US: Wegmans, Publix and Nugget Markets ‘show the way forward’
Three grocers were named to the coveted 2020 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Wegmans, Publix Super Markets and Nugget Markets. Rochester, New York-based Wegmans, which nabbed the No. 3 spot this year, has made the list for all 23 years since the list’s inception. Conducted by Great Place to Work and Fortune, this year’s list is based on survey responses from more than 650,000 employees rating their workplace culture on more than 60 elements of the workplace, including trust in managers, respect, fairness and camaraderie. “The 100 Best show the way forward”, Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, said in a statement. “These companies have created great places to work for all - for everyone, no matter who a person is or what they do for the organization. As a result, they have built a path to realize the promise of artificial intelligence, gain strength from a diversity of perspectives and thrive during downturns”.
US: Price Chopper doubles down on store investment in Kansas City
Kansas City-area grocer Price Chopper Enterprises plans new stores and remodels this year under a $54mln-plus capital expenditures program. Price Chopper said this week that preliminary projects include the opening of new stores in Gardner, Kansas, and Smithville, Missouri, and upgrades for locations in Overland Park and Leavenworth, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. The remodels will focus mainly on the expansion of fresh departments, including produce, foodservice, bakery, deli and meat, according to the Overland Park-based supermarket chain.
US: Target warehouse faces its first public union drive
A Target warehouse facility in northern New Jersey is set to become the first in the company’s nearly 60-year history to face a public union campaign when labor officials announce their intentions to unionize the distribution facility. Fed up with frequent firings, steep production quotas, and “flex” scheduling - employees at Target warehouse in Perth Amboy, New Jersey reached out to union organizers at the Laundry, Distribution, and Food Services (LDFS) Joint Board about unionizing the facility, according to Megan Chambers, an LDFS union official. LDFS, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), represents about 8,500 workers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Canada: Loblaw posts higher earnings in Q4
Loblaw Companies Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year earlier, but the parent company of Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart fell short of analysts’ expectations. The retailer says it earned a profit attributable to common shareholders of $254mln or 70 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended December 28. That compared with a profit attributable to common shareholders of $221mln or 59 cents per diluted share in the same period a year earlier. Revenue totalled $11.59bln, up from nearly $11.22bln.
US: Berkeley Bowl founder Glenn Yasuda dies
Glenn Yasuda, founder of the famous-for-their-produce Berkeley Bowl stores in California, has died at the age of 85. According to Berkeleyside.com, Glenn and his wife, Diane, opened the first Berkeley Bowl close to their home in 1977 in Berkeley, California. The Yasudas opened a second store, Berkeley Bowl West, on Heinz Street in 2009. The stores earned an international reputation for their produce assortment, with best-selling food writer and author Michael Pollan calling Berkeley Bowl “heaven for omnivores”.
US: Hy-Vee acquires 4 QuikTrip stores
Hy-Vee Inc. has acquired four QuikTrip convenience stores in the Des Moines metropolitan area that will reopen March 20 under the Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh Express brand. The stores are in Clive, Urbandale, Johnston and Windsor Heights, Iowa. QuikTrip, which has 820 c-stores in 11 states, put the four locations up for sale last April. It also closed one store because it built a new, Generation 3 c-store nearby. “This is nothing new for QT”, Mike Thornbrugh, spokesperson for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip, told CSP Daily News. “We are constantly reevaluating stores in all markets, and these four stores just don’t fit our long-term strategy”.
Costco to open second store in Chinese mainland
U.S. retail giant Costco confirmed a plan to open a second store on Chinese mainland, which will be in Shanghai. The subsidiary of Costco, Pudong Warehouse Development Limited, together with a Chinese company, obtained a 47,319-square-meter lot in Shanghai's Pudong New Area for 898mln yuan (128mln U.S. dollars), which is not far from Shanghai Disney Resort. Costco opened its first store in Chinese mainland last August in Shanghai's Minhang district on the west side of Huangpu River, which has attracted huge crowds of shoppers since the opening.
Brazil supermarket chain GPA posts 70% profit drop, weighed by expenses
Brazilian supermarket chain GPA SA reported a 71% drop in its fourth-quarter net income year-on-year, missing market expectations, after completing a costly corporate reorganization. In a securities filing, the local subsidiary of French group Casino Guichard Perrachon SA said its quarterly net fell to 98mln reais ($22.45mln) compared with a consensus estimate of 327.6mln reais compiled by Refinitiv.
Spain: Eroski opened more than 50 franchise stores in 2019
Spanish retailer Eroski has announced that it opened 58 franchise stores in 2019. The move resulted in an investment of more than €8.7mln and generated 346 new jobs, the retailer said. In 2019, Eroski's franchised supermarket network reported sales growth of 5%, mainly driven by new openings and good customer response to its 'Contigo' ('With You') business model. Over the past six years, the retailer has opened more than 300 franchised stores. It aims to open 60 franchise outlets in 2020.
