Kroger: new analytics solution for branded suppliers

Tops: delivery service expanded in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont

US: Trader Joe's first foray into The Natural State
Thousands of requests for an Arkansas-based Trader Joe’s poured in earlier this year, while the retailer teased that it would open its first Little Rock location later in 2019. It appears that the rumors that swirled in May of this year proved correct. The city will now be home to the specialty supermarket’s newest store. As official tenants at the former Toys "R" Us storefront, this marks the specialty grocer’s first foray into The Natural State.

Canada: Online grocery shopping gaining traction in Quebec, study finds
Although most people in Quebec prefer to push a shopping cart and fill it with groceries as they go through the aisles, more and more people in Quebec are relying on food subscription services or are ordering their groceries online, according to a new study. The study was conducted by research institute CEFRIO, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Maxi grocery retailer. Bruno Guglielminetti, spokesperson for CEFRIO, says there is a trend in Quebec developing for online food distribution services. According to the study, which surveyed 1,002 people, 7% of the adult population used a food subscription service or ordered their groceries online between December 2018 and February 2019. Most of them were under 55. “They really went online on a regular basis and bought their food”, Guglielminetti said.

US: Whole Foods wins dismissal of New York City overcharging lawsuit
A federal judge dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit that accused the Whole Foods Market supermarket chain of overcharging shoppers in New York City by overstating the weight of prepackaged foods it sold. U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled that lead plaintiff Sean John lacked standing to pursue the case as he could not establish the prepackaged cheese and cupcakes he said he bought weighed less than the weight used to price them.

US: Meijer recognized as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion
For the third consecutive year, Meijer was named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion, which means it's recognized as a company that champions a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities and continues to improve its policies and practices in the space. The achievement comes from the 2019 Disability Equality Index (DEI), which is a unique, joint initiative of Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). It measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services and supplier diversity. This year's recognition is made even more rewarding due to the significant work conducted by the Meijer Disability Awareness & Advocacy Group (mDAAG), a Meijer team member resource group, Meijer Diversity & Inclusion Vice President Timothy Williams said.

US: Kroger launches new analytics solution for branded suppliers
Kroger’s data-science division, 84.51°, has launched a new analytics solution to help branded suppliers better position their products with consumers, in-store and online. The new tool, Stratum, has been developed to help Kroger’s branded suppliers gain new insights into product performance. Given Kroger’s broad reach, Stratum will be fuelled with insights from one out of every two households in the US, delivering conclusions that are representative of consumer behaviour nationally. With access to in-store and online purchases in a single view, brands will be able to access data on sales performance, inventory and out-of-stocks, ranging, promotions, customer segmentation and behavioural insights, new item performance, and in-store space management. Kroger will also be able to apply the tool to its private label portfolio.

US: Tops expands delivery service in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont
Tops Markets LLC has expanded its home delivery service to five more stores in New York, one in Pennsylvania and two in Vermont. With these eight additions, the grocer now offers delivery from 142 locations through its partnership with San Francisco-based Instacart. According to Tops, now 90% of its customers have the service as an option. “We’re excited to bring even more convenience to the shoppers across our various markets”, said Jillian Sirica, manager, digital marketing for Tops. “This expansion marks our 12th since Tops launched Instacart services in 2017, and the first in Vermont.”

Portugal: Pingo Doce introduces food delivery service in Lisbon
Portuguese supermarket chain Pingo Doce has teamed up with online food delivery company to offer meal delivery services in Lisbon. Initially, the free-of-cost service will be available within a radius of 2.5 kilometres from Pingo Doce’s Telheiras and Tomás Ribeiro stores. In the coming months, it will be extended to other areas of Lisbon, the company said. According to João Freitas, meal solutions director at Pingo Doce, the new service "aims to respond to the latest trends in the restaurant market, by offering an innovative service in the food distribution market".

UK: Central England Co-op throws support behind local producers with launch of new ‘Carefully Crafted’ range
Central England Co-op is celebrating the best of local produce with the launch of a new range in one its supermarkets located in the heart of the Peak District. The Society has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting quality locally-sourced produce with its new ‘Carefully Crafted’ range at its Bakewell Supermarket, while also showcasing the wide array of artisan and homemade products produced by independent manufacturers. Carefully Crafted features enhanced ranges of local products previously available in the Market Street store, as well as brand new ranges from newly sourced suppliers, many of which are based within a short distance of the Bakewell Supermarket.

Spain: Spar opens three new stores
Spar is expanding its business in Spain by launching new stores and modernising existing outlets. In the past two months, three new Spar stores have opened in the country, adding 1,800 square metres to its overall store estate. The new stores, launched in association with Spar's licensed partners in Mérida, Tossa del Mar, and Gran Canaria, have created 40 new jobs.

UK: Waitrose to axe seven more stores putting 700 jobs at risk
Waitrose is closing seven supermarkets as it undergoes its second round of store reductions this year, in a move that puts nearly 700 jobs at risk. Three supermarkets, in Bromley in London, Oadby in Leicestershire and Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, have been sold to Lidl in the latest sign of the changing grocery market being radically shaken up by fast-growing cut-price chains. As well as the sales to Lidl, Waitrose is selling a fourth store, in Sandhurst, Berkshire, to another unnamed buyer while the group’s sites in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and a convenience store at BA headquarters near Heathrow airport, will all close down in the autumn.

Australia: Coles trains machine vision to identify out-of-stock items
Coles is trialing systems that could help it identify gaps on supermarket shelves and trigger re-orders of sold-out products. The supermarket operator revealed it is exploring several options around real-time replenishment through an internal lab operation called Lab288. Despite being formed in 2017, not much has previously been said about Lab288, which chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek described to iTnews as Coles’ “disruptive technology lab”.

Honestbee to temporarily suspend Malaysia operations as part of restructuring
Online grocery and food delivery provider honestbee - which in May stopped its food delivery service in Singapore as part of a strategic review of its business - said it will be "temporarily suspending" its operations in Malaysia from Monday (July 22). In an email seen by CNA, the service provider said the decision was made in the Singapore headquarters to "reform the honestbee business and come back to serve (customers) better in the future".

UK: Sainsbury’s launches 'Signsbury’s' to encourage sign language
Sainsbury’s has changed its store sign to Signsbury’s in a move to be more inclusive and encourage staff and customers to communicate with sign language. The Signsbury’s initiative is taking place in Bath from July 18 to 21 as part of its 150 Days of Community initiative. Over 100 Sainsbury’s employees took part in British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign. This means employees can now sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers - from greeting them at the door, asking if they have a Nectar Card to discussing the weather.

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