India looks into Flipkart & Amazon festive discounts after retailer complaints
The Indian government is looking into whether hefty discounts offered on Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.com during their online festive sales, violate foreign investment rules, a commerce ministry official told Reuters. India introduced new rules in February aimed at protecting the 130mln people dependent on small-scale retail by deterring big online discounts. The rules forced e-commerce firms to tweak their business structures and drew criticism from the United States, straining trade ties between New Delhi and Washington.
Belarusian supermarket chain Eurotorg reports 5% increase in sales to $1.2bln in 6M19
The biggest supermarket chain in Belarus Eurotorg (aka Euroopt) reported that sales were up 11.9% year-on-year to BYN2.4bln in local currency terms and up 5.1% y/y to $1.2bln in dollar equivalent in the first six months of this year. A middle class is emerging in Belarus as bne IntelliNews previous reported in “The long march of Belarusian retail” in September 2018 that is allowing organised retail to flourish. Net retail sales increased by 14.0% y/y and reached BYN2.2bln and net retail sales in increased by 7.0% y/y in dollar terms to $1.1bln.
Spain: El Corte Inglés designs more sustainable packaging plan
El Corte Inglés has designed a sustainable packaging policy with the objective of using packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. For this, it has introduced several types of sustainable packaging in its stores (Supermercados El Corte Inglés, Hipercor and Supercor). These guidelines have been defined by a Sustainable Packaging Committee, formed by various areas of the company that, through various workgroups, has developed an action plan aimed at this objective. The Spanish distribution giant has thus incorporated FSC certified paper bags into its supermarkets; complementary bags with Angel Blue certification (80% recycled material); FSC paper bags for self-service fruit and vegetables; wooden displays for them; compostable trays for packaged fruit and vegetables; FSC food paper for fish and butchery; FSC paper bags for bread.
Holland: Retail turnover 3% up in August
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the Dutch retail sector achieved 3.0% year-on-year turnover growth in August 2019. The volume of sales increased by 0.8%. Turnover grew in both the food and the non-food sector. Furthermore, online retail turnover rose by 13.9%. Retail turnover data were adjusted for changes in the shopping-day pattern in August. Retail sales tend to vary from one day to the next. If the shopping-day pattern is not taken into account, retail turnover in August 2019 was 3.9% higher than in the same month last year. Shops selling food, beverages and tobacco achieved 2.0% more turnover than in August 2018. The volume of sales remained more or less the same. Turnover of supermarkets grew by 2.4%, while specialist shops saw their turnover decline by 0.7%.
India: Flipkart to begin selling fresh groceries
Walmart owned ecommerce retailer in India creates Farmermart to focus on grocery retail. With an initial investment of US$350mln, Flipkart has registered a new entity to focus on online grocery retailing. Through Farmermart, the company intends to begin selling fresh groceries, as well as to develop its own range of private label products. If successful, Farmermart may even consider opening retail stores in the future. Mr. Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group CEO of Flipkart, said: “the extended business represents an important part of our efforts to boost Indian agriculture as well as food processing industry in the country”.
Germany: Kaufland’s strategy against plastic waste
Kaufland reported its strategy against plastic waste. "First and foremost, we check where plastic can be saved. Where it is not absolutely necessary as a packaging component, for example as protection against external influences or as a fresh-keeping measure", explains Lavinia Kochanski, Head of Sustainability at Kaufland. "Ensuring a sustainable disposal process is just as important to us. That’s why, whenever possible, we’re committed to recycling the materials we’ve put into circulation."
UK supermarket sales growth accelerates
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show year-on-year supermarket sales grew by 1.3% during the past 12 weeks, as Sainsbury’s returns to growth... and Brexit deadline day approaches. Sainsbury’s increasing sales at its fastest rate since October 2018 makes it the only big four retailer to achieve growth. Tesco sales declined by 0.2% as its market share was reduced to 27.0%. Sales at Asda fell by 0.9% during the past 12 weeks, dropping 0.3 percentage points of market share to 15.0%, while Morrisons remains behind the rest of the pack, declining by 1.8% with a market share of 9.9%. Lidl and Aldi continue to gain share. The discounters now account for a combined 14% of UK grocery sales which is 0.8% percentage points higher than last year, an increase that’s worth nearly 1bln pounds annually. While traditionally known for its own label ranges, Lidl’s 8.2% growth was boosted by sales of branded goods which grew twice as quickly. Meanwhile, Aldi grew by 7.3% during the past 12 weeks as it attracted more new customers than any other retailer with 689,000 additional shoppers. Its small but growing ‘Everyday Essentials’also added an extra £18mln in sales. Co-op grew at its fastest rate since April at 3.9% as the convenience retailer’s £5 ‘Super saver deal’ drove up sales of fresh pizza by 20% and ice cream by 17%. Online specialist Ocado continued its run as Britain’s fastest-growing supermarket - a position it’s held since May 2019 - as its growth sped up slightly to 13.3%. Iceland sales rose by 0.5%, supported by widely available coupons, while Waitrose declined by 1.1% and its market share slipped 0.1 percentage points to 5.1%.
