First retail store in Europe for Microsoft

Carrefour sells stake in Cargo to Argan

Carrefour France makes investments to optimize its supply chain operations
Symphony RetailAI, the leading global provider of AI-enabled revenue growth management solutions and customer-centric insights for retailers and CPG manufacturers across the entire value chain, announced that Carrefour France has selected Symphony RetailAI’s warehouse replenishment, inventory flow optimization and supply chain insights solutions to optimize inventory availability across its omnichannel and multi-format business. This most recent agreement is part of an on-going strategic collaboration between Symphony RetailAI and Carrefour. 

Global FMCG growth taking place outside supermarkets, Kantar reports
Approximately 96% of global Fast-Moving Consumer Goods growth took place outside hyper- and supermarkets in 2018, with e-commerce growing 10 times faster than all other channels combined, according to new Kantar Worldpanel research. In the 47 countries analysed in the Winning Omnichannel report, shoppers are switching hypermarket trips for discounters, cash and carry, convenience and e-commerce. E-commerce is far outstripping any other medium, with 20.3% growth in 2018, up from 15% growth in 2017. Discounters (+5.7%) and cash and carry (+5.4%) are the next-fastest growing channels globally, while growth in convenience was +2.5% in 2018. Kantar forecasts that e-commerce will represent 10.1% value share of total FMCG by 2025, up from 5.1% in 2018, with discounters predicted to be up from 10.6 % to 13.4% and convenience up from 4.1% to 4.4%.

Microsoft: first retail store in Europe
Microsoft opened its first retail store in Europe on Thursday as the software giant looks to boost its physical presence and compete with other tech companies offering unique in-store experiences for customers. The 21,932 square-foot Microsoft store will be located on Oxford Circus in the center of London’s famous shopping district - just down the street from Apple’s flagship Regent Street location. London will be Microsoft’s third flagship destination, along with Sydney and New York City.

France: Casino's parent Rallye shares slump after court backs SocGen
Shares in debt-burdened Rallye slumped after a French court ruled that Societe Generale can call in collateral it owns in Casino’s parent, in what is seen as a blow to controlling shareholder Jean-Charles Naouri. Casino Chairman and Chief Executive Naouri in May placed the retailer’s parent companies Rallye, Finatis and Fonciere Euris under protection from creditors in a bid to save the group from collapse. Under that safeguard procedure the servicing of bank and bond debt was suspended for at least six months while the group worked to reorganise its debt and potentially reschedule it by up to 10 years.

Poland: Netto to introduce 'concept 3.0' in 100 stores by year end
Netto Polska will extend its 'concept 3.0' to 100 stores in the country by the end of 2019, according to a report in Concept 3.0 involves the implementation of changes in store design, product offering, and customers services for a better shopping experience. The concept will be fully implemented in about 30-40 branches, while the rest of the stores will be remodelled to upgrade the look and feel, the report said. The retailer has opened its first, independent, '3.0 concept' outlet in Świebodzin in Poland.

UK: M&S targets doubling of food business after Ocado deal
British retailer Marks & Spencer is targeting a doubling of its 6bln pound ($7.5bln) food business, driven by its new joint venture with online supermarket Ocado, its chairman said. In February M&S purchased a 50% share of Ocado’s UK retail business for an initial 562.5mln pounds, providing M&S with a home-delivery service from September 2020 at the latest. “Our ambition is to double the size of our food business and Ocado sets us well on the way to doing that”, Archie Norman told investors at M&S’s annual shareholders’ meeting. “We think this is transformational for our business”, he said. “I have to tell you not everybody outside yet realises what we’ve done.”

French supermarket store owner quits over safari picture furore
A couple running a Super U supermarket in southeastern France had to quit after photos they posted of trophy kills from a 2015 safari unleashed a furore on the internet. The Super U store in Arbresle, near Lyon, is part of Systeme U, a cooperative of French supermarkets, which announced that the couple were resigning. “These pictures are completely against the values defended by the U cooperative and its commitments. We firmly condemn them, even though these are private activities of the supermarket owners,” the statement said.

UK: ‘Most retailers unaware of impact of delivery options’
The majority of UK retailers are not aware of the impact and value that delivery options have. Three out of four consumers leave their shopping cart because they don’t like the delivery options, while 47% of retailer don’t even know their cart abandonment rate or why consumers leave their online store. In the United Kingdom, one in two consumers purchase something online at last once a week. So, it’s very understandable these online shoppers value delivery options. But many online retailers don’t have enough knowledge about how their customers think about the delivery methods offered and the reasons why these shoppers sometimes leave their ecommerce websites. A new report by BigCommerce on delivery in the UK ecommerce industry suggests that online retailers in the United Kingdom should put more effort into connecting the dots between delivery practices and customer behavior.

