U.S. stores help Ahold to 3% quarterly profit rise
Food retailer Ahold Delhaize reported a 3% rise in fourth-quarter core earnings helped by its Food Lion and Hannaford U.S. grocery chains. It forecast 2020 margins “broadly in line” with last year and mid-single-digit growth in underlying earnings per share. Underlying operating income rose to 765mln euros ($834mln) for the three months to December 31 from 743mln. Sales rose 5.5% to 17.4bln euros, helped by a strong dollar. “Total results ended with a strong fourth quarter and good closure of the year. We are, across the numbers, indeed better than consensus, so we are pretty happy with the results”, CEO Frans Muller told Reuters in a phone call. In the U.S. market, its largest, where it is concentrated in the eastern United States and also operates the Stop & Shop and Giant chains, comparable sales grew 2.3%, with online sales growth of more than 20%. The company said it would reach 7bln euros in group online sales by 2021. In the Netherlands, where it runs the dominant Albert Heijn chain, comparable sales rose 4.3% and the company said it had won market share for the first time in several quarters, though it did not say how much.
US: Compare supermarket plans 2 Baltimore locations
A supermarket chain known for focusing on the Hispanic community plans to move into two former Shoppers locations in Baltimore City. Compare Foods will first open in Alameda Marketplace, on The Alameda at Chinquapin Parkway, and then also intends to open at Anchor Square on Eastern Avenue, according to a news release. Compare Foods, founded by Eligio “Leo” Pena, has 100 stores in six states. It also plans to open three stores in former Shoppers locations in Prince George's County.
US: Peapod’s Midwest division to shut down
Ahold Delhaize USA has revealed that it will close the Midwest division of its Peapod online grocery sales business, which, according to the Quincy, Massachusetts-based grocer, accounts for $97mln in revenue of the $1.1bln in total online revenue in the United States. The company said that the move will enable it to focus on growing the leadership position of its brands on the East Coast and to execute its strategy of enabling each of its local brands to be the top omnichannel grocery retailers in their respective markets, using the capabilities of Peapod Digital Labs. There are no changes in the offing for customers in other markets, added Ahold Delhaize USA.
US: Weis Markets embraces computer generated ordering
Weis Markets Inc. has selected the Itasca Magic Computer Generated Ordering (CGO) and DSD Receiving solutions to replace existing legacy software for its retail locations, including more than 170 stores that offer its Weis 2 Go Online pickup and delivery services. The grocer anticipates store-level inventory optimization will help it reduce excess inventory and product spoilage by ensuring sufficient product is always available to meet consumer demand without excess. This is especially challenging in stores where online orders are fulfilled.
Walmart's Mexico unit posts 2.7% rise in January same-store sales
Walmart de Mexico, the country’s biggest retailer, said that sales at stores in Mexico open for more than a year rose 2.7% in January, compared with the same month last year. Walmex, as the company is known, said total sales in Mexico increased 4.2% in January.
Lidl calls time on tons of plastic items in Finnish stores
Lidl is calling time on tons of plastic items in its Finnish stores. The supermarket chain says it is no longer selling disposable plastic items like cutlery and straws as part of the company’s strategy, begun in 2018, to replace all plastic products with recyclable materials instead, like wood. In practice that means items like the plastic part of cotton swabs have been replaced by cardboard or wood. ”These are the exact actions we can do as a retailer in order to save the environment”, says Tomas Heinrichs, Director of Purchasing at Lidl Suomi.
One-fifth of retail outlets closed in Flanders in the past decade: study
One in five retail outlets have closed in the Flanders region in the past decade, according to a press release by Comeos, the federation for trade and services in Belgium. Presently, Flanders has approximately 45,594 retail outlets with around 8,341 or 20% shutting their doors in the past ten years. In Wallonia, the retail store count has reduced by 15%, while Brussels has 10% fewer stores.
UK: Ubamarket launches next-generation app
Shopping app Ubamarket has added new AI-backed features and is it to be adopted by several Co-Op stores. The next-generation Ubamarket app offers aisle sat-nav, facial age-verification, queue-less and till-less checkout. Chief executive of Ubamarket, Will Broome, said: “Ubamarket’s mobile technology helps retailers to offer customers an incredible experience when they come to shop at their stores. Not only does our technology revitalise and revolutionise the process of shopping in-store for customers, but it also provides retailers with a much-needed method to get back on track and ensure they can thrive in the midst of a tough climate for the industry”.
UK: Ocado sales up 10.3% in 2019
Online grocery retailer Ocado has announced strong trading results for the year 2019 (52 weeks to 1st December). Ocado Retail (its UK online business) delivered revenues of £1,617.5mln compared to £1,466.6mln in 2018, a 10.3% increase. That’s down on last year’s 12%, and 2017’s 12.4% year-on-year growth, as Ocado’s order capacity was impacted by the loss of its Andover fulfilment centre. Ocado’s active customer numbers increased 10.3% to 795k and basket size remained ‘broadly stable’. Operationally, it was another strong performance. Ocado has increased its range by 7% to 58,000 skus, adding 1,000 free from items and 500 organic products. Its on-time deliveries remained above 95% and its order accuracy was 99%. Once again, it’s improved its units picked per labour hour, by 1.8% to 168, and deliveries per van per week was up 1% to 196, approaching its target of 200. It’s substantially reduced its wastage from 0.8% to 0.4%. These efficiencies helped Ocado Retail increase EBITDA by 16.1% to £35mln. However, the Ocado Group made a loss before tax of £214.5mln, driven by the loss of the Andover CFC, the impact of Morrisons’ “holiday” from Erith, and the costs of its international expansion.
China: Yahoo! Hong Kong quits online commerce space
Yahoo! Hong Kong is to close its commerce operations, including Yahoo! Auctions, Yahoo! Store and Yahoo! Group Buy. The company posted a message in Chinese on its website, announcing the move. Yahoo! Hong Kong said the decision reflected a “strategic directional change” and said new shopping experiences will come. Citing “fierce competition”, the platform will suspend buying and selling features on March 24 and close on May 31. Until then, transaction history, past communications and other relevant data can be downloaded for users.
UK: Supermarket Income REIT in talks to buy stake in 26 Sainsbury's stores
Supermarket Income REIT plc has confirmed it is in talks with a large institutional investor to acquire a minority stake in a portfolio of 26 supermarkets let to Sainsbury's. Terms have not been agreed and a deal might not be concluded added the trust. Supermarket Income currently has a portfolio of nine supermarkets three of which are let to Sainsbury’s, five to Tesco and one to Morrisons. The value of the nine properties at the half-year point in December was just over £490mln.
UK: Lidl to expand operations in Wales
Lidl is to extend its distribution centre in Wales to more than 36,000sq m, which will significantly increase its capacity. The supermarket has purchased land adjacent to its warehouse in Bridgend to expand the hub which currently employs 233 people across a variety of different roles and departments, including logistics, supply chain, property and administration. The teams provide vital support to a growing network of 58 stores in Wales. Ingo Fischer, chief development officer for Lidl, said: "As part of our expansion plans and to support our store growth, we have been working hard to strengthen our infrastructure, through the opening of new warehouses and the development of existing operations".