UK: Morrisons says talk of firm as takeover target 'pure speculation'
Talk that Morrisons, Britain’s No. 4 grocer, could be subject to a takeover bid is “pure speculation”, its chief executive David Potts said. Industry analysts have suggested that Morrisons could be a candidate for a potential takeover, possibly from an overseas private equity firm, given the weakness of the pound making deals cheaper and the group’s 27% share price fall over the last year.
Denmark: Grocer Netto goes online with Fillop
Danish retailer Netto is testing a new digital platform - Fillop - that allows customers to purchase basic groceries online. Presently, it is being beta-tested with select customers and is expected to go live across Denmark in early 2020, the retailer said. According to data from Nielsen, around 14% of consumers in Denmark have tried to buy groceries online. However, more than half of Danes still prefer to buy fresh produce from stores, data from Aim Create has revealed. Keeping this trend in mind, the retailer has rolled out a service that offers home delivery of basic goods such as toilet paper, rice, and toothpaste, but does not include fresh produce. It will help consumers in avoiding the hassle of dragging the basic goods home, while allowing them to go to the store and choose their fresh produce.
UK: John Lewis warns of no-deal Brexit impact
John Lewis has warned that a no-deal Brexit would have a significant impact on its business as it slumped to its first-ever half-year loss. The group, which owns Waitrose as well as the John Lewis department stores, dived £25.9mln into the red in the six months to 27 July after making an underlying pretax profit of £0.8mln in the same period a year before. Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the staff-owned retailer, said the loss reflected lower sales in some categories, including homewares and electrical goods, as well as cost inflation and IT investment.
Germany: Rewe launches same-day delivery
Rewe has introduced same-day delivery in eight major cities across Germany including Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt. Shoppers can place an order on the Rewe.de website or app by 1pm and choose a delivery slot from 5pm the same evening. The same-day delivery will not be charged at a higher rate, with customers still paying between €0-€5.90 depending on the time window and total value of their shop. Outside of the eight cities where this will be offered, shoppers can order and choose a delivery slot from the next day, so this new initiative will bring added convenience and flexibility to users. Rewe has continued to invest in its online offer, with around 70% of the German market now having access to online ordering across around 75 cities. Rewe offers free delivery and a €10 discount on first orders which has helped encourage new customers to try the service.
Singapore: Alibaba’s Taobao opens first Southeast Asia store
One of the world’s largest ecommerce websites, Taobao, opened its first physical store in Southeast Asia this week. The store is located at Funan mall in Singapore. It is a partnership between Taobao and Virmall, a local distributor. Known as “Taobao Store by Virmall”, there are about 300 products on display that are “specially curated for Singapore Shoppers” according to the firm. Close to 80% of the products on sale at the store are home furnishings, household items and kitchenware, which are the fastest growing product areas in Singapore on Taobao. “The products we have here are just a small peek into the millions of products available on Taobao. We want to ensure the store is an attractive destination for shoppers, and will work with Taobao closely to continuously refresh our space with trending items for consumers to interact with in person”, said Sky Chen, General Manager, Virmall.
Poland: Carrefour introduces 'referrals' feature for online purchases
Carrefour Polska has rolled out a 'Poleceni' (referrals) feature in its e-grocery store that allows shoppers to avail large discounts on their purchases by recommending others to shop online at Carrefour. The move aims to encourage more customers to shop online, and establish Carrefour as a leader in the grocery e-commerce sector in Poland, the retailer said. Michał Sacha of Carrefour Polska's marketing, digital, IT, e-commerce and financial services department, said: "Command and recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular all over the world, which is why we decided to launch them in Poland in our e-store. We are convinced that [...] this we will gain many new, loyal customers."
US: The future of food retail points to fresh formats and dollar stores
Sales for traditional grocers fell 1.1% to $547.6bln in 2018 and market share dropped to about 44% of overall grocery sales, according to Inmar Analytics' new 2019 Future of Food Retailing Report. Store count for super warehouses fell 5.1% while annual sales fell 7.4% and dollar share dropped 10%. Non-traditional grocers now control 40% of the market share, with sales in the category growing 1.9% to $500.6bln. Dollar stores and wholesale clubs lead the way in non-traditional sales gains. Drug stores saw a decline of 6% in food and consumables, and convenience store sales grew 2.2%, though store count dipped by 1.1%. E-Commerce sales increased 21.7% in 2018 to $58bln, the report found. Amazon continued to lead sales in the e-commerce space for food and consumables, with a year-over-year increase of 23.5%, despite a growing number of e-commerce options among traditional retailers.
