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Ahold Delhaize: Frictionless stores

Sobeys: A parking lot paved using post-consumer plastics

Ahold Delhaize launches frictionless stores in Europe and the U.S.
Ahold Delhaize is introducing frictionless stores to a wider public after successful in-house trials on both sides of the Atlantic. Customers can scan a debit card, take what they want from the shelves and leave without checking out. The technology does it for them. In the United States, Retail Business Services, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA will demo its frictionless store at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in January 2020. The store is already being piloted at the company’s office in Quincy Massachusetts. The technology has been developed in partnership with UST Global and Intel. In Europe, Albert Heijn has set up a digital store at Schiphol Airport for a 2-month trial. Customers scan their contactless debit card to enter. In the store, customers take products and sensors keep track of which products they take or put back on the shelves. Cameras determine the position of customers without using facial recognition. This allows the store to monitor who is taking what from the shelves. 

Canada: Sobeys paves parking lot with plastics
Sobeys Inc. has just opened a new store in Nova Scotia with a parking lot paved using post-consumer plastics (equal to 6mln plastic checkout bags) diverted from local landfills. The new store in Timberlea, just north of Halifax, reflects Sobeys’ ongoing efforts to reduce plastics, including removing plastic grocery bags from all stores by the end of January. “My team and I are proud to bring a brand-new Sobeys store to our local community”, said store manager Troy Goulden in a press release. The store includes pharmacy, fresh salads and noodle bar, store-made sushi and other freshly prepared meals.

Costa Rica: Digital (online) supermarkets are here
In a situation where consumers are less and less willing to spend their time on the move, and where they value the convenience businesses provide when shopping, digital supermarkets are beginning to gain market in the region. New companies that have emerged as supermarkets that do not have physical sales areas and are operated entirely online have found acceptance in some Central American countries. Since July 2019, Supex is a digital supermarket that serves consumers in the eastern part of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of San Jose, Costa Rica. Yuliana Sanchez, founder of Supex, told that “… the main thing they offer consumers is the ability to save time. In a study we conducted, we concluded that a person could consume at least one hour to go to the supermarket”.

SPAR UK Partner supports local and independently grown produce
James Hall & Co., SPAR license holder for the North of England, are celebrating a successful year of championing local, independent fruit and vegetable producers supplying to SPAR stores across the North of the country. Wilf Whittle, Fresh Trading Manager at James Hall & Co. said: "The North West of England has an abundance of dedicated producers who provide SPAR customers with quality, local produce that has only travelled a few miles from field to fork. The aim of refreshing our offering was to reduce carbon emissions, support local producers and to offer our network of independent SPAR retailers the many benefits that come with buying British".

Europe: Retailers promote use of SCF to help suppliers grow
Ronald Molenaar, manager business controlling at Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo and Vilhelm Otterheim, senior sourcing manager with Swedish retailer ICA Gruppen told SCF Europe forum delegates how they used supply chain finance to ensure that their key suppliers can afford to stay with them as they develop. Both acknowledged the vital importance of supply chains growing with their companies. Jumbo’s passion for modernising and evolving was conveyed by Molenaar, who used Jumbo’s history of fast growth over the past 20 years, to discuss how modern corporations need to make a commitment to a healthy supply chain in order to ensure positive outcomes for suppliers and growing enterprises. Otterheim echoed this and spoke about ICA’s optimisation of the value chain and use of SCF as a tool for funding, stating that: “we never force a supplier to us, but we convince then that we can face the future together. The most important thing for us is supplier satisfaction”.

UK: Co-op research explores the importance of community wellbeing
Retail co-ops in the UK and abroad are increasingly concerned with research into the wellbeing of their members and employees. Last year the Co-op Group revealed a community wellbeing index, a tool to measure wellbeing in communities throughout the UK. The index provides a snapshot of how communities score in nine key areas, such as education and skills to equality, participation and trust. It covers 28,000 communities across the country. In June this year the Group launched an Endangered Spaces campaign to protect, support and improve 2,000 at-risk community spaces over the next three years. In partnership with Locality, the Co-op will identify the most at-risk spaces, and mobilise the necessary support to protect them.

France: Carrefour to get Loop corners
Speaking at an LSA event, TerraCycle’s founder Tom Szaky has spoken about how the organisation would be establishing Loop shop-in-shop areas in specific Carrefour stores in France. Szaky said that Loop corners would be opened in Carrefour stores by the end of 2019. In the areas shoppers will be able to purchase products usually only available through the company’s website, Szaky said the corners would help the company learn about what consumers in France want from it and are looking for from sustainable products. He noted that its research showed how most shoppers in France were attracted to a products’ packaging and design, with only 33% of them buying it due to its sustainable qualities.

Holland: Jumbo reprimands store manager in payback row
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo has reprimanded a store manager who wanted to have his employees pay a fine if they leave customers waiting for too long, after a social media backlash. In its Dutch stores, Jumbo promises that any customer who is fourth in line waiting at the checkout receives their groceries free of charge. However, this proved too costly a promise for one store manager, who posted a paper saying "If a fourth person is waiting [...] then the costs are for everyone who is working at the checkout and failed to tannoy his fellow employees". As that post went viral on social media, the supermarket chain had to apologise and called the store manager for a meeting. "This is not what should be done", a spokesperson told Dutch newspaper AD. The store manager in question confirmed that it happened in his store, but did not comment on the event. "The head office does not allow us to go into the issue outside", he said.

Latvian retail sales down 0.4 % in October
In October 2019, Latvia’s calendar-adjusted retail sales dropped 0.4% at constant prices against the same period a year ago, according to the Central Statistical Bureau. While food retailers' trade turnover remained unchanged, non-food retailers’ sales (excluding automotive fuel sales) rose 0.3% year-on-year, but retail trade in automotive fuel was down 3.2%.

AliExpress extends services in Saudi Arabia and UAE
The company has said growing demand in Saudi Arabia and UAE is encouraging it to expand its range of services. It has begun to offer the consolidation of orders for cheaper delivery and cash on delivery as a payment option. To better facilitate the delivery of orders AliExpress is looking to open a warehouse in Saudi Arabia to add to the one it operates in UAE.

Europe: Will you be shopping online today?
Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in the European Union (EU). Consumers appreciate its advantages, such as being able to shop anytime, anywhere, having access to a wider range of products and being able to compare prices easily. 60% of people in the EU aged 16 to 74 shopped online during the year prior to the 2018 survey, compared with 32% in 2008. Although men tend to shop online slightly more than women, the share of online shoppers has increased more among women over the last 10 years (from 30% in 2008 to 59% in 2018) than among men (from 35% in 2008 to 61% in 2018). Over the last 10 years, the share of online shoppers in the EU has increased among all age groups, but most notably for younger internet users aged 16 to 24 years (from 40% in 2008 to 72% in 2018) and those aged 25 to 34 years (from 46% in 2008 to 78% in 2018).

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