US: Grocers amp up customer health, wellness programs
The Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) "2019 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness" report shows that food retailers are continuing to expand the health-and-wellness programs they offer customers. The survey represented 39 food retail companies and more than 20,000 stores ranging in size, with 90% having established health-and-wellness programs, and 49% having them for both employees and customers. This is an 86% increase since 2017. Health-and-wellness programs covered in the report included both in-store services and omnichannel options. Of the respondents, 85% reported employing registered dietitians, with 70% of those at the corporate level and 27% of those at the regional level. One in three grocery stores reported having an in-store clinic for shoppers.
US: C&S Wholesale Grocers stands ‘well-positioned’ in Ahold deal, execs say
C&S Wholesale Grocers reiterated its support of major customer Ahold Delhaize USA as the food retailer transitions to self-distribution. Keene, New Hampshire-based C&S has agreed to sell Ahold Delhaize three warehouses: two in York, Pennsylvania, and one in Chester, New York. The retailer also is pursuing a lease for a C&S facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Continuing a 30-year relationship with Ahold Delhaize USA companies, C&S said it will serve as the third-party labor provider at the York and Chester warehouses.
US: Albertsons forms partnership with micro-fulfillment firm Takeoff
Albertsons announced it has forged a strategic partnership with Takeoff Technologies focused on further developing micro-fulfillment technology, according to press release. The partnership includes the formation of dedicated teams that will collaborate on micro fulfillment and “to drive the future of e-commerce order fulfillment”. Albertsons says it will purchase additional micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) from Takeoff. The companies opened an MFC in October at a Safeway in South San Francisco, and plan to open an additional center at a Safeway location in San Jose, California by the end of this year. According to Takeoff, micro-fulfillment centers typically hold 15,000 to 18,000 items and can increase productivity tenfold. The company is also running MFCs in partnership with Wakefern in New Jersey, Stop & Shop in Connecticut and Sedano’s in Florida.
US: UNFI Workers in Indiana Strike
United Natural Food Inc.'s (UNFI) distribution center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is without 158 Teamster members as they protest what they're saying are company violations of federal laws that protect worker's rights. The company says the strike is illegal and "unnecessarily reckless." The drivers, warehouse and maintenance workers service customers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky such as Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Cub Foods. The Teamsters Local 414 collective bargaining agreement with UNFI expired on September 14.
Canada: Profits and sales rise at Empire
Empire Co. Ltd. says it earned $154.6mln in its latest quarter, up from a profit of $103.8mln in the same quarter last year. The parent company of Sobeys and Safeway grocery stores says the profit amounted to 57 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended November 2 compared with a profit of 38 cents per diluted share a year ago. Sales in what was the company’s second quarter totalled $6.44bln, up from $6.21bln last year.
Amazon and eBay account for 40% of UK ecommerce
Amazon and eBay dominate the UK ecommerce market. This year, the two ecommerce giants have a market share in the United Kingdom of 39.9%. Especially Amazon is way ahead of all other online retailers. Amazon even saw its ecommerce market share in the United Kingdom increase. Last year, it was 28.8%, but this year it has grown to 30.1%, keeping way ahead of local retail giants such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
Metro expects 1.5bln euros from China stake, hypermarket sale
Metro expects net proceeds of 1.5bln euros ($1.65bln) from the sale of a majority stake in its China business and its struggling Real hypermarkets unit, both of which it said it hopes to close soon, the German wholesaler said. Metro said last week it is entering exclusive talks on the sale of Real hypermarkets unit to a consortium of property investors X+Bricks and the SCP Group. It agreed the sale of a stake in its Chinese operations to local retailer Wumart in October. Metro has been selling off non-core assets in recent years to focus on its European cash-and-carry business supplying hotels, restaurants and independent traders. It reported earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), excluding real estate gains, fell 4.2% to 1.173bln euros for the 2018/19 fiscal year.
