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Wakefern Food Corp. joined by Nicholas Markets Inc.

Walmart and Green Dot partnership: TailFin Labs

US: Pure Market empowers consumers to make informed shopping decisions
Pure Market, a first of its kind e-commerce and product grading platform, is launching with ratings for thousands of popular consumer food and household products across a range of categories. The platform was created to empower consumers to make more informed shopping decisions based on analytical chemistry-based research culled from scientific lab testing for harmful elements such as plasticizers, pesticides, heavy metals and more. Pure Market's product ratings come from the results of analytical chemistry testing and benchmarking. Each product is sampled and tested for as many as 400 different attributes, including industrial and environmental contaminants, pollutants, heavy metals and pesticide residues; nutrition; efficacy; and label claim accuracy.

US: Green Rabbit raises $31mln to set the standard for grocery and perishable food fulfillment
Green Rabbit, the leading e-commerce cold chain logistics provider to the food industry, announced that it has secured a $31mln minority investment from Guidepost Growth Equity, a leading growth equity firm focused on high-growth technology companies. This investment represents the first institutional capital into Green Rabbit and positions the Company to continue its rapid growth in the $20bln e-commerce food and grocery delivery market by adding additional talent to its workforce and further developing its supply chain automation capabilities. With a mission to deliver temperature-sensitive and perishable foods in a safe, fast, cost-effective manner, Green Rabbit is a trusted partner to some of the leading and largest retailers, grocers, and CPG brands. 

US: Micro-fulfillment firm Fabric raises $110mln for U.S. expansion
Fabric, the newly rebranded robotic fulfillment company, has raised $110mln to support an ongoing expansion of its micro-fulfillment technologies to the U.S. The company, founded in Tel Aviv, Israel, as Commonsense Robotics with U.S. headquarters in New York, said the new funding would help it rapidly expand across the U.S. in 2020 in partnership with brands and retailers. Fabric is pursuing both a network model offering fulfillment as a service and a platform model that enables grocery retailers to build and operate a private network of sites on their own real estate, officials said.

US: Nicholas Markets joins Wakefern Food Corp.
Nicholas Markets Inc., owned by the Maniaci family, has become the 51st family-owned business to join the Wakefern Food Corp. retailer cooperative. The Maniaci family formerly belonged to the Iselin, New Jersey-based Allegiance Retail Services LLC cooperative, operating Nicholas Markets under the Foodtown banner, until its abrupt departure. Founded in 1943 by Rocco and Nicholas Maniaci, grandfather and father of David Maniaci, current president and CEO of Nicholas Markets, the company operates four stores in North Haledon, Cedar Grove, Colonia and the Township of Washington, New Jersey, which will be rebranded as The Fresh Grocer, a Wakefern trademark. There are nine The Fresh Grocer stores, eight in the greater Philadelphia area and one in Wilmington, Delaware.

US: Walmart partners for fintech accelerator
Walmart and Green Dot are partnering to establish a new fintech accelerator: TailFin Labs, LLC, to develop innovative products, services and technologies that sit at the intersection of retail and consumer financial services. This new initiative builds on the existing relationship between the 2 companies. Green Dot is the issuing bank and program manager for the Walmart MoneyCard programme. The companies are also extending this agreement for an additional 7 years. Walmart will be the majority owner of TailFin Labs, which will focus on developing tech-enabled solutions that integrate omnichannel retail and financial services. Commenting on the programme, Daniel Eckert, SVP Walmart services and digital acceleration, stated: “Over the years, Walmart has brought to market many innovative industry-defining financial services offerings to serve our customers. With this expanded relationship, and by leveraging Walmart’s footprint and existing offerings with Green Dot’s cutting-edge capabilities, we’ll be uniquely positioned to offer an unmatched set of customer experiences that sit at the nexus of omni-channel retail and tech-enabled financial services”.

Mexico: OXXO reports 10.1% revenue growth in Q3
Mexican retailer and Coca Cola bottler FEMSA has announced consolidated revenue growth of 10.2% in Q3. Total revenue growth for its OXXO convenience stores reached 10.1%, with the stores generating sales worth MXN48.4bln (US$2.5bln). Sales through its convenience stores account for over a third of FEMSA’s total company sales. OXXO is FEMSA’s highest performing division for SSS. SSS’s at OXXO increased by 5%, compared to 0.7% in its health store division and 3.9% for its fuel service stations. FEMSA said this was driven by a 6.5% growth in the average customer ticket, which was partially offset by a decrease of 1.4% in store traffic. In Q3 OXXO opened 232 net new stores. The business has opened 1,362 stores in the last 12 months, taking its total estate to 18,840 in Latin America. Eduardo Padilla, FEMSA’s CEO said “OXXO continued to grow at a steady pace in Mexico, and we again saw encouraging data from the international operations”.

UK: Sainsbury's searches for new non-execs after planned departures
British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s said it was looking for 2 new board members after non-executive directors Matt Brittin and Jean Tomlin announced plans to leave next year. The departures come as Sainsbury’s CEO of 5 years Mike Coupe and its new chairman Martin Scicluna try to rebuild confidence in the supermarket’s strategy following a botched attempt to take over rival Asda. Sainsbury’s said Brittin would step down after 9 years in line with good corporate governance, while Tomlin planned to leave for personal reasons after almost 7 years on the board. “Sainsbury’s is searching for replacements for both Matt Brittin and Jean Tomlin. Further announcements will be made in due course”, the company said in a statement. Their exact leaving dates were not yet confirmed.

