Packaged Facts report: Amazon to overtake Walmart by 2022

Wegmans: First location in New York City opens this weekend

US: PCC Community Markets gives sneak peek of newest Seattle location
Seattle-based PCC Community Markets, the country’s largest community-owned grocery, is opening its newest location in the Emerald City's Ballard neighborhood on November 13. The 24,000-square-foot location will include a rooftop deck and the grocer's first fast-casual restaurant serving made-to-order seafood dishes and local beer, wine and cider. Since Ballard has nautical roots, the store will also feature a sea life-inspired mural and an octopus art installation. The Ballard store is the second PCC store pursuing the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification, a rigorous green-building standard run by the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute. The store will use reclaimed, sustainably sourced and nontoxic building materials; energy-efficient systems that lower climate impact; and public art and design features with the sole intent of bringing beauty and a celebration of culture into the space.

US: More fresh food means more food safety headaches
The influx of more fresh and prepared offerings has made upholding food safety a more complicated task for supermarkets, according to food safety auditor Steritech. In nearly 3,000 assessments conducted last year, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Steritech found common mistakes in food safety practices across grocery store departments. Top issues included food contact surfaces not properly cleaned and sanitized, sanitizer solution not at proper concentration, risks of cross-contamination, inadequate cold-holding temperatures, expired food, and food found in poor condition, said Paula Herald, technical consultant at The Steritech Institute. Among all the fresh departments examined - produce, bakery, meat and poultry, deli and seafood - a shared problem was keeping food contact surfaces clean, Steritech found. Much of this comes from a growing array of offerings, such as pre-cut fruit and vegetables and salad in produce; ready-to-cook-or-heat and prepared items in the meat and deli sections; and more fresh-baked goods. That entails more equipment, utensils and areas for workers to clean.

Amazon profits hit by rising shipping costs
Amazon delivered another quarter of sales growth above 20%, but a spike in shipping costs cut the firm's bottom line. Shares dropped sharply in after-hours trade after the e-commerce giant said profits fell by about 25% to $2.1bln in the three months to 30 September. The firm said it spent nearly $10bln (£7.78bln) on shipping costs in the most recent quarter, up 46% from last year. But sales rose 24% year-on-year to $70bln.

Canada: Safeway to drop plastic bags in 2020
Effective January 31st, plastic bags will be no more at supermarket chain Safeway. Dave Sawchuk, manager of the Lethbridge West Safeway says it’s a great opportunity to show that the company cares about the environment. “We’re taking on this initiative just to show that we are environmentally friendly as a grocery retailer", Sawchuk said. Instead, the company is now offering reusable bags, which customers pay a nominal amount for. Sawchuk said: “We do have environmental bags throughout the store, so everybody is well aware (when there are no more plastic bags available), to help support the environment by purchasing one of these environmental bags”.

US: EG Group completes Cumberland Farms acquisition
EG Group announced that it has completed the acquisition of Cumberland Farms. The integration of the Cumberland Farms assets will take EG Group’s U.S. network to 1,680 gas station and convenience stores across 31 states and retailing more than 2.5bln gallons of fuel with merchandise sales of more than $3bln on an annualized basis. “The Cumberland Farms acquisition represents another significant step in our ambition to build the most compelling, comprehensive and effective convenience customer retail network across the USA”, said Zuber Issa, founder and co-CEO of EG Group. “Cumberland Farms is a well-invested, modern retail network. The Haseotes family have also invested in creating a leading edge warehouse and commissary, established supply and logistics, developed an effective e-commerce and digital platform and created own brand merchandising. All these investments in my opinion, further extend our Omni channel retail capabilities and provide further strategic options for us to consider when developing a robust convenience offer.”

US: Wakefern Food Corp. announces $16.6bln in sales
Wakefern Food Corp. Chairman and CEO Joseph S. Colalillo, President and COO Joe Sheridan, and Executive Vice President Chris Lane addressed Wakefern shareholders, store management and staff at the company's annual shareholder meeting on October 24 in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The company reported retail sales of $16.6bln for the 52-week fiscal year ending September 28, 2019, a 0.7% increase from the prior year. The largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, Wakefern opened five new ShopRite stores and also welcomed a new banner, Manhattan-based Gourmet Garage, during the same period.

