US: Alex Lee deploys AI to lift wholesale distribution business
Merchants Distributors (MDI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hickory, North Carolina-based Alex Lee Inc., is implementing Symphony RetailAI’s Demand ForecastingAI and Warehouse Replenishment to support its wholesale distribution business. “Our primary goal is to ensure that MDI customers continue to grow profitably and create loyalty with their customers - so we needed technology that helps us more quickly understand market trends, react faster and invest in the right products”, said Anita Harris, CIO of Alex Lee, also the parent company of Lowes Foods, which operates 85 grocery stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as Just Save food stores in North Carolina.
US: Giant Food launches ad campaign focused on grocery pickup
Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, kicked off its new TV advertising campaign with the debut of commercials centered around Giant Direct, the retailer’s online grocery service that offers pickup and delivery, and featuring members of Giant’s own team. Store associates Annette White from the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Giant and Stephanie Coons from the Levittown, Pennsylvania Giant appear in the commercials. “With online grocery and delivery services exploding throughout the marketplace, what sets Giant Direct apart is our people”, said Matt Simon, chief marketing officer, Giant Food Stores.
US: Kroger looks to transform with 'Fresh for Everyone' campaign
Kroger has launched a new brand transformation campaign that celebrates the grocer’s customers and associates, a "food-first" culture and its long history in grocery, a company press release said. The new branding will include a refreshed logo and a new tagline: "Fresh for Everyone." All Kroger banners across the U.S. will incorporate the new brand attributes while continuing to operate under their existing names. The goal of the campaign is to stand out from the "sea of sameness" and create an egalitarian brand that captures Kroger’s commitment to offering fresh, affordable food to everyone. DDB, Kroger’s agency of record helped build the new brand.
US: Southeastern Grocers expands e-commerce to Louisiana with online marketplace partnerships
Southeastern Grocers (SEG), parent company of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announces an expansion of e-commerce shopping technologies to include online ordering and grocery delivery service for Louisiana customers in partnership with online grocery marketplace leaders Instacart and Shipt. Winn-Dixie customers can visit winndixie.com/shoponline to conveniently order groceries online.
US: Wakefern's ShopRite introduces two new store brands
ShopRite unveiled two new store brands that debut on store shelves this month offering high-quality food and household products at value prices. ShopRite’s launch of the Bowl & Basket and Paperbird lines kicks off a transformation of the supermarket’s own brands with newly designed and carefully crafted products, starting with approximately 100 items in November, expanding to 300 by year’s end, and more than 3,500 newly branded products by the end of 2021. Bowl & Basket foods pair thoughtfully selected ingredients at a budget-friendly price, according to the retailer, while Paperbird offers a new line of beautifully designed and effective household products.
Farmers worry over price wars as Jumbo supermarkets open in Belgium
Jumbo opened a supermarket on Wednesday in Pelt, Limburg, its first in Belgium, and plans two more this year in Lanaken (Limburg) and Rijkevorsel (Antwerp), sparking fears among Belgian farmers of a price war at their expense. The Dutch mass distribution chain plans to build about 100 stores in Flanders in five years. It does not yet have any concrete plans for Wallonia and Brussels, but says it is interested in looking into the prospects offered by the Francophone market. Jumbo also said 15% of its products will be Belgian - mainly meats, fresh produce and bread.
Amazon deal with India’s BookMyShow helps build ‘super app’
Amazon’s partnership with BookMyShow in India will bring it one step closer to becoming super app, says GlobalData. The US-based e-commerce giant has teamed with online ticket-booking platform BookMyShow in India to allow its customers buy movie tickets from within Amazon’s app. Shagun Sachdeva, consumer insights analyst at GlobalData, says the strategic move alludes to Amazon’s bigger plan of making an aggressive play to become a one-stop shop for all online consumer transactions and winning the pole position in India, one of the fastest growing global markets. “It will not only increase the acceptance of Amazon Pay but also allow both companies to work together towards their common goal of offering best-in-class consumer experience”, she said.