Ireland: Aldi plans to replace 12.5mln single-use plastic bags each year with compostable options
Aldi will be getting rid of 12.5mln plastic bags each year as it sells three new environmentally friendly bags in its Irish supermarkets. Starting in January, all loose fruit and vegetable bags in the shop will be fully compostable. The shop will also sell a compostable shopping bag along with a reusable and recyclable paper bag for life. Aldi is reaching for a target of reducing plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023. The supermarket aims to remove packaging that is difficult to recycle from their core range of foods by the end of 2020. It has 139 shops across Ireland. 

Israel: Yenot Bitan sells 5 supermarkets to Victory
Victory Supermarket Chain increased its number of branches by 10%. Yenot Bitan's competitors are benefiting from the supermarket chain's sale of assets in order to deal with its cash flow problems. Victory Supermarket Chain Ltd., led by CEO Eyal Ravid, will acquire five branches from Yenot Bitan for NIS 80mln (USD 22.68mln). As far as is known, Yenot Bitan is selling branches in Rehovot, Netivot, Tirat Hacarmel, and Yavne, plus a branch of Mega B'Ir in Mevaseret Zion converted into a Yenot Bitan branch two years ago.

Singapore: Sheng Siong profits up on network expansion
Singaporean supermarket chain Sheng Siong has reported a 16.4% year-on-year increase in net profit to SG$20.6mln (US$15.1mln) for the third quarter. The increase is largely attributed to an increase in gross profit arising from the growth in revenue, slightly improved gross margin, and higher other income - but was partially offset by higher operating expenses and net finance expense. “We are pleased that we have opened two new stores at Block 182 Woodland Street 13 and Block 602A Tampines Ave 9 with retail areas of 8500sqft and 9000sqft respectively while another store at Block 202 Marsiling Drive which we have secured will be operational by the first quarter of next year”, said the group’s CEO Lim Hock Chee. “Going ahead, we will continue with our efforts in expanding our retail network in Singapore, especially in areas where our potential customers reside.”

Belarus: SPAR opens new supermarket in Minsk
SPAR Belarus has announced that it has added a new supermarket to its store network in the capital city of Minsk. The 500 square metre store is located on the ground floor of a large apartment complex. The store has a large section for fruit and vegetables, a tandoori oven for freshly baked bread, a pizza oven, and an in-store café. The food-to-go counter offers flatbreads, sandwiches, bagels, grilled chicken cooked onsite, and a selection of salads.

Holland: Albert Heijn to acquire two more stores from Marqt
Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has announced that it is to acquire two more Marqt outlets in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In July of this year, Marqt sold two stores in Amsterdam and The Hague to Albert Heijn. The acquisition of the four stores is in line with the retailer's strategy to expand its presence in city centres. The stores will cater to the needs of urban consumers and include plenty of fresh products, freshly prepared meals, and numerous digital innovations. The refurbished stores in Utrechtsestraat in Amsterdam and The Hague are scheduled to open in the middle of December, while the remaining two are scheduled to open next year. All employees of the four Marqt outlets will either be absorbed by Albert Heijn or assigned to other Marqt stores, the retailer said.

Germany: The Schwarz Group is integrating AI in its stores
The Schwarz Group, which includes such retail chains as Lidl and Kaufland, is systematically investing in new technologies that are expected to streamline purchasing processes. To this end, the company strengthened cooperation and became a shareholder in the German Artificial Intelligence Research Center. Cooperation with Deutsche Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz is to lead to the development of solutions, including in the field of artificial intelligence, which will affect the quality of services offered in stationery stores. In recent years, the owner of Lidl and Kaufland, together with German Artificial Intelligence Research Center, has already developed several solutions in the field of robotics and voice sales assistants.

UK: Britain's Tesco takes on discounters with paid-for loyalty card
Tesco will next week become the first major British supermarket group to offer a subscription customer loyalty scheme, the latest weapon in its fight to stem the market share gains of German-owned discounters. Along with other leading UK grocers Sainsbury's, Asda (part of Walmart) and Morrisons, Tesco has been losing share to Aldi and Lidl, who have been aggressively opening new stores. The big four have been fighting back with initiatives that aim to differentiate their offers versus the discounters, and Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, said it would launch an enhanced version of its Clubcard scheme from 8 November.

Sweden: Coop to convert 13 Netto stores
Coop Sweden has started converting 13 Netto stores in Västergötland. The stores will receive major interior changes as well as new shelves, coolers and freezers. The stores will follow the same low-price model as before. CEO of Coop Vardagshandel, Patrik Levin, commented: “The first Netto stores that were switched to Coop have received a very good reception. Customers like the wide range of affordable products with a focus on fresh produce that the stores offer, and we really look forward to opening another 13 stores soon”.

SPAR Austria supports young start-ups
Since the launch of the “Young & Urban by SPAR” programme in 2017, SPAR Austria has partnered with 30 start-ups, selling around 350 cutting-edge food and non-food products in SPAR stores nationwide. Due to the success of the programme, SPAR Austria continues to be on the look-out for ambitious young entrepreneurs and their innovative product ideas. Young & Urban by SPAR is a well-established programme that has become an important part of SPAR Austria’s corporate philosophy. With their ingenuity, the young entrepreneurs enrich the existing product range, introducing new and innovative ideas that are appreciated by customers: “Along with promoting Austrian inventiveness, we are also able offer our customers the latest trends in food, household and leisure products, which is a win-win for all involved”, said SPAR Austria CEO, Gerhard Drexel.

Aldi UK opens online toy shop
Aldi has expanded its online offering by launching a new shop dedicated to toys, in time for Christmas. There are 240 items listed on the online portal, including dolls, books and outdoor toys. The products will be a mix of private label and brands, with the likes of Hot Wheels, Disney and LEGO included in the range. Prices range from a £1.99 make your own slime kit, to a £179.99 6ft pool table. Delivery is free on orders over £20. This will help to encourage more family shoppers at a crucial time of year. By capturing the larger household basket, Aldi can grow average transaction value.

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