Amazon tests a one-tap review system for product feedback
Amazon is testing an easier way for people to leave product feedback with the launch of one-tap ratings. The change is meant to encourage those who don’t have the time, energy or interest in writing reviews to still share their opinion about the product, which benefits the larger Amazon community of shoppers who are reliant on ratings and reviews to make better purchasing decisions.
US: Target looks to Good & Gather to define grocery business
When Target entered the grocery space just over a decade ago, the company saw incredible potential for growth and quickly turned it into a $15bln business. But the rapid expansion into fresh food and beverage left the grocery department without much of a point of view, said Stephanie Lundquist, executive vice president of food and beverage at Target, during her keynote address at Groceryshop in Las Vegas. "In the rest of the store, we were 'Tar-zhay,' but in food, we were simply functional or transactional", said Lundquist. Today, that is no longer the case. Grocery makes up one-fifth of Target's business and the food and beverage category has seen 8 straight quarters of comparable sales growth, she said. The company has 10,000 team members dedicated exclusively to its grocery department to support operations and service.
US: Kroger named on Dow Jones Sustainability Index for seventh consecutive year
The Kroger Co. announced it was named on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America (DJSI) for the seventh consecutive year. The DJSI evaluates the top 20% of the 600 largest North American companies in the S&P Global Broad Market Index based on in-depth analysis of economic, social and environmental performance. Created jointly by S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM, the index serves as a best-in-class benchmark for investors who recognize that sustainable business practices are critical to generating long-term shareholder value.
US: Farmstead & Alex Lee strike multi-market supply deal
Online grocer Farmstead will expand to the Carolinas after forging a first-of-its-kind partnership with Southeast grocery company Alex Lee Inc., parent company of grocer Lowes Foods and grocery distributor Merchants Distributors (MDI). The partnership will enable Farmstead and Alex Lee to expand their reach in complementary markets, without having to open any brick-and-mortar locations. In the Carolinas, San Francisco-based Farmstead’s first expansion market, the company will open multiple microhubs - delivery-centric warehouses serving a 50-mile radius, which the e-grocer said will greatly facilitate entry into new geographies, significantly reduce food waste, and help banish food deserts by making fast, inexpensive delivery available to a wider area.
US: Tops signs up to ameliorate climate change
Tops Markets LLC has enrolled in the 2019 Clean Up the World (CUTW) program. Established in 1993, Australia-based CUTW is one of the world’s largest community-based environmental programs, involving community groups, schools, businesses and local governments in activities that address local environmental issues. To fulfill its commitment to the program, the grocer is holding a Clean Up the World Weekend on September 20-22 at all 159 Tops stores across the chain's three-state market area. Over the course of the three-day event, 10,000 reusable bags made of 100% recyclable materials will randomly be given away, encouraging shoppers to use recycled bags rather than plastic ones - an especially pertinent activity in New York state, where a plastic bag ban is poised to go into effect in March 2020.
US: Meijer expands Shop & Scan technology to all stores
Midwestern retailer Meijer completed a 15-month initiative to offer the Shop & Scan technology at all its stores across the Midwest, rolling out the advanced checkout option to 44 stores throughout Southeastern Michigan. Shop & Scan works through an innovative mobile app that allows customers to shop and bag as they go, giving them the opportunity to avoid lines and personalize their shopping visit depending on their day. Once they download the free Meijer Mobile App, customers use Shop & Scan to scan bar codes on items and bag their own groceries. A running total of items purchased is viewable as they shop throughout the store. Once a customer has completed their shopping, they simply scan their phone at a self-checkout lane and pay, making the checkout experience quick and easy.
Amazon wants to double its Locker program over the next year
Amazon for the past few years has installed its bright orange delivery lockers in many corners of the US, from hotel lobbies to convenience stores to supermarkets. Now, it's eyeing plans to install a lot more, hoping to use the lockers to speed up Prime shipments and bolster its logistics network. The e-commerce giant is quietly working to vastly expand its Amazon Hub Locker network, according to a person familiar with the company's plans. It set a goal to evaluate over 1,000 new locations for its lockers every month, with expectations to approve a significant chunk of those sites, the person added.