UK: Sainsbury's hit by store closure costs
Profits at Sainsbury's have been almost wiped out for the first half of the year after being hit by costs relating to store closures. In September, Sainsbury's said it would shut a number of stores, including many Argos outlets as it moves the brand into its supermarkets. The supermarket group said pre-tax profits dropped to £9mln from £107mln in the same period last year. Sainsbury's also announced a 1% drop in like-for-like sales. Food sales fell by 0.1%, which the company blamed on tough comparatives from last year when demand was buoyed by good weather. Like-for-like general merchandise sales fell by 2.5% and clothing dropped by 1.2%, which Sainsbury's also blamed on last year's hot weather and "a subdued non-food market". The store closures resulted in a £203mln charge in Sainsbury's half-year results, which cover the 28 weeks to 21 September.
Germany: HelloFresh on track for break-even
Meal kit delivery company HelloFresh is continuing its strong growth. In the third quarter, sales once again rose sharply and the company claims that it is on track to be break-even for the full year. In the last quarter, revenue grew by 45.8% to 440.6mln euros (42.2% growth in constant currency) compared to the same period last year. The number of active customers rose to 2.61mln (+ 42.1%), with the number of orders rising to 9.11mln (+ 43.7%). A total of just under 70mln meals were delivered (+ 48.1%). Adjusted gross operating profit (AEBITDA) in the third quarter climbed to 15.5mln euros, while in the same period last year there was still a negative result of 26mln euros. Profitability improved across all geographical areas, with HelloFresh achieving a positive AEBITDA margin of 2.6% in the United States, and 10.7% in other countries. For the second consecutive quarter, the meal kit delivery company will make a profit at group level.
UK: Never knowingly undersoiled - John Lewis trucks to run on cow manure
Hundreds of John Lewis delivery trucks will begin running on cow power from 2021 as the retailer weans its fleet off polluting diesel fuel and switches to carbon-neutral cow manure. The retailer will begin using renewable biomethane made from manure slurry for almost 300 John Lewis and Waitrose delivery vans under new plans from its fuel supplier to swap rotting vegetables for poo power at no extra cost. John Lewis currently runs 80 vans on biomethane from food waste, but plans to expand its green fleet by up to 200 vans within the next 18 months before switching to manure.
Spain: SuperSol launches new business model
SuperSol has recently invested €600,000 to implement a new business model. The retailer has launched its new business model, which combines elements of both a supermarket and a cash and carry. This concept is called CashSol. CashSol has a motto of ‘buy more, pay less’. The first store opening was 31 October 2019, located in the city of Ceuta. The assortment offered in the new model includes large layouts and fresh products of bakery, butcher and green grocers. The opening hours Monday to Saturday are 9am-10pm.
UK: Food business boosts M&S
Marks & Spencer’s UK food business posted a 1.2% increase in revenue to £2.8bln for the six months ended 28 September. The company said its food performance improved in quarter two, with like-for-like sales up 1.4% and total volumes up 3.3% as investment continued in value, with more than 400 price reductions in excess of 10% over the past year. During the period, investment was focused on core categories such as bakery, milk, meat and produce and a rolling programme of ‘fresh market specials’. The contribution from new space was largely offset by full line store closures, the retailer added.
7-Eleven opens first store in east China's Fujian
Japanese convenience store chain 7-Eleven opened its first store in Fuzhou, capital city of east China's Fujian Province. Fujian is the 12th province that the Fortune 500-listed chain store giant has entered. 7-Eleven now operates more than 2,800 stores on the Chinese mainland. Hundreds of stores of many emerging brands including Super Species under Chinese supermarket chain operator Yonghui Superstores and Alibaba's Hema have settled in Fuzhou since the city started to foster new retailing in early 2017.
