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Rakuten and Seiyu have agreed to road test autonomous delivery robots service

JD has launched a social e-commerce platform

Hungary: Ministry of Agriculture award for Penny Market
The local unit of German discount supermarket chain Penny Market has been presented with an award by Zsolt Feldman, state secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, for the distribution of the highest number of its own bands labeled "Magyar Termék” ("Hungarian Product”), news portal reports. Penny Market is the first discount chain to receive such an award, which was created to recognize stores for promoting Hungarian products, adds.

Drop in online shopping knocks UK retail sales in August
British retail sales unexpectedly fell in August after shoppers bought less online than the month before when major sales promotions encouraged them to splash out, official figures showed. But the figures gave little obvious sign that either the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October or a fall in sterling over the summer had dealt a major blow to consumer spending, which has solidly supported British growth in recent years. Monthly retail sales volumes dipped by 0.2%, the Office for National Statistics said, compared with an average forecast for a flat reading in a Reuters poll of economists and the first fall in three months.

UK: Lidl scores at Retail Industry Awards 2019
Regarding the results of the Retail Industry Awards 2019, Michael Thomson, Head of Fresh Produce at Lidl GB posted on his Linkedin page: Most Sustainable Retailer of the Year, Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year, Flower Retailer of the Year. So proud of the whole team at Lidl GB for this phenomenal result!

South Korea: Shinsegae to open “Amazon Go” style store
Retail conglomerate Shinsegae is developing a cashierless grocery store modelled on the Amazon Go concept. Like Amazon Go, the company will use "just walk out" technology and sensors to automatically detect what shoppers are buying. Thirty cameras and sensors will track what shoppers take from the shelves and what they put back. Shoppers will be able to scan a QR code issued through Shinsegae's SSG Pay or Emart24 app upon entry and add items to their virtual carts. Users will be billed upon departure through the SSG Pay app and a cloud POS system. It takes between five seconds and five minutes to complete the payment.

Australia: Woolworths launches 'Delivery Unlimited'
Woolworths has launched a revamped subscription service for online grocery deliveries in Australia. The new service, called 'Delivery unlimited', allows subscribers to get free deliveries for their online groceries, as long as they spend over AU$100 on each order. Currently Woolworths deliveries cost up to AU$15 for orders under AU$100, but as little as AU$3 for baskets of between AU$250-299. The new subscription has two price points: Delivery on any day of the week - costs AU$169 for an annual sub or AU$19 a month (equivalent to AU$228 annually). Delivery from Tuesday to Thursday - costs AU$119 for an annual sub or AU$15 a month (equivalent to AU$180 annually).

Rakuten and Seiyu to debut delivery robots in Japan
Online shopping mall Rakuten and supermarket chain Seiyu have agreed to road test autonomous delivery robots service, in collaboration with The autonomous delivery robots service is to be tested from September 21 to October 27. Using the Rakuten Drone app, shoppers can place their orders from the Seiyu Livin Yokosuka Store and have the goods delivered by the Rakuten UGV (unmanned ground vehicle). Earlier this year, and Rakuten signed a partnership to develop unmanned delivery solutions, one of which was drone delivery service on Sarushima Island in Tokyo Bay.

China: JD expands into social e-commerce
Chinese internet services giant JD has launched a social e-commerce platform named Jingxi, providing discounts on team purchases to target users in small to medium-sized cities in China. The business model, which invites buyers to share deals with friends to score significant discounts, emulates those of rivals Pinduoduo and Juhuansuan. “We’re going to diversify and enrich our WeChat ecosystem and provide a new model to attract lower-tier cities, especially female users and low-income users”, said JD Retail CEO Lei Xu about the new Jingxi platform.

