US: McDonald's ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook steps down from Walmart's board
Steve Easterbrook resigned from Walmart's board a day after announcing his exit from McDonald's. Easterbrook informed Walmart that he was stepping down from its board of directors effective immediately, according to a regulatory filing. The departure follows his dismissal as CEO of the fast food chain for having a consensual relationship with a McDonald's employee. Easterbrook joined Walmart's board of directors in 2018. He sat on committees that focused on management development and finance. Walmart said his resignation "was not due to any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices".
US: Publix keeps growing sales, footprint
Publix Super Markets is continuing to show the grocery industry how to create sustained, long-term growth after another stellar fiscal report. The Lakeland, Florida-based chain reported $9.3bln in revenue for the third quarter ended September 28, a 6.3% increase from $8.8bln in 2018. Same-store sales for the period increased 4.3%. The company said that about 0.9% of the comps increase was due to the impact of Hurricane Dorian. The grocer adopted a new accounting standard in the first quarter of 2019 that changed the accounting for operating leases. The new standard required the company to recognize $2.9bln of operating lease rights and obligations as assets and liabilities on the balance sheet. Consequently, net earnings were $574mln, compared with $677.7mln in 2018, a decrease of 15.3%.
US: Kroger's 2020 profit, same-store sales estimates top expectations
Kroger Co forecast next year’s profit and same-store sales ahead of analysts’ estimates, as the supermarket chain benefits from its efforts to modernize stores, enhance delivery and improve product assortments. In the face of growing competition in the U.S. grocery space, recently disrupted by online retail giant Amazon.com, Cincinnati-based Kroger has been slashing prices and boosting investments in technology to attract more shoppers.
US: Walmart appears to be gaining ground against Amazon
Less shopping is happening on Amazon, and consumers are favoring Walmart, according to a new survey. The frequency of people buying items on Amazon six times or more per month has dropped to 40% this year from 80% in 2017, according to surveys by First Insight, a retail analytics firm that collects data to help retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Crocs and Kohl’s make product decisions. First Insight conducted three consumer surveys of about 1,000 people each in December 2017, September 2018 and last September to compile the results. They included shoppers with and without a Prime membership. A majority this year, 55%, said they prefer to shop at Walmart versus Amazon, up from about 47% a year earlier. The percentage of people who favor Amazon has dropped to 45% from about 53% in 2018.
US: Natural Grocers customers raise over $100,000 in support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture
In September, Organic Harvest Month, Natural Grocers customers raised $100,585 for the Organic Farmers Association, an organization led and controlled by certified organic farmers that works to create a strong voice for all organic farmers. Natural Grocers shoppers across 19 states made in-store contributions and exceeded the $50,000 target goal by over 100%, further proving shoppers are voting with their dollars to support organic farmers to be successful and encourage more farmers to transition to organic practices. The funds raised will also help provide scholarships to organic farmers to receive training for effectively solving the challenges they see on their farms and those of their fellow organic farmers.
US: Tesla settles with Walmart over solar panel installations, fires
Walmart Inc has settled its lawsuit accusing Tesla Inc of negligence in installing solar panels atop hundreds of the retailer’s stores and causing at least seven fires. In a joint statement, the companies said they were “pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart” concerning the installations, and looked forward to “a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems”. Walmart had sued Tesla for breach of contract on August 20 in a New York state court in Manhattan, seeking to have its solar panels removed from more than 240 stores.
Holland: Ahold Delhaize reports strong third quarter results
Ahold Delhaize, one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and eCommerce, reports third quarter results: Net sales of €16.7bln, up 2.9% at constant exchange rates; Net consumer online sales up 29.5% at constant exchange rates; Operating income of €679mln; Underlying operating income of €724mln, with underlying group operating margin of 4.3%; Underlying EPS from continuing operations of €0.44, up 5.2% year over year; U.S. comparable sales growth excluding gasoline +1.8%; U.S. online sales growth accelerated to 26.3% at constant exchange rates in the third quarter. Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "We saw a strong overall performance at our U.S. brands, particularly at Food Lion and Hannaford. Stop & Shop is operating in a challenging sales environment, but we are encouraged by improving transactions as we move into the fourth quarter. Our ‘Re-imagine Stop & Shop’ program is off to a good start, and we are pleased with the sales uplifts seen in the 21 remodeled Long Island stores, which are performing in line with our expectations."