More than 900 Amazon employees plan strike over climate change inaction
Nearly 950 Amazon employees who work at its Seattle headquarters and other locations plan to strike on September 20 to convince the company to demonstrate "real climate leadership", they announced. "As employees at one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world, our role in facing the climate crisis is to ensure our company is leading on climate, not following," Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote in a Medium post. "We have to take responsibility for the impact that our business has on the planet and on people." The employees have three main demands from Amazon. They want zero emissions by 2030 including by piloting electric vehicles in communities most impacted by pollution, zero custom Amazon Web Services contracts for oil and gas companies and zero funding for lobbyists and politicians they believe deny climate change.
US: Bringg, Mercatus team on end-to-end grocery retail solution
Delivery orchestration platform Bringg has joined forces with digital commerce solutions provider Mercatus on a full end-to-end solution covering online engagement, staging and customer experience, extending all the way to the shopper’s door. Leveraging the Bringg platform, mutual Mercatus and Bringg customers can seamlessly manage deliveries across both internal and third-party fleets, providing fully branded deliveries to the end consumer. Grocers will also gain real-time visibility into delivery operations performance and customer satisfaction, enabling strategic delivery deployment, automation and optimization.
US: Whole Foods offers Snap Kitchen meals at select stores
Whole Foods Market is rolling out fresh ready-to-eat dietitian-curated meals from Snap Kitchen to select stores throughout the Southwest, including all six of the grocer’s locations in Austin, Texas, where both companies are based. “Whole Foods Market was an early pioneer in changing the way consumers look at real food, mindful eating and healthy living”, said Jon Carter, CEO of Snap Kitchen. “Similarly, our mission has always been to help improve the lives of others by making it easy to eat healthy, delicious meals made from well-sourced ingredients, with options to meet a variety of lifestyles and nutrition goals.”
US: Target boosts temporary hiring to over 130,000 for holiday rush
Retailer Target Corp said it was planning to hire more than 130,000 store employees for the holiday season, 10,000 more than last year, as it gears up for the crucial shopping period when in-store and online orders surge. The holiday season marks the busiest time of the year for retailers, making up for a majority of their annual sales, and includes Black Friday, Christmas and New Year. This year’s shopping period is the shortest since 2013. The hiring plans often indicate the sales expectations of retailers and come against the backdrop of softening retail job environment and escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington that has threatened to increase costs for retailers.
US: Intelligent end-to-end eGrocery-presented at Groceryshop
Locai in partnership with PULSE Integration and Cuhaci & Peterson announced their omni-channel store-of-the-future, the Omni-Store. The companies will be presenting the full concept at the Groceryshop Conference, taking place September 15th-18 at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada. Attendees of the conference can schedule a time slot to view the Store of the Future concept or stop by booth 426 to meet with representatives from locai, PULSE Integration and Cuhaci & Peterson. Using locai’s digital commerce platform, customers can shop their grocer’s aisles using in-store kiosks, mobile phones or their desktops and have their groceries picked and packed via the AutoStore system within minutes. This gives shoppers the ability to place their order in the store, where they may choose to enjoy experiencing a grocer’s prepared food service or shop for other items they prefer to handle on their own. The AutoStore system will also serve as the fulfillment hub for online shoppers in the area giving the grocer a more profitable fulfillment solution while improving inventory control and reducing congestion in the store aisles.
US: New Swiftly grocery app enables fast checkout
A Seattle-based grocery startup named Swiftly has raised $15.6mln in a seed funding round to help smaller grocers compete with behemoths like Amazon and Walmart in the technology sector, according to reports. The company also announced a brand new “operating system for brick and mortar stores.” The OS is live now in stores in Georgia and California, and it’s going to be rolled out across the country very soon. Customers will connect with the system using an app, and they’ll have numerous features to use, including fast checkout. It works by letting consumers scan items as they go, and then using a dedicated Swiftly lane, where a “gatekeeper” takes a picture of the items to confirm the purchase.
US: Lidl & Aldi hold grand openings on same day in Lacey: 'It's the grocery store wars'
The stretch of Route 9 has become ground zero for a new wave of supermarket competition in Ocean County. Within a one mile stretch, Aldi and Lidl have opened new stores, joining powerhouses Walmart and ShopRite. "It's the grocery store wars and I think it's great", said Lacey Mayor Timothy McDonald. "Four grocery stores within a mile of each other, I think it's going to be good for Lacey residents". He predicted the competition will bring prices down.
Amazon facing antitrust probe over its marketplace, report says
Amazon is reportedly facing a potential investigation of its marketplace by antitrust officials examining whether it's using its influence to hurt competition. According to Bloomberg, investigators with the Federal Trade Commission have started interviewing small businesses about how much revenue they make on Amazon versus other online marketplaces like Walmart or eBay. Citing three merchants, the report says multiple attorneys and an economist have been conducting interviews that last 90 minutes. Antitrust experts quoted by Bloomberg claim the length of the interviews and the people involved suggest a serious probe of Amazon's business.