Meijer installs micro-fulfillment center in partnership with supply chain company Dematic

Lidl US: Medical benefits to all part-time employees

US: Wegmans to test eliminating plastic grocery bags
Wegmans is testing out getting rid of single-use plastic bags. The grocery store chain - which just opened a location in Raleigh and has plans to open locations in Cary, Chapel Hill and Wake Forest - announced it would be removing plastic bags from two stores in Virginia. When the pilot program begins on October 21, the two stores will have paper bags available for purchase at 5 cents per bag. The money collected from that bag fee will then be donated to Feed More, which is the food bank near those two stores. "We won't make any decisions on removing plastic bags from other stores until we have all the learnings from the pilot", a Wegmans spokesperson said in a statement to ABC11.

US: H-E-B opens new store to replace older location
H-E-B has taken a new approach to how it develops its latest strategy, looking inward rather than out. As the retailer takes stock of its current stores, it is launching renovations, new stores, and replacing outdated ones with a brand-new format. To take this a step further, the Texas-based retailer has announced it will be constructing a new store in southwest Austin, which will replace an existing location in the Oak Hill area. According to a press release, construction on the new store is planned for February 2020, with an anticipated opening date in late 2020 or early 2021. Once the new store opens, the older Oak Hill store will shutter.

US: AxleHire acquires Covet Shipping as it expands last mile delivery service to New York
AxleHire, the leader in technology and logistics innovation for the last mile economy, announced that it has acquired Covet Shipping, a full-service shipping company that services New York City. This acquisition is a part of AxleHire’s strategic expansion across the United States as it launches its service in New York. AxleHire will be providing Same Day and Next Day delivery services to retailers, brands and other companies in New York effective November 1, 2019. 

US: Erewhon could go nationwide after private equity deal
Thriving organic food market and café Erewhon, which operates five Southern California stores, with a sixth in the pipeline, could expand nationwide after a deal with New York-based growth equity firm Stripes Group, which now owns a substantial minority stake in the independent grocer, according to a published report. To begin with, Forbes reported, the investment will go toward opening more stores south of Erewhon’s hometown of Los Angeles and establishing locations in Northern California for the first time. A rollout to New York City could be in the cards a few years from now.

Lidl US to provide medical benefits to all part-time employees
As part of its effort to offer one of the most generous benefits packages in the industry, Lidl US will provide medical benefits for all its employees in more than 70 stores regardless of the number of hours they work per week. Starting January 1, 2020, around 1,200 team members working part-time will be eligible to buy into medical coverage through the company. "We want our team to have the peace of mind knowing they have healthcare coverage", said Lidl US Chairman Roman Heini. "Giving team members working part-time at Lidl access to medical benefits is incredibly important and it will help them succeed. As we continue to expand, we are committed to supporting all our employees so they can be at their best".

US: GrubMarket adds to its premier wholesale portfolio with the acquisition of 2 prominent West Coast companies
GrubMarket announced it has completed the acquisitions of Golden Greek Fresh and Happy Farm Produce, two prominent wholesalers specializing in quality fresh produce and other items. Golden Greek Fresh was formally an independent, family owned wholesaler with a portfolio of over 60 restaurant clients across the Southern California region. This acquisition follows in the footsteps of GrubMarket's most recent Southern California acquisitions of So Cal Farm Network, Chasin Foods, and VIP Wholesale, all of which have proven to be highly successful. 

Canada: M&M Food Market expands Instacart delivery
Canadian frozen food retailer M&M Food Market has launched Instacart same-day delivery at 216 stores across the country. The national expansion comes after a more than four-month pilot of Instacart’s service at 18 M&M stores in London, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta. According to Mississauga, Ontario-based M&M, whose retail network includes about 350 stores in all 10 Canadian provinces plus the Yukon and Northwest Territories, the test launch generated a strong response from customers and boosted sales and profitability.

US: Meijer gets into the micro-fulfillment game
Meijer is currently installing a micro-fulfillment center in partnership with supply chain company Dematic, according to a press release. The retailer, which did not disclose the location of the facility, is the latest to pilot micro-fulfillment technology in an effort to improve the efficiency of online order fulfillment. Dematic's first micro-fulfillment solution fits into spaces as small as 10,000 square feet and can be constructed in around 12 weeks, the company said. The technology leverages Dematic's existing hardware, including its multishuttle units and goods-to-person technology, and integrates with a new software system that connects with existing systems and facilities. The micro-fulfillment technology will help Meijer maximize space in its stores, expand online shopping options and keep pace with customer demand for personalized shopping solutions, said Sid Handa, Meijer's director of strategic supply chain initiatives, in a statement.

