New self-service checkout to combat ongoing issue at Woolworths
Woolworths has introduced a new self-service checkout designed to combat an ongoing issue related to the emerging technology. The supermarket is trialling the use of "trolley self-serve lanes" at a newly opened Millers Junction Woolworths in Melbourne's south-west, with a similar test underway in Sydney's Gregory Hills store. Similar to using a traditional staffed checkout, customers will load groceries onto a conveyer belt before scanning them at a self-service register at the other end. Woolworths hope the technology will reduce crowding at traditional self-service checkouts. The self-service trial will also coincide with the introduction of "Scan&Go" technology, which allows customers to scan products with their smartphones as they shop before making payment through an app linked to their credit card. The supermarket said the new self-service checkout and introduction of Scan&Go would not replace staff, with eight manned registers also installed at the new store.
UK: Thousands sign petition calling for shops to close on Boxing Day
Nearly 60,000 people have signed a nationwide petition calling for shops to close on Boxing Day. December 26 is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year which sees many retailers launch huge sales. Shops also tend to open extra early to cope with the expected chaos and to allow as much trade as possible. However, a petition which has gone viral has called to shops to stay shut on the day to allow staff to spend more time at home with their families.
The petition reads: "Staff should not be forced to spend Boxing Day away from loved ones so shoppers can get a new pair of half-price trainers that they will not even wear before starting their New Year's resolutions at the gym (far into January). So far, 56,277 have signed the petition. A similar call was made in 2016, which was signed by 235,678 people. Many seem to share the thoughts of thousands across the UK.
Russian retailer Dixy to launch online sales with Sberbank
One of the largest Russian retailers Dixy Group will launch online grocery sales of its format Viktoria in 1H20, the CEO of the group Igor Pletnev told Vedomosti daily. Pletnev did not specify which is the marketplace the sales will be hosted on. As reported by bne intelliNews, Russia’s largest retailer X5 Group also focuses on digital solutions and develops online sales of its supermarket format. O’kay retailer also runs an online supermarket, while Magnit, Lenta, and Metro are collaborating with express delivery services. Dixy will team up with Sberbank’s delivery and logistics service SberLogistika in development of the delivery solutions, Pletnev said.
Retailer or future unicorn? Ocado's business model still has many promises to keep
In the UK, it's no longer a rarity to spot one of Ocado's colorful vans, bearing giant displays of groceries – an itinerant advert for the apples, oranges, raspberries and other fresh items the company promises to deliver straight to your door. Now nearly twenty years in the making, Ocado was elevated to the FTSE 100 in 2018 and saw at the same time its market cap value balloon to £6.1 billion. Since then, it has signed no less than five international deals, with retailers ranging from Marks & Spencer in the UK to US supermarket chain Kroger. And so, opening Ocado's full-year results at the start of 2019, CEO Tim Steiner emphatically declared that the company is "an 18-year overnight success".
There's another key statistic; the same year, the company made almost £45 million net loss. What's more, since it was created in 2000, Ocado has only achieved pre-tax profit twice. Ocado argues that the nature of its business differs from traditional retail; in fact, the company rather speaks of itself as a "technology company". The investment is all in innovation. Alex Harvey, general manager for automation and embedded systems at Ocado, told ZDNet: "We set out with the mission to change the world of grocery shopping, and in the early days we focused on being a retail company. Very early on, though, we realized that the adoption of tech was incremental to building our offer. This is why tech has always been in Ocado's DNA – and why it is our main business now, instead of retail."
Walmart is revamping its produce section
Walmart is giving its produce aisles a makeover. The grocer announced Wednesday that it will renovate produce areas with new signs highlighting prices and shorter merchandise bins to create an "open market feel" for customers. Walmart will also move all of its organic items into a single area of the department to make them easier to find. And it will widen the aisles to try to keep them from clogging up with customers and employees who pick up online grocery orders.
Walmart hopes a new merchandising look will help convince shoppers that it offers high-quality fruit and vegetables. "It plays to big, overarching consumer trends in health and wellness," said Jon Springer, executive editor of Winsight Grocery Business, an industry trade publication.
Yesway just added a slew of stores to sell its private brands
Convenience store chain Yesway, which has been rapidly expanding its Yesway line of private brands, just added a slew of stores to sell them. The Des Moines, Iowa-based chain announced this week it has completed its acquisition of Allsup’s Convenience Stores, a 304-store regional chain based in Clovis, N.M.
Yesway, which began four years ago, is one of the fastest-growing convenience store retailers in the U.S. With the acquisition, Yesway now has 421 stores in Iowa, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Tom Trkla, chairman and CEO of Yesway, called Allsup’s “one of the most iconic and adored convenience store chains in the country.” Allsup’s was started by Barbara and Mark Allsup more than 63 years ago.
Retailers such as Kohl's are 'in trouble' without better digital presence or bargains, Jim Cramer says
According to CNBC's Jim Cramer, retailers must win in the current environment by either having a strong online presence or offering discount prices, he told "Mad Money" viewers Wednesday. "If you're not offering a great digital experience or nearly unbeatable bargains ... you are in trouble," he said after Wall Street received a mixed bag of earnings reports from the industry.
The winners and losers in retail are singing diverging tunes about the consumer, making it tough to get a read on the broader economy from the industry, Cramer said. He made his case by highlighting the earnings beat and raised guidance from Target and earnings miss and cut from Kohl's in their latest quarterly reports. Target has spent recent years investing in its online business, and the results appear to be paying off. Digital sales bloomed 31%, powered largely by its same-day options such as in-store pickup or delivery via Shipt, the company said. Net sales improved 6.1% year over year.
Amazon is planning to open cashierless supermarkets next year
Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to open Amazon Go supermarkets and pop-up stores, an expansion of the company’s cashierless ambitions that includes the possibility of licensing the technology to other retailers. The new store formats and licensing initiative could launch as soon as the first quarter of 2020, according to a person familiar with the project. Amazon is testing a supermarket equipped with Go technology in a 10,400-square-foot retail space in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The Go expansion is the e-commerce giant’s latest attempt to compete in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry and perhaps other areas of retail, as well. The company already operates the Whole Foods Market chain and last week confirmed plans to launch a separate supermarket brand, starting with a location in the upscale Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Those stores will have human cashiers. The previously unreported plan to expand Go revives Amazon’s original vision of creating full-size grocery stores without checkout lines.
Target CEO says cost of handling online orders drops 90% when shoppers use same-day options
Target’s business is booming thanks to the retailer’s investments to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy things online and get them that same day. When Target reported quarterly earnings, it said digital sales surged 31%, with its same-day services accounting for 80% of that growth. Those services include a curbside pickup option, same-day delivery via its Shipt network and buy online, pick up in store.
It has been a concern among analysts and investors when retailers, including Walmart, have started selling more online, because those sales are less profitable and require heftier costs to get those orders to customers’ homes. Walmart is still losing money online. But Target says it has found a way to slash costs and make money.
“When it’s delivered by our stores ... those look a lot more like store economics,” CEO Brian Cornell said during an interview on “Squawk Box” with CNBC’s Becky Quick. He said when Target fulfills an online order from the back of its stores versus shipping from a distribution center, “about 40% of the cost goes away.” He said when customers order online and pick up at a store, use curbside pickup or select shipping via Shipt, “about 90% of the cost goes away. We certainly like that,” he said.