Switzerland: Coop’s ecommerce sales grow 16.3%
The Coop Group generated sales of 28.9bln euros in 2019, with ecommerce sales increasing by 16.3%. The profit of the Swiss retail and wholesale company amounted to almost 500mln euros. “Coop still on track for success”. That’s the title of the Swiss group’s press release with figures of 2019. The company has announced that its retail division grew 1.4% to 16.94bln euros, while wholesale/production achieved a turnover of 13.27bln euros.
Major Chinese chain supermarkets resume business
Some 99% of China's major chain supermarkets have resumed operation after a long holiday break disrupted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), industry data showed. About 42% of the country's shopping centers, department stores and specialty stores have resumed business, according to data from the China Chain Store and Franchise Association. The government has urged supermarkets and grocery stores to return to business as soon as possible in an effort to ensure daily supplies for the people, who are encouraged to stay at home to avoid further spread of the virus. Supermarkets usually provide some 60 to 80% of daily necessities to local residents, a survey from the association showed.
SPAR Austria Group 2019 sales reach €15.72bln
The SPAR Austria Group, which includes SPAR Austria, ASPIAG, Hervis and SES SPAR European Shopping Centres, achieved robust expansion and growth in 2019, reaching €15.72bln in sales. In Austria, sales reached a milestone of €7.2bln, making the SPAR Brand Austria’s industry leader for the tenth consecutive year. SPAR Austria reported an impressive sales growth of 4.7%, which is more than double the Austrian food retail industry’s estimated average growth of 2.1%.
UK retail sales rebound in January after weak end to 2019
British shoppers started spending again at the start of this year after a very sluggish end to 2019, adding to signs that improved sentiment since December’s election is translating into stronger economic activity. Retail sales volumes rose 0.9% on the month in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, after a 0.5% fall in December, Britain’s Office for National Statistics said. This was the biggest rise since March and a stronger turnaround than the 0.7% month-on-month growth predicted on average by economists in a Reuters poll.
Paytm Mall takes on Amazon with ambitious export target for Made-in-India products
The ecommerce arm of One97 Communications, Paytm Mall, is now looking to tap India’s potential for exports, just like ecommerce giant Amazon did last month during the Jeff Bezos visit. The company announced that its mission is to promote Indian products in global markets. Paytm Mall added its assortment of ‘Made in India’ products include perishable goods such as rice, spices, tea, dry fruits, millets, essential oils, quinoa, moringa, organic food, frozen food, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulps and pastes.
Iceland expands Food Warehouse venture into Northern Ireland
Iceland has opened the north's first Food Warehouse outlet in Co Antrim, creating 30 jobs. The frozen food group has invested £1mln in the 9,500 sq ft flagship store at Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey. Launched just six years ago, The Food Warehouse chain has expanded rapidly, with 121 outlets now open across the UK. The retail venture is based on the wholesale business model, but with no requirement for a membership.
UK: Bestway improves experience for online customers
Bestway Wholesale has made advancements to its digital platforms to improve customer experience. The changes include improved product search, better web speed, easier multi-buy shopping and further utilisation of RNF’s customer engagement platform ‘Beam’. The new search function launched on www.best-one.co.uk, which is automatically updated every day, enables customers to see the most popular products and the most-searched terms. In addition, product recommendations are shown to customers based on their basket and using data from other customers’ purchases.
Singapore: Sheng Siong looks for new store sites as sales and profit grows
Supermarket operator Sheng Siong says it plans to open more stores across the city in the wake of a 7.4% profit increase last year. Sheng Siong Group achieved a net profit of S$75.8mln (US$54mln) for the December year on revenue up 11.3% to S$991.3mln, largely due to store network growth. “Our store expansion plan in Singapore is progressing well”, said CEO Lim Hock Chee. 5 new stores opened last year and 2 more already this year adding 56,820sqft of trading area and taking the network to 61.
UK: Lidl opens 800th store amidst £1.3bn investment announcement
Lidl has opened its 800th store in Great Britain as it pledged to invest more than £1bln to expand over the next two years to help reach its target of 1000 stores by 2023. The 800th store milestone comes after the discount grocer opened 50 new stores in the past 12 months, creating over 2500 new jobs. The German retailer opened stores in 4 new locations in Great Britain on the same day: Cambridge, London, Boston and Dumbarton.
Sweden: Coop reshaping the food industry with technology
Coop Sweden is using technology to help drive its sustainability initiatives and customer service. Coop is launching tech accelerator Bloomer, to target technology startups who have developed solutions for changing the food system. The solutions should be economical and environmental. Bloomer has the power to improve or replace current technologies, change consumer behaviour, establish new and efficient industry practices, open new markets and help reshape the food industry.