Malaysia: Fast becoming a cashless society
Malaysia is fast becoming a cashless society, with 70% of the consumers preferring merchants that accept digital payments compared to those that only accept cash. According to the Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2018, there is a growing preference for digital payments among Malaysian consumers as seen in a similar trend based on their VisaNet data, an advanced global processing network that provides secure and reliable payments around the world. “The total value of consumer spending on Visa and number of transactions have increased double-digit percent year-on-year. However, there are continued opportunities for growth because cash still accounts for more than 60% of consumer spending in Malaysia”, Visa Malaysia country manager Ng Kong Boon said in a statement. Higher usages of digital payments are expected to be seen among merchants including large shopping malls (65%), supermarkets (60%) and bill payments (57%).

US: Is time the new currency in grocery?
Katherine Black started her presentation with what she called the most boring and predictable insight Groceryshop attendees would hear during the three-day conference in Las Vegas: “Consumers value price above other attributes when shopping for grocery”. It’s the most popular response, of course, when customers are surveyed on what’s important to them when it comes to grocery shopping, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture, said Black, a principal, U.S. strategy leader, consumer and retail with KPMG. Consumers think about grocery shopping as it relates to their time and their money. “Time may be the most democratized asset we have”, said Black. “We may all have different incomes, but we all have exactly the same amount of time in a week.”

Breakfast Club of Canada and Walmart aim to reach a major milestone with "add a child's breakfast to your bill" campaign
Breakfast Club of Canada, in partnership with Walmart Canada, are kicking off their annual campaign to support kids' school breakfast programs, with the aim of breaking a major milestone. Customers can donate and "add a child's breakfast to your bill" at the checkout at Walmart stores across Canada and online on until October 4. The average breakfast served through one of these programs costs Breakfast Club of Canada $2. With this season's campaign, Walmart is expecting to surpass $50mln raised for the Club since the partnership started 17 years ago.

US: Trader Joe's expands in North Carolina and Kansas
As the popularity of Trader Joe’s continues to rise, so too does its market presence. The retailer has been opening up new stores all over the country, with new locations in Little Rock, Arkansas; Miami Beach, Florida; Meridian, Idaho; Nashville, Tennessee; and Brookfield, Wisconsin. But Trader Joe’s has no plans to slow down - quite the contrary, the grocer seems to be ramping up its expansion, releasing further details about two new locations in Kansas and North Carolina. Trader Joe’s had previously announced its plans for a new store in Wichita, Kansas, but did not reveal the new location’s opening date. But Wichita residents now have something to look forward to on October 11, as the store will open its doors for the first time at 9 a.m. The Wichita store is located in a former Fresh Market location, marking Trader Joe’s as a serious competitor in the retail space.

Canadian online grocery store stops selling plastic water bottles
Based on a recent survey given to their customers, CEO Peter van Stolk identified single-use plastic as the gravest environmental concern Canadians have for future generations. Although the Canadian government released an action plan for reducing plastic pollution by 2021, van Stolk asked customers in an email that announced the ban: "Why wait to take action?" As a first step, has discontinued the sale of all single-use plastic water bottles from their website. All still, sparkling, and flavoured water will now only be available in glass bottles and aluminum cans.

US: Harbor Wholesale Foods acquires a portion of Food Services of America (FSA)
Harbor Wholesale Foods (Harbor) headquartered in Lacey, Washington announced Harbor’s acquisition of a significant portion of the Food Services of America (FSA) Seattle business, including FSA’s 250,000 sq. ft. distribution facility in Kent, Washington. Harbor will assume a portion of the customer base currently served by the Kent facility, including roughly 1,700 independent restaurant operators throughout 10 counties in Western WA. FSA Seattle’s executive leadership and several experienced and dedicated associates will be joining Harbor, creating a combined team of nearly 700 people. Harbor and FSA share similar backgrounds as family companies and a common passion for associate growth and customer success.

US: Fairway up for sale once more
Fairway Market has been put up for sale again, three years after the New York metro food retailer emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with new owners, according to a published report. The company’s sponsors, among them Brigade Capital Management LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., have privately started seeking bidders and have received interest from potential strategic and financial buyers, reported Bloomberg, citing sources who asked not to be identified. Fairway representatives didn’t respond to the publication’s requests for comment.

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