US: New York City's first Wegmans supermarket opens this weekend
Popular supermarket chain Wegmans is opening its first location in New York City this weekend. The official opening of the Brooklyn store on Flushing Avenue at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is set for Sunday at 7 a.m. "The Brooklyn community has been eagerly awaiting the opening date for this store", Vice President and District Manager Todd Ferrera said. "We can't wait to celebrate with everyone". The family run chain's new 74,000 square-foot location includes 100 seats for the in-store market cafe, made-to-order sushi, a burger bar, a brick-oven pizzeria, a salad bar and a bar that serves food, wine, beer and spirits.

US: BJ's puts Detroit grocers on notice
Food retailing competition is heating up in the Detroit area where BJ’s Wholesale Club is slated to make its market entry next month. The $13bln operator of 217 membership warehouses is scheduled to open its first location in Taylor on November 19 and a second location in Madison Heights on November 2. A third location in Chesterfield Township is planned for early next year. The Detroit entry is a big deal for BJ's. The company hasn't entered a major new market in 20 years and it is primarily known for its presence along the east coast of the U.S.

Amazon to overtake Walmart by 2022, forecasts new Packaged Facts report
Amazon is set to become the largest retailer in the United States. While Walmart is currently the largest retailer, its reign may end in 2022, at which time market research firm Packaged Facts forecasts that Amazon will surpass Walmart, based on the expectation that Amazon sales will continue to grow at a much faster rate. Packaged Facts made the prediction in the brand new report, Amazon Strategies and the Amazon Shopper, 2nd Edition, which analyzes the e-commerce giant's activities in grocery, pet products, and financial services. "Amazon's already has an enormous impact on e-commerce sales, benefiting from its creation of an endless online aisle with products at competitive prices. Packaged Facts estimates that Amazon's U.S. gross merchandise sales will comprise 43% of U.S. e-commerce sales in 2019, up from 28% in 2015. By 2022, we forecast that Amazon will contribute almost half of U.S. e-commerce sales", says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Mexico: Walmex profit beats expectations but company says customers 'becoming more cautious'
Walmart de Mexico, Mexico’s largest retailer, reported a 6.6% jump in third-quarter net profit, surpassing analysts’ expectations despite a weakening consumer environment. The company, known as Walmex, booked 9.25bln pesos ($469mln) in net profit during the quarter, which ended in September, up from 8.7bln pesos a year earlier. Sales at Mexican stores that have been open at least a year rose 3.8%, far less than the 6.3% same-store growth in the same period last year in parent company Walmart Inc’s largest overseas market by store count.

Israel: Supermarket chain Yochananof files for NIS400mln TASE IPO
Supermarket chain Yochananof has filed for an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in the coming weeks. This will make it the sixth retail food chain listed on the TASE, after Shufersal, Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing, Victory Supermarket Chain, Tiv Ta'am, and Fresh Market (the latter was first listed on the TASE earlier this year). Yochananoff plans to raise NIS400mln (USD113.5mln) at a NIS1.8-2bln (USD0.51bln-USD0.57bln) valuation, before money, although whether the market will accept this valuation is questionable. Orion Underwriting and Issuances is leading the offering. The draft prospectus published by Yochananof reveals that its expansion in recent years helped the chain boost its revenue turnover considerably, and also added to its profits. Yochananof's revenue grew 26% to NIS1.4bln (USD 0.39bln) in the first half of 2019, following a 41% rise to NIS2.4bln (USD0.68bln) in 2018, mainly due to the opening of new branches.

Portugal and Poland: Retailer Jeronimo Martins' profit up 8% as sales rise
Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins reported a strong 8% rise in third-quarter net profit on a near 9% increase in sales, led by its Polish unit despite the loss of 10 trading days due to the country’s Sunday trading ban. Net profit totaled 121mln euros ($134.5mln), Jeronimo Martins, the largest food retailer in Poland and second-largest in Portugal, said in a statement. Same-store sales at its Biedronka supermarket chain in Poland jumped 7.8%, reflecting in part rising food inflation, which reached 6.7% in the quarter, despite the new regulation that prohibits opening supermarkets on some Sundays. Biedronka opened a net of 32 new stores in the quarter and total sales at the unit rose 10.9% in local currency. Jeronimo Martins also achieved same-store sales growth of 2.4% at its domestic Pingo Doce supermarket chain.