US: Whole Foods’ coast-to-coast expansion
Whole Foods Market said it would open a new Mid-Atlantic flagship store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, on October 30, as well as three additional stores in West Seattle, Beverly, Massachusetts, and Long Beach, California, this month. In November, the Austin, Texas-based grocer belonging to Amazon plans to open new stores in Tempe, Arizona, and Parsippany, New Jersey.

Mexico: Walmart's same-store sales rise 3.1% in September
Walmart de Mexico, Mexico’s biggest retailer, said that sales at stores open for more than a year in Mexico rose 3.1% in September compared with the same month last year. Walmex, as the company is known, said total sales in Mexico increased 4.4% in September. 

Singapore: RedMart celebrates 8th anniversary
Lazada’s online grocery supermarket, RedMart, is celebrating its 8th birthday. The retailer tied up with five banks to give away vouchers from SGD8 (US$6) to SGD30 (US$22). These vouchers can be redeemed for purchases on RedMart when used in conjunction with the cards issued by the respective banks. All bank vouchers were given out in the weekend. In response to shoppers’ feedback, RedMart had upgraded its app with new features: Shoppers can include additional items even after checkout until the order is being prepared for delivery; Search results can be sorted by savings to help them find the best deals; To celebrate its 8th anniversary, the retailer has partnered with various suppliers to provide discounts of up to 50%.

Holland: Jumbo to close six Agrimarkt stores for renovation
Dutch retailer Jumbo has announced plans to close six Agrimarkt stores for conversion to the Jumbo format. The renovation will begin on 1 November and the converted stores in Roosendaal, Vlissingen, Middelharnis and Goes are scheduled to reopen in the middle of November. Agrimarkt Terneuzen and Oud-Beijerland will continue to operate as Lidl, the retailer said. The outlets in Vlissingen and Middelharnis will be the first to reopen in the supermarket format, followed by the store in Roosendaal. The outlet in Goes will reopen as a Jumbo Foodmarkt.

Thailand’s Big C opens first supermarket in Cambodia
The Thai retailing giant Big C has opened its first supermarket in Cambodia. Big C Poipet had its soft opening on Saturday, the company announced on its Facebook page. “A soft opening for the Poipet Hypermarket was held under our vision to be the leading Thai retailer with customers at heart”, the announcement read. The soft opening comes just eight months after the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved the project. Poipet’s newest shopping destination sits on more than two hectares of land in Kbal Spean I village. It is not known when the grand opening will be held.

Italy: Conad merges cooperatives to form Conad Centro Sud
Conad PAC 2000A and Conad Sicilia have agreed to merge to form Conad Centro Sud, a group with an aggregate turnover of €4.5bln and a market share of 22.5%, according to a report in The move is part of Conad's process of rationalising a number of its operational units to increase market efficiency. The merger represents the second phase of the process, which will see seven cooperatives merging to create four bigger companies.

Spain's Eroski: sales and channel development
Spain-based Eroski has announced an increase in sales of almost 2% in its four major territories, in the first half of its financial year. Separately, Vegalsa-Eroski has further developed its drive format and opened a new store in Castilblanco de los Arroyos. Meanwhile, Caprabo plans to increase the sales of products through its proximity programme. Eroski announced sales growth of 1.9% in Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Navarre and Basque Country. It said its performance in these areas had been strengthened through the roll out of its Contigo (With you) store design, which has been received positive by shoppers. The retailer repaid €68mln of debt and generated an operating profit of €65mln in H1 2019, an increase of 10% compared to 2018.

Singapore: Amazon launches local online store
Amazon has launched, a larger local online store in Singapore, to diversify its product offer and compete with rivals such as Lazada and Shopee. Fast delivery service through mobile app Amazon Prime Now was launched in Singapore in 2017. However, the initial product range was not broad enough to compete with other online shopping platforms. “With, we want to provide what customers have been asking us for: the ability for everyone to shop on desktop and mobile, more local and international selection from Amazon and trusted sellers, paired with fast and reliable delivery”, says Henry Low, country manager at Amazon Singapore. “And we are also adding even more benefits for Prime members.”

Italy: Coop reviews market strategy as consumption declines
Coop Italia has reviewed its market strategy as food consumption declined in 2019 after three years of growth, according to reports. The cooperative has increased its focus on environmentally friendly products, food welfare, and convenience, the Coop 2019 Report has revealed. It is also making changes in its internal structure, the retailer said. Coop's private-label products, which continue to grow in share, will be at the centre of future actions. Sales in 2018 amounted to €13.4bln and the retailer estimates that it will achieve the same in 2019, in a framework that sees a limited number of new store openings. Coop plans to invest over €500mln in improving its range of products and services in its existing network of sales outlets.

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