Vingroup will merge with Masan Group Corp to create biggest retail company in Vietnam

World's first in-store genetic test that 'nudges' you to make healthier choices

UK: Asda in 24-hour Christmas opening hours bid for dozens of stores
Asda wants the option to open more stores around the clock over the busy Christmas period. The supermarket giant is submitting applications to give it the option to open extra stores 24 hours a day in the run up to Christmas Day and between Christmas and New Year. In North Wales, proposals to adjust planning conditions restricting opening hours are already in for stores in Llandudno and Kinmel Bay, near Rhyl.

Portugal: Intermarché test new supply chain solutions
Intermarché is planning to introduce a technological solution to increase the efficiency of its supply chain in Portugal. The technology being tested is the ZetesZeus supply chain visibility cloud solution. The group is testing the technology on two suppliers and will gain real-time access to all events in its supply chain. The technology comprises of delivering accurate information from external supplier systems. The technology allows the group to switch monthly email reports to instant access dashboards. It monitors order discrepancies, product permanence, transfer times and inbound/outbound shipping events until final delivery. The benefits of implementing a new technological supply chain operation, it increases visibility and reduces waste. Furthermore, it will allow Intermarché to gain valuable information regarding all critical events, which occur through the supply chain.

Vingroup, Masan to form Vietnam's biggest retail company
Vingroup JSC, Vietnam’s biggest listed firm by market value, said it will merge with leading consumer retailer Masan Group Corp to create the country’s biggest retail company. Vingroup said in a statement that the two companies were finalizing legal procedures to sign an official agreement for the merger between its retail and agriculture units and Masan Consumer, a subsidiary of Masan Group. “The merger will enable us to expand our consumer base and ensure a fair retail playing ground for Vietnamese manufacturers”, said Truong Cong Thang, chairman of Masan Consumer Holding, which produces Vietnamese must-buy consumer goods.

UK: Tesco adopts sunflower lanyard to help customers with hidden disabilities
Tesco will begin providing sunflower lanyards at all of its stores. The move is one of several to promote disability inclusion for customers and colleagues in 2020. Tesco has become a signatory to the Valuable 500 group of companies and pledged to create another 27 Changing Places toilets next year. The sunflower lanyard acts as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and could require additional assistance. Tesco colleagues will be able to offer help such as speaking face-to-face to allow lip reading, packing bags and taking them to customers’ cars or reading labels for partially-sighted customers. Every store will display a permanent sign which says that the sunflower lanyard is recognised there.

Australia: Woolworths teams up with Instagram food artist to spark fresh approach to gifting
Woolworths is living up to its reputation as ‘The fresh food people’ this Christmas by teaming up with a popular Instagram food artist to encourage shoppers to get creative with food gifts. Melbourne mum Laleh Mohmedi is the woman behind Jacob’s Food Diaries, an Instagram page dedicated to creating fun fresh food masterpieces, originally for her son, but now also to showcase to her 221k+ Instagram followers. As part of Woolworths’ Gift of Fresh campaign, Mohmedi will create fresh food gifts including a Mango Teddy Bear, Chocolate Box Surprise and a Festive Edible Christmas Tree, to show that it can be an easy and affordable gifting option and encourage shoppers to support Australian growers in the lead up to Christmas.

SPAR Ireland trials use of solar panels
EUROSPAR Gortahork, in the northwest of county Donegal in Ireland, owned by the McClafferty family, is the first store to complete the solar panel installation which is expected to see a 15% reduction in the store’s carbon emissions and a significant annual cost saving on energy bills of up to 15%. Further installations are being rolled out to other EUROSPAR Supermarkets in the counties of Louth and Kilkenny in the coming months, as part of the partnership between BWG Group, the license holder for SPAR in Ireland, and the Irish renewable energy efficiency company Enerpower. The advanced solar panels that will be deployed as part of the scheme are highly efficient and are designed to deliver significant energy cost savings.

France: Hema and Franprix expand collaboration
Dutch chain Hema and French Franprix are going to expand their collaboration, which started in August. The number of Franprix stores in which the Hema range gets its own corner, will be quadrupled. The French convenience store chain has been testing selling a selection of Hema's products in fifteen shops, but the second stage will see that number rise almost fourfold to 59. Both companies also expect the cooperation to expand even further next year, to possibly several hundreds of stores. "We are very satisfied with the cooperation with Franprix. Besides the extra sales that we achieve with our corners in Franprix, we also see an extra influx of customers in our stores that are close to a Franprix store with a Hema corner. Because of our cooperation, more and more French consumers are becoming acquainted to Hema", says CEO Tjeerd Jegen.

