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Lucky’s Market: Asset purchase agreement with a group led by company founders

Raley’s is partnering with The Food Front

US: Lucky’s owes Kroger $301mln-plus
Lucky’s Market racked up a debt of more than $301mln to The Kroger Co., resulting in the latter’s recent Chapter 11 filing, according to a published report citing documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. After Kroger invested in the Niwot, Colorado-based organic and natural food retailer in April 2016, Lucky’s increased from 17 stores to 39 at the time it filed for bankruptcy, in the wake of Kroger's December 2019 divestment, with another 19 stores in the pipeline, reported the Daily Camera, a newspaper in Boulder, Colorado.

US: Grocery Outlet expects robust fiscal 2019 sales growth
Grocery Outlet Holding Corp., parent of Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, tallied double-digit sales gains and strong same-store sales growth in reporting preliminary results for the fiscal 2019 fourth quarter and full year. Grocery Outlet’s fourth-quarter net sales rose 12% to an estimated $655.5mln from $585.2mln a year earlier, the Emeryville, California-based extreme-value grocer said. Comparable-store sales for the 13 weeks ended December 28 climbed 5.1% year over year, topping a 4.1% increase for the fiscal 2018 quarter. For the fiscal year ended December 28, net sales totaled an estimated $2.56bln, rising 11.9% from $2.29bln in fiscal 2018. Comp-store sales are expected to be up 5.2% for fiscal 2019 versus a 3.9% gain in the previous year. The net sales increase is in line with the company’s most recent guidance, while the comp-sales forecast exceeds the earlier growth estimate of 4.9%.

US: Walmart features grocery pickup on Super Bowl stage
Walmart Inc. is building off its "Famous Cars" campaign, launched last year, with its "Famous Visitors" campaign, which will air during this year's Super Bowl game. Famous Visitors puts an emphasis on the mega-retailer's grocery pickup service, with the help of 12 characters from popular TV shows and movies. "We pulled out all of the stops for our first Big Game commercial, bringing in many more characters and vessels from other beloved intergalactic entertainment properties", said Janey Whiteside, EVP and Walmart chief customer officer, in a blog post. "We’re excited to show tens of millions of viewers who tune into the Big Game how our pickup service can reinvent their shopping experience and add much-needed time back into their day. It’s truly out-of-this-world convenient".

US: Raley’s farm-to-fork movement
With the goal of fostering a more sustainable food supply, West Sacramento, California-based Raley’s is partnering with The Food Front, an umbrella organization run by the city of Woodland, California, dedicated to uniting the community and local companies in responsible food and agriculture. Raley’s began the partnership with an in-store event at its Woodland location at 367 W. Main St., where Raley's owner Michael Teel shared the grocer’s mission to support sustainably produced products. “With a shared passion for responsible agriculture and food production, we want to promote and share food products grown and made in Woodland", Chelsea Minor, Raley’s corporate director of consumer and public affairs, told WGB.

US: Lucky’s to sell continuing store ops to company founders
Lucky’s Market has entered into an asset purchase agreement with a group led by company founders Bo and Trish Sharon for the seven locations that will continue to operate under the banner. The stores are in Traverse City, Michigan; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Columbia, Missouri; Melbourne, Florida; and North Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado, and currently employ around 600 employees. “We are grateful to our wonderful team members and customers for all their support, dedication and loyalty over the years”, said Bo Sharon, who began Niwot, Colorado-based Lucky’s in 2003 with his wife, Trish. “While this is a difficult situation across our company, we remain passionate and optimistic that we can continue to offer our communities access to healthful foods in this smaller footprint, preserving hundreds of jobs”.

French retailer Carrefour sees 7.5% sales increase in Romania in 2019
The Romanian subsidiary of French retailer Carrefour increased its sales by 7.5% to EUR 2.2bln in 2019, following the success of cash&carry discount format Supeco. The like-for-like growth, meaning the growth of the sales in stores other than those opened during the past 12 months, was 3.6% year-on-year, according to a financial report of the company, quoted by In the fourth quarter of 2019, Carrefour Romania recorded sales of EUR 633 mln, 7.3% more than in the same quarter of the previous year, reporting a like-for-like growth of 4.5%. The growth was driven by the success of the Supeco format, according to the report.

