US: Albertsons moves to consolidate eastern distribution
Albertsons Cos. has informed officials in Maryland that it intends to close a distribution center serving its Safeway banner in the Washington area. The retailer said it intends to consolidate its distribution activities at an existing unit in Denver, Pennsylvania, that serves its Acme Market brand, and it would make an additional 300 hires there. Both Safeway’s Washington-area stores and Malverne, Pennsylvania-based Acme are a part of Albertsons’ Eastern Division. The consolidated Denver facility would serve all 275 Acme and Mid-Atlantic Safeway stores.
US: Fareway Meat & Grocery enters the Kansas City market
Fareway Stores Inc. is purchasing the assets of McGonigle's Food Store Inc., in Kansas City, Missouri, and continuing plans already approved by the city council to expand the market. This location will be Fareway's first store in The Show-Me State. Mike McGonigle, owner of McGonigle's, said that he went through a "lengthy rezoning process" to bring the building where the store has been since 1951 up to today's standards. Boone, Iowa-based Fareway currently operates 122 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. The company is No. 47 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.
US: Taking a mobile order-ahead approach to surplus groceries
Supermarkets buy inventory to sell to consumers, but some of those products never end up in their hands, and instead become food waste. The USDA forecasts that grocers lose a whopping $15bln each year in unsold fruits and vegetables. And one report notes that “without accounting for GHG emissions from land use change, the carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten is estimated to 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2 equivalent: as such, food wastage ranks as the 3rd top emitter after USA and China”. Some companies are aiming to tackle this economic and environmental challenge with the help of mobile order-ahead innovation. Canada’s FoodHero has technology that connects retailers with consumers to help sell surplus food that might otherwise be wasted. To begin using the service, shoppers download the free app from the App Store or the Google Play store. Once logged into the app, they can choose to have their phone geolocate them, enter a postal code or enter their locations. The app then shows the surplus foods that are currently available at nearby stores. The platform features perishables and fresh produce such as meat, fish, bakery items, fruits and vegetables. The company sometimes offers some non-perishable food items, such as canned goods and boxes of cereal, but the idea is to concentrate on fresh food as much as possible, Founder and CEO Jonathan Defoy told PYMNTS.
US: Earth Fare files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Earth Fare filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court, following an announcement that it plans to sell off its assets and go out of business. In the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Earth Fare reported both assets and liabilities of $100mln to $500mln. Distributor United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is listed as the largest creditor, owed nearly $9.6mln. Including UNFI, four creditors have unsecured claims of $5mln or more.
US: 7-Eleven tests first cashierless store at Texas HQ
7-Eleven is piloting its first cashierless store for employees at its headquarters in Irving, Texas, the convenience store chain said. The company started testing a mobile checkout app called Scan & Pay at a number of Dallas locations in November 2018 and New York stores in August 2019. "Retail technology is evolving at a rapid pace and customer expectations are driving the evolution", 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto said in a press release last August. "Our team is dedicated to continuing 7-Eleven's legacy of innovation with industry-leading digital solutions".
India: How Reliance’s JioMart platform will reshape India’s online grocery market
Reliance Industries has entered India’s online grocery retailing market via a new e-commerce platform JioMart, which started pilot trials last month in Mumbai. Through JioMart, it is planning to offer more than 50,000 products and connect 30mln offline retailers with more than 200mln households across the nation. The value chain created by JioMart connects local offline retailers on a large scale with its merchant point-of-sale solution, where it provides user friendly digital platforms for inventory management, customer care services and other services required by the retailers.
Full-range grocery chains outgrow discount supermarkets in Germany: GfK
The sales volumes of Germany's large full-range grocery chains outgrew those of discount supermarkets in 2019, according to the consumer index published by the market research institute GfK. Traditional supermarket chains, such as Edeka and REWE, increased sales by around 3%, while discount supermarkets, such as Aldi and Lidl, only achieved an overall increase of 0.9%. "In addition to acceptable prices, the shopper demands a pleasant shopping atmosphere and an attractive range of ecologically sustainable products," stated GfK.
Holland: More supermarkets open until 10:00 p.m.
The number of supermarkets in the Netherlands that are open until 10:00 p.m. on weekdays more than doubled in the past 5 years. Now 1 in 7 supermarkets are open until late night, according to figures from website Openingstijden.nl, which keeps tracks of stores' operating hours, AD reports. In the past 5 years, the number of supermarkets with a closing time of 10:00 p.m. increased from 250 to over 550 of the approximately 4000 supermarkets in the Netherlands. 5 years ago, consumers in 64 municipalities were able to find at least 1 supermarket open until 10:00 p.m. In 2019 this was the case in 83 municipalities. Now, stores are open till late in 119 municipalities.
