US: Shopify to buy warehouse technology provider for $450mln
Shopify Inc said it would buy warehouse technology provider 6 River Systems Inc for about $450mln, as it looks to accelerate growth of its fulfillment network. Shopify unveiled plans in June to spend $1bln to run a warehousing network in the United States to take on the likes of Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc. The deal underscores how e-commerce companies and investors increasingly view robotics as key to keeping up with shoppers’ expectations for reliable and fast delivery. The news follows Amazon’s acquisition of Canvas Technology earlier this year, which has built autonomous carts that move goods around warehouses.
US: SoCal grocery workers reach tentative deal with Kroger, Albertsons banners
Unionized Southern California grocery workers have come to a tentative agreement of their labor dispute with Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons, likely averting a strike that was earlier this year authorized by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members. The details of the agreement, which was hammered out after more than 40 bargaining sessions, won’t be released until union members are able to review and vote to approve or reject the agreement. Negotiators have recommended that union members vote in favor of the agreement. “We believe this agreement is a step forward towards our vision of what grocery jobs should be in the future”, said John Grant, president of Los Angeles-based UFCW Local 770, one of seven locals representing about 46,000 grocery workers in the region. “Consumers and community leaders stood with us to show our value and the impact we have in our stores and communities. We have many to thank for their support.”
US: Dollar General plans massive expansion
Dollar General is working to make itself a national retail staple. The budget retailer announced in a recent statement that it is currently constructing new stores in Washington and Wyoming, which will up its national presence to 46 states. “We look forward to expanding our footprint into Washington and Wyoming and the opportunity to serve new customers with value and convenience through our mission of Serving Others”, said Dan Nieser, Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Store Development. “At Dollar General, our customers are at the center of all we do. We believe the addition of each new Dollar General store presents positive economic growth for the communities we serve through the creation of local career opportunities and the ability for customers to purchase affordable, quality items in our easy-to-shop, small box format.”
Denmark: Coop encourages responsible consumption
Coop’s Food Pyramid has been redesigned for its new climate-friendly campaign. It was originally used to show how to eat a healthy and balanced meal. Now, under the heading 'Grønt i front' ('Green in front'), the campaign inspires Danes to buy vegetables rather than meat. Coop stores, including Kvickly, SuperBrugsen, Dagli´Brugsen, will distribute 500,000 free posters showing the updated Food Pyramid. They will also offer advice to help Danes buy more eco-friendly food. Coop CSR director, Signe D. Frese, said: “For many Danes, the climate struggle can be difficult to relate to on a personal level. But in our daily food consumption, we can make a huge difference [...] by eating more vegetables, a little less meat, and avoiding food waste.”
China: Alibaba begins new era as founder Jack Ma departs
Alibaba chairman Jack Ma is due to step down from the e-commerce giant on Tuesday, marking the end of an era for the firm. He co-founded Alibaba in 1999 and it has become one of the world's biggest internet firms. Mr Ma's success and colourful style has made him one of China's most recognisable businessmen. Daniel Zhang, currently Alibaba's chief executive, will replace him as executive chairman. The company is now valued at $480bln (£389bln) and Mr Ma is China's richest man, with a net worth of $38.6bln according to Forbes.
Auchan rebranding stores in Portugal
The Auchan Group announced it has initiated its rebranding programme, set April 2018. In H1 2019 results, it was highlighted Auchan Portugal has strong sales growth. Auchan Retail operates under three banners, in Portugal. The retailer has started the rebranding of Jumbo and Pão de Açúcar stores, to concentrate on the Auchan brand. The Auchan Group’s €90mln investment plan for 2018-2019, focuses on three areas. The retailer plans to open a new store, in addition to the rebranding and modernisation of current stores. €5mln has been dedicated to adapting the spaces for the brand change. The rebranding focuses on the Auchan brand. Pedro Cid, the CEO of Auchan Retail Portugal stated the Auchan brand is international and reflects how the retailer wants to shape its future.
