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Service union strike could effectively shut down supermarket chains has opened the first location for its BlibliMart grocery brand

Greece: Supermarket turnover edges up in 2019
Supermarket turnover posted an annual increase in 2019, albeit less than in previous years, according to IRI Hellas researchers. Provisional estimates for 2020 sales are even more pessimistic, which market analysts attribute to the fact the disposable income has not yet improved significantly, as well as to the aging population. According to the figures presented by Panayiotis Boretos, chief commercial officer and alternate managing director at IRI Hellas, the sales of fast-moving consumer goods (those bought and consumed faster) reached about 5.44bln euros last year, up 1.7% from 5.35bln in 2018. These commodities - packaged food, laundry detergents, domestic cleaning and personal hygiene products - constitute the biggest share of supermarket sales. If one adds products sold in bulk, such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh fish, then the increase in the value of sales in 2019 came to 2.4% from 2018. However, according to Boretos, this is mainly due to the rise in the price of meat and not to the increase in sales volume. Even so, the yearly growth rate in sales was lower last year than in 2018, when it had come to 2.7%.

Japan retail sales fall
Retail sales in Japan dropped 2.6% during December compared to figures from the previous year. The details were released in a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry report and stood in contrast to median market forecasts for a decline of just 1.8%. According to an RTT news article, the sales rate was still above a seasonally adjusted 0.2% on numbers for November, less than the expected 1.2% gain following a 4.5% increase during that month. November sales had dropped 2.1% year on year.

Russia's online delivery race sees tough competition
3 Russian online delivery startups have ceased operations in the last few weeks, as the digital market for food and groceries expands at a rapid pace and leading tech firms jostle for dominance. The new players - Golama, Foodza and Superbro - failed to turn a profit or demonstrate viable business models, despite receiving multi-million dollar support from large Russian funders. VEB Ventures renounced plans for a $7mln capital injection into online grocery delivery service, Golama, Russian business daily Kommersant reported, with VEB considering the risks of the venture to be excessively high. Foodza, a startup that organized direct supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables to retail stores, restaurants and cafés, is also going bankrupt, after securing $1mln in funds from Mail.Ru, Larix VC and FJ Labs in 2018. Superbro - a spin-off of courier service Dostavista - also stopped operating in January, failing to demonstrate the “skyrocketing growth” its founders had hoped for, after building a network of around 1,200 retailers.

Finland: Service union strike threatens to shutter supermarkets
The service sector union PAM is threatening a strike during the week of the winter ski holiday that would affect retail and property services. The industrial action would involve nearly 50,000 workers and could effectively shut down supermarket chains such as the S Group’s Prisma hypermarkets for two days. According to Service Union United PAM, the strike would begin with the logistics and transportation firm Inex Partners on 18 February and would continue there until 21 February. The work stoppage would affect S Group logistics hubs in Sipoo and Kerava in southern Finland. As a result Prisma stores will not be open for business for two days from 20 – 21 February. Workers in the real estate service sector will also down tools during the same week in regions such as Lapland, Kainuu in eastern Finland, central Finland and Ostrobothnia in the west. "We have also decided on strikes following week eight. Pam will announce industrial action in subsequent weeks late," union head Annika Rönni-Sällinen said in a statement.

Number of online marketplaces in DACH region more than doubled
The amount of online marketplaces in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has increased significantly in the past 5 years. In 2015, there were only 81 online marketplaces, but nowadays there’s 173 of them. 5 years ago, only 2 online marketplaces were really significant within the DACH region (which consists of Germany, Austria and Switzerland). And too bad, but these aren’t even local marketplaces. For years, it was Amazon and eBay who dominated and dictated ecommerce in the DACH region with their marketplaces. But nowadays, with many more of these retail platforms active, Amazon and eBay are slowly getting more and stronger competition, even from local platforms. Ecom Consulting made a poster which shows all the names that were active in 2015 and the online marketplaces that are up and running as of today.

