US: Instacart holds firm on its tipping policy as contract workers call for national boycott
Instacart isn’t budging on the default tip rate on its platform amid growing calls for food and grocery delivery companies to increase payouts to contract workers. Nilam Ganenthiran, Instacart’s president, said the current 5% rate is appropriate as the default, though customers have the option of giving more. “I truly think it’s right for our shoppers, right for our customers and right for the ecosystem”, Ganenthiran told CNBC. Instacart counts on contractors to shop for customers’ orders and, in many cases, deliver them to their door. Workers, who have lobbied the company to reinstate the 10% default tip that was reduced in 2016, are calling for a national boycott on Sunday, following a three-day strike in November. In an open letter to customers published on Medium, a group called “Instacart workers” is also urging customers to show their support on Twitter with a #DeleteInstacart hashtag on the day of the boycott.
US: Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets adds Locai’s meal-planning solution
Independent grocer Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets has rolled out Locai Solutions’ intelligent meal-planning tool CookIt to its ecommerce website, ShopCaputos.com. Dubbed The Recipe Rack, the tool enables Caputo’s online customers to shop recipes, combining the tasks of menu planning and grocery shopping. The Recipe Rack is the latest addition to Caputo’s digital grocery strategy, in partnership with Locai. CookIt, a personalized shopping experience, is tailored to a customer’s cart items, past purchases, dietary preferences and more. The learning algorithm suggests recipes and products to shoppers, taking into account sale items and favorite brands, and even scales ingredients based on portion size.
US: Target's holiday comparable sales rose marginally, shares tank
Target Corp missed its own expectations for 2019 holiday season sales, blaming weakness in toys and electronics sales for growth of just 1.4% that sent shares in the retailer sharply lower. “While we knew this season was going be challenging, it was even more challenging than we expected”, Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said. Digital sales grew 19% compared with 2018’s 29% rise, Cornell said, calling the reported numbers a “tough miss”. The company now expects its fourth-quarter same-store sales to be in line with its holiday period growth of 1.4%, down from its prior range of a 3% to 4% growth. It maintained its forecast for full-year profit.
US: ALDI-exclusive Simply Nature products earn Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem
ALDI is pleased to announce 80 ALDI-exclusive Simply Nature products have earned the Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem. Simply Nature products are Non-GMO Project verified, free from 125 ingredients and many are organic. All ALDI-exclusive foods, including the Simply Nature line, are free of artificial colors, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and added MSG.
Italy: SUN consortium plans more than 20 new stores in 2020
Italy’s SUN (Supermercati Uniti Nazionali) consortium is planning to invest almost €100mln in opening 20 new stores in 2020, reports suggest. The retailer and purchasing group recorded positive growth in 2019, ending the year with over 600 stores. For 2020, SUN Group has forecast a market share of 4.1% and a total sales value of €3.2bln. According to chairman Marco Odolini, traditional stores will remain the primary interface for customers, which is why SUN Group has decided to invest in new stores and the restructuring of existing ones.
Thailand: Central Retail close to securing IPO cornerstone investors - sources
Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Retail Corp, is close to securing cornerstone investors for an initial public offering worth up to $2.7bln, making it the country’s biggest ever listing, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family’s Central Group, Central Retail’s IPO is attracting strong interest toward the lower half of the IPO’s indicative price range of 40-48 baht ($1.32-$1.59), said the sources, who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Belgium: Carrefour to start payments via fingerprints in Brussels
Clients of the Carrefour supermarket chain in Belgium will be able to pay for their groceries with the MyFinger system, using their fingerprints. Several months ago, the supermarket tested a system which replaced the loyalty cards by a fingerprint in a store in the European District in Brussels. As the tests were successful, the chain will now start a pilot project for fingerprint payments. The test will soon take place in a to be determined Carrefour store in the centre of Brussels, reports Business AM.
Sweden: MatHem.se takes Thermo King for online grocery
MatHem.se, Sweden’s largest online food store, has upgraded its home delivery fleet with 30 vehicles all with Thermo King’s electric E-200 multi temperature fridges. MatHem owns the entire distribution chain from order and warehouse to refrigerated vehicles delivering to customers’ door. The new fleet allows MatHem.se to guarantee an unbroken cold chain from the warehouse to the customers’ doorstep. MatHem.se needed two cooling zones in the vehicle - one for cooled and one for frozen - and remove the heavy standalone freezer they had used before to transport frozen goods. They were also looking for an environmentally sustainable way to keep the fridge operating when the vehicle was stationary. Thermo King E-200 unit has an additional battery pack that meets this requirement.