Delhaize emerges as Serbia's top retailer in 2018: report
Delhaize Serbia has emerged on top of the Serbian retail market in terms of revenue and profit in 2018, according to a report published by local daily Tabloid. Based on official company figures, the report reveals that the retailer ended the year with a turnover of RSD 100.5bln (€850mln) and a net profit of €22.5mln, compared to €39.2mln in 2017. Mercator-S, owned by Slovenian retailer Mercator, emerged in the second position, with a turnover of RSD 84bln (€711mln) and a net loss of €14mln. The company operates three banners in Serbia - Idea supermarkets, Roda mega markets, and Mercator hypermarkets.
Shoprite's USave a bright spot in South Africa's slowing economy
In a bright spot amid South Africa's economic woes, Shoprite Holdings managed a 7.3% rise in quarterly revenue as shoppers turned to its discount unit USave. While its international operations saw sales fall 4.9% hurt by currency devaluations and anti-immigrant attacks, the supermarket operator reported a 10.3% rise in South Africa for the three months to 30 September. It opened eight USave stores, which offer discounted goods in low income areas, in the quarter. Days of riots in South Africa chiefly targeting foreign-owned businesses sparked retaliatory attacks elsewhere, forcing Shoprite to close several stores in early September in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia.
Italy's Lidl sees highest growth in large scale distribution: report
Lidl Italia has reported the highest growth rate (+8.8%) in Italy's large scale retail distribution sector over the past five years, a new report has revealed. According to a paper by think-thank The European House - Ambrosetti, commissioned by the German retailer, Lidl Italia generated a turnover of €4.7bln in 2018, making it the fifth in Italy in terms of growth rate and the 33rd in terms of size. The large-scale distribution sector in Italy is valued at €85bln, with about 500,000 employees and over 26,000 stores. Lidl Italia emerged as the ninth biggest player in size, with 630 outlets in 19 regions and 10 distribution centres, the report said.
UK: Co-op Group revamps store in Treorchy
A Co-op Group store in the Welsh village of Treorchy has been refurbished following a £1mln investment. The store runs on 100% renewable electricity and includes a bakery, a Costa coffee dispenser and Hermes parcel service, alongside a focus on fresh and chilled products, food-to-go, vegan and free-from foods, beers and wines, and essentials. Store manager Daryl Hodges said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to make such a significant investment in Treorchy - it has a great look and range and we are receiving really positive feedback”. Regional manager Erin O’Mahony added: “The Co-op is committed to making a difference and creating value in its communities - whether that is through sustaining local jobs, giving back to local causes or, our support for Welsh suppliers and agriculture.”
UAE: Carrefour to eliminate single-use plastic by 2025
Retail and real estate conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) will start phasing out single-use plastics by the end of this year and eliminate them altogether across its operations by 2025. Senior officials with the retail giant said that single-use plastic items will not be given to customers, excluding the on-shelf products for sale. The company is also in the process of rolling out incentives for customers who avoid plastic bags, including points on Carrefour's loyalty programmes. A major drive to educate shoppers of MAF outlets will also be launched by the brand, since customers are largely unaware of the massive impact of plastic pollution on climate change.
UK consumers keep lid on spending in October: surveys
British consumers kept a tight rein on their spending ahead of December’s election, despite being tempted by retailers offering heavy discounts last month, surveys showed. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said overall retail spending rose 0.6% year-on-year in October, marking the strongest growth since April when spending was boosted by the timing of Easter. Still, the BRC said the longer-term outlook remained bleak, with the 12-month rolling average of sales growth falling to a new low of 0.1%.
Greenweez buys Italy-based online organic specialist
Greenweez, the organic online specialist owned by Carrefour, has acquired the Italy-based online retailer Sorgente Natura. It is the second acquisition made by Greenweez after it bought Spain-based Planeta Huerto in October 2018. Announcing the purchase, the company said Sorgente Natura is the leading pure ecommerce retailer of organic products in Italy. Sorgente Natura carries a range of about 18,000 products across food, health and health and beauty. Following its purchase, Sorgente Natura will retain its brands, management team and its existing supply chain structures.