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Woolworths trials AI to recognise fruit and veg purchases

Competition watchdog censured Tesco for breaking the law

Indian court stalls Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probes: lawyers
An Indian antitrust investigation of Amazon.com Inc and Walmart’s Flipkart has been put on hold by a court, 3 lawyers involved in the proceedings told Reuters. Amazon this week challenged the investigation in a court in Bengaluru and the court has granted a stay of 2 months, according to a lawyer from P&A Law Offices representing Amazon and 2 other legal counsels involved in the matter. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month ordered a probe into Amazon and Flipkart over alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices. “This comes as a major relief,” said the Amazon counsel, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to media.
Source: reuters.com 

UK: Aldi increases plastic bag price to encourage recycling
Aldi will reduce the volume of plastic bags sold in stores by providing reusable and recyclable alternatives in a bid to step up its sustainability initiatives. The German discounter is putting the price of its flexi-loop “bags for life” up from 9p to 15p to encourage customers to reuse. The increase in price will be implemented from February 24. Reusable drawstring produce bags - made from recycled bottles and retail at 25p - will also be rolled out to all UK stores. Moreover, Aldi’s free single-use plastic produce bags will be removed entirely and replaced with the reusable drawstring bags across 100 stores in the Midlands region as part of a trial.
Source: retailgazette.co.uk 

Australia: Woolworths uses AI to recognise fruit and veg purchases
Woolworths is running trials of AI-enabled scales at three inner-city Sydney stores that can automatically recognise the type of fruit or vegetable being weighed. The scales are made by Sydney-based startup Tiliter and are now on trial at Woolworths’ Pitt Street Metro, Metcentre Metro and MetroGo Strawberry Hills stores. A demonstration of the machine shows a piece of stone fruit being placed on the scales and recognised as either a nectarine or peach. The customer is then able to select the correct item on the display. It is intended initially that the scales are used by Scan&Go customers - that is, customers using smartphones to scan and pay for items at selected Woolworths stores.
Source: itnews.com.au 

Convenience stores in South Korea outperform supermarkets
The slump in fortunes at large discount stores is continuing and the growth of convenience stores in South Korea is accelerating in line with social changes, including an increase in the number of single-person households and the rising popularity of online shopping. Amid such circumstances, convenience stores in South Korea made more money than large supermarkets last year. GS25 posted record operating profits of 256.5bln won (US$217mln) last year, while CU also reported record-high operating profits of 196.6bln won. The operating profit to sales ratio also rose to 3% for both GS25 and CUs, an increase on last year.
Source: insideretail.asia 

UK: Tesco stopped rivals opening nearby stores, watchdog finds
The competition watchdog has censured Tesco for breaking the law by blocking rivals from opening shops near its stores. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Tesco had prevented competitors opening supermarkets in 23 locations in England and Wales, including 5 in London. The supermarket did this by either attaching legal conditions known as “restrictive covenants” to land sales - which allow former land and property owners to control how plots are developed after they have been sold - or seeking long exclusivity agreements to stop competitors opening convenience stores in the same block. The “anti-competitive” behaviour had potentially been to the detriment of shoppers, the CMA said.
Source: theguardian.com 

India: DMart promoters to sell shares via OFS
Avenue Supermarts Ltd, which runs the supermarket chain DMart, said its promoters will sell up to a 2.28% stake through an offer for sale (OFS) that will fetch as much as ₹3,032.5 crore ($426mln). Promoters Radhakishan Damani, Gopikishan Damani, Shrikantadevi Damani and Kirandevi Damani will offload a total of 14.8mln shares through the share sale, Avenue Supermarts said in a regulatory filing. The shares will be sold at a floor price of ₹2,049, a 19.5% discount to the closing price of ₹2,544.15.
Source: livemint.com 

UK: Changing packaging policies within the supermarket sector in 2020
UK-based frozen food specialists Iceland began 2020 trialling plastic-free products. Launched on 22 January in 33 of the company’s stores in London and the south-east of England, it aims to reduce its plastic packaging content in its fresh produce ranges by 93%. Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker said: “We understand that consumers are particularly aware of the amount of plastic being used to package produce across the industry and we’ve been working hard to develop user-friendly sustainable alternatives. This trial is the largest ever of its kind and we’re excited to see how customers respond to the range of solutions provided.”
Source: nspackaging.com 

Finland: Supermarket strike averted as retail sector reaches wage settlement
Representatives of employer associations and worker trade unions said Friday that they had reached a settlement in an industrial dispute over a new collective bargaining agreement, averting a strike that would have shut doors at some supermarkets. "We have reached a negotiated settlement today on a collective agreement for the retail sector. The details will be revealed if the boards [on both sides] accept the outcome. Association boards will meet this afternoon", Services workers' union PAM chair Annika Rönni-Sällinen tweeted.
Source: yle.fi 

