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John Lewis Partnership is to stop reporting weekly sales data

Majid Al Futtaim: Partnership deal with Takeoff Technology

Greek supermarket chain Metro S.A. launches first one-stop-shop store in Cyprus
Metro S.A. inaugurated its first store outside Greece, launching the first one-stop-shop “Best Value for professionals” in Cyprus. The store is located in Limassol and covers an area of 2,500 sq.m., with another 2,000 sq.m. for storage space and more than 3,000 sq.m. for parking. Metro said it has invested 10mln euros in the store in Cyprus.

France's Système U: sales up 3% in 2019
The chief executive of France-based independent retailer Système U, Dominique Schelcher, has (in an interview with Journal du Dimanche) said it enjoyed sales growth of 3%, to €20.53bln excluding petrol, in 2019. Total sales rose 3% excluding petrol, aided by the addition of 42 new stores and 90,000 sq. m of selling space, and by 2.6% including petrol. In like-for-like terms, sales rose 1.3%. Schelcher said Système U had gained 10bps of market share in 2019, taking it to 10.8%, seeing it become the fourth largest retailer in France. Schelcher said the retailer’s performance was driven by its supermarkets, where sales rose 2.5%, and its Drives, where they were up by 4.3%. At its 67 hypermarkets, sales rose only 0.4%, which while weak sees it outperform recent announcements from Carrefour and Casino. At U Express sales rose 9.1%, while at Utile they increased by 10%. At a product level, Schelcher said sales of private labels rose by 2.3% to €4.4bln, while sales of fresh fruit and vegetables had risen by 3.8%.

UK: Sainsbury's Coupe says exit not due to failure of Asda deal
The boss of British supermarket group Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe, said he was not stepping down in May because of his failure to buy rival Asda last year. Sainsbury’s agreed 7.3bln pound ($9.6bln) deal for Walmart owned Asda was blocked by Britain’s competition regulator in April. Asked by BBC radio if he was paying the price for that deal not happening, Coupe said: “No, absolutely my choice”.

UAE and Saudi Arabia: Majid Al Futtaim signs partnership with Takeoff Technology
Majid Al Futtaim has signed a partnership deal with Takeoff Technology, which will see the latter’s micro-fulfilment centres added to Carrefour stores in the UAE and Saudi Arabia by 2021. Announcing the partnership, Majid Al Futtaim said it build ‘several’ micro-fulfilment centres, without giving a firm number. Takeoff Technology’s automated solutions will help process online orders for Majid Al Futtaim’s Carrefour brand, helping it to replace the manual picking method it employs now. Takeoff said its solution enabled orders to be fulfilled in less than 5 minutes, making them available for collection or delivery, depending on the shopper. The technology allows more than 2,000 orders to be completed daily using just 1,500 sq. m of space.

With Walmart India, Flipkart will create synergy effects and efficiency in the retail chain: co-founder of Ninjacart
After Ninjacart raised around $90mln from the American risk investor Tiger Global last year, the start-up of the fresh produce supply chain collected an undisclosed amount from Walmart and Flipkart in December. The deal is significant as Walmart and Flipkart are both trying to improve their direct sourcing of fresh products for Walmart India’s Best Price B2B cash and carry stores and Flipkart’s online grocery store, Supermart. The tech-savvy agrotech startup delivers 1400-1500 tons of fruit and vegetables to retailers, with Kirana stores experiencing the highest demand. In an interview, Thirukumaran Nagarajan, CEO and co-founder of Ninjacart, which also includes Accel, Nandani Nilekani, Qualcomm Ventures and others as investors, spoke about the profitable growth and the enormous potential and investor interest in the fresh fruit and vegetable business.

UK: Waitrose, John Lewis to cease weekly sales reports
British retailer, the John Lewis Partnership, is to stop reporting weekly sales data for its department stores and upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners, it has announced. The country's largest employee-owned business has been publishing weekly figures on its website for a decade and was alone among UK retailers in doing so. But the partnership said Tuesday's numbers for the week to January 25, the final week of its 2019-20 financial year, would be the last weekly data set.

