UK: Ocado to introduce driverless vehicles and robots in the grocery delivery sector
Ocado has announced it’s investing in developing driverless vehicles and robots that could be used to deliver groceries. Tim Steiner, Ocado’s chief executive, told the NRF Big Show, the world’s largest retail conference and exposition, that the online grocer is eyeing to develop “things like driverless technology” and “what jumps out of that vehicle with the groceries and gives them to the customer”. The statement from Mr Steiner is the latest indication that Ocado is moving towards becoming a technology provider in the retail industry, rather than just an online retailer. He adds: “We’re obviously innovating all the time. We’re working on really far-out research and development technology and how we can leverage those for our clients”.
SPAR Italy Partners embrace gamification and apps to enhance shopping experience
SPAR is embracing digital and mobile advancements worldwide, bringing enhanced shopping experiences to an increasing number of customers using smartphone apps and other innovations. In Italy, several SPAR Partners have successfully introduced mobile apps and the principles of gamification to make the shopping experience more convenient and entertaining. In the Northeast and Emilia-Romagna regions, DESPAR Italy Partner, Aspiag Service, has pioneered the use of mobile technologies to enhance customer loyalty and brand recognition through improved customer interaction. As part of its ‘DESPAR Tribù’ loyalty scheme, DESPAR Aspiag’s app has become a tool for the SPAR Brand in communicating with its customer base in the region, by providing information about the stores and giving users an easy way to view special offers and loyalty point updates. The in-app games have proven a hit among the app’s growing number of users, and have even generated social media groups where the solutions to the games are discussed.
Uber sells its Indian food delivery business to Zomato
Uber has sold its food delivery service in India to local rival Zomato, the firms have announced. Uber will get a 9.99% stake in the Indian start-up, helping it maintain its presence in the sector. All Uber Eats customers in India will now be redirected to Zomato but it's unclear if the acquisition will cause lay-offs. The deal is likely to give Zomato an edge over its rival Swiggy in a fast-growing but fiercely-contested sector. Zomato operates in more than 500 cities in India and the firm believes that the acquisition will further consolidates its presence. "We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across India. This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category", Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO of Zomato, said.
Founder of South Korean retail giant Lotte passes away
Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, who started manufacturing chewing gum in 1948 in Japan and built the business into South Korea's No.5 conglomerate with interests ranging from retail to chemicals, died on Sunday, the company said. Shin, aged 98, was the last of the South Korean entrepreneurs who founded the country's major chaebols, or family-run conglomerates, that now dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy. Lotte, which owns the country's tallest 123-story skyscraper, is a household name in South Korea, with the conglomerate's interests ranging from snacks and beverages to supermarkets, department stores, hotels, theme parks and cinemas.
UK: Simply Fresh trials Sainsbury’s supply deal at West London store
Simply Fresh has launched a trial with Sainsbury’s to stock around 2,000 of the supermarket group’s own label and branded products at its Old Oak Lane store in Willesden, London. The company-owned Simply Fresh store stocks Sainsbury’s-supplied products including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and food to go. Simply Fresh said in a statement: “Simply Fresh is committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations; this trial will provide valuable feedback on how we continue this in the future. All other Simply Fresh and Simply Local stores continue to be supplied by Costcutter Supermarkets Group”. Sainsbury’s said the partnership was part of its strategy to grow its business “and offer even more customers great quality and choice, whenever and wherever they choose to shop”.
France: Carrefour acquires Potager City, the online leader of extra-fresh, seasonal fruit & vegetable boxes sourced from local producers
Carrefour Group announced its acquisition of start-up Potager City, the leading distributor of online subscription-based boxes of extra-fresh and seasonal fruit & vegetables sourced via short distribution channels. Created by Yoann Alarçon, Potager City sells various fruit & vegetable boxes, delivered to pick-up points or to companies, together with healthy, straightforward and quick menus to help people eat better on a day-to-day basis. To do this, the start-up has developed a unique network of more than 750 local producers and partner fruit and vegetable growers and farmers. They have all been carefully selected based on the high quality of their produce, their expertise and their commitment to a more responsible form of production that places the emphasis on taste.
Belgian labor authority launches court case against Deliveroo
Belgium’s labor authority launched the first stage of a court case against British food delivery group Deliveroo, challenging working conditions for the firm’s 3,500 riders in Brussels. The authority, a division of Belgium’s Ministry of Labour, filed the case over the legal status of Deliveroo’s riders after an 18-month investigation concluded the company is failing to respect Belgian labor law. Riders are paid per delivery and considered self-employed, meaning they have no access to healthcare, overtime pay or holidays. Deliveroo said a court decision that riders were employees rather than self-employed would deprive them of the flexibility many wanted.
