Lidl US will open its first two stores on Long Island

Kroger: Dark kitchen partnership with ClusterTruck

US: Meijer to provide in-store caroling
To get its shoppers and associates in a holiday frame of mind, Meijer will offer weekend performances of festive tunes by local school choirs and music groups. For the second consecutive year, the retailer has invited local school music groups to come into their stores to sing carols as customers shop the aisles. This year, 115 groups will perform. “Meijer knows that community traditions, like caroling, are a big part of what makes the holiday season so special to families, and we want to bring those traditions into every aspect of their holiday experience, including holiday shopping”, explained Cathy Cooper, senior director of community partnerships and giving for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer. “The carolers brought a new level of festivity to our stores last year, so we are excited to bring them into more stores this year”.

US: Lidl opening 1st 2 stores on Long Island, New York
As part of a flurry of expansion activity this month, Lidl US has revealed that it will open its first two stores on Long Island, in the towns of West Babylon and Center Moriches, on December 11. Both stores will host ribbon-cutting events at 7:40 a.m. to kick off a weekend of special offers, giveaway and shopper prizes. The locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Sunday. “As a Long Island native, I know how important saving time and money is to residents across the Island”, said West Babylon Store Manager Joe Marazzo. “Shoppers will be in awe at how much they can save with Lidl each week. My team and I cannot wait to serve the community”.

US: Health Department partners with Jamaica supermarket for new program that helps SNAP users buy more fruits and veggies
Get the Good Stuff is a new program that will offer SNAP users with a dollar-for-dollar match of eligible fruits, vegetables and beans at participating supermarkets, including Jamaica’s Fine Fare Supermarket. For every $1 spent on eligible fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables and beans in SNAP benefits, shoppers will get $1 added to a program loyalty card. They will be able to use that card on the eligible food on their next purchase. “Not only will this program make it easier for New Yorkers to purchase great fruits and vegetables, but they can buy them in a way that works best for them - fresh, frozen, or even canned”, said Kate MacKenzie, director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “It is important that program participants have these choices to make it easier to feed their families”. The new program, which the Health Department recently announced, is available at three Fine Fare Supermarkets. They are located on 8945 163rd Street in Jamaica, Queens; and 459 East 149th St. and 3550 White Plains Road in the Bronx.

US: Kroger launches dark kitchen partnership with ClusterTruck in Columbus, Denver and Indianapolis
The Kroger Co., America's favorite grocer, and ClusterTruck, a software platform that powers profitable, vertically integrated delivery-only kitchens, launched a partnership that will change the way Americans access freshly prepared meals. By offering multiple menus from one central scratch kitchen, Kroger Delivery Kitchen will deliver fresh and delicious meals on-demand without service or delivery fees. For the initial rollout, Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck is launching in Carmel, Indiana - where Kroger and ClusterTruck are jointly opening a fourth kitchen - and Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. Additionally, King Soopers Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck will serve customers in Denver.

Australia: Woolworths hit with class action for underpaying staff
A law firm has filed a class action against Woolworths Group for underpaying thousands of supermarket workers, saying Australia’s biggest grocery chain should pay more than double its estimate for the shortfall in wages. Adero Law said it filed the class action for more than 7,000 current and former employees of Woolworths Supermarkets over the scandal, which has drawn criticism from opposition politicians and prompted an investigation by a government agency.

Israel: Supermarkets report losses after rumors of Walmart entry
Israeli supermarket chains' shares were hit by losses after reports spread that Walmart may enter the Israeli market after multiple LinkedIn recruitment ads were posted by the supermarket chain for Jerusalem, IL over the past few weeks. Shufersal, Rami Levi, Victory and Yohananof were among the Israeli businesses to report losses, according to Mako news. A spokesperson for Walmart told Israeli business daily Calcalist that the recruitment ads were for a city in Illinois named Jerusalem, however the listings appeared to specifically target Israeli users and the geographical location of the jobs appeared as Israel.

Denmark: Coop targets 75% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025
Coop Denmark has announced that it aims to cut carbon emissions in its operations by 75% by 2025 and achieve a climate positive status by 2030. It also plans to reduce its indirect greenhouse gas emissions from suppliers, transporters and consumers by 1mln tonnes annually, by the year 2030. It corresponds to more than 2% of Denmark's national climate accounts, the retailer added. "Coop has a 153-year tradition of leading the way in Denmark on accountability. Now that the world is facing its biggest challenge ever, we want to be a natural part of the climate solution", said Coop CEO Peter Høgsted.

Ahold Delhaize CEO demands unified European prices
Brand manufacturers are making the supply chain unnecessarily complex and are undermining all the advantages of the European single market, says Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller. He calls for greater transparency and for unified prices in Europe. "Consumers should be aware that most branded products from large manufacturers are produced in only three factories. So why do we have different prices in each of the 27 national markets? Why are we not seeing a faster trend towards European prices? After all, if we could simplify things, it would make our lives easier", Muller says in an interview with German Retail Blog.

UK: Ocado launches $642mln bond issue to fund robotic warehouse deals
British online grocer and technology company Ocado has launched a 500mln pounds ($642mln) convertible bond offering, partly to fund the construction of robotic warehouses for its overseas partners, it said. While Ocado’s retail business has only a 1.4% share of Britain’s grocery market, its state-of-the-art technology has enabled it to win partnership deals with supermarket groups around the world, including Kroger in the United States, Casino in France and most recently Aeon in Japan.

Germany: Retail sales drop in October
German retail sales fell in October, data showed, suggesting that private consumption in Europe's largest economy took a pause for breath before the Christmas shopping season. Retail sales fell 1.9% on the month in real terms after a revised reading of no change in the previous month, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. October's fall was the biggest since December last year. Retail sales are a volatile indicator often subject to revision. The Ifo economic institute said it expected a "very good Christmas". On the year, retail sales rose by 0.8% in October after a 3.4% rise in September, the data showed.

Amazon, Walmart face the ire of 70mln India shopkeepers
India’s shopkeepers are mobilising against the global e-commerce giants, alleging they are engaged in predatory pricing in violation of new rules meant to protect local businesses. At stake is the future of retailing in a country with 1.3bln consumers, where Walmart and Amazon have sunk billions of dollars trying the crack the market and capture its growth potential. “Amazon and Flipkart are a second version of the East India company”, said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders at the Delhi protest, referring to the British trading house whose arrival in India kicked off nearly 200 years of colonial rule. “The motive of Amazon and Flipkart is not to do business, but to monopolise and control”.

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