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Skipcart is parting ways with Walmart

Amazon: Micro-fulfilment solution provided by Dematic

Walmart loses another grocery delivery service
Less than a year into its contract with