Philippines: MerryMart signs first franchise agreement
MerryMart Grocery Centers, Inc. of businessman Edgar J. Sia II has inked its first franchise agreement for a MerryMart Store after opening its first supermarket in April. Under parent company Injap Investments, Inc., the MerryMart Group - through its various formats MerryMart Grocery, MerryMart Market, and MerryMart Store - aims to expand to 1,200 branches nationwide. “We would like to take advantage of our group’s know-how in franchising, and our familiarity of the Philippine market terrain, just like in the rollout of Mang Inasal, CityMall, Hotel101 and CentralHub network. We believe this step will further strengthen the market grip of all the industries that our group is involved in,” Mr. Sia said in a statement.

UK: Tesco to launch Finest pop-up eateries
Tesco is planning to launch a number of Finest branded eateries in the run-up to Christmas, according to reports in The Grocer. The temporary shops will open for four to six weeks in the run-up to Christmas and are designed to raise the profile of Tesco's premium own brand as the seasonal battle for market share intensifies. Reports suggest Tesco is looking for 'white box store front' locations of more than 1,500 sq ft in London as well as other major cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.

Austria: Rewe curtailed in Lekkerland acquisition
German chain Rewe has been given permission to acquire most of Lekkerland. The Austrian competition authority however fears that the German supermarket group would gain too much power in the 'on-the-go' segment, particularly in shops at petrol stations. Two weeks after the German Bundeskartellamt gave its blessing, it would appear that the merger with the food distributor can be completed before the end of the year. A part of Lekkerland's Austrian activities, Convivo, was greenlighted to be acquired by Rewe. Convivo is Lekkerland’s private label branch in Austria.

Hungary: SPAR rolls out self-service checkout
SPAR Hungary first introduced self-checkout machines at its hypermarket in Érd two years ago. After tracking the success of the service, it is now working towards offering self-checkout in 92 SPAR stores across the country by the end of the year. The time-saving solution has become increasingly popular with more and more customers preferring it as a payment option. In the stores in which the service has been implemented so far, self-checkout accounts for almost 30% of total turnover.

Spain: Retailer brands skyrocket because of family economic hardship
Private label accounts for 39% of the market after its greatest advance in 4 years. The average price difference with big manufacturers reaches 30%. The economic downturns led many families to vary their consumption habits during the crisis, looking for cheaper products to balance their limited budgets. After the recession, the acquired habits seemed to relax. Now that prices are rising again and economic indicators are once again pointing out to austerity, families are tempted to go back to white label. According to Kantar data, distribution brands gained 1.1 points of market share in the first 9 months of the year, reaching almost 39% of the market in terms of sales volume. This is the biggest advance in the last four years. Also contributing to the apogee of the distribution brand is the fact that the chain, which dominates the market with 25.8% of market share, Mercadona, is firmly committed to its own brands. So do the two German companies which grew the most until September, Lidl and Aldi.

Japan: Supermarket sales rise 2.8% in September before tax hike
Supermarket sales in Japan rose 2.8% in September from a year earlier on a same-store basis, up for the first time in six months owing to a rush demand before the October 1 consumption tax hike, an industry body said. Sales at 10,515 supermarkets operated by 55 companies totaled 1.02tln yen ($9.4bln), according to the Japan Chain Stores Association. Sales of food, which are generally exempted from the tax increase from 8% to 10%, slipped 0.6% partly due to falls in farm product prices.

Australia: 7-Eleven fuel app data breach exposes users' personal details
The popular petrol-buying app run by 7-Eleven has suffered a data breach that allowed customers to view the names, email addresses, mobile numbers and dates of birth of other users. The 7-Eleven fuel app, which the company said this week has been downloaded 2mln times, was taken offline for a matter of hours on Thursday after a customer alerted the company to the fact that he was able to access the personal information of several other customers via the app. The app allows users to pay in advance for fuel and lock in lower petrol prices for when they need to fill up.

Jones the Grocer to enter Saudi Arabia
Jones the Grocer is set to enter Saudi Arabia after signing an agreement with Naif Alrajhi Investment. The flagship store will be on the ground floor of Fairmont Ramla Serviced Residences in Riyadh and will provide a gourmet grocery retail offer, halal charcuterie, bakery and patisserie and artisan cheese room. Jones the Grocer and Naif Alrajhi Investment expect further stores to be opened in the medium term. The companies have said the expansion will include Grocer Express, a compact gourmet food-to-go focused offer, which they say will carry a range curated for high traffic travel and commercial locations.

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