Portugal: Solid year for Jerónimo Martins
Jerónimo Martins, the largest food retailer in Poland and second-largest in Portugal, has reported robust annual sales growth, which it attributed to the “highly successful execution” of its strategies in the three markets where it operates. Over its 2019 financial year, the group’s consolidated sales rose by 7.5% (+8.4% at constant exchange rates) to €18.6bln. In Poland, sales were boosted by higher food inflation which helped offset the impact of a new Sunday trading ban. The group’s Biedronka chain saw its sales grow 7.9% (+10.6% in Q4) to €12.6bln. Like-for-like growth was 5.8% (+7.7% in Q4), reflecting the “continuous improvement of the offer and of the shopping experience”. The group also highlighted the success of its pricing strategy based on a combination of EDLP and promotions. Biedronka ended the year with a total network of 3,002 sites, having opened 33 smaller-format stores and 95 regular outlets. It also remodelled 252 stores. In Portugal, the group said it benefited from a favourable consumer environment. Fuelled by improvements in its offer and 9 store openings, the Pingo Doce banner grew total sales by 2.9% to €3.9bln (+2.6% in Q4). Like-for-like sales rose 2.5% (+2.7% in Q4).
UK: Sainsbury's named cheapest supermarket of 2019 by Which?
Sainsbury's has beaten rivals Morrisons and Asda to be named the cheapest supermarket of 2019, according to a survey by Which?. The consumer group tracked the prices of 53 branded items like Andrex toilet roll and Weetabix cereal over the year. Each month it compared the cost of the basket on supermarket websites - an average of £107.01 at Sainsbury's. Which? only tracked stores that sell their full range online, so Lidl and Aldi were not included.
Canada: UGI president Denis Gendron to retire
Denis Gendron, president of United Grocers Inc. (UGI), is retiring at the end of June after more than 45 years in the grocery industry. UGI board members have put a committee in place to search for Gendron’s replacement. His last day is June 30. In a letter to its suppliers and partners, Michael Forgione, UGI chair and COO at Longo’s thanked Gendron for his contributions during his tenure as president. “During his nine years as president of UGI, Denis effectively worked with the team to grow UGI members and was committed to working in the best interest of all partners”, he said.
US: DoorDash takes the lead in the food delivery wars as the landscape dramatically shifts in 2019
DoorDash’s rapid growth in 2019 allowed it to edge past Grubhub to become the leader in digital food delivery, according to data from analytics firm Second Measure. Doordash captured a third of all digital food delivery sales in the U.S. market last year, Second Measure said. That put it on top of Grubhub, which had 32% of sales in the category. Uber Eats followed with a 20% share, and was trailed by Postmates, with 10%. Doordash saw its sales grow by 143% year over year, creating a dramatic shift in the landscape from 2018, when GrubHub was the leader, with 43% of the market.
US: SpartanNash brings nutrition, lifestyle attributes to the shelf edge
SpartanNash has launched its newest initiative, Nutrition Pathways, to help "make the healthy choice the easy choice". The distributor/grocer is now displaying 22 nutrition and lifestyle attributes at the bottom of all shelf tags, so shoppers can quickly and easily identify products that fit their lifestyle and nutrition needs. Nutrition Pathways is currently at Family Fare, D&W Fresh Market,and VG's Grocery locations, with plans to launch by March 2020 at Martin’s Super Markets, Forest Hills Foods, Family Fresh Market, Dan’s Supermarket and all other SpartanNash-owned stores.
US: How former Walmart exec David Glass transformed the retail giant
Former Walmart Inc. chief executive David Glass died January 9 at the age of 84 after growing the retailer's annual revenues from $16bln at the beginning of his tenure in 1988 to $165bln in 2000. "Due to his authentic humility, we think David Glass may be the most under-appreciated CEO in the history of business", said Doug McMillon, the current president and CEO of Walmart. "The choices he made and the results of the company reflect his wisdom, dedication and servant leadership. We will miss him immensely and are eternally grateful". Glass, who also owned the Kansas City Royals for nearly 2 decades before selling the franchise last fall, died of complications from pneumonia. He had been dealing with health issues for some time.
US: 7‑Eleven to acquire central Oklahoma-based stores
Convenience stores chain 7‑Eleven has agreed to acquire the locally owned 7‑Eleven Stores across central Oklahoma, US. As part of the deal, all 7‑Eleven Stores located in the central Oklahoma City metropolitan area will now be part of the convenience stores chain. More than 100 stores have been operating independently under the 7‑Eleven brand for the past 67 years in the US state. 7‑Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto said: “Oklahoma has a growing economy, and this acquisition provides a great opportunity for us to expand regionally”.