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The Save Mart Cos. and KeHE Distributors have renewed and expanded their partnership

Costco: Q4 and fiscal year 2019 operating results

US: Walmart waives grocery delivery fees through October
Walmart is waiving its grocery delivery fees nationwide for customer orders of $50 or more through October 31, a company spokesperson confirmed to Grocery Dive. To secure the deal, customers type in a special promo code ("HOMEFREE") when checking out. There is no limit on how many times customers can use the code. Walmart charges $7.95 for next-day delivery and $9.95 for same-day delivery, with an order minimum of $30. Groceries are delivered within an hour of the delivery time customers choose.

US: Save Mart, KeHE renew, expand partnership
The Save Mart Cos. and KeHE Distributors have renewed and expanded their partnership. Under the terms of the multiyear agreement, KeHE will continue as Save Mart’s primary distribution partner for natural, organic and specialty products, as well as becoming the grocer’s primary distributor for such perimeter categories as fresh bakery, deli, specialty cheese and culinary products. “We are proud of The Save Mart Cos.’ growth over the last several years, and we look forward to continuing to execute our market penetration strategy”, said Trey Johnson, chief merchandising officer of the retailer, which just opened a groundbreaking flagship store in its hometown of Modesto, California. “We appreciate our partnership with KeHE and are excited to continue working with their team to grow both our center store and perimeter business.”

US: Costco Wholesale Corporation reports fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019 operating results
Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) announced its operating results for the 16-week fourth quarter and the 52-week fiscal year, ended September 1, 2019. Net sales for the quarter were $46.45bln, an increase of 7.0% from $43.41bln during the similar period last year. Net sales for the fiscal year were $149.35bln, an increase of 7.9% from $138.43bln during the similar period last year. Net income for the fourth quarter was $1,097mln, or $2.47 per diluted share, compared to $1,043mln, or $2.36 per diluted share, last year. This year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by a $123mln pre-tax reserve to SG&A ($96mln after-tax), or 22 cents per diluted share, related to a product tax assessment. Net income for the fiscal year was $3.66bln, or $8.26 per diluted share, compared to $3.13bln, or $7.09 per diluted share, in the prior year. 

Etruria Retail CEO discusses tie up with Carrefour Italy
In an interview in Distribuzione Moderna, Etruria Retail’s managing director, Graziano Costantini, discussed why the organisation has aligned itself with Carrefour, following Auchan’s exit from the market. Costantini highlighted that Etruria will benefit from its collaboration with Carrefour Italy through buying agreements, the brand recognition that Carrefour has, the retailer’s strength in private label and the investments that it has been making in digitising its operations. He said by working together, Carrefour and Etruria Retail would be able to combine the brand recognition and innovation of Carrefour with the experience and local knowledge of Etruria’s retailers. The collaboration between Carrefour and Etruria Retail will boost the former’s presence in Tuscany, where the latter operates more than 200 stores, and Umbria. Costantini said Etruria’s strengths in the proximity supermarket format, which measure between 1,000 and 1,500 sq. m, will see its stores remain relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s shoppers.

Slovenia: Mercator Group notably improves its performance indicators in 2018
Mercator Group reported: "In the 2018 business year, Mercator Group's normalized gross cash flow from operating activities reached EUR107.5mln, which is a considerable increase of 18.6% over the year 2017. In no more than two years, Mercator Group increased its normalized EBITDA by 72.3% (for the year 2016, normalized EBITDA was at EUR 62.4mln). In the 2018 business year, Mercator generated net sales revenue of EUR2.18bln and wrapped up the year with a profit of EUR1.6mln. In 2018, Mercator Group notched up its sales revenue by 1.2% relative to the year 2017; in particular, revenue from retail, which is Mercator's core business, rose by 3.2%. Moreover, the Group also significantly cut its financial debt relative to the preceding year, by EUR97mln."

Cyprus: Papantoniou supermarket to open in Nicosia
Paphos-based Papantoniou Supermarkets is preparing to set up shop in the capital’s tough competitive market, aiming to take a piece of the pie from established giants. Sources told the Financial Mirror that construction work on the supermarket’s latest addition is picking up speed as it enters its final stages. The family-run supermarket chain is planning to have their Engomi, Nicosia outlet up and running in the upcoming months. By opening in Nicosia, the out-of-towners want to take a piece of the action. The capital has 40% of the island’s supermarket sales.

Redefining retail through technology: launch of AIR Lab Delft in Holland
This week, the AI for Retail (AIR) Lab in Delft, the Netherlands, held its official launch. The facility is an expansion of Ahold Delhaize’s AIR Lab in Amsterdam, created in partnership with Delft University. The focus of the lab is to research the future of robotics and develop state-of-the-art innovations in the retail industry. The AIR Lab Delft is officially up and running and teams have started working towards developing the first prototypes and solutions in all the lab’s lines of research. This week’s event brought together the lab’s scientists in robotics and AI, operational employees, students and sponsors to celebrate the progress they’ve made.

Major boost in profit for Tesco Asia
Tesco in Asia reports a 54.1% growth in profit to GBP171mln. Sales in Asia grew strongly, 8.4% year on year, to GBP2.56bln, although the growth was registered as 1% on constant exchange rate. Like-for-like sales fell by 1.3% due to the reduced sales of general merchandise. Price investment in fresh food products and own brand expertise drove sales growth in Malaysia. In Thailand, improvements in distribution efficiency and more focused marketing activities helped to reduce cost, giving a significant boost to overall profit.

Holland: Spar opens 150th Express store in Utrecht
Spar Netherlands has announced that it has opened its 150th Express store in Eemnes in the province of Utrecht. The forecourt outlet caters to the immediate or daily shopping needs of modern consumers in high-traffic locations, the retailer said. The store assortment includes a wide range of food and drink items. It also offers fresh bakery products, such as sandwiches prepared at the counter, crispy biscuits, pizza, pancakes, as well as refreshing smoothies and yoghurts.

UK: John Lewis to withhold 20% of service fees to some landlords
John Lewis is threatening to withhold up to 20% of the service charges it owes to some of its shopping centre landlords, in protest at “unacceptable” increases in annual service charges over the last few years. Service charge payments cover non-rent items, such as heating, security, maintenance, marketing and staffing. John Lewis, which has about 20 stores in covered shopping centres, said it had resorted to the action to try to get its landlords to help stop the service charge increases. “At a time when we are doing everything we can to reduce our cost base, we have unfortunately been faced with regular increases to the service charges we pay for some of our shops in shopping centres,” John Lewis said in a statement.

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