China: Suning.com boosts sales, outlines Carrefour plans
Chinese O2O retailer Suning.com says sales from its online platforms and physical stores rose by 24.27% in the third quarter, reaching RMB 171.43bln (US$24.4bln). The company closed the quarter with 470mln registered members and the number of active monthly users rose by 48%. Suning.com now hosts 8407 self-operated and franchised stores. Net income attributed to shareholders was RMB 11.9bln ($1.7bln). The company expects to receive a significant boost from the acquisition of an 80% share in the Carrefour China operations in late September, adding to the previously acquired Wanda department store network. It describes the move as part of a mission to create a multi-platform retail business for China, spanning third-party marketplaces, its own physical stores and its own online offer.
Italy: Gruppo Arena obtains loan to expand operations
Italian retailer Gruppo Arena has obtained a €49mln loan from UniCredit and Banco BPM to expand its distribution network and upgrade the format of some of its outlets, reports suggest. UniCredit Leasing will also support the retailer with an additional credit line of €14.6mln. The Sicily-based company operates more than 180 stores under four banners: Deco', IperConveniente, SuperConveniente, and Non Solo Cash. The retailer aims to increase its market share in Sicily and boost the efficiency of its commercial distribution processes.
France: Casino & Intermarche's buying tie-up focus of EU antitrust probe
French supermarket groups Casino and Intermarche are being investigated under an EU antitrust inquiry over a buying alliance formed five years ago which regulators said could have been used to illegally coordinate their actions. The move, announced by the European Commission, followed dawn raids of the supermarkets in February and May this year. Casino’s shares fell on news of the EU investigation. Casino and Intermarche set up their purchasing alliance in France in 2014 but it was dissolved last year when Casino and France’s Auchan sealed a global buying deal.
Amazon's bid to acquire stake in Indian retailer faces antitrust hurdle: sources
India’s antitrust body has sought more information from Amazon.com Inc about its planned acquisition of a stake in India’s Future Retail, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, which could potentially delay the deal. Amazon in August agreed to acquire a 49% stake in a unit of India’s Future Group which owns 7.3% of Future Retail, giving the U.S.-based company a 3.58% stake in the retailer which operates more than 1,500 stores in the country. The deal would help Amazon tap into the booming retail market in India, as it separately boosts its e-commerce operations, offering everything from electronics to groceries on its Indian website. Future Retail runs 290 budget department and grocery stores branded “Big Bazaar”.
South Korea: Shinsegae and Lotte launch facial recognition payment
The duty-free arms of Shinsegae and Lotte have launched facial recognition payment technology at their stores in South Korea. After registration, Chinese customers can automatically settle payment by standing in front of a facial recognition camera, enabling shoppers to pay without cash, card, or a mobile phone. WeChat Pay facial recognition payment has been introduced in Shinsegae’s Duty Free stores in South Korea, the first time the technology has been introduced outside Greater China. Shinsegae has made facial recognition payments available at approximately 40 locations. Shinsegae’s fierce rival Lotte Duty Free has also launched facial recognition payment, but via Alipay’s Smile to Pay. It is now available at its flagship Myeong-dong store and the retailer plans to install Smile to Pay to ten duty free stores in Seoul.
Australia: Retail slumps to 'weakest' level since 1990s recession as tax cuts fail to stimulate consumer spending
Consumers are still cutting back on spending as tax cuts and successive interest rate cuts have (so far) failed to stimulate Australia's retail sector. Retail spending was significantly worse than expected, according to the latest Bureau of Statistics figures. This was "the weakest retail spending in 28 years", said CommSec chief economist Craig James. In September, retail sales lifted by 0.2% to $27.6bln in September (seasonally adjusted). Overall, this puts retails sales growth at 2.5% over the past year. It was much less than what the market had forecast (+0.5%), and a steep fall compared to the previous month's result (+0.4%). The third-quarter result, however, was even worse. Retail sales volume fell by 0.1% - against market expectations of a 0.2% increase.
Kaufland first retailer in Croatia to ban plastic bags
Aiming to reduce plastic in the environment, Kaufland Croatia has decided to completely ban the sale of lightweight plastic bags in all of its stores in Croatia, reports N1. According to the Ordinance on Amendments to the Regulations on Packaging and Packaging Waste, lightweight plastic bags are plastic carrier bags with a thickness of fewer than 50 microns. At Kaufland, these bags can currently be purchased at the checkout register for 80 lipa and 1 kuna. However, as of January 1, 2020, these plastic bags will no longer be available to Kaufland customers, who will instead be able to choose from several other types such as paper or canvas bags, the retailer said.
Thailand: Retailer Central Group plans $663mln overseas investment
Thailand’s top retailer Central Group said it plans to invest over 20bln baht ($663.13mln) in Vienna, Osaka and Turin, capitalising on a strong local currency. The investment plans can be partly attributed to the strong baht, which has strengthened against most major currencies, the company said. The Thai baht has been Asia’s best performing currency so far this year, firming over 7% against the dollar.
UK: Morrisons and Rontec extend their partnership
Morrisons is to extend its wholesale partnership with Rontec, one of the leading players in the UK forecourt industry. The initial contract will be extended for a further ten years and the Morrisons Daily offer will be added to more stores. Morrisons currently provides its Morrisons Daily fascia and grocery offer, including its Market Street fresh food and food-to-go products, to over 50 of Rontec’s 250 forecourts. Additionally, the two companies will trial a new concept called Morrisons Select in some of Rontec’s smaller convenience stores.
