Canada’s Olympic team has an official grocer for the first time ever

Amazon warehouse worker wage appeal rejected by U.S. Supreme Court

US: Online grocers dive deeper into personalization
Subscription-based online grocer Hungryroot has revamped its website and onboarding survey to offer more personalized service to its members, according to a press release. The company, which delivers weekly orders along with tailored recipes, builds a shopping list and meal ideas for customers using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates taste preferences, dietary restrictions and other factors. Hungryroot is also adding emerging food brands to complement its portfolio of around 100 own-brand products. Banza, RightRice, Beyond Meat, Freshe and Ozery are among the new offerings the company will make available, and will comprise 30% of its weekly offerings. Meanwhile, online grocer Move announced it will launch nationwide in February 2020. The e-grocer, which opened a beta version under a different name in 2017, will offer around 100 products along with free two-day shipping. The members-only service, available for $95 a year, will also assign each customer a "personal shopper" who will field any questions, help with ordering and offer product suggestions.

US: Stater Bros. workers ratify new union contract
Workers at 172 Stater Bros. stores across the region have voted to ratify a three-year contract with the supermarket chain, a union said. The contract between San Bernardino-based Stater Bros., Southern California’s largest regionally-based grocery chain, was announced earlier last week on a union website. It was confirmed by Andrea Zinder, president of Orange County-based Local 324. Zinder declined to discuss the terms of the contract, but when the tentative agreement was announced several weeks ago, it was disclosed that it was virtually the same deal reached by the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons and Pavilions chains on September 8. Workers at these stores voted to accept the contract later that week. Zinder also declined to discuss the Stater Bros. vote margin but said it was “overwhelmingly ratified.” Stater Bros. employs about 17,000 retail workers who are UFCW members.

US: Costco on tariffs: ‘There will be some impact’
Costco Wholesale Corp. said it is addressing current and pending tariffs in China and the European Union by raising prices on items, a move that tends to hurt big ticket items like furniture. “There will be some impact”, Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told analysts during the company’s fourth quarter conference call. Still, Galanti said the Issaquah, Washington-based warehouse club is mitigating the impact of tariffs by accelerating shipments of certain items before the onset of tariffs, reducing orders on some items, or finding new vendors.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Amazon warehouse worker wage appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear’s bid to avoid a lawsuit seeking to ensure that warehouse workers for the e-commerce giant get paid for the time it takes them to go through extensive post-shift security screenings. The justices, on the first day of their new term, turned away an appeal by Amazon and a contractor of a lower court ruling reviving the workers’ claims under Nevada state law. The decision comes five years after the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case that barred similar claims under federal law.

Empire becomes official grocer of Team Canada
For the first time ever, Canada’s Olympic team has an official grocer. Empire Company Ltd. - parent company to Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Farm Boy, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods and Rachelle Béry - made the announcement it had partnered with the Canadian Olympic Committee to become Team Canada’s official grocer at a launch event at its Mississauga, Ontario office on October 7. Crowds of Empire staff, all dressed in red shirts for Canada, filled the main floor to watch the announcement, while the festivities were broadcast to Empire offices across the country. 

US: California supermarket workers overwhelmingly ratify contract
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 8-Golden State who work at Albertsons’ Safeway and Vons chains and The Save Mart Cos.’ Save Mart, FoodMaxx and MaxxValue banners in Northern, Central and Southern California have voted overwhelmingly to ratify new labor contracts. The mail-in ballots were counted on October 3-4 at the union’s Roseville and Bakersfield, California, offices. “Our members appreciate the value of their new contracts, which are a model of what can be accomplished through interest-based bargaining”, noted Jacques Loveall, president of Roseville-based UFCW 8-Golden State.

Brazil supermarket sales rise sharply in August - industry body
Brazilian supermarket sales rose sharply in August and by some measures at the fastest pace in five years, industry figures indicated, a sign that an economic recovery may be strengthening. Sales were up 4.25% from the previous month and 7.1% over the same month last year, according to industry body Abras, which also said inflation-adjusted growth in the first eight months of this year was 3.39%. That was the fastest growth since 2014, it said.

UK: Tesco invests in checkout-free startup Trigo
British supermarket chain Tesco has made an undisclosed investment in checkout-free technology company Trigo Vision, according to the retailer's latest earnings report. A spokesman for Trigo told Grocery Dive it has installed its AI-powered system, which includes 160 cameras, inside a nearly 3,000-square-foot store located at Tesco's headquarters. The checkout-free technology will soon begin testing with Tesco employees. Trigo, which recently announced $22mln in venture funding, has also linked up with Israeli supermarket chain Shufersal to retrofit all 272 of its stores over the next several years. The first is planned to go live in next year's Q2.

