Sweden: Axfood enjoys strong growth in Q4
Axfood has said its sales grew 5.4% in Q4 2019, to SEK13.0bln (US$1.4 bln), with a strong performance across all its banners. It said the pace of growth saw it outstrip that seen in the wider market, which it said stood at 3.7% in Q4 2019, seeing it gain share. Axfood reported that all its banners had enjoyed good growth in Q4 2019. By banner it said: Willys: total sales rose 6.5%, to SEK7.5bln (US$780.7mln), and by 5.1% in like-for-like terms; Hemköp: total sales increased 5.7%, to SEK3.7bln (US$385.2mln), and by 2.5% in like-for-like terms; Axfood Snabbgross: total sales were up by 6.2%, to SEK845mln (US$88.0mln), and by 6.2% in like-for-like terms as well; Dagab: total sales rose 5.3%, to SEK11.7bln (US$1.2bln).
UK retail sales increase by 0.4% in January: BRC-KPMG
Retail sales in the UK saw a 0.4% increase in January of this year, according to the latest BRC–KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. This growth is above the three-month and 12-month average declines of 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson OBE, said: "January saw a return to growth, however recent political uncertainty and a decade of austerity appear to have ingrained a more thrifty approach to shopping among consumers". Food sales in the UK declined 0.1% on a like-for-like basis, and increased 0.6% on a total basis, in the 3 months to January 2020.
South Korea: GS25 forms partnerships with food delivery services to drive sales
Convenience store chain operator GS25 launched delivery services at its 7 stores in Seoul through partnership with food delivery service Coupang Eats owned by ecommerce operator Coupang Inc. Customers can order from a range of 200 products from the comfort of their home. There are plans to roll out the service nationwide. GS25 already launched a delivery service in collaboration with another delivery company, Yogiyo, last April. The pilot project that ran at 10 stores showed that the service was particularly popular during meal time, with monthly average orders reached 3,000. “We are planning to expand the number of stores that offer delivery services through various delivery platforms and partnerships to increase sales and secure customers,” a GS25 official said.
Germany: Metro reaches deal to sell Real hypermarkets unit to consortium of property investors
German wholesaler Metro AG said it has reached a deal with a consortium consisting of property investors X+Bricks and the SCP Group for the sale of its struggling Real hypermarkets unit. As part of the agreement, the company will exit the business at an enterprise value of 1bln euros ($1.09bln). It had entered talks with the consortium to sell the unit in December. Late last month, sources close to the matter told Reuters that Metro had pushed back expectations to conclude the deal.
Younger UK shoppers embracing ‘food-to-go’ presenting a challenge for supermarkets, Shoppercentric shows
New research shows that 4 out of every 5 shoppers in the UK have eaten a meal that wasn’t prepared at home in the last month and this activity is having a clear impact on the grocery sector with 1 in 10 shoppers believing that their spending on household food has reduced as a direct result of their ‘food-to-go’ spending habits. The research, to be published shortly by shopper behaviour insight specialists Shoppercentric in its 50th Shopper Stock Take Report, confirms that Millennials and GenZ shoppers are at the heart of the trend and are doing so more often than they were 2 years ago.
Dutch online supermarket Picnic reaches 1mln deliveries in Amersfoort
In the latest development, Picnic, the Dutch online supermarket, has reached 1mln deliveries in Amersfoort, Netherlands. As per the company claims, customers saved a total of more than 500,000 hours of supermarket visits. On top of that, the delivery with electric cars (instead of diesel vehicles) saved more than 150,000 kilos of CO2. According to the company, the millionth delivery was delivered to Maaike Hooft in Amersfoort and her sons Luuk and Willem. The very first Picnic runner in Amersfoort and now regional chef, Jeroen Boumeester, delivered the groceries.
Ireland: Dunnes retains top supermarket title for 18th month in a row
Dunnes Stores has retained its top supermarket position for the 18th month in a row. The Irish retailer had another formidable period with sales rising by 3.3%, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar in Ireland for the 12 weeks ending 26 January 2020 shows. The group now holds 23.1% of the Irish grocery market. However, that was a slower increase than in recent months, as falling basket sizes and lower prices impacted growth at Ireland’s largest retailer, the research indicated.
US: Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle cleared to hit the road
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it granted autonomous vehicle (AV) company Nuro a temporary exemption from certain federal requirements on low-speed driverless vehicles. The exemption applies to Nuro's R2, a zero-occupant, low-speed delivery vehicle designed to carry consumer products such as groceries, packages and restaurant orders. It is the first company to be granted such an exemption. Nuro Co-founder Dave Ferguson wrote in a blog post that R2 will begin public road testing in Houston in the coming weeks, deploying 5,000 R2 vehicles during the two-year exemption, according to NHTSA.
US: A greener bottom line with sustainable store lighting
Lighting accounts for a major portion of supermarket energy use and expense, and retailers are benefiting both from their own increasing use of sustainable lighting, and from suppliers that have made sustainability a priority in this area. Today’s food retailers are increasing lighting sustainability and efficiency in their stores, and the subsequent savings are going directly to the bottom line. “We began using LED lighting with Walmart before the technology was ready for prime time”, recounts Thomas Henken, VP and director of design at api(+), in Tampa, Florida. “We are constantly improving the energy efficiency of our lighting selections, and the industry has developed products that are not only more efficient, but have become more cost-effective as the popularity of these fixtures has driven competition in the lighting products industry”.
US: Stop & Shop offers free reusable bags in New York as single-use plastic bag ban nears
To help New York customers eschew single-use plastic shopping bags, Stop & Shop this month will begin providing free reusable bags ahead of a state ban. Single-use plastic bags are scheduled to be phased out at supermarkets and other retail stores across New York starting March 1. Beginning February 22, Stop & Shop will have information tables at stores to answer questions about the state ban and hand out free reusable bags, plus other giveaway items, to customers who bring in one or more carryout plastic bags for recycling.
US: Wegmans to carry specially bred produce
Wegmans has partnered with Row 7, a seed company led by celebrity chef Dan Barber, according to Civil Eats. Row 7 states on its website that it develops seeds for new produce varieties, trying to emphasize greater flavors and nutrition. They are also certified organic and non-GMO. Row 7’s produce will make its way to Wegmans after this year’s harvest, with all 101 Wegmans stores planning to carry the company’s orange badger flame beets to start. The grocer will test Row 7’s squash next, per Civil Eats. Barber said Wegmans was a natural fit to carry Row 7 produce due to its strong reputation among consumers and its selection of fresh, healthy foods.
US: H-E-B gives master class in employee retention
H-E-B employees are flocking to social media to say thanks to their employer for a $100 gift after H-E-B was named the best U.S grocery retailer in a recent survey. According to KVUE TV, each employee in the company received $100 last week, along with a thank you note: “You should be extremely proud of the most recent achievement we received being recognized as the top U.S. grocery retailer by leading consumer research firm, dunnhumby, in its annual Retailer Preference Index (RPI) report," the message read in part.