UK: Organic food and drink sales rise to £2.45bln
Sales of organic food and drink in the UK rose by 4.5% last year to a record £2.45bln, fuelled by strong growth online and in home delivery, and outpacing a sluggish food and drink market overall. The sector grew for the 8th consecutive year, having fallen after the recession, and is on target to hit £2.5bln by the end of 2020, according to a report from the Soil Association, the trade body which licenses organic products and promotes organic farming. Last year’s total, up from £2.3bln in 2018, compares with the pre-recession high of £2.1bln in 2008. An estimated £200mln a month is now spent on organic food and drink, and shoppers typically make 2 more monthly trips to buy it than they did 5 years ago, the report says. Independent retailers - the traditional high street home of organic - enjoyed a 6.5% uplift in sales. But the biggest single growth channel was online retail and home delivery - including organic veg box schemes such as Abel & Cole and Riverford - where sales rose by 11.2%. Supermarket sales of organic food and drink increased again in 2019, up 2.5%, outpacing the overall market, although their overall share of the UK’s organic market fell slightly.
Australia: The little-known 'important' free service in every Woolworths store
A little-known, free service in Woolworths and Coles supermarkets may help put at ease shoppers who are becoming increasingly concerned about hygiene while at public places. With the potential spread of coronavirus Australians are becoming more vigilant at taking precautions to minimise the spread of infection. One area of concern is the shared items at supermarkets including shopping baskets and trolleys. Woolworths and Coles have both implemented facilities to protect customers from potential germs when handling trolleys and baskets. A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo New Australia hygiene stations have been in stores for “a number of years” now. “Hygiene stations - which include hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes for customers - are located in all our stores nationwide”, the spokesperson said.
UK: Amazon Choice label is being 'gamed to promote poor products'
Amazon is promoting poor-quality products with an “Amazon’s Choice” badge as cunning sellers manipulate the algorithmic recommendation system behind the label, according to research from the consumer rights group Which? Many of the most popular items sold on Amazon.co.uk are labelled Amazon’s Choice, a thin blue badge that renders a product more visible on the search results page. Despite the name, Amazon does not actively select the products it declares its choice: the company instead automatically bestows the commendation on products that match an undisclosed set of criteria including good reviews, low price and fast shipping.
UK: Poundland-owner Pepco faces 'almost inevitable' sale by Steinhoff
The boss of Pepco Group, the owner of British discount retailer Poundland, said it was “almost inevitable” the group would be sold by its beleaguered South African parent Steinhoff. Steinhoff, which has been battling the fallout from a 2017 accounting scandal, said last year it was evaluating a range of strategic options for Pepco Group, including a potential public listing. Sky News reported that 3 private equity firms - Advent International, Hellman & Friedman and Mid Europa Partners - had teamed up for a possible bid for Pepco that could value it at more than 4.5bln euros ($5bln). “The restructuring arrangement that Steinhoff has with its creditors means it’s almost inevitable we’ll be sold”, Pepco Group CEO Andy Bond told Reuters after it updated on Christmas trading.
Best year for modern retail in Romania
More than 400 grocery stores have opened in 2019, making it the best year in local modern retail ever. Modern retail in Romania started with the arrival of Metro Cash & Carry in 1996. In comparison, the number of stores opened in the previous years stood at 250 to 300. Foreign retail chains therefore invested more than EUR300mln in the opening of new hypermarkets, supermarkets and modern convenience, discount and cash & carry stores this year, according to ZF estimates. Profi opened the most stores by far, followed by Mega Image. Both of them operate supermarkets and convenience stores. However, the largest budget for new stores was Kaufland’s, a hypermarket operator, which usually opens large stores on plots of its own.
Spain: El Corte Ingles partners with Deliveroo
El Corte Ingles has confirmed its partnership with Deliveroo, which allows prepared meals to be collected and distributed by the latter company. The agreement will only cover orders from the El Corte Ingles Sanchinarro in Madrid. The group plans to expand the service to more Spanish regions, if the first test is successful. Currently, Deliveroo has collaborated with 7,500 restaurants across Spain.
Germany: Edeka expanding online through Picnic
Edeka owns a 35% stake in Picnic, an online only retailer. Picnic has been expanding in Germany and will be supplying Düsseldorf and expanding coverage further from the end of February 2020. Its new hub is located in the centre of Düsseldorf and will start with a fleet of 6 vans and 15 runners, reaching over 180,000 households across the city. Over time, it plans to expand this to 35 vans and 80 runners. Picnic offers free delivery, a 20 minute delivery window and everyday products at competitive prices. For Edeka, the acquisition of a stake in Picnic has enabled it to learn from the dedicated online only grocer and bring these learnings to its own online service. It may also expand its activities with Picnic to additional regions in the future.
Europe: Volume of retail trade down by 1.6% in euro area
In December 2019 compared with November 2019, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade decreased by 1.6% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.3% in the EU27, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November 2019, the retail trade volume increased by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27. In December 2019 compared with December 2018, the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased by 1.3% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU27. The average retail trade for the year 2019, compared with 2018, rose by 2.2% in the euro area and by 2.4% in EU27.
Cora looks to strengthen operations in France
In an interview in trade publication LSA, Cora France’s managing director, Ludovic Chatelais, has discussed how the retailer is looking to help its hypermarket employees become more versatile so they can work across departments. Chatelais explained the retailer’s new strategy for its hypermarkets, which had been rolled out to 8 stores, had led to more space being dedicated to food-for-now and food-to-go options and placed a strong emphasis on on-site preparation. This has increased the presence for local suppliers across its fresh departments, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.