UAE: Majid Al Futtaim launches People of Determination Advisory Panel
Majid Al Futtaim - one of the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneers across the Middle East, Africa and Asia - has launched the region’s first ‘People of Determination Advisory Panel’, in a move to ensure its customer offering is inclusive for all members of the UAE community, and in line with the UAE government’s efforts to empower and protect the rights of People of Determination. The Panel comprises representatives from the UAE Ministry of Community Development, Dubai Municipality and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services along with a mix of customers who are either People of Determination or a parent of one and independent subject matter experts.

Walmart to accelerate its fresh food business in India
US-headquartered cash & carry retailer Walmart is going to focus on its fresh food business in India. For this, the company is looking to launch collection and distribution centres in North India and ramp up its supply chain. The food accounts for 60% of Walmart India’s overall business in the country, while the contribution from fresh fruits and vegetables is very low. At present, Walmart is sourcing fruits and vegetables mainly from mandis. Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India, said: "Currently, our major focus is on hardy vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic and on some other vegetables with slightly longer shelf life compared to greens. This is because, in this category, we can have a supply chain advantage rather than just source from mandis. The major focus is on building a supply chain for vegetables."

France: Carrefour sells stake in logistics property group to Argan
French supermarket group Carrefour said it had agreed to sell its stake in Cargo, a real estate company that owns some of its distribution centers, to property vehicle Argan as it plows ahead with planned asset sales. Cargo’s assets are worth about 900mln euros ($1bln) in total, and Carrefour, which owns 32% of the firm, said it would receive about 290mln euros from the deal in a mix of cash and Argan shares. It will hold a 5% stake in Argan after the transaction.

Spain: Grupo Uvesco acquires 11 Simply stores
Spain-based Grupo Uvesco has acquired 11 Simply stores from Sabeco Banaketa, in Bizkaia. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. The 11 acquired stores have a selling space of almost 12,000 sq. m. Five of the stores are in Bilbao, two in Barakaldo, two in Santurce and two in Portugalete. Uvesco will also take over responsibility for all the stores’ employees. The company commented: “For Uvesco, this operation involves reinforcing the expansion of its model based on quality on three pillars, the fresh product, customer service, and variety of assortment, expanding the commercial surface to approach the customer, a process in which since its inception." Grupo Uvesco now operates a total of 221 supermarkets, under its BM Supermercados and Super Amara banners. It generated a sales growth of 5% to €740m in 2018 and hopes to continue the same success in 2019.

Amazon customer helpline not required, says Europe's top court in boost for e-commerce
U.S. online retailer Amazon does not have to provide a helpline phone number to consumers, Europe’s top court said in a ruling that could boost e-commerce merchants. Amazon found itself in the dock after the German Federal Union of Consumer Organizations and Associations said its German website breached the country’s consumer protection laws by not informing consumers in a clear and comprehensible manner about its telephone and fax numbers. Amazon’s automated call-back facility and an online chat service were not sufficient to show that it had lived up to its legal obligation, the federation said. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union rejected the arguments.

US: Safeway confirms it will bring back the Andronico’s name
Confirming a Berkeleyside story from February, Safeway’s Northern California division president Brad Street told Berkeleyside this week that the supermarket operator intends to bring back the Andronico’s Community Markets name by the end of the year. The change will go beyond just branding, he said. As part of the conversion, the division will rename four existing Safeway Community Markets in the Bay Area as Andronico’s, and offer more local food options than what is currently sold and what is available through larger Safeway supermarkets.

US: Sam’s Club goes chainwide with pickup
Sam’s Club has rolled out its Same Day Club Pickup service to its 589 locations nationwide. The Walmart warehouse club chain said that all members who place orders for groceries, general merchandise and other products through or the Sam’s Club mobile app can now pick up their orders the same day. The service had been piloted at select clubs for about a year. Same Day Club Pickup is free. Orders can be picked up within four hours or less and are limited to 15 items. There is no minimum dollar amount. Members receive a text or email message when their order is ready.

US: Walmart got a $10bln surprise after buying Flipkart
When Walmart Inc. paid $16bln for control of India’s e-commerce pioneer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. last year, the American retail giant got a little-noticed digital payments subsidiary as part of the deal. Now the business is emerging as one of the country’s top startups, a surprise benefit for Walmart from its largest-ever acquisition. Flipkart’s board recently authorized the PhonePe Pvt Ltd. unit to become a new entity and explore raising $1bln from outside investors at a valuation of as much as $10bln, according to people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. The funding may close in the next couple of months, although the talks are not finalized and terms could still change, they said. The unit would then become independent with a distinct investor base, although Walmart-owned Flipkart would remain a shareholder. Walmart and Flipkart didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

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