Japan: Rakuten sees $947mln loss from Lyft investment in latest quarter
Rakuten Inc said it expects to take a 103bln yen ($947mln) loss in the latest quarter on its investment in U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc. The e-retailer, whose billionaire founder and Chief Executive Hiroshi Mikitani has a seat on Lyft’s board, recorded the charge because Lyft shares had “fallen significantly” over the July-September period, it said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Rakuten, the biggest shareholder in Lyft with a stake of more than 11%, is scheduled to announce financial results on Thursday.
China: Fourth-quarter Alibaba revenue surges 40%
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba enjoyed a 40% rise in sales during its second financial quarter, performing beyond expectations. Alibaba revenue rose to RMB119.02bln (US$16.91bln) in the September quarter, 40% above the RMB85.15bln ($12.1bln) during the same period last year, and ahead of projected revenues of RMB116.8bln ($16.6bln). The results reflected leaps in both of the firm’s core businesses - a roughly 40% jump in e-commerce and a 64% leap in cloud computing. Alibaba’s net income attributable to ordinary shareholders hit RMB72.54bln ($10.32bln). Alibaba has been focusing on building its business in lower-tier Chinese cities to counter the effects of saturated markets and the US-Sino trade war.
India: Traders' body CAIT to launch nation-wide movement against Amazon & Flipkart
Traders' body CAIT said it will launch a nation-wide movement to protest against e-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart, alleging that they are flouting FDI policy norms and destroying the country's retail business. In a statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said: "Both Amazon and Flipkart still continue to sell goods on their portal at predatory pricing, deep discounting, controlling inventory, promoting preferential sellers and influencing prices". Union Minister Piyush Goyal had last month said the government was looking into alleged predatory pricing by Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon. CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal criticised the attitude of Amazon and Flipkart and said the traders' body is all set to launch a national movement on this issue soon.
US: H-E-B plans new store in grocer's birthplace
H-E-B has started construction on a new 106,000-square-foot store on Main Street in Kerrville, Texas, to open in late 2020. The new supermarket will go up next to an existing 35-year-old store that will close when the new store opens. The first H-E-B location opened in Kerrville in 1905 as the C.C. Butt Grocery Store. “We are excited to bring a new H-E-B store to Kerrville, the city where it all started for our company”, said Julie Bedingfield, H-E-B public affairs manager. “With an enhanced in-store experience and commitment to top-quality service and selection, this new store allows us to continue to serve the growing needs of our customers and provide the community with the best we have to offer”.
US: ShopRite pilots AI meal planning solution
Wakefern Food Corp. has partnered with Locai Solutions to offer CookIt, a customized menu planning and food shopping solution, to its banners. CookIt has already launched a pilot with ShopRite and plans to expand to The Fresh Grocer later this year. CookIt technology provides personalized recipes, ingredient recommendations and meal costs to shoppers based on the items in their online shopping carts. It considers a shopper's dietary preferences and seasonal ingredients when providing the recipes. "We're excited to partner on CookIt with Wakefern under both their ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners", said Mike Demko, CEO of Denver-based Locai. "They put a high value on what their brands deliver, and the addition of our CookIt product to their online shopping platform will further elevate the customer experience for both online and in-store shoppers."
US: Weis Markets reports results for third quarter
Weis Markets, Inc. reported its results of operations for the third quarter ended September 28, 2019. The Company's third quarter comparable-store sales increased 1.7% during this thirteen-week period ended September 28, 2019. Net sales totaled $876.2mln and net income totaled $14.3mln for the third quarter ended September 28, 2019, compared with $869.0mln and $14.2mln, respectively, for the third quarter of fiscal year 2018. Earnings per share totaled $0.53 for both periods in 2019 and 2018.
Canada: Calgary Co-op buys Community Natural Foods
Calgary Co-op has acquired Community Natural Foods, an organic and natural food retailer with three stores in Calgary. The announcement, according to a press release, signals Calgary Co-op’s commitment to “healthy lifestyles in our communities”. Under its new ownership, Community Natural Foods will run as a wholly-owned subsidiary, with its current staff and management remaining in place. “As representatives of our 440,000 members, Calgary Co-op’s Board is pleased support the expansion of Calgary Co-op’s commitment to health and wellness, while providing Calgary Co-op members with the benefit of annual net earnings from the Community Natural Foods business”, said Calgary Co-op board chair Patricia McLeod.
US: Save A Lot to offer customers Amazon services in store
In an effort to bring more convenience and choice to its customers, Save A Lot, a U.S. discount grocery store delivering high quality foods at great value, announced the rollout of new services that will enable shoppers to pay for and pick up Amazon.com packages in stores. Through Amazon PayCode, shoppers who prefer to pay in cash for their Amazon purchases can now do so at a number of St. Louis Save A Lot locations. Save A Lot will also offer Amazon Hub Locker, a secure and convenient delivery option to pick up or return Amazon packages at no additional cost. Both Amazon PayCode and Amazon Hub Locker are available now in St. Louis and will quickly expand to over 400 stores by the end of 2020.