Takeoff Technologies announces $25mln in Series C funding and rollout of enhanced robotic solution
Takeoff Technologies confirmed the closing of its Series C fundraising with an additional $25mln in investment for 5% of the company, with a valuation of $500mln, bringing the total funds raised to $86mln. The Series C funding was led by Forrestal Capital. This funding is set to propel a rollout scale across North America, Europe and Australia. Takeoff is at the forefront of microfulfillment as the first and only solution provider with several operating sites in partnership with major grocery retail chains. Takeoff has several operational microfulfillment centers (MFCs) in place, with many to follow in the coming months. Takeoff has proudly announced partnerships in the US with Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize, Wakefern, Sedano’s and in Australia with Woolworths, with additional domestic and international partners to be disclosed in the near future.
Germany: Metro says talks on Real chain sale taking longer
Talks to sell Metro's loss-making Real hypermarket chain to real estate investor Redos could take longer than expected after other parties showed interest in the properties, the German wholesaler said. A Metro spokesman said talks with Redos, which have been ongoing since May, had made progress but other parties had shown interest in several Real stores so the process could take longer than planned to give them a chance. He did not give a timeline. Sources close to the process said the aim was to submit sale plans to the German competition authorities for examination in September so the purchase could be completed in October. Metro originally agreed to complete talks with Redos by the end of July but then extended that deadline to September.
Poland: Carrefour launches second edition of 'Bio On Health' campaign
Carrefour Polska has launched the second edition of its 'Bio On Health' campaign to inform consumers about the benefits of organic food. It also highlights the retailers lowest price offerings aimed at encouraging more customers to buy organic products. Commercial and supply chain director at Carrefour Polska, Marek Lipka, said: "We observe that our customers are increasingly consciously looking for healthy and unprocessed food on store shelves, and also read labels choosing products with a simple composition and high quality. At the same time, price is a very important aspect of determining the purchase of selected goods. Thanks to the latest 'Bio for health' campaign, we want to show that the choice of eco products is not always associated with high costs."
Welcome return to growth for UK grocery market
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show year-on-year supermarket sales returned to growth during the past 12 weeks as Brexit uncertainty continues. While overall sales grew by 0.5%, volume sales remained flat. It seems talk about stockpiling concerning 31 October might be just that, because Kantar is not seeing any evidence of it at the moment. In fact, households bought 0.9% fewer items during the past 12 weeks than they did last year.
India: Walmart Foundation announces two new $4.8mln grants benefiting farmers
Walmart Foundation announced that it has provided $4.8mln in grants to Digital Green and TechnoServe in India as a way to help deepen its commitment to improving farmer livelihoods in the country. The grants will enable programs that help smallholder farmers have access to agriculture technology, training on sustainable farmer methods, enhanced access to formal markets, and skill and capacity building for farmer producer organizations, the organization said in a news release.
China: Suning.com to open more than 200 in-Carrefour stores by September
Suning.com, the buyer of French retailer giant Carrefour’s Chinese business, is making a major business push three months after the announcement of the acquisition. On September 28, the company plans to open more than 200 in-Carrefour Suning stores across China to sell home appliances and electronic products, Caixin has learned. Suning tailored each store’s sales plan based on store locations and consumer profiles, the company said. Products sold in the in-Carrefour stores will also be qualified for Suning’s own customer services, the company said.
UK: Ocado could make early start to M&S deliveries
British online supermarket Ocado could start home deliveries of the full Marks & Spencer range before next September, ahead of their joint venture’s original deadline, it said. Ocado and M&S completed the 1.5bln pound ($1.9bln) joint venture deal in August, creating Ocado Retail and signalling the end of Ocado’s supply contract with upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose in September 2020. “There is a chance we might bring forward, at least partially bring forward, that transition date,” Ocado finance chief Duncan Tatton-Brown told reporters.
Finland: Kesko to introduce carbon footprint calculator
Finnish retailer Kesko is launching a carbon footprint calculator for food products. The tool allows shoppers to track the carbon footprint of their food purchases. This will help them to make more sustainable choices. It is expected to be rolled out before the end of the year. The feature, developed in collaboration with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), will be integrated into Kesko’s K-Ostokset service. K-Ostokset currently “allows customers to see how much of their purchases are products made in Finland and it also provides tips on choosing more Finnish products”. The carbon footprint calculator is based on climate impact assessments by Luke. It will estimate the carbon footprint for 40 of the most popular product categories sold in Kesko’s grocery stores. These include, milk, bread, beef and root vegetables.