Instant View: India's retail inflation surges in September, but rate cut hopes still high
India’s retail inflation rose close to the central bank’s medium-term target of 4% in September for the first time in 14 months, but analysts still predict a sharp economic slowdown will prompt a sixth consecutive interest rate cut in December. Annual retail inflation rose to 3.99% last month, driven by higher food prices, up sharply compared with 3.21% in the previous month, and higher than the 3.70% forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts. Retail food prices, which make up nearly half of India’s inflation basket, increased 5.11% in September from a year earlier, compared with 2.99% in August. Madhavi Arora, economist, Edelweiss Securities, Mumbai, said: “The uptick in September was backed by sharp sequential uptick in food components, primarily led by vegetables prices. We think the food inflation seasonal uptrend will likely continue in the near term before easing later”.
Alibaba Group thwarts 300mln hack attempts per day, founder Jack Ma says
Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group is the target of some 300mln attempted cyber attacks per day, according to the company’s founder and former executive chairman, Jack Ma. Ma said he was “proud” that despite the tirade of subterfuge, Alipay - the group’s payments arm which reports close to 1bln users and processes $50bln worth of transactions per day - has yet to lose “one cent” to hackers. “For Alibaba Group, we have over 300mln hacking attempts per day. Every day. But we deal (with) it. We don’t have even one problem”, Ma said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore.
US: Lidl to open 2nd wave of stores on New York’s Long Island
Lidl US will roll out a second wave of stores across New York’s Long Island by next summer. East Meadow, Oakdale, Patchogue and Lake Grove have been added to the list of the communities that will get stores, following locations planned for Plainview, West Babylon, Huntington and Center Moriches, all of which are set to open early next year. By summer 2020, the deep-discount grocer will have eight stores in the area. “We appreciate all the support we have received across Long Island as we prepare to open our first Lidl food markets in the region”, said Lid US President and CEO Johannes Fieber. “Our teams are working hard to get ready and cannot wait to introduce shoppers to Lidl’s award-winning shopping experience. Lidl food markets will bring fresh choices, convenient shopping and bigger savings to shoppers across Long Island”.
US: FreshDirect looking to sell, according to report
FreshDirect is looking for a buyer, retail consultant Burt Flickinger told the New York Post. According to Flickinger, the sale stems from the company’s recent transition to its new distribution facility in the Bronx, which he described as a "poorly planned and executed move". Several other anonymous sources close to the company interviewed by the Post confirmed the e-grocer is looking for a buyer. Grocery Dive has reached out to FreshDirect for comment but did not hear back by press time. Flickinger noted that JPMorgan, FreshDirect's largest investor, is casting around for buyers. The firm led the company's $189mln funding round in 2016 and contributed an undisclosed amount earlier this year, but now wants to exit its investment, according to the Post's report. A former FreshDirect executive told the Post that Walmart and Amazon are interested in acquiring the company, but are waiting for its valuation to drop further. Both retailers have tried to buy the company - including a $2.3bln offer from Amazon and $2.6bln from Walmart in 2010 - but have been rebuffed.
US: Walmart launches ‘InHome’ delivery service
Following plans announced earlier this year, Walmart has made its ‘InHome’ delivery service available to 1mln customers in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida. This enables customers to have their online grocery orders delivered directly into their fridge at home. Through this service, Walmart is aiming to make its customers’ lives easier by not requiring them to be at home to accept a delivery. The retailer is launching the service as a membership programme. Customers can receive unlimited deliveries for $19.95 per month, with a minimum basket spend of $30. Walmart has partnered with smart entry technology companies, Level Home and Nortek Security and Control, to make their solutions available at an affordable price point. Customers using the service, can choose to have their groceries delivered into a kitchen or garden fridge.