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Supermarket chain Sklavenitis is entering the market of online commerce

New owner for Supermercado

Aldi UK to hike pay and recruit 3,800 more workers
The British arm of German discount supermarket Aldi will recruit more than 3,800 store level positions this year and increase pay as part of its drive to hire the best staff for its expansion across the country. Britain’s fifth-largest supermarket said its minimum hourly rate would rise on February 1 to 9.40 pounds from a previous 9.10 pounds, while the rate for workers inside the M25 road which circles London will rise to 10.90 pounds from 10.55 pounds. Aldi, which currently trades from 874 stores, said it remains on track to achieve its long-term target of 1,200 UK stores by 2025.

UK: Sainsbury's to cut hundreds of management jobs
Sainsbury’s is to cut hundreds of jobs in management as it presses on with the integration of Argos, which it bought for £1.4bln in 2016. In a letter to staff, the supermarket chain’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, said the company’s leadership team had already been reduced by 20% since the beginning of the financial year in March 2019. Coupe said the structural reorganisation would ultimately lead to hundreds of job cuts, part of a plan to save £500mln in costs by 2024. He told staff that Sainsbury’s was already “uniquely placed to deliver a seamless shopping experience and to help our customers live well for less”. He said: “But we have to adapt to continue to meet the needs of our customers now and in the future and, while change can be hard, it’s also necessary”.

Amazon to launch 10,000 electric delivery vehicles in India
Amazon is due to roll out 10,000 electric delivery vehicles in India by 2025, in a bid to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. The fully electric vehicles (EVs), which are a combination of 3-wheeled rickshaws and 4-wheeled vehicles, will be operating this year in over 20 cities, including Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Nagpur and Coimbatore. The move comes after Amazon trialled electric vehicles across various cities in India in 2019. The EVs will be developed and manufactured in India. Amazon said the 10,000 EVs in India would be in addition to the 100,000 EVs that are set to be added to its fleet globally in 2030.

Germany: Meridian, Beisheim hike Metro stake, open to buying more shares
Investors Meridian Foundation and the Beisheim Group said they have increased their stake in German wholesaler Metro to about 23% and are open to further expanding their shareholding, saying they believe the firm is undervalued. Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak partner Patrik Tkac failed in their 5.8bln euro ($6.44bln) bid to take over Metro last year after Meridian and Beisheim rejected the approach. "The current stock price does not accurately reflect Metro's intrinsic value", Meridian and Beisheim said in a statement, adding they supported Metro's strategy to focus on becoming a pure wholesale business.

Finnish retailer Kesko sees sales up in December
Finland's Kesko Group saw its sales rise 3.3% in December 2019, with its grocery business posting marginal sales growth in the period. Grocery sales at the business were up 0.3% for the month, to €515.4mln, with food sales putting in a solid performance in the run up to Christmas, according to the retailer. However, homewares and specialty goods saw a decline in sales, it added. Sales in Kesko's building and technical trade were up 3.4% to €299.3mln in the month, while car trade sales were up 2.5% to €61.8mln. Overall, the group posted sales of €875.8mln in December 2019, an increase of 3.3%, or an increase of 1.3% in comparable sales across continuing operations.

Greece: Sklavenitis acquires online retailer
Leading supermarket chain Sklavenitis is entering the market of online commerce with the acquisition of the website. The retailer, that grew into the largest market player with the acquisition of defunct rival Marinopoulos in 2017-2018, has finally broken into the digital market of retailing with the acquisition of the online sales service from Yoda SA. At first will continue to operate as it was and will later incorporate a wider range of products and have a greater geographical catchment, as it currently serves only Attica. The website informs its clients that as of Tuesday it belongs to the Sklavenitis group, that will absorb all 50 employees of

UK: Asda launches one-hour click-and-collect service
Asda has launched a new click-and-collect service that allows shoppers to pick up their online orders in under an hour. The grocer will roll out its Express Click and Collect proposition over the coming months following a trial at stores in Killingbeck and Middleton at the end of last year. Shoppers will be able to shop Asda’s full range of products online and select the rapid collection option for £3 per order, with no minimum or maximum order value. Asda said the fulfilment option was “a first for a UK supermarket” and has been designed to cater to shoppers who had “forgotten an essential item after the big shop or needed last-minute dinner ingredients”.

France: Système U launches its first pedestrian drive
Système U’s first ever pedestrian drive opened on 14 January 2020 in Montpellier, in southern France. The pedestrian drive opened in the centre of Montpellier, opposite a Monoprix store. It is owned and managed by the owners of the Castelnau-le-Lez supermarket, in the outskirts of Montpellier. Shoppers will have access to the 15,000 products available on Système U ecommerce. This is a learning opportunity for Système U, before potentially launching the concept in other cities soon.