UK: DnaNudge pop-up launches in Waitrose & Partners Canary Wharf and John Lewis & Partners White City
DNA testing pioneer, DnaNudge, has launched new pop-up services in Waitrose & Partners Canary Wharf, and John Lewis & Partners, White City, offering shoppers the opportunity to try the world's first in-store genetic test that 'nudges' you to make healthier choices, based on your unique DNA plus your lifestyle. The technology works by taking a quick, on-the-spot one-time use cheek swab which, when tested in the brand's patented NudgeBox, will generate a personalised DNA report for the user based on key nutrition-related health traits. Once tested, users are able to start using the DnaNudge smartphone App or wrist-worn DnaBand to scan over 500,000 food and drink product barcodes and assess a product's suitability based on their personal genetic profile. The DnaBand will flash green if it is a good match for their DNA, red if it isn’t, and the App will recommend alternative green product swaps in the same category that would be more healthy for them based on their own DNA.

Kenya: Supermarket chain Naivas named top Visa merchant
Supermarket chain Naivas has been recognised by global payment services firm Visa International as the retailer with the highest number of card transactions in Kenya. Naivas said cashless payments now account for over 39% of all its transactions. Merchants like Naivas pay a fee to Visa and its partner banks each time a customer uses a card at the point of sale. The retailer has an estimated 1,320 card swiping machines in its 58 outlets. Visa said the use of its branded cards at Naivas has surpassed its expectations.

Carrefour Brasil, healthcare firms poised to enter Brazil's Bovespa
Retailer Carrefour Brasil and healthcare companies Hapvida Participacoes e Investimentos SA and Sul America SA may enter Brazil’s Bovespa equities index in 2020, the bourse said. B3 SA, the operator of the Sao Paulo stock exchange, updates the constituents of the Bovespa every four months, with companies entering the index generally getting a bump in liquidity. The preview concerns companies that will compose the Bovespa from January to April 2020. The list will be updated again before January, meaning Carrefour Brasil, Hapvida and Sul America are not yet guaranteed entry. Carrefour Brasil, the Brazilian unit of France’s Carrefour SA, is one of Brazil’s largest retailers.

U.S. shoppers, mostly online, spend 16% more over holiday weekend
A record number of U.S. consumers spent more online and in stores over the holiday weekend for everything from clothing to toys, the National Retail Federation said. NRF’s survey found nearly 190mln people made purchases over the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, an increase of roughly 14% from 165mln a year ago. It cited a healthy economy and a condensed holiday shopping season. The world’s largest retail trade association said its survey of 6,746 adult consumers, conducted by research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, showed that shoppers spent $361.90 on average over the five-day period, up 16% from $313.29 during the same period last year.

Canada: Empire expands sensory-friendly shopping program
More than 450 stores across Canada will dim lights and turn off music to accommodate shoppers with sensory sensitivities. Empire banners across Canada are adopting sensory-friendly shopping hours to make the experience more tolerable for people with autism. What started as a pilot program at a Sobeys store in P.E.I. in 2018, has grown to more than 450 stores country-wide across the company’s Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods, Foodland and FreshCo grocery chains. Participating locations will dim store lights and turn off PA systems, music, telephones, scanners and registers as part of the sensory-friendly shopping experience. Knowing consistency is important for shoppers with sensory sensitivities, each store has selected a day and time to provide the accommodations.

US: Lidl to open 1st store in Baltimore
Deep-discount grocer Lidl has revealed plans to open a store in a 100,000-square-foot shopping center in northeast Baltimore, its first location in that city, in a move that one longtime local grocery industry observer said is likely to have a “huge” impact on local shoppers. Citing developers of the $50mln redevelopment project known as Northwood Commons, The Baltimore Sun reported that Lidl signed a lease for a more-than-30,000-square-foot site that will anchor the center, which will also feature a Barnes & Noble College Cafe and a public safety building for nearby Morgan State University, in addition to McDonald’s, WingStop, Fulton Bank, Bank of America and Sunny’s Subs, among other tenants. The project is expected to wrap up by early 2022.

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