US: Pacific Northwest Grocers & Union reach tentative agreement
Following two days of negotiations, four grocery store operators reached a tentative agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 this past weekend, averting a potential strike at Fred Meyer, one of the banners involved in the talks. The tentative agreement, reached September 28, covers about 18,000 grocery associates at The Kroger Co.'s Fred Meyer and QFC banners and Albertsons and its Safeway division in Oregon and southwest Washington, The Daily News, of Longview, Washington, reported. Details of the agreement won’t be disclosed until union members have reviewed it and voted on whether to ratify it.
US: Supermarket shelving solutions influence store profitability
Mega-brokerage Acosta’s “Shelf Management Report” reveals that more than half of grocery buying decisions are made at the shelf, and that manufacturers spend $100bln annually on promotions, versus $300mln on shelf management, which actually represents 66% of sales and 85% of profits. The Acosta study also notes that “fixing the shelf” achieves a sales lift of 6%, while there has been a decline in lift from promotional tactics in the past several years.
US: Kroger expands foodservice concept
Retailers are continuing to push new concepts in the retail world, blending foodservice with their traditional retail formats. For Kroger, which opened its first-ever food hall, Kroger on the Rhine, last week, this concept is perhaps becoming a firm reality. This food hall included another location of the popular Kitchen 1883, a standalone restaurant that Kroger first debuted in 2017. On the heels of that announcement, the retailer also announced the opening of a third Kitchen 1883 location, located across from Kroger’s retail store in Anderson Township, Ohio. According to a report from Cincinnati Business Courier, the retailer planned on opening this location in October of 2018 but experienced construction delays.
US: Weis Markets to purchase 2 stores
Weis Markets has entered into an asset purchase agreement with TCD Realty Inc. to purchase two of the Kingston, Pennsylvania-based company’s supermarkets. The stores are Thomas’ Foodtown, in Dallas, Pennsylvania, and Thomas’ Food Basics, in Shavertown, Pennsylvania. Weis Markets expects that the transaction will close in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2019. Once the purchase is completed, Weis Markets will convert and reopen the Dallas location, but won’t reopen the Shavertown store.
U.S. online privacy rules unlikely this year, hurting big tech
A U.S. online privacy bill is not likely to come before Congress this year, three sources said, as lawmakers disagree over issues like whether the bill should preempt state rules, forcing companies to deal with much stricter legislation in California that goes into effect on January 1. Without a federal law, technology companies, retailers, advertising firms and others dependent on collecting consumer data to track users and increase sales must adapt to the California law, potentially harming corporate profits over the long term. The delay is a setback for companies ranging from Amazon and Facebook Inc to Alphabet Inc’s Google and retailers like Walmart Inc, who either directly collect shopper information to run their websites, or provide free services and derive revenues from advertising that relies on online data collection.
Georgia: 150th SPAR store opening
Since its expansion into the market in 2014, SPAR Georgia has grown its store presence at a fast rate. Between 2017 and 2018, the retailer’s store count doubled. There have also already been 51 stores openings in 2019. Most recently, SPAR has announced the opening of its 150th store in Georgia. SPAR supermarkets offer a variety of fresh meal options, including food-to-go solutions and SPAR private label products. The larger neighbourhood stores also provide top-up shopping options. SPAR Georgia has recently been focused on improving its level of customer service. The retailer said it will increase store numbers in existing regions as well as expand into new areas of the country. SPAR hopes to have a presence in almost all regions and have reached 200 store openings by the end of 2019.
UK: Poundland seeks to slash rents in run-up to possible flotation
Poundland is seeking to slash rents by a quarter as it renegotiates leases on nearly 90% of its stores over the next five years in a cost-cutting exercise before a potential initial public offering next year. The company expects to save £20mln through lower rents on its 840 stores as it battles against rising costs and heavy competition as well as suppliers’ demands for upfront payment after credit insurers withdrew cover nearly two years ago. The chain is not expected to reduce its overall number of stores but will shift locations if it cannot get the rent cuts it wants when leases come up for renewal or if it finds better or larger sites nearby.
India: Kirana King aims to create 7,000 stores in 14 cities in coming 5 years
With a vision of insulating traditional offline kirana shops in India from the online grocery and large format modern retail platforms, Jaipur-based grocery retail store aggregator Kirana King is looking at 7,000-plus outlets in 14 cities over the next five years. The company has already aggregated over 85 stores in the Pink City. Anup Kumar Khandelwal, the start-up’s founder and chief executive officer, said: “Online platforms and large format modern retail are giving a tough time to the small Kirana stores, thereby eroding their competitiveness. Hyperlocal offline kirana shops will remain as relevant in the Indian syntax if they stand united and collectively mobilise the power of their vast network. This is possible by adopting modern retail management tactics, technology, and infrastructure. Kirana King helps in providing all such transformational support and creates the dynamic alternate commerce platform that gives an edge in the challenging market”.