Belgium: Jumbo expands to West-Flanders and in Limburg
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo is on the move in Belgium: after receiving a building permit from the municipality of Heusden-Zolder in Northeast-Belgium, the company has also announced concrete plans for its first store in West-Flanders. Jumbo's plans for Heusden-Zolder became public in early 2019 and will require an investment of 8mln euros. In Roeselare, in the coastal province West-Flanders, Jumbo will take the place of Crea Printing Industries.

Philippines: Injap Sia reveals IPO plan for grocery chain MerryMart
Businessman Edgar "Injap" Sia II is taking his new grocery store chain MerryMart public this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced. The SEC released the registration papers of MerryMart Consumer Corp. (MM), a retail chain owned by Sia, who is behind brands like Mang Inasal and property developer DoubleDragon. Sia, 48, is the 28th richest in the Philippines with a net worth of $400mln, according to Forbes.

UK: Amazon and Deliveroo slam ‘speculative’ UK competition probe into $575mln funding deal
Britain’s competition probe into Amazon’s minority investment in food delivery service Deliveroo is “speculative” and not grounded in evidence, the two companies argued. The pair claimed that the Phase 1 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into Amazon’s stake in the U.K. start-up failed to provide evidence of existing competition between the firms. Amazon was the lead investor in Deliveroo’s $575mln funding round, announced back in May. Its stake, thought to be worth roughly $500mln, has since been frozen by the regulator as it conducts an investigation into alleged competition concerns raised by the deal.

Dutch supermarkets turn to 'dry mist' for their fruit & veg departments
Shoppers in the Netherlands have become accustomed to seeing fresh produce shelves covered in a layer of fine 'dry mist'. But why? 'To keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer, and ultimately reduce food waste, as well as plastic waste', according to the Dutch manufacturer of the technology, Contronics. At the beginning of last year, Albert Heijn commenced a national roll-out, while other Dutch retailers such as Plus, Jumbo and Dekamarkt have also adopted the technology in multiple stores. "In the past year and a half, we have installed our 'Dry Misting' solution, as we call it, to more than 500 stores here in the Netherlands", says Rogier Klein Sprokkelhorst, international sales manager at Contronics. "With these numbers, it has rapidly become very visible for most shoppers in the Netherlands".

Spain: Cimcorp opens new office in Madrid
Cimcorp has formed a new subsidiary - Cimcorp Iberia, S.L. - based in Madrid to better serve the Spanish market. “Our decision to expand our presence into Spain was a logical step at this point and supports our growth strategy”, says Tero Peltomäki, executive vice president, operations and technology, Cimcorp. “We have a well-established customer base in Spain and our material handling systems are in high demand there”. In spring 2019, Cimcorp secured an order worth over 120mln euros to automate the distribution of fresh food at four new distribution centers for the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona.

Coronavirus: Technology giants join China shutdown
Google is temporarily closing all of its offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as a result of the coronavirus. Other global technology giants, including Microsoft and Amazon, have announced similar measures as they attempt to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies", an Amazon spokesperson told the BBC.

New Zealand: Countdown plans new Palmerston North distribution centre; construction to begin on supermarket
Countdown has announced plans for a new distribution centre in Palmerston North, alongside a start date for its long-delayed Awapuni supermarket. The two projects are expected to create more than 100 new jobs in the city, with 80 coming with the Pioneer Highway Countdown supermarket, scheduled to be finished next year. Countdown operations manager Brett Ashley said Palmerston North was a critical part of its distribution network, supplying Countdown, FreshChoice and SuperValue stores from Gisborne to Wellington.

Philippines: E-commerce enabler Great Deals raises US$12mln
Philippine e-commerce enabler Great Deals has raised US$12mln (PHP600mln) from local private equity firm Navegar. The firm intends to become the Philippines’ answer to Alibaba and Baozun, China’s leading e-commerce enabler. It offers end-to-end services, including digital content, web design, analytics and chat support to warehousing and fulfillment. The company will use the funds on building its IT, infrastructure, warehouse capabilities and technology solutions.

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