Amazon launches attack on Netherlands with "millions of products”
Amazon is serious about its expansion to the Netherlands. The previously announced Dutch webshop is opening its doors later this year and will offer "millions of products" straight away. The e-commerce giant has announced that it is looking for retailers in more than twenty categories, including fashion and electronics. Those who want to offer their products on Amazon.nl, can start registering at the American juggernaut as of today. Alex Ootes, Amazon's responsible for EU expansion, says his company is pleased to offer both large and small Dutch companies the opportunity to sell on Amazon.nl and other European sites. He thinks the advantage is twofold: it will increase the offer for Dutch consumers and the reach - at home and abroad - for Dutch retailers. At the moment, only e-books are for sale on Amazon.nl; for other products, customers are forwarded to a Dutch version of Amazon.de. A launch of a full-blown Dutch version would put a huge amount of pressure on current market leaders bol.com and Coolblue.
UK: Asda trials refill points and bottle recycling in 'sustainability' store
The supermarket chain Asda is joining forces with some of the UK’s best-known food and drink brands to create a “sustainability” store, in the latest drive to find and test new ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic and packaging. From May, its store in Middleton, Leeds, will become the first Asda in the UK where shoppers can fill up their own containers with a range of products, from big brands to own-label coffee and pasta. In addition to refill stations, the store will house a “naked florist’s shop” offering plastic-free flowers and loose produce with items such as cucumbers removed from their plastic packaging. A range of recycling facilities will include a reverse vending machine for plastic bottles and cans and clothes hanger recycling.
Japan: Rakuten, Walmart's Seiyu to open logistics site as online sales jump
Japanese online retailer Rakuten and Walmart’s Seiyu said they plan to open a new logistics site in Yokohama later this year to deal with growing sales from their joint online supermarket business. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper’s sales between late October through the end of December rose 30% from a year earlier, the companies said in a joint statement. Internet grocery shopping has been slow to take off in Japan, where consumers are accustomed to shopping daily for fresh produce. But Seiyu and bigger rival Aeon Co expect change ahead due to growing numbers of working women, and advancements in technology and logistics networks.
Holland: Albert Heijn collaborates with Naturalis for research on biodiversity
Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has announced that it will collaborate with Naturalis Biodiversity Center to facilitate research on biodiversity. As part of the initiative, the retailer will help a student pursue a PhD on the subject for the next 5 years in the Leiden-based research centre. In February of this year, biologist Auke-Florian Hiemstra will start his research on biodiversity, which is a subject of focus for the retailer as well as Naturalis.
Carrefour opens its first store in Uganda
After flagging the move last year, Carrefour has opened its first hypermarket in Uganda, in the capital city of Kampala. The entry into the country was facilitated by the French group’s partnership with Majid Al Futtaim, the holder of the franchise rights for Carrefour in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia. The latest move continues Carrefour’s expansion across the continent and follows its entry into Kenya in 2016. The group’s first store in Uganda - in the Oasis shopping mall - sells around 20,000 local and international branded products in a sales area of over 2,800 sq. m. Patrick Lasfargues, Carrefour’s Executive Director for International Partnerships said: “Africa is a developing continent, particularly as far as the retail sector is concerned. Carrefour’s arrival in Uganda - a country with a population of more than 40mln - through our partnership with the Majid Al Futtaim Group, is another milestone following the successful set up of Carrefour in Kenya with 7 stores since 2016”.
Germany: Delivery Hero in 2.3bln cash call to fund Woowa deal
Food delivery group Delivery Hero raised almost 2.3bln euros ($2.56bln) over night from the sale of convertible bonds and new shares to help fund its $4bln takeover of South Korea’s food delivery app owner Woowa Brothers. The German group said it received gross proceeds of 1.75bln euros from two convertible bonds issues and 571mln euros from a capital increase in which it sold new shares equal to 4.3% of its equity capital.
No hope for hypermarkets in Poland
In Poland the largest stores are retreating and they are losing the most on the growing market. The year 2020 is expected to be even worse, which means further closings and dismissals of employees. The situation of the Tesco chain is a symbol of the problems of hypermarkets on the Polish market. At least once every few months the company informs about the closing of outlets. Recently, the company has informed trade unionists about the closure of 5 more outlets with approx. 400 people to lose jobs in February. The entire hypermarket segment (stores with at least 2.5 thousand m2 sales area) is experiencing problems. GfK Polonia data shows that during the year (until the end of September 2019), sales in hypermarkets fell 2.3%, while the entire market was growing, the most discount stores, which gained as much as 8.2%. As a result, hypermarkets are nowadays only responsible for 13% of the FMCG purchases, although it was a market leader a decade ago. Today, discount stores hold 34% of the market share.
Germany: Metro ends 2019 on a high
German wholesaler Metro has exceeded expectations in its latest quarter. Western-European growth was 0.5%, total turnover increased 2.2%. For the first time since long, Metro seems to be running more or less according to plan: the German wholesaler says it is on track to meet its profit and revenue expectations for its broken financial year 2019-2020. Selling Real and its Chinese activities are progressing according to plan, the retailer says in its trading statement. "In the first quarter 2019/20, Metro continued to grow in the majority of the regions despite difficult macroeconomic and political conditions in some countries, for example the national general strikes in France. We confirm the outlook for the financial year 2019/20", chairman Olaf Koch explained.