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Supermarkets in UK: lowest growth over Christmas period since 2014

Nakumatt supermarket chain to close as creditors back liquidation

New Zealand: Countdown selling shopping baskets after plastic bag ban makes them hot property
Countdown has started selling plastic shopping baskets but the supermarket chain says it's not in response to their own baskets going missing. The baskets are being sold in the company's 180 stores as an alternative to the reusable and paper bags already available. Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin said the baskets were made by New Zealand plastic container Sistema using regrind plastic. Regrind plastic is made from scrap resin collected during other manufacturing processes, ground down and re-used.

Europe: Volume of retail trade up by 1.0% in euro area
In November 2019 compared with October 2019, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 1.0% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.6% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October 2019, the retail trade volume decreased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28. In November 2019 compared with November 2018, the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU28.

Kenyan retailer Nakumatt to close as creditors back liquidation
Creditors of Kenya’s Nakumatt supermarket chain, once East Africa’s biggest retailer, voted to wind it up after it was unable to pay debts following a failed rescue attempt. Nakumatt expanded from a mattress shop in a rural town to a network of more than 60 branches before a cash crunch forced it to shut more than a dozen outlets in 2017 when it was unable to pay suppliers, landlords and other creditors. Poor management, rapid expansion and a flood and militant attack at 2 separate stores all hurt the chain, opening the door for foreign chains such as France’s Carrefour and South Africa’s Shoprite to enter the market. About 92% of creditors who voted backed the liquidation.

UK: Research reveals how shoppers make a good start for a healthier new year
Research by Central England Co-operative has revealed that shoppers’ buying habits reflect their desire to eat more healthily in the new year. Last year 26% of shoppers made a healthy change to their diet in January. The top three changes were eating more fruit and veg, giving up alcohol and reducing sugar. Berries were a big seller for Central England Co-op in January 2019, with sales of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries up almost 20% compared to the previous year.

UK: Supermarkets record lowest growth over Christmas period since 2014
Supermarkets in the UK experienced their lowest sales growth over the Christmas period in 5 years, with sales increasing by just 0.5% in the last 4 weeks. The data from Nielsen reveals that grocery sales reached their peak at £6.2bln over the two weeks to 28 December. This was a 0.2% value decrease in comparison to the same 2 week period in 2018. This slump in sales was attributed to several factors including increased competition, price cuts and lower inflation. The data also reveals that whilst consumers visited supermarkets more often over the Christmas period, shoppers were purchasing fewer items and spending less each time. Nielsen found that in terms of traditional Christmas dinner groceries, sales of fresh turkey in the last 4 weeks reached £70mln, a 0.5% uplift. However, sales of fresh beef fell by 3.6%, and fruit and vegetables declined 1.4%.

Biggest online retailer in Romania introduces new delivery tax
eMAG, the biggest online retailer in Romania, controlled by South African group Naspers, has introduced a new delivery tax of RON 5 (EUR 1.05) per order, which applies even for orders that the clients pick up from the company’s showrooms or for easybox deliveries (for orders under RON 1,500). Orders picked up from the showroom and those delivered to easyboxes were not previously taxed. The company argued that the new tax is needed to partly cover its high investments in developing added value services for clients, such as fast delivery or scheduled delivery.

UK: Third quarter trading statement for the 15 weeks to 4 January 2020 by Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's reported: Grocery sales grew 0.4%, with Groceries Online up 7.3%; Clothing sales grew by 4.4%; General Merchandise sales declined by 3.9%; Total online sales grew by 5%; Total retail sales declined by 0.7% (excl. fuel), with like-for-like sales down 0.7% (excl. fuel) Mike Coupe, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc, said: "We gave our customers a great combination of quality food at good prices this Christmas and we delivered a standout performance operationally. We have a real sense of momentum in Sainsbury’s and investment in our stores and improvements to service and availability have led to our highest customer satisfaction scores of the year."

US: Wegmans to phase out single-use plastic bags in New York
Wegmans Food Markets plans to pull single-use plastic bags from all of its 47 New York stores on January 27. Rochester, New York-based Wegmans said that the move follows a pilot launched in July in which the plastic bags were removed at two stores in Corning and Ithaca, New York. The retailer noted that it’s phasing out the bags before a New York state ban goes into effect on March 1. “We learned a lot from the pilot that will help ensure a smooth transition out of plastic bags in the rest of our New York stores for our customers and employees,” Jason Wadsworth, packaging and sustainability manager at Wegmans, said in a statement.

US: Label Insight names Todd Morris as new CEO
Label Insight announced the appointment of Todd Morris as its new Chief Executive Officer. Formerly Global President of Catalina, Morris will lead the company's rapid growth as the new e-commerce search and discovery engine for CPG brands and retailers, helping shoppers find products based on their personal needs across diet, health, sustainability, ingredients and other product attribute preferences.

US: New Acosta report breaks down blurred line between online and brick-and-mortar shopping
The line between online and brick-and-mortar shopping is becoming blurred, with grocery retailers making substantial investments in creating a seamless experience for shoppers. Online Grocery Pickup Accelerates Omnichannel Sales, a new report from Acosta - a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry - explores how the online shopping trend is fundamentally changing the way consumers shop for groceries. "Despite only 3% of grocery dollars coming from online, sales are expected to triple and reach $74bln by 2023," said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. "Millennials are spending the largest portion of their grocery budget online today, and we expect it to grow across generations in coming years. 30% of current grocery pickup shoppers noted they plan to use the service more often in the future - led by those who currently only rarely utilize the offering."

Loblaw closing distribution centres, cutting 775 jobs
Grocery chain Loblaw Companies Ltd. has announced the closure of distribution centres in Laval, Quebec, and Ottawa which will result in the elimination of nearly 800 jobs. About 545 employees north of Montreal will be affected by the end of 2021 as the distribution centre is relocated to the automated complex of an Ontario subcontractor. The grocery chain is also shutting a warehouse in Ottawa that will impact 230 workers. Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said the company was committed to fairness for employees and would work with the unions to minimize the impact of the closures.

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