US: Whole Foods Co-op to begin paper bag charge
Shoppers at Whole Foods Co-op will soon be paying to use a paper bag. The grocery store announced that they’ll charge five cents for every paper bag as of January 1st. Co-op leaders say they hope this step will make a difference for the environment. “All of these things have demonstrated to us, and to our community, that we are a place that leads in these initiatives. We think that this momentum and this initiative really pairs well with our culture, our DNA and we’be always been,” Whole Foods Co-Op, General Manager, Sarah Hannigan said.
US: Topco, Mastercard to use blockchain for food tracking
With an increasing desire for customers to know where their food comes from, Topco member-owners have a new solution through Mastercard's blockchain innovation. Mastercard's blockchain-based Provenance Solution will work in tandem with Envisible's Wholechain traceability system to increase this transparency. And it's Topco member-owner Food City that's testing it out first. The southeastern grocer's pilot provides a better line of sight into ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood selection at its stores, including salmon, cod and shrimp to start. “Given consumers’ expectations for reliable information about the food that they eat, we’re excited to partner with Food City and Envisible on this trace and provenance solution pilot, and the promise of Envisible’s Wholechain solution”, said Scott Caro, SVP of fresh at Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based Topco.
US: Whole Foods ends year with a bang
Four Whole Foods Market stores are slated to open in early November, capping the highest rate of growth since the grocer was acquired by Amazon in August 2017. Four new stores are set to open on November 6 and 7 in Parsippany, New Jersey; Tempe, Arizona; South Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Houston. The locations, ranging in size from 28,500 to 40,000 square feet, are in addition to 14 other stores that have opened this year and given Whole Foods a total of 505 locations at the end of October. The 18 locations that Whole Foods is opening this year are the most since the company was acquired in August 2017, at which time it operated 468 stores.
Italy: Auchan acquisition 'more complex than expected', says Conad CEO
Italian retailer Conad has admitted that the purchase of Auchan Retail Italia’s activities is proving more complex than expected. CEO Francesco Pugliese told Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor that complications have arisen with regard to discussions with trade unions. According to Pugliese, retail is a "local business", which explains some of the challenges faced by French retailers. He added that the French retail model, which has seen Auchan, Carrefour and others open offices in other markets, generally headed by a French national, is flawed due to the fact that these operators are not always "open to local realities".
Germany's Lidl to open two stores in Serbia next week
German discount supermarket chain Lidl plans to open two stores in Serbia on November 7, further expanding its network, the company said. The new stores will be opened in Belgrade and Novi Sad, Lidl said in an e-mailed statement. The new openings will take the number of stores operated by Lidl in Serbia to 35. "After celebrating our first business year in Serbia, we are opening our tenth store in Belgrade and another one in Novi Sad, making our products accessible to an increasing number of consumers," corporate communications director Lidl Serbia, Martina Petrovic, said.
UAE: Grandiose Supermarket to open at Dubai Mall
Grandiose, the fast-growing contemporary supermarket chain owned by UAE headquartered conglomerate Ghassan Aboud Group, announces the opening of their new outlet at the Zabeel expansion of the Dubai Mall. The first 100 shoppers will receive a reusable shopping bag filled with free samples, exclusive products and much more. The Dubai Mall Zabeel Expansion is a nine-storey large scale retail development, adjacent to the one of the world’s most preeminent malls. The Zabeel Expansion is linked to the main mall via an extended footbridge over 200 metres in length. Grandiose Supermarket will be a key retail player and the sole supermarket in the urban designed mall, with convenient access to more than 3,000 car parking spaces.
Russia: Lenta sees decline in like-for-like sales in third quarter
Russian retailer Lenta has seen a like-for-like decline in sales of 0.5% in the third quarter of its financial year, excluding VAT. The retailer sales that it saw a like-for-like traffic decline of 2.0% in the period, however the average transaction value rose by 1.5%. Total sales in the period fell by 0.4% to RUB 100.4bln (€1.42bln), down from RUB 100.8bln a year earlier. This included retail sales growth of 2.9% (to RUB 97.8bln) and a decline in the group's wholesale business of 55%.
Carrefour to enter Uzbekistan in 2020
Carrefour’s franchisee Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has announced it will open its first Carrefour store in Uzbekistan in 2020. MAF has said it will be the first international retailer to enter the market. MAF said it would open seven stores by the end of 2021. The company said it was aiming to open three supermarkets and one hypermarket in 2020, with two supermarkets and one hypermarket to be added in 2021. Together the stores will add 17,400 sq. m of sales area in the country. The announcement was made following MAF signing an agreement with the largest private company in Uzbekistan, the AKFA Group. The companies said the Carrefour stores would be built in spaces owned by the AKFA Group.