Belgium: Colruyt launches ‘Collect&Go Connect’ app
The Colruyt Group is trialling a new solution enabled by the sharing economy. Under the Collect&Go Connect brand, its Okay and Okay Compact banners will trial a solution that connects local customers and local shoppers. The six-month trial will enable shoppers to select their products via an app and then choose the time they want to receive the delivery and the fee they are willing to pay. The retailer said the solution was aimed at smaller shopping baskets, which is why it was trialling it at with the Okay and Okay Compact stores in the centre of Ghent, in the suburbs and in three town centres in West Flanders. Colruyt said the service was in addition to its other online solutions, such as home delivery.

UK: AF Blakemore takes steps to reduce food waste
AF Blakemore is the latest convenience store retailer to trial the food waste fighting app, Too Good to Go. The company has registered 15 of its Blakemore Retail Spar convenience stores based in Lincolnshire on the Too Good to Go food waste fighting app, which enables people to purchase short-dated food for a reduced price. The app, which was launched in the UK in June 2016, was set up to help tackle the 10mln tonnes of food wasted each year by saving the fresh and short-dated food often thrown away by restaurants and retailers.

Employees question Amazon's climate policy
Some 300 Amazon employees have signed a petition that criticises the e-commerce company’s climate policy. At the same time, it is an open protest against an internal regulation that they regard as censorship. The group, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, has published a petition and open letter on opinion site Medium. They question their company's climate policy and also protest against certain changes in the personnel regulations, which they feel prohibits employees from making public statements about the company’s activities without prior approval, Business AM quotes a press release.

Canada: Metro raises quarterly dividend, reports $170.2mln Q1 profit
Metro Inc. saw sales rise for the first quarter of its 2020 financial year, but its earnings fell just short of analysts’ expectations. The year “is off to a good start with solid revenue and earnings growth in a very competitive environment”, said CEO Eric La Flèche in a statement as the company released its first-quarter results. The grocery and pharmacy chain reported sales of nearly $4.03bln for the quarter ended December 21, up from nearly $3.98bln in the same quarter the previous year. Same store sales, a key retail metric, at its food stores rose 1.4%, the company said, while the same metric at its pharmacies jumped 3.6%. Grocery store same-store sales would have been higher - up 2% - if the shift in Christmas sales is taken into account, Metro said.

US: Snap Kitchen rolls out to Whole Foods stores outside Texas
Snap Kitchen’s dietitian-curated and chef-prepared meals, already in all 34 Whole Foods Market stores in Texas, have now also launched in the chain’s locations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The fresh-prepared meal brand has also expanded its national omnichannel reach by introducing free ground shipping in 38 states. “We’ve been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to Snap Kitchen’s offerings in our Texas stores and are excited to introduce their line of healthy, ready-to-eat meals and beverages to Whole Foods Market customers in other markets”, said Jessica Johnson, regional VP of the Southwest region at Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods.

US: More Dollar Fresh locations coming from Hy-Vee
Hy-Vee plans to buy six former Shopko locations in Iowa and convert them to its Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh format. West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee said that the onetime Shopko stores - in Hampton, Cresco, Oelwein, Waukon, Dyersville and Vinton - are slated to reopen under the Dollar Fresh banner by late summer. Financial terms of the purchase agreements weren’t disclosed. Plans call for renovations to start in the coming weeks. “As we continue to innovate, we’re taking a look at the needs of our rural communities”, Hy-Vee Chairman, President and CEO Randy Edeker said in a statement. “At our Dollar Fresh stores, our customers will be greeted with helpful smiles that deliver a great customer experience while also encountering a wide selection of quality products at low prices”.

Canada: Walmart partners with Coop Italia to enhance offer
Walmart Canada has introduced a new range of private label products from Coop Italia, Italy’s second largest food retailer. Through the partnership, new products have been added to Walmart Canada’s core grocery categories including pasta and pasta sauces. Sold under the Fior Fiore brand, the wider range consists of over 400 products, developed by the Italian retailer to showcase the country’s food heritage. The range, along with Walmart’s Great Value products, book-end national brands in the pasta and pasta sauces categories.

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