an estimated €160mln and is aiming for 10 stores in Portugal by the end of the year. The other locations include Porto, Ovar, Braga, São João da Madeira, Barcelos and Vila Nova de Gaia.

UK: Morrisons makes distribution changes as Amazon partnership expands
UK grocer Morrisons has appointed third party logistics provider Wincanton to support its distribution network. Wincanton will deliver goods from three of the supermarket chain’s distribution centres to stores across the country, after securing a five-year contract. The logistics company will also be responsible for vehicle maintenance through its fleet management business, Pullman Fleet Services, at five Morrisons sites. Adrian Colman, CEO of Wincanton, promised “high quality operations of scale that can be flexed to support our customers in a competitive industry”.

France: Carrefour opens restaurant in Paris
French supermarket giant chain Carrefour has opened its first restaurant in Paris. Officially, 'Bon Appétit!' is only a test, but if this establishment becomes a success, more will inevitably follow. The first and (for now) only Bon Appétit! was opened in the heart of Paris. At 63 sqm, the place can seat 35 people. The new store concept focuses on healthy eating and a range of products from organic farming and fair trade, which can be consumed on the spot or taken home. Alexandre de Palmas, director of proximity concepts at Carrefour France, says the group wants to triple its market share in this segment - where it is currently mostly supported by its 'Bon app' line - by 2022. If the concept is a success, more restaurants will follow, although it is not yet clear how many.

Canada: Sobeys campaign celebrates food and family
Sobeys is focusing on the strong connection between food and family in a new campaign and brand positioning centred on the tagline, “Canada’s family grocery store.” Trinh Tham, VP brand strategy and planning at Sobeys said: “At Sobeys, family and food are at the heart of everything we do. We’ve been a family business for over 110 years, so it’s really a core of our business and we’re very committed to Canadian families.” The new tagline, she adds: “embodies and articulates our belief in the importance of the role that Sobeys plays in bringing to together families and food.”

US: Walmart Grocery is now offering a $98 per year ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription
Walmart is taking aim at Instacart, Target’s Shipt and Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods with a new grocery delivery subscription service called simply, “Delivery Unlimited.” Before, Walmart shoppers could order groceries online and pick them up at their local store for free or they could opt to pay the $9.95 (or sometimes less) per-order delivery fee. Delivery Unlimited is a third option that offers consumers a way to skip the per-order fee in favor of a monthly or annual subscription.

US: Jackson Mitchell Holdings, Inc. completes acquisition of Little Giant Farmer's Market Corporation
Jackson Mitchell Holdings, Inc. closed on a deal to purchase Little Giant Farmers Market Corporation, which operates five Georgia grocery stores. The company will continue to operate under the current corporate structure and Little Giant Farmer's Market will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Jackson Mitchell Holdings, Inc. The locations in the deal include the original Riverdale, Georgia location, the flagship store in Jonesboro, Georgia, both Newnan, Georgia locations, as well as the Decatur, Georgia location.

Ahold Delhaize USA services company debuting new tech office
Retail Business Services LLC, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, opened a new technology office in Quincy, Massachusetts, on June 17, that houses 200 information technology associates, in addition to an innovation lab that will provide technology services for Ahold Delhaize USA’s banners, including Stop & Shop, which is based in Quincy. At the grand-opening ceremony, attended by elected officials, business leaders and other dignitaries, including Retail Business Services President Roger Wheeler and EVP, IT and CIO Paul Scorza, the company cut the ribbon on the facility and revealed a new partnership with the Quincy Chamber of Commerce to support that organization’s Incubate Quincy 1400 (IQ1400) venture, which has the goal of making the city a destination for tech startups.

Canada: Loblaw rolls out food waste-fighting app nationally
After launching at 139 Maxi and Provigo stores in Quebec earlier this year, Loblaw Companies Limited is rolling out the Flashfood app to additional banners and provinces. The app, which allows users to purchase surplus food directly from grocers via their phone at drastically reduced prices, is now available at all Real Canadian Superstore locations in Ontario. By the end of the summer, the app will be available to customers at more than 250 stores across Western Canada, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

US: Kroger’s Indianapolis employees ratify new contract
The Kroger Co.’s Central division employees in Indiana ratified a new labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 700. The agreement is part of the Cincinnati-based grocer’s Restock Kroger program in which the Kroger Family of Companies is investing an incremental $500mln in associate wages, training and development across the company. The agreement with the Central division team covers nearly 9,500 associates under the Indianapolis collective bargaining agreement with UFCW Local 700 and raises wages to $10 an hour for most clerks with regular wage increases every six months.

US: Ahold Delhaize announces leadership changes at Stop & Shop and Giant Food
Ahold Delhaize USA announced leadership changes at two of its U.S. brands. The changes include: Mark McGowan, President, Stop & Shop has made the decision to leave the organization. McGowan will remain with Stop & Shop through year-end, at the company’s request, to ensure a seamless transition. Gordon Reid, President of Giant Food, will become President, Stop & Shop. Reid will begin transitioning to this new role in the coming weeks, and officially assume the role in late July. Ira Kress, SVP, Operations for Giant Food, has been appointed as interim President, Giant Food.

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