Colruyt buys French robots
Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt has taken a minority interest in Scallog, a French start-up that develops logistics robots. The chain hopes the technology will be used to develop applications that it can use in the future. Scallog makes robots that help employees with order picking, so they can spend much less time themselves. Some large companies already use the company's services, such as Airbus, Decathlon and L'Oréal. "Scallog offers all the necessary elements to be supported by our group", CEO Jef Colruyt explained to Belgian newspaper De Tijd: he refers to the capacity for innovation, the specialised workers and the scalability of the technology. The Belgians have already carried out tests with Scallog robots and want to use them itself in the long run.
Sweden: Axfood sees net sales rise 5.7% in third quarter
Swedish retailer Axfood has posted a 5.7% increase in consolidated net sales in the third quarter of its financial year, to SEK 12.73bln (€1.19bln). The group said that operating profit was up 15.4% in the period, with operating margin of 5.6%. It noted that the new IFRS16 accounting standard had a positive effect on operating profits, of SEK 43mln, as well as a 0.3 percentage point effect on operating margin. “With 6.7% growth in store sales and a full 38% growth in online, I can affirm that this quarter we continued to outpace growth in the market in both channels", commented Axfood president and CEO Klas Balkow.
France: Casino wants to offload Géant hypermarkets
The ailing French distributor Casino wants to reduce its debts and seems to have found an interested party to offload its Géant hypermarkets to. Discounter E.Leclerc has started acquisition talks for three-quarters of the hypermarkets. Michel-Édouard Leclerc's group may take over sixty hypermarkets from Casino, for more than 1.5bln euros. Casino, for its part, would retain only 20 hypermarkets in the south-east of France, including the one in Annemasse (near the Swiss border), which is known as the most profitable store in the Géant network. If an agreement is reached, E.Leclerc will reinforce its dominance on the French market: the group is already the largest distributor in France with a market share of almost 22%. According to Capital.fr, negotiations are in full swing, but any deal must still be approved by the competition authorities.
AI and machine learning could help UK’s top grocery retailers prevent £144mln of food waste, says Blue Yonder
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help the UK’s eight large grocery retailers prevent £144mln of food waste a year, predict data scientists from Blue Yonder, a JDA company. More intelligent decision-making could help the UK’s ‘Big Eight’ supermarkets each reduce food wastage by on average 7 tonnes per year, representing a positive step in the sector’s battle to curb unnecessary waste. AI and ML can drive sustainability by helping retailers make smarter decisions based on the data they have at their disposal - from the start of the supply chain to the shop floor. Applying this insight will enable grocery retailers to hit the right balance of food stock: enough to satisfy demand, while reducing unnecessary waste.
Japan and South Korea battle it out in Vietnam retail market
South Korean companies are engaged in a fierce battle with Japanese rivals in the Vietnam retail market, which has emerged as a “post-China.” According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, the Vietnam retail market has been growing rapidly, with an annual average growth rate of 10.9% between 2013 and 2018. Currently, South Korea and Japan lead the market in all areas, including convenience stores, department stores and online shopping. Lotte Group has had a presence in the Vietnam retail market since 2008 and has invested US$390mln so far. Currently, the company has 14 shopping malls, one department store, and two duty-free shops operating across the country. Japanese rival Aeon entered Vietnam in 2011 with capital of $190mln. Since then, it has built and operated shopping malls in three centres: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Binh Dương. Besides Aeon, Japanese companies such as 7-Eleven, Fuji Mart are also operating in Vietnam.
Qatar: Lulu Hypermarket receives ‘Sustainability Award 2019’
Lulu Hypermarket Qatar has received the ‘Sustainability Award 2019’, in appreciation of their long-standing and continued efforts towards sustainability. The Minister of Municipality and Environment H E Eng. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Subaie handed over the Award to Mohamed Althaf, Director of Lulu Group International at the inaugural ceremony of Qatar Sustainability Summit 2019 held at St. Regis Hotel Doha, in the presence of Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chairman of Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD).
China: Dada-JD Daojia, Walmart's cooperative partner and investment in China, ranked 57th of 494 global unicorn firms and 6th in logistics
The Hurun Research Institute released in late October its first Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019, a ranking for non-public world's billion-dollar tech 'start-ups' founded in the 2000s. Dada-JD Daojia, China's leading on-demand logistics and omni-channel ecommerce firm, ranked 57th of 494 unicorns and 6th out of 34 logistics firms, continuing to spark with high popularity in in grocery and delivery sector. This is the first year of Hurun's global unicorn list, following the 6th quarterly Hurun China Unicorn Index. Hurun Research found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 24 countries and 118 cities. Set up 7 years ago on average, they are worth US$3.4bln on average and US$1.7tln in total.