Germany: Rewe and Aral open 500th Rewe-To-Go store
The 500th Rewe-To-Go store has been opened in partnership with Aral, at a gas station in Garching near Munich. When the partnership between Rewe and Aral was announced in 2016, the goal was to open 1,000 Rewe-To-Go forecourt stores by 2021. The initial roll out was gradual, with the 100th store opened in May 2017. However since then, the opening programme has accelerated and Rewe looks to be on track to hit the goal of 1,000 stores by 2021. The stores focus on offering a high quality range of freshly prepared food for on the go consumption. Stores optimise the product range to suit the local area, which helps to target customers and reflects their needs.
Kaufland opens first stores in the Republic of Moldova
German retailer Kaufland has announced that it has opened its first two stores in the Republic of Moldova. The first store spreads across an area of around 3,000 square metres, while the second outlet occupies an area of about 4,500 square meters. The two stores, located in the capital city of Chisinau, will create around 750 new jobs. In addition to pharmacies, tobacco shops, pastry shops, and snack bars, the stores offer around 3,000 items from local producers, the retailer said. The outlets have implemented eco-friendly and energy-saving technologies in the form of energy-efficient refrigeration cabinets and LED lighting.
Australia: Coles trials first zero waste to landfill supermarket
A Coles supermarket in Sydney’s west has become the first Australian supermarket to trial zero waste to landfill, as one of several initiatives to help Coles meet its commitment to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket. As part of a trial, the supermarket in Wentworth Point is sending zero waste to landfill, preventing the equivalent of 6.5 shopping trolleys going to landfill each day. The purpose of the trial is to change in-store processes, put greater focus on source separation, and to partner with new facilities to use waste as a resource. This will mean more packaged and unpackaged food, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, wax boxes, polystyrene and timber will be diverted from landfill.
France: Carrefour extends blockchain technology to 'Camembert de Normandie'
French retailer Carrefour has announced that it has extended the use of blockchain technology to Camembert de Normandie (Camembert of Normandy) cheese. The product is the 11th Carrefour Quality Line item to be included in the mapping system. The technology enables customers to trace the journey of a product from the farm to the store shelf by scanning a QR code provided on the product label with their smartphones. Other products in the Carrefour Quality Line that use blockchain include Auvergne chicken, tomatoes, eggs, microfiltered milk, peaches and nectarines, pomelos, chicken, carrots and Rocamadour cheese.
UK: J Sainsbury plc management update
J Sainsbury plc (Sainsbury’s) is announcing changes to positions on the plc Board and Operating Board. John Rogers, CEO of Sainsbury’s Argos, is leaving the business to become Chief Financial Officer of WPP PLC. John will leave the business on 31st October 2019. Argos’s retail and logistics teams will report into Simon Roberts, Retail and Operations Director and Argos’s commercial team will report into Paul Mills-Hicks, Commercial Director. There are no additional changes to the Operating Board as a result of this move.
Pepkor Europe renamed as Pepco Group
Pepkor Europe, the parent company of Poundland in the UK and Dealz in Ireland, has been renamed as Pepco Group. The renaming marks the culmination of a year of significant development and growth, the retailer said. Andy Bond, CEO of Pepco Group, commented: “Our new name is more distinctive and clearly links the group to its largest operating company and source of future growth. The renaming of our business to Pepco Group follows another successful year for all our trading brands. At the Group level, we anticipate EBITDA1 will increase by 18% year on year, giving a total growth over the past three years of 140%". The group has completed a long-term €475mln refinancing package, and strengthened the management team through a number of senior appointments.
Musgrave launches new food-to-go range in Northern Ireland
Musgrave’s retail chains SuperValu, Centra and Mace have linked up with local food-to-go supplier Deli Lites to launch a new range for stores across Northern Ireland. The ‘Fresh for You’ range offers over 30 product lines including sandwiches, wraps and salads. It is now available in 20 stores across the province with further rollouts taking place in the coming weeks.
Tesco is considering selling the Polish branch
Tesco, which has been present on the Polish market for 24 years, has been struggling with financial problems for several months. Until now, the British retail network has denied speculation that it may withdraw from Poland. According to Bloomberg, citing sources similar to the case, Tesco is considering selling the Polish branch. The reason is to focus on the development of the commercial network in Great Britain and new promising markets. Talks about the sale of the Polish branch of Tesco are at a very early stage, and the supermarket chain may still withdraw from it.
Gousto to add 700 jobs in Britain over 3 years
British online recipe box company Gousto will add more than 700 jobs over the next three years, it said, underscoring growing demand for food services that send precise ingredients for recipes directly to customers’ homes. Gousto said the jobs will be split between its headquarters in London and its distribution centre in Spalding, eastern central England. Hundreds of roles will be created in its technology team in data science, analytics and software engineering. The firm’s recruitment drive contrasts with major job losses in Britain’s traditional retail sector over the last year, including 4,500 announced by supermarket group Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, in August.
UAE: Carrefour introduces "Green Home" zero-waste detergent refill station
Carrefour, which is operated in the UAE by Majid Al Futtaim, has recently launched a zero-waste “Green Home” detergent refilling station in collaboration with Planet Pure, at its hypermarket in Mall of the Emirates. This is part of the retailer’s ongoing efforts to reduce single-use plastic waste in line with Majid Al Futtaim’s overarching goal to become net positive in carbon and water by 2040.