German discount stores disrupt US grocery space
With simpler stores that offer fewer products at lower prices, German discount chains Aldi and Lidl have increased their sales. They are taking a bigger share of U.S. grocery bills and pressuring retailers in the U.S. to respond, with grocers in the U.S. decreasing prices on staples like eggs and milk and adding more products that discounters aren’t known for like fresh foods, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Our country has been invaded by the German retailers, and they have disrupted the ecosystem quite severely”, said IGA Inc. President and Chief Executive John Ross. He noted it is the largest shift for American grocers since Walmart started in the food business in 1988. Walmart is said to be the largest U.S. food seller today.
US retail sales unexpectedly decline in a sign that consumer economy could be cracking
U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September, raising fears that a slowdown in the American manufacturing sector could be starting to bleed into the consumer side of the economy. The Commerce Department said that retail sales dropped 0.3% last month as households slashed spending on building materials, online purchases and especially automobiles. The decline was the first since February.
US: Peapod launches exclusive partnership with Nurture Life
Peapod, the country's leading online grocer, announced an exclusive partnership with local Chicago company Nurture Life, the only food brand providing busy families with a creative variety of freshly prepared, wholesome, ready-to-enjoy meals and snacks for children. Peapod will be the first retailer to sell individual SKUs of the subscription-based service. This is the first initiative in Peapod's strategy to focus on providing a variety of nutritious options for Midwest families' dinner tables.
US: Meijer announces first-ever "Fred Meijer Award"
Cathy Cooper, Senior Director of Community Partnerships and Giving for Meijer, has been awarded the inaugural Fred Meijer Award, the highest-level team member recognition available from the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer. "Our family is so pleased to present this award to Cathy", said Hank Meijer, Executive Chairman of Meijer. "Cathy has been such an amazing ambassador of our company during her 37-year career that it's only appropriate she is the first team member to receive this annual award".
US: Kroger to standardize Our Brands date labels to reduce household food waste
The Kroger Co. announced its plan to standardize date labels for Our Brands food products, providing simpler, easier-to-understand product quality and safety information as part of its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact commitment. "Kroger recognizes food waste often takes place in our customers' kitchens simply because product date labels can be confusing, resulting in safe-to-eat food regularly being tossed out", said Howard Popoola, Kroger's vice president of corporate food technology and regulatory compliance. "As Kroger works to reduce food waste throughout our business and our communities, we are standardizing and simplifying Our Brands products' date labels, providing clearer guidance to our customers."
Ahold Delhaize USA fresh food facility opens
Retail Business Services, the service company of Ahold Delhaize USA, has opened a new fresh-food processing facility in North Kingston, Rhode Island, operated through its subsidiary Infinity Fresh Kitchen. According to the company, the production of fresh products at the facility includes leaf, grain and pasta salads; sandwiches; wraps; and other items commonly found in deli or grab-and-go sections of supermarkets. The facility will also begin to produce cut fruit and cut vegetables in 2020.
US: Albertsons logs 7th straight quarter of ID growth
Albertsons Cos. has reported its second-quarter financials for 2019, for the period ending September 7, and most of the numbers are positive. Identical sales have grown 2.4%, partly offset by a reduction in sales related to store closures and lower fuel sales since the second quarter of 2018. This marks the grocer's seventh consecutive quarter of identical-sales growth. Two factors in this equation are private-brand growth and increasing ecommerce sales. Albertsons' online home delivery and Drive Up and Go services grew 40%, while its Own Brands have reached sales penetration of 25.3%, up from 25% a year ago, and the same as Q1.
Denmark: Coop launches initiative to help suppliers
Coop Danmark’s subsidiary, Coop Crowdfunding, has launched a scheme to help Danish food suppliers grow. Together with non-profit business association CONNECT Denmark, the scheme will see Coop offer business development, procurement and marketing advice. It is aimed at small and medium-sized food producers based in Denmark. Commenting on the partnership, Coop Amba, owner of Coop Crowdfunding and Coop Denmark, said: “We want to be number one in the development of new food companies to create renewal in our industry and to secure new and better groceries for our customers.”