Belgium: Colruyt Group is a test partner in the H2Haul project
Colruyt Group is an active partner in the H2Haul project. As a dedicated end user, Colruyt Group will test a truck in its daily logistics operations. Due to the diversity of the group, it will be able to test a variety of user cases. Their goal is to gain knowledge and experience to prove that hydrogen technology can be used efficiently in heavy logistics. They strongly believe in the future important role of green hydrogen as a sustainable option: renewable and without CO₂ emissions. They are very enthusiastic about this European test project in which they integrate hydrogen technology to make the heavy-duty logistics sector more sustainable.

India: Dubai-based Al Madina Group launches its first hypermarket in Bengaluru
Dubai based Al Madina Group entered the Indian market with the opening of its first hypermarket in Bengaluru on Saturday. Spanning a total area of 45,000 sq ft in two floors, Mango Hypermarket, located near Gear School Road in the technology suburb of Doddakannelli, has a parking space for 150 cars. Customers can shop for electronics, home appliances, household goods, stationery, toys, garments, fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from local farmers, fresh meats and fish, groceries, sports goods, health and beauty products. A live bakery section that will serve breads, cakes, pastries is an added attraction.

UK retailers suffer worst September on record, BRC says
British retailers endured their worst September since at least the mid-1990s as people spent money on entertainment instead, according to surveys that painted a muted picture of household demand ahead of Brexit. In a potential warning sign for consumer spending, which has helped the economy in the run-up to Brexit, the British Retail Consortium said total retail sales values declined 1.3% in September compared with the same month last year. Average growth over the last 12 months slowed to 0.2%, the weakest rate since the BRC began its records in 1995.

Philippines: World’s largest FamilyMart to open in Manila
The world’s largest FamilyMart is to open in Manila. The 400sqm outlet will launch in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, on the ground floor of the Udenna Towers, operated by Philippine FamilyMart CVS. The store will be designed to appeal to “a youthful and vibrant market”, with a food counter as the store’s centrepiece. “We are aiming to be more relevant to the market we believe needs to be served”, said Philippine FamilyMart GM Bernard Suiza. “This is the pivot to food that we are embarking on here in the Philippines - going back to the essence of what konbini is, which is hearty, home-cooked meals”. The food-focused strategy will see the firm focusing on key, densely populated urban areas in the Philippines, and will be supported by PFM owner Udenna’s F&B holdings and supply chains.

E. Leclerc arrives in the West Indies
The large-scale retail company is set to open soon in Guadeloupe and Martinique, where the cost of an average basket is 12.5% more expensive than in mainland France. “Consumers have been waiting for years”, CEO Michel-Edouard Leclerc said during a visit to the archipelago of Guadeloupe, referring to the major strikes of 2009, a protest against the price level that had paralyzed the territory. At present, the average local basket is estimated at 12.5% more expensive than its equivalent in mainland France. The distribution giant, through a mechanism of affiliation to a local group, the Perfect group whose head office is in Martinique, will put its banner on two Super U and a hypermarket in Guadeloupe, from January 2020. It should then be established in the same way in Martinique, with three hypermarkets.

Europe reaching tipping point as online grocery gains more ground
New ‘Role of Digital in Food Retailing’ research from IDC, commissioned by Precima, reveals fresh food and personalization drive the value equation. The analytics firm’s latest research shows digital grocery shopping rates in Italy, Spain and France are growing fast and will soon catch up to the UK, considered the pacesetter in Europe. More than 92% of retailers in these four leading economies offer digital grocery shopping and online purchases account for more than 11% of total sales for between a third and a half of these grocers. Research also suggests that the number of people in these four countries spending more on food digitally is growing - with almost a third (30%) saying that by next year they expect to spend at least a quarter of their overall grocery budget online. This compares to 14% of consumers in 2018 and 27% this year.

UK: Lidl to open 10 new stores in Greater Manchester
Lidl GB has announced plans to open ten new stores across Greater Manchester, including at City Tower in Piccadilly Gardens, over the next three years as the supermarket ramps up its ambitious expansion plans in the region. The move, which is set to create approximately 400 new jobs, follows the opening of two new Lidl stores in Littleborough and Stretford earlier this year and adds to the supermarket’s current estate of 30 stores across Greater Manchester. Lidl’s future flagship Manchester store at City Tower, Piccadilly Gardens, is set to open its doors to customers on Thursday 17th October.

UK: Bestway Wholesale boosts logistics operation
Bestway Wholesale has made improvements to its operational structure to further improve delivery options for customers. The wholesaler is reaching completion of a ‘depot hub project’, whereby 23 of its 60+ depots have become delivery hubs, which have fast-pick areas and increased numbers of loading bays to improve the service for delivered customers. These depots still stock a collect offer for customers residing nearby too, while the remaining depots now have additional room to improve the collect range they stock and increase focus on the shopping experience in depot with deliveries removed.

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