Milan-based Supermercato24 raises €11mln to expand its e-grocery marketplace in Europe
Italian startup Supermercato24 has announced raising €11mln to expand its e-grocery marketplace in its home country, as well as in Poland where it also has an office, and the rest of Europe. Supermercato24 is a leading player in the European e-grocery market, offering customers the possibility to have all their groceries handpicked and delivered on the same-day, from their favourite supermarket and at the same price they would get in-store. At the same time, the platform allows retailers to start selling their groceries online rapidly and seamlessly, and with no up-front investment costs. This is aided by Supermercato24’s user-friendly platform, which allows easy integration with different retailers, stores, hundreds of thousands of products, multiple payment systems and pick and delivery processes. With in an international team of about 140 people, Supermercato24 has three offices (Milan, Verona, Warsaw) and aims to expand its business in further countries by the end of the year.

Indonesia: debuts cashierless store
eCommerce merchants are tapping into brick-and-mortar retail with cashless and cashierless stores. Indonesia’s has opened the first location for its BlibliMart grocery brand, which supplements its online supermarket offering while meeting millenials’ demand for quick, inexpensive shopping experiences, The Jakarta Post reported. Senior Vice President of Trade Partnership Fransisca Krisantia Nugraha said, per the report: “66% of shoppers are omnichannel shoppers … that use both online and offline platforms for their shopping needs. That’s why the retail store will hopefully bring us to these omnichannel [consumers].”

Germany: Retail sales fall in December
German retail sales fell more than expected in December, data showed, suggesting that private consumption in Europe's biggest economy had run out of steam in the final month of last year. Retail sales fell by 3.3% on the month in real terms after a downwardly revised rise of 1.6% in the previous month, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. This beat a Reuters forecast of analysts for a 0.5% drop. Retail sales are a volatile indicator often subject to revision.

US: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give touted as best tournament for families and foodies
The 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give was recognized as the Most Family Friendly and Best "Foodie" Experience on Tour during the Gold Driver Awards held by the LPGA tournament partners. "We are honored to receive these prestigious awards, which ultimately belong to the community", Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. "The Meijer LPGA Classic has grown to what it is today thanks to the tremendous community support. This recognition is a testament to the community, our volunteers and the significant amount of work we have put into this event over the past 6 years. We look forward to showcasing another premier event this year that supports our Simply Give program".

US: New supermarket chain, Lidl, approved by DeKalb commissioners
A new grocery store will come to DeKalb County. The national German chain Lidl shared the news in a statement with Patch. "We are in the early approvals phase for a store in DeKalb County, but I can tell you we do intend to open a store there", said spokesperson Chandler Ebeier. "We look forward to growing our presence in Georgia and introducing our high quality products and low prices to more communities in the future".

Amazon value set to top $1tln, Wall Street says more to come Inc. was on course to exceed $1tln in market value again after results beat expectations, with analysts applauding the popularity of the e-commerce giant’s one-day shipping initiative and the performance of its cloud-computing business. The shares surged 8.7% in US pre-market trading after reporting what Robert W. Baird & Co. analysts called an “impressive quarter from top to bottom.” Goldman Sachs analysts pointed out that it was the first time the company beat the upper end of its revenue guidance since the first quarter of 2018.

US: Kroger to feature live music for shoppers
A local nonprofit and big business recently came together with a new concept: live, local music in Kroger. The unique experience has a mission rooted in ending hunger. Cincinnati Music Accelerator, CMA, debuted a new partnership with Kroger On-The-Rhine. Local musicians will be playing live music from 5 to 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in the Eatery at Kroger. “This is Cincinnati’s very first food hall. We were really excited to bring it here and it just brings that extra energy to the space”, Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager, Erin Rolfes, said.

US: Woodward Corner Market now open in Royal Oak
Woodward Corner Market opened in the Woodward Corners by Beaumont commercial development at Thirteen Mile Road and Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak, marking the first small format store opened by Meijer in Metro Detroit. The market is focused on bringing customers a mix of fresh, local and convenient food at low prices, Store Manager Natalie Rubino said. It is also not using single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout; instead only offering sustainable bag alternatives that are made to be re-used up to 125 times. "At Meijer we are committed to being a good neighbor", Executive Chairman Hank Meijer said. "We are excited to join the innovative Woodward Corners by Beaumont commercial development and share our newest fresh market with the community".

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