UK: Waitrose identifies key food trends and makes 2019 predictions
In its new annual Food and Drink report, Waitrose highlights how shoppers today are spending more mindfully, choosing to de-clutter their kitchens and opting for simpler mealtime options. 1 - Keeping it simple: Nearly 50% of Brits are trying to create more time for hobbies and are now cooking their weekday meals in under 30 minutes. Shoppers are taking shortcuts such as opting for frozen chopped vegetables and herbs, batch cooking and using pouches of rice or grains. The main reason behind the shift being that hobbies and past times help with mental wellbeing. 2 - Spending mindfully: Brits are claiming to buy less unnecessary 'stuff', with 49% buying fewer lunches out and 46% claiming to go the pub less often. Whilst shoppers are spending less, when they do choose to spend their money they are favouring 'controlled discovery', investing in making spend experiences more special, e.g. taking time to enjoy a piece of chocolate. 3 - A passion for compassion: Over a sixth of Brits say they are cooking for others more often today than they were 5 years ago. According to Tor Harris, Waitrose & Partners head of corporate social responsibility, social media platforms are driving shoppers to carrying out good deeds. Occasions such as cooking at home for guests, helping out friends and making food to take into work are the most popular amongst Brits. 4 - Cutting clutter: Only 20% of Brits disagree with trying to have a tidy and organised kitchen, with 4 out of 5 claiming they choose to have a tidy kitchen as it makes it easier to find things. Waitrose found that 9% of Brits now take their own containers to supermarkets to refill with fresh produce and deli items, calling out the success of its Unpacked trial.
Europe: International Marketplace Network opens for all retailers
The International Marketplace Network (IMN), an alliance of major European ecommerce platforms, is now open for all traders. After a one-year test phases, European online marketplaces Real.de, Cdiscount, eMAG and ePrice are launching the International Marketplace Network. The International Marketplace Network is an initiative from four major ecommerce platforms in Europe. With the joint venture, these four players want to create an online retail platform that facilitates the exchange of merchants in order to promote more efficient cross-border ecommerce.
Lidl UK sustainability model
In Lidl's latest sustainability document, The Good Food Report 17/18, the retailer sets out its vision of 'making Good Food accessible for everyone'. The 3 main components of this vision are 1 - Good for producers: Lidl has been focusing on two main areas to improve its supply chain; transparency and locality; 2 - Good for people: Lidl's goal is to make safe, affordable and nutritious food accessible. This is by making food healthier, working towards the UK salt reduction targets and reducing sugar by 20% by 2020. It also aims to sell more fruit and vegetables. This is supported by its social media channels. During 2019 it doubled the number of social media posts promoting vegetables, to 303; 3 - Good for our planet: Lidl has said: "The Discounter model is inherently sustainable. That’s because we are always striving to be cost-efficient which naturally leads us to reduce our wider impact."
Australia: Coles launches 'unlimited deliveries' online subscription service
Coles has launched a subscription service offering customers unlimited home deliveries in an effort to increase the supermarket giant's reach among people too busy to shop. Customers who pay $19 per month will get unlimited deliveries for grocery shops over $100, while those who pay $14 will get unlimited deliveries between Tuesday and Thursday. Coles chief executive Steven Cain noted in August that consumer behaviours were "changing faster than ever" amid heightened competition and the company's response already included a $1bln supply chain overhaul.
Spain: Family Cash acquires eight Eroski hypermarkets
Eroski has announced it sold eight hypermarkets to Family Cash. Eroski stated the sale took place, to support its aim to increase its presence in the regions, especially growing through its franchise system. The transfer is planned to be completed by the end of 2021. Until the transfer is finalised, all stores will continue to operate under the Eroski brand.
Amazon Australia signs up Zip Co buy now, pay later service
Amazon Inc’s Australia unit has signed up Zip Co Ltd to offer its buy now, pay later (BNPL) service on the U.S. giant’s local retail website, sending shares in Zip soaring by more than 20%. The deal with the world’s biggest retailer is a massive boost for Sydney-based Zip, a relatively small player in the crowded and fast-growing BNPL sector. Its payment system went live on the Amazon Australia site on Thursday. As part of the deal, Zip will issue warrants to an affiliate of Amazon for it to buy as much as 14.6mln of its shares, representing around 4.2% of outstanding shares. The warrants may be exercised for seven years from the issue date.