UK: Ocado sees sales growth edge lower in latest quarter
British online supermarket Ocado said retail revenue growth slightly slowed in its latest quarter, as it saw growth in weekly orders but it was held back by flat order size. For the 13 weeks to December 1, its fiscal fourth quarter, Ocado Retail’s revenue rose 10.8% to 429.1mln pounds ($550.5mln). That was in line with company guidance but down from third quarter growth of 11.4%. Average orders per week rose 10.4% to 350,000, while average order size was flat at 104.9 pounds. Ocado Retail is now a joint venture between Ocado and Marks & Spencer. Their deal signaled the end of Ocado’s supply contract with upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose in September 2020 and the start of M&S’ first grocery home delivery service. The joint venture has carried out a product range review. Ocado said it confirmed that M&S has substitutes “at the same price or lower, and of the same quality or better”, for the majority of those currently supplied by Waitrose, which represent just over 4,000 products out of the current total range of over 55,000. Ocado said it anticipated adding many more additional M&S lines to the range.
Europe: Retail & Wholesale in new initiative to curb food waste
At a high-level Commission Conference on Food Waste, EuroCommerce and other members of the EU Platform on Food Waste and Loss renewed their commitment to work together with all others in the food supply chain to reduce food waste. EuroCommerce actively participated in the preparation of cross-sectoral recommendations launched by the Commission at the conference. The retail sector has actively driven sustainability issues through voluntary action at company or national and European level, such as the 2012 Retail Agreement on Waste and the resolution of the Consumer Goods Forum, under which leading food companies and retailers pledged to halve the amount of food wasted within their operations by 2025. Several retailers have also taken part in the EU-funded REFRESH project.
Belgium to get its first online-only supermarket
Belgian Stijn Martens wants to replicate the success of Dutch online-only supermarket Picnic in his home country. His project Hopr will start a trial project in a Belgian city early next year. Belgium currently does not have an online-only supermarket, but in the Netherlands Picnic has taken this concept and made quite success out of it, both in its home market and in Germany. The company continues its expansion and only two weeks ago, it raised 250mln euros in order to build an automatic distribution centre. Stijn Martens, formerly a marketing director at telecom provider Mobile Vikings, now wants to adopt the same principle and set up a first Belgian trial early next year. His project, Hopr, has already secured three electric vans, the necessary finances and contacts with suppliers, Belgian business newspaper De Tijd reports.
India: 7-Eleven plans 1000+ stores in Mumbai
7-Eleven India is poised to launch in Mumbai, marking the first major international convenience-store chain to take on local players. Master franchisee Future Group’s founder and CEO Kishore Biyani said the firm will concentrate on development in Mumbai only for the initial few years of business, with the first outlets launching in March. “There will be a cluster of stores in Mumbai”, said Biyani in a Livemint report. “Only in Mumbai we can set up over 1000 stores … I don’t think we would be able to do anything beyond Mumbai for another two-three years”. Future has also recently partnered with a Japanese logistics expert Nippon Express who will help 7-Eleven develop a distribution network for perishable foods and groceries.
Italy: Esselunga trials new proximity store format
Esselunga has opened its first experimental proximity store under the La Esse banner, reports suggest. Located in Corso Italia in Milan, the store spread across three levels houses around 2,500 products. It was designed to address the evolving buying habits of customers by offering an all-encompassing experience within one store. The first floor of the outlet houses a classic neighbourhood market, with all products bearing RFID labels. For loose fruit and vegetables, the same labels are printed when pricing the products.
Poland delays retail tax until July 2020
The Polish government has decided to postpone the implementation of the new retail tax until 1 July 2020, reports suggest. The decision was taken at a government meeting led by Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. This postponement is favourable to the Portuguese group Jerónimo Martins, which obtains most of its revenues in Poland, where it operates under the Biedronka brand, according to a report in the daily, Jornal de Negocios.
IGD: global grocery retail to add $2.2tln in sales by 2024
The global grocery retail market will generate an additional US$2.2tln in sales by 2024, growing by 24%, according to the latest forecast from international research organisation IGD. IGD’s forecast anticipates: Asia will account for nearly 50% of all new sales produced between 2019 and 2024; North America is set to produce 12% of the new sales to 2024; Overall, Europe is set to account for nearly 16% of new sales to 2024, with Western Europe generating almost two-thirds of these; Latin America has seen a slowdown in growth in 2019, which is expected to bounce back in the short term.