Retail sales growth in UK at 19-month low Fresh food chain supermarket 7FRESH LIFE opened in Beijing

Cambodian goods to stock 7-Elevens across Thailand
Some 30 varieties of Cambodian goods will find their way into Thai 7-Eleven stores by early next year, with negotiations extended to bring the US-Japanese brand to the Kingdom. Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd president Hun Lak, whose firm specialises in the export of yellow bananas to China, said the deal would help promote local agricultural products abroad. However, he said the firm had no plans to make its produce available to Thai 7-Eleven customers.

Sri Lanka: Keells partners with Manthan to power KANE to collaborate with suppliers
Manthan, a global leader in AI-powered analytics solutions, announced Jaykay Marketing Service (Pvt) Ltd, the retail arm of John Keells Holdings PLC, Sri Lanka which operates supermarkets under the brand "Keells" has chosen Manthan's Vendor Link solution to enable its supplier collaboration platform - Keells Advanced Network Exchange (KANE) as part of their digital transformation journey.

South Africa: Pick n Pay launches mentorship app
Pick n Pay (PnP) has launched a new mentorship app which connects small suppliers with suitable experts across its business. PnP said it hopes to empower entrepreneurs by improving accessibility to mentorship and business development support to help them grow their businesses. Suppliers can gain advice on procurement, merchandising, compliance, supply chain, financial management, marketing and human resources through the app. Head of PnP enterprise and supplier development, Mishinga Seyuba Kombo, commented: “Small businesses seldom have finance, operations or HR directors. As they grow, this is the kind of expertise they need to ensure they are successful and sustainable. So, through the app, at no cost to them, we offer our small suppliers access to a network of PnP mentors who can offer guidance, their expertise, experience and knowledge of real life challenges and how to solve them”.

Spain: Glovo grabs $166mln Series E for its ‘deliver anything’ app
Spain’s Glovo, an on-demand delivery app platform which operates in Europe, LatAm and Africa delivering food but also other urban conveniences from groceries to pharmaceuticals, has bagged another €150mln ($166mln) in a fast-following Series E round led by Abu Dhabi state investment company, Mubadala. The raise follows a €150mln in Series D that was announced in April, and $134mln in Series C in mid 2018. The total raised since the business was founded back in 2015 is now around $488mln. The Barcelona-based startup says the latest raise has pushed its valuation past $1bln - putting it into a very exclusive Spanish unicorn club, with the likes of ride-hailing giant Cabify. (Glovo reckons it’s only the second privately held business in the country to achieve such a valuation).

Kuloola: First rural grocery delivery in South Africa
Residents of previously excluded suburban districts can now order food and other basic supplies straight to their newly mapped homes. The idea of launching a grocery delivery service originated from the digital mapping project started by impact startup nClude, and Chimera Prime support as a tech partner. The aim of that project was to provide villages in the KwaZulu-Natal province (Durban region) with home addresses. It was possible thanks to mobile apps that were specially developed to tackle this issue. By using the digitally assigned addresses it was possible to launch Kuloola delivery service which helps residents to equip themselves with most needed groceries, cleaning supplies and hygiene products.

Cautious UK shoppers send retail sales growth to 19-month low
British shoppers kept a tight grip on their wallets last month as retail sales grew at their slowest annual pace since April 2018 amid uncertainty about Brexit and December’s election. Figures from the Office for National Statistics were collected before Black Friday sales promotions, but the ONS said it was confident the slowdown in year-on-year sales growth to 1.0% in November from October’s 3.1% was not distorted by the timing. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a smaller slowdown in growth, to 2.1%. Excluding fuel purchases, retail sales growth was the weakest since October 2017.

Australia: Woolworths zero waste initiative benefits animals at Sydney Zoo
Sydney Zoo has partnered with Woolworths and through its Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program is utilising the supermarket's surplus fresh food as animal feed. From chimpanzees, zebras, camels and even orangutans, animals at Sydney Zoo will be feeding on this surplus fresh food rescued from Woolworths - food that is no longer suitable for sale or human consumption - thereby playing their part in the circular economy. Sydney Zoo joins over 750 farmers and community groups from around the country who access surplus fresh food from the supermarket. Last year more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food no longer suitable for sale or human consumption went to feed animals both on farms and in zoos. Managing Director of Sydney Zoo, Jake Burgess advised “Woolworths have become an official supporting partner of Sydney Zoo. This partnership will provide fruit and vegetables to Sydney Zoo to feed our animals, while reducing wastage across Woolworths stores”.

SPAR Italy: Aspiag Service implements new retail management solution
SPAR Italy Partner, Aspiag Service’s retail management solution enables operational functions to be carried out on the shop floor, improving both accuracy and efficiency. The app .onRetail has been rolled out in over 560 DESPAR, EUROSPAR and INTERSPAR stores in the Northeast and Emilia-Romagna regions. This solution seamlessly integrates the mobile app with warehouse management systems, assisting retail teams performing a wide range of activities, such as placing orders with the Distribution Centre (DC) or a supplier, managing returns or material goods handling. The app provides statistics on items that are unsold, ordered, en route or on promotion.

China: opens 24/7 store chain 7FRESH LIFE in Beijing to offer mealtime solutions’s 7FRESH fresh food chain supermarket 7FRESH LIFE opened on December 20 in Beijing. 7FRESH LIFE is a 24/7 store offering mealtime solutions within an area between 300 to 400 sq. m. The newly opened 7FRESH LIFE is located in the Huilongguan residential area in Northern Beijing - one of the largest residential neighborhoods in Asia. Serving as a warm caring neighbor especially for young mothers and kitchen owners, 7FRESH LIFE is a combination of community “restaurant + fresh food store + convenience store” providing more than 3,000 different selected quality fresh items of produce, daily groceries and also ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food, equipped with an in-store dining area. Parents will find quality fresh ingredients in 7FRESH LIFE for cooking a healthy meal for their children; busy working professionals will also find nutritious prepared food.

US: Weis Markets names director of produce
Weis Markets Inc. has hired Kevin Weaver as its director of produce. In his new role, Weaver will oversee the company’s day-to-day produce merchandising, pricing and procurement, as well as the produce field staff. He will report to VP, Fresh Merchandising Bob Gleeson. Weaver previously worked for Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers as director of produce and floral. Earlier in his career, he held produce management roles at The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. and Marsh Supermarkets Inc.

US: C&S distributing POS software to independent grocery customers
C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. has entered into an exclusive strategic partnership with Dumac Business Systems Inc. to distribute the company’s point-of-sale (POS) software solution portfolio, RORCv6, to 1,000 C&S independent grocery retail customers across the country. According to the companies, the partnership will help drive innovation for C&S customers through standardized and cost-effective solutions. Additionally, a uniform POS solution among C&S customers enables the continued integration of digital marketing, including ecommerce and personalized loyalty marketing, and helps to ensure a superior customer experience for both C&S customers and their shoppers.

US: Augmented reality makes shopping fun at Giant
Giant Food Stores LLC is rolling out a new augmented reality (AR) experience in which customers can use their smartphones to play the grocer's Snowflake Search, an interactive game designed to engage and entertain children while at the store. Kids and parents alike at 15 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-area stores can play from now through January 30. Customers can scan a QR code on special in-store signage to hear an audio introduction to the game. The store then has six unique snowflakes throughout that trigger an interactive character surprise on their phones. Customers can track the characters they've already found and get hints to find the others.

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