US: SpartanNash CEO Dave Staples resigns
Dave Staples has resigned as CEO of SpartanNash, according to a company release. Dennis Eidson, the chairman of the retailer-distributor's board who served as CEO from 2008 to 2017, will serve as interim president and CEO until a successor is identified. SpartanNash also announced it will exit its Fresh Kitchen operation in Indianapolis in an effort to improve operating earnings and EBITDA within its food distribution division. The company will focus on its Fresh Cut operations, which it also picked up in its 2017 acquisition of Caito Foods. SpartanNash expects a $20mln hit to net sales as a result of exiting the Fresh Kitchen facility and $14mln in asset impairment charges applied to the second financial quarter. It expects to complete the transition of its fresh facilities by the end of fiscal 2019. The company announced a preliminary earnings loss of $6.8mln, or 19 cents per share, for the second quarter. It downgraded its earnings outlook for the year from a range of $190 to $205mln to $183 to $195mln.
Canada's online grocery market poised for major expansion
More Canadians are buying their groceries online, signalling a market shift with a potentially broad impact on real estate, consumer behaviour and an already highly consolidated grocery market. While Canada’s online grocery market lags significantly behind the United Kingdom and the United States, aging baby boomers and convenience-seeking millennials are driving major chains to rework their supply chains. Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food analytics lab at Dalhousie University, says online grocery shopping in Canada only has a penetration rate of around 2%, compared to the U.S. at 3% and the U.K. at over 7%. But he says competition from online retailers and double-digit growth in demand is pushing established supermarket chains to close physical outlets in favour of broadening their online reach. “It’s the Amazon effect”, he said. “That was the wake up call for grocers - before that they were just scared of losing business, now they’re all doing it, too.”
US: Food Lion joins healthy food discount program
Food Lion is the latest grocery chain to offer the Healthy Savings program, which gives shoppers instant discounts on healthy foods like fresh produce, whole grains, lean meat and yogurt. The program is currently available at Food Lion locations in Virginia and will launch nationwide within the next two weeks, the company said. The chain has more than 1,000 stores in 10 states. The Healthy Savings program, run by Minneapolis-based electronic benefits transfer (EBT) and payment processor Solutran Inc., is offered through employers, health plans, non-profits and government programs. The goal is to promote better eating habits and encourage wellness by helping consumers afford healthier foods.
US: Kroger slashes overall food waste by 9%
In its 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, the Kroger Co. revealed that the food waste generated by its retail stores decreased 9% in the past year, and that the company had reduced both overall food waste and the greenhouse gases resulting from it. “Today, doing the right thing for society and being environmentally sustainable are table stakes for corporations”, said Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group VP of corporate affairs and chief social impact officer. “That's why we’re proud to go above and beyond with our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan. Our progress in each of the environmental, social and governance aspects of sustainability are a direct result of these innovative and intentional efforts.”
Walmart brand to be dropped from supermarkets in Brazil
Private equity firm Advent International Corp will drop the Walmart Inc brand from supermarkets it acquired last year in Brazil by June 2020, the Brazilian retailer said in a statement. The retailer itself will also be renamed to Grupo BIG from Walmart Brasil, it said. The rebranding comes roughly one year after the world’s biggest retailer sold 80% of its Brazilian operations to Advent, partially exiting an underperforming business and taking a non-cash charge of roughly $4.5bln. Nearly 100 stores currently using the Walmart brand will be rebranded to BIG and BIG Bompreço, regional brands Walmart already used in the past. Another 27 Walmart stores will be turned into cash-and-carry stores Maxxi and membership-only retail chain Sam’s Club.
Amazon launches Marketplace Appstore in India
Amazon launched its Marketplace Appstore in India, which is a platform created for sellers to discover trusted third-party applications that can help them automate, grow and manage their business. The Amazon Marketplace Appstore enables sellers to focus on their business as it reduces the time and effort they spend on finding the right solution for their specific needs - be it finding a shipping provider or sales analytics tool. Sellers can search, filter and compare applications to find the solution that best suits their needs.
Germany: Kretinsky's Metro takeover bid fails
Daniel Kretinsky's attempts to acquire 67.5% of shares in German retailer Metro have failed. The Czech billionaire now wants to take a seat in the Board of Directors. With barely over 40% of shares in their hands, Kretinsky and his partner Patrik Tkac fall way short of their target of 67.5%. The owner of investment fund EP Global Commerce has now said to German newspaper Handelsblatt that, as the target has not been reached, the offer is cancelled. A major factor in the cancellation is the fact that major shareholders Beisheim Group and Meridian Foundation (owning 20% of Metro's shares) thought the offer of 16 euros per share was too low. Kretinsky disagrees and thinks the offer was correct, declining to make a higher bid.
UK: Over fifty retailers demand chancellor fix business taxation
Over fifty major retailers have come together to demand the Government takes action to fix the broken business rates system. In a letter to the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, retailers called on the Government to put business rates at the heart of the promised new economic package. The letter, coordinated by the British Retail Consortium, has been signed by major retailers including the CEOs of supermarkets, food-to-go, fashion, homeware, and department store retailers.
Belgium: Delhaize and bol.com gear up cooperation
Delhaize Belgium and bol.com are announcing two joint initiatives, as the latest example of how Ahold Delhaize’s local brands are stepping up their cooperation to create an even more seamless shopping experience for Belgian customers. Starting in September, bol.com pick-up points will be available in all Delhaize stores throughout Flanders. In addition, the two companies will hold their first joint marketing promotion later this month. The two brands will collaborate on an online back-to-school promotion during the last two weeks of August. Customers who spend at least €75 on Delhaize’s online shopping site, Delhaize.be, will receive a €10 bol.com digital gift card. In return, bol.com will give Belgian customers who spend at least €75 on their "back-to-school" assortment a digital voucher code for a €10 discount on groceries at Delhaize.be. And that’s not all - Delhaize and bol.com are already planning a second collaboration in the run-up to Sinterklaas and Christmas. This fall, bol.com will introduce a book of toy trends and inspiration for children and parents, to be distributed at Delhaize stores in Belgium, among others. In addition, the two brands will work together to provide a convenient service to customers.
UK: Ocado filed a patent for robot firefighter years before warehouse fire
Ocado, the UK-based online grocery store, had patented a robot firefighter to help put fires out in its warehouses, years before the company’s hi-tech warehouse caught fire. The fire took place in its warehouse based in Andover, Hampshire in February and cost the company $121mln. Under a patent filed in August 2016, published on Sqoop, the company had come up with a fire extinguishing robotic service device, described for use with a robotic picking system grid. The device is configured for driving to any location on the grid in order to extinguish a fire, and it may also be provided with a camera sensor to locate the fire. Ocado did not comment when asked whether the devices were in use during the fire in its Andover warehouse. The likelihood is that the devices were not yet deployed in this particular warehouse, causing the fire to spread.
Uber to explore grocery delivery service: reports
Uber is exploring the option of including grocery delivery in its food delivery service Uber Eats, media reports suggest. The company aims to fill the gap between ordering from Amazon-style warehouses and more traditional grocery delivery services such as Ocado, according the Financial Times. As competition intensifies in the grocery delivery sector, the company is aiming to compete with global giants like Amazon as well as local companies. The head of Uber Eats, Jason Droege, said that he wanted to seize a new opportunity in local online services, the report noted. Uber is already testing the concept in Australia in association with local supermarket group Coles. As part of the pilot project, it is offering cooked meals and items such as milk, bread, and fruit from a store in Sydney. Uber is also in talks with supermarkets in Europe and North America about grocery and meal delivery services, including Sainsbury’s in the UK, the report said.