UK: Big Four supermarkets to lose further share
While the size of the UK food & grocery market is set to grow 15% to £174.5bln by 2024, the Big Four grocers are expected to lose out on a further 1.1% of the total market (£1.9bln) during this period. This is according to GlobalData’s latest report - ‘UK: Food & Grocery 2019-2024’. It reveals that while grocery sales through the Big Four (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda) are forecast to grow 12.6%, the discounters and online players will gain further share, growing 25% and 55% respectively over the period. Thomas Brereton, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “The recent set of supermarket Christmas trading results shows that UK shoppers still have an unsatisfied appetite for the proposition of the discounters; Lidl performed especially admirably, growing year-on-year sales 11% in December. While there is evidence of a slowdown in like-for-like sales growth at Aldi and Lidl, both retailers still have substantial expansion plans for the UK - particularly within the M25 - over the next few years”.
Source: kamcity.com 

Walmart's Mexico unit blames government cash aid, as revenue rise slowest in three quarters
Walmart de Mexico, Mexico’s biggest retailer, reported its slowest revenue growth in three quarters, with its core supermarket chain hit by competition after the government altered a welfare spending programme. Walmex, as the unit of Walmart Inc is known locally, said revenue rose 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, it slowest since the 4.6% clocked in the year’s first quarter. Walmex’s Bodega family of warehouse-style supermarkets comprise nearly 80% of the retailer’s stores in Mexico, the largest foreign market by store count for Walmart Inc.
Source: reuters.com 

Canada: Calgary Co-op to build urban grocery store
Calgary Co-op has purchased a commercial site in the Marda Loop neighbourhood to create what it’s calling an “urbanized grocery experience.” Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The vision for the site–a 1.77-acre property at the corner of 33 Ave SW and 20 St SW in downtown Calgary - also includes new residential, retail and commercial units. A Calgary Co-op spokesman told the Calgary Herald the new urban grocery store would have a smaller footprint than its traditional locations. It will see fresh product and prepared meals.
Source: canadiangrocer.com 

US: WeWork celebrates grand opening of Food Labs flagship in New York
WeWork celebrated the launch of the WeWork Food Labs New York flagship, dedicated to providing food-focused entrepreneurs and companies with collaborative and flexible workspace, custom programming, and global community. The New York City workspace marks the latest addition to the successful WeWork Food Labs program. Since its launch, the growing program has welcomed more than 400 businesses, ranging from new and emerging players to large and established food industry enterprises developing innovative approaches and technologies to transform the food industry. WeWork Food Labs currently operates workspaces in New York, San Francisco and Austin - with member access to resources and community across locations.
Source: businesswire.com 

US: Kroger makes case for Marketing Precision
Suppliers to Kroger who use the retailer's media capabilities branded as Kroger Precision Marketing will now have greater visibility into the effectiveness of their marketing spend. The retailer introduced a new sales attribution capability to provide brands full transparency into media performance. Kroger said its self-service advertising platform now allows brands to view in-store and online sales results attributed to advertising campaigns across Kroger properties and that it only applies 100% verified transactions from both in-store and online customers. “Kroger has created a seamless commerce experience for shopping in-store or online for pick-up or delivery. And brands advertise on Kroger Precision Marketing because we can influence moments when shoppers are searching and discovering products, and do so in an authentic way,” said Cara Pratt, VP of commercial and product strategy for Kroger Precision Marketing at 84.51°. “We’re committed to providing brands a fully transparent view of sales performance rather than just the typical novelty metrics of digital media.” Microsoft PromoteIQ powers Kroger’s self-service advertising platform, which includes sponsored product listing ads and banner display ads on Kroger websites and mobile apps.
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

US: Walmart graduates 1st class of degree-earning employees
This month, 30 Walmart Inc. employees are earning either bachelor's or associate's degrees through the mega-retailer's Live Better U initiative. The program began in partnership with Denver-based Guild Education in 2018 and switched to the Live Better U name last year. Currently, 12,000 Walmart associates are pursuing degrees, and the company now expects to celebrate new graduates every month. "We’re committed to making Walmart a place of opportunity. That means giving people a good, steady job that could turn into a career," wrote Julie Murphy, EVP of people at Walmart U.S., in a company blog. "These graduations are an important achievement in these associates’ lives. Their education is a launching pad for them to succeed in their jobs today and to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow."
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

US: Independent Grocers back legislation to fix ‘retail glitch’
The National Grocers Association (NGA) has expressed its support for the “Accelerate Long-Term Investment Growth Now (ALIGN) Act”, introduced February 13 by Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to make permanent a key provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enabling full and immediate expensing of certain properties, which is set to phase down after 2022. According to Arlington, Virginia-based NGA, which represents the independent grocery sector: “Full and immediate expensing significantly enhances independent grocers’ ability to make important investments in their stores, which spurs investment in the local communities they serve. In addition to creating permanency for full and immediate expensing, Senator Toomey’s legislation also seeks to add qualified improvement property (QIP), or interior remodels to stores, to the types of property eligible for full and immediate expensing. QIP was inadvertently omitted from the expensing provision in the TCJA, resulting in grocers having to expense interior store improvements over 39.5 years instead of immediately as Congress intended”.
Source: progressivegrocer.com 


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