Belgium: Louis Delhaize to close Match and Smatch stores
In Belgium, Louis Delhaize has announced it will close seven Match and nine Smatch stores, resulting in 210 job losses, after reporting a €22mln (US$24.3mln) loss in 2018. The Match stores affected by the closures are in Dinant, Erquelinnes, Eupen, Jodoigne, Moustier-sur-Sambre, Nivelles and Spa. The Smatch stores to close are in Deinze, Ertvelde, Ingelmunster, Jupille, Koksijde, Merchtem, Ougrée, Waarschoot and Zomergem. Alongside the store closures, Louis Delhaize will invest €40mln (US$44.3mln) into store renovations, local, fresh and organic products and differentiation between both brands. The retailer will also explore online ordering and home delivery options.
France: Carrefour completes the sale of its stake in Cargo Property Assets to Argan
Carrefour Group announces it has completed the disposal of the entire share capital of Cargo Property Assets to Argan, a listed property company specializing in logistics real estate. Carrefour therefore received a remuneration equivalent to 288mln euros, 80% of which in cash and 20% in Argan stock. Carrefour now holds about 5% of Argan's share capital. This operation will contribute to achieving the objective of the Carrefour 2022 plan of divesting 500mln euros of non-strategic real estate assets by 2020.
Austria: SPAR mourns the passing of founding father Luis Drexel
SPAR Austria reported: "On Tuesday, 15 October, Luis Drexel passed away at the age of 95. Luis Drexel, the last surviving founding father of SPAR Austria, had a decisive influence on the retail industry and played a key role in shaping SPAR in Austria. His passing is a loss not only to SPAR but also to the retail industry in general as his work had gained him many awards."
Spain: Lidl accelerates roll-out of payment app
After a few months of testing in Spain, discounter Lidl is going to roll out its own payment service, Lidl Pay, to at least two other countries. The pilot project was launched at the beginning of July and according to TwinkleMagazine, the service is now available in all of the discounter's Spanish stores. Moreover, the company is said to have already taken concrete steps to launch the app in Denmark and Austria, followed by Germany. The roll-out of the new payment system has everything to do with its success in Spain: according to digital marketing director Tony Alarcón, 70,000 payments have already been made with the app.
UK: Leon launches grocery range in Sainsbury’s
Healthy eating quick service restaurant operator Leon has launched its first grocery range into Sainsbury's. The 14-strong range includes sauces, oils and vinegar which will be stocked in 600 stores, and sourdough bread which will initially be available in 32 locations and finished in a Sainsbury's in-store bakery. For Sainsbury's, the launch helps to build its Future Brands portfolio of exclusive and distinctive brands from small scale suppliers. Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury's, said: "We want to surprise and delight our customers with exciting new products and brands that they can only find in Sainsbury's, and we're confident this exclusive range from Leon will be a hit".
Belgium: Colruyt rolls out reusable bags nationwide
Colruyt has rolled out reusable bags for fruit and vegetables across the country. The decision follows a successful trial conducted in 51 Bio-Planet stores. The retailer aims to replace all single-use plastic bags with an alternative that can be reused up to a hundred times. As part of the initiative, all Xtra shoppers will receive five bags for free when they purchase fruit and vegetables in any Colruyt Lowest Prices, Spar Colruyt Group, OKay and OKay Compact stores. The offer will run until 1 January 2020 and will be accompanied by a campaign focusing on the benefits of reusable bags. Colruyt has also committed itself to removing all single-use plastic bags in all 579 food stores on 2 January 2020.
France: Groupe Casino completes sale of 31 outlets to Apollo Global Management
Groupe Casino has announced that it has completed the sale of 31 hypermarkets and supermarkets to companies associated with Apollo Global Management, a US-based private equity firm. The value of the tranche of stores is €465mln, of which €327mln has already been received, Casino said in a statement. The sale includes 12 Géant Casino properties, as well as 19 stores properties under the Monoprix and Casino Supermarkets banners. It follows a signing of an agreement between Casino and companies associated with Apollo Global Management in April of this year.