UK: Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe to quit after six years
Sainsbury's has announced its chief executive Mike Coupe will retire from the supermarket group. Mr Coupe has led Sainsbury's for almost six years, during which time he oversaw a failed attempt to merge with rival supermarket Asda. The head of Sainsbury's retail and operations, Simon Roberts, will take over from Mr Coupe. "This has been a very difficult decision for me personally", Mr Coupe said. "There is never a good time to move on, but as we and the industry continue to evolve, I believe now is the right time for me to hand over to my successor".

Italy: Conad sees 8% rise in private label sales
Italian retailer Conad reported 8% growth in private label sales last year, to €4bln, which equates to approximately 40% of national private label growth. Private label accounts for 30.3% of Conad's sales, according to IRI data, which is 9.5% higher than the Italian average. Some 1,700 private label SKUs were launched or re-launched last year, under the Conad, Verso Natura Conad, and Sapori&Dintorni brands, as well as new lines that respond to specific consumer needs such as Conad Alimentum, Conad Piacersi, Conad Essentiae, Conad Baby, and Parafarmacia Conad. In addition, 90% of Conad's fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy products, tomatoes and main packaged vegetables, as well as Sapori&Dintorni products are of national origin, while more than 90% of the producers of Conad brands are Italian.

Brazil: Supermercado now gets new owner
Brazilian e-commerce firm B2W has announced the purchase of Supermercado Now, an online grocery marketplace. Supermercado Now was launched in 2016, and enables shoppers to purchase products from a supermarket of their choosing, and avail of delivery within two hours. Supermercado Now has more than 30 partner supermarkets in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, mostly smaller chains. Customers that use the platform purchase on average 2.3 times per month. According to B2W, the business model has great growth potential in Brazil and the takeover will allow the business to expand its presence in the supermarket category, offering a wider assortment to its more than 16mln active customers. The value of the transaction was not revealed.

US: The Fresh Market debuts online store, mobile app
Building on the partnership it forged with Instacart last spring, specialty grocer The Fresh Market has rolled out a new online store, as well as a corresponding mobile app that can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play. The new site enables visitors to shop either by department, or by collections such as new items, easy meals and seasonal offerings. Customers can also plan and build a menu for special meals or save their preferred items to a regular shopping list. The list can be used for shopping in a store or moved into a virtual shopping basket and used for a delivery order.

US: FMI rebrands, nixes 'Marketing Institute'
FMI is now officially FMI - The Food Industry Association. According to the trade organization, the move supports a more interconnected supply chain, with retail as the heart of the food industry. FMI recently expanded its membership to facilitate this evolving view. "Over the last two years, we’ve inspired a recommitment, a renewal of vows among the FMI membership", said Joe Sheridan, president and COO of Keasbey, New Jersey-based Wakefern Food Corp., and chairman of the FMI board of directors. "We’ve even changed who can be a member in the association as a logical step in a direction we’ve been traveling for years, offering greater parity between retailers and their product supplier partner members at the board of directors level".

US: Lucky’s closing 32 stores, laying off associates
In what appears to be a developing story, on the heels of The Kroger Co.'s decision to divest its interest in Lucky’s Market, the Boulder, Colorado-based natural food retailer is apparently planning to shutter as many as 32 of its 39 stores in 10 states and lay off the staffs of the affected locations, according to a burst of social media messages, various local news reports and a source with knowledge of the matter. Lucky’s has yet to respond to PG’s request for comment. “This is due to money running out after [the] Kroger divestment”, the source, who was critical of Lucky’s founder and CEO Bo Sharon’s management of the company, told Progressive Grocer.

US: Meijer pilot program with Flashfood reduced in-store food waste by more than 10%
After a successful pilot program that cut down on in-store food waste by more than 10%, Meijer is expanding the sustainability effort to all its stores starting next month. The initiative allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date - like meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products - at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app, and then pick them up at Meijer stores. "In just a few months, we diverted thousands of pounds of food from landfills", said Don Sanderson, Group Vice President of Fresh for Meijer. "Minimizing in-store food waste is the right thing to do for our communities and our customers. We're excited to expand upon these efforts and offer this opportunity to all our customers". Meijer began testing this effort in the fall of 2019 at 4 stores in Metro Detroit: Brighton, Waterford, Commerce and Howell. The test drew more than 1,000 active users during the pilot period. Meijer now plans to expand the effort to each of its 246 stores by the end of 2020 with rollout beginning the end of February.

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