Bol.com expands into French-speaking Belgium
Bol.com has announced that they will be expanding into the French-speaking part of Belgium. In summer 2020, the country’s French-speaking residents will be able to shop in their native language using the bol.com app. The brand is seeking local entrepreneurs to expand its offering to this new market and will give current merchants the opportunity to broaden their reach.
Spain: Vegalsa-Eroski launches a mesh bag to remove plastic
Vegalsa-Eroski incorporates a new reusable mesh bag as an alternative to the single-use plastic bag for buying fruit and vegetables in bulk. The new mesh bags are washable and can be reused at least 20 times. The company has decided to extend it to all the stores in its commercial network (Eroski Center, Eroski Hypermarkets, Eroski City and Aliprox franchises, Family Self-Service and Cash Record) after conducting a pilot test in some centres. These new mesh bags are sold in a batch of four units, have a size of 35 cm x 30 cm and support a weight of 5 kilos. Its use is similar to what has been done so far with plastic bags: customers introduce in them the fruits and vegetables in bulk they wish to purchase, they can close it with some laces that they have incorporated, weigh the purchase on the balance and paste the corresponding label for payment at checkout. The weighing sticker can be easily removed after purchase and the mesh bag can be washed if necessary.
Eurospin launching in Malta
Italy-based Eurospin has announced plans to expand into Malta. It is planning to open 12 stores. Eurospin already operates in Italy and Slovenia. The retailer has over 1,100 stores in both countries. The expansion into Malta will be the third market where Eurospin operates. The retailer plans to open five new stores, with future development leading to 12 stores in total. A timeframe on the expansion has not been declared. The last major retailer to enter the Maltese market was SPAR International, which partnered with the Azzopardi group. The Eurospin discount banner is committed to offering shoppers quality products at a discounted price. Eurospin offers the market a strong competitor for discount retailers, such as Lidl.
Biggest online retailer in Romania takes over 54% in food delivery startup
eMAG, the largest online retailer in Romania, has bought a 54% majority stake in the company that operates the food delivery application EuCeMananc, a domestic startup launched in 2014 in Timisoara. The application includes a number of restaurants from which its users can order food and have it delivered by the company’s couriers. The app is available in 18 cities across the country being the leader of the food ordering market in the western part of the country. The founding entrepreneurs will continue to run the company.
Spain and Portugal: DIA reverses decision to dispose of Clarel
Reversing a previously announced decision to sell its Clarel stores, due to them being non-core, DIA has said it is set to retain the brand in both Spain and Portugal. As part of the new focus on the banner and to enable it to drive innovation for itself, DIA has created an independent business unit for the brand. The unit will be led by Paul Berg, who has been appointed as its chief executive. DIA operates 1,200 Clarel stores in Spain and 71 in Portugal. It generated sales of €288.8mln in 2018, but also produced losses of €49mln during the same period. Keeping the brand will help DIA’s aim to standout from competitors by maintaining the brand’s private labels in its stores. Clarel has a range of private labels including Bonté, Basic Cosmetics, Junior Smile, Baby Smile and AS, which are also stocked at DIA stores.
Sweden: Coop launches first converted Netto stores
Coop Sweden has announced that its first three converted Netto stores have opened its doors to customers on 6 September. The stores are located in Malmvägen in Sollentuna, Slättenvägen in Falkenberg and Vattenverksvägen in Malmö. Commenting on the launch, CEO of Coop everyday trading AB, Patrik Levin, said: "I am very proud of all the employees who worked hard because only two months after we took over the business we could open three fresh stores. I really believe it will be appreciated by both Netto's old customers and new visitors." In June of this year, Coop Sweden acquired the approval of the Swedish Competition Authority to complete its acquisition of 163 Netto stores. The retailer aims to complete the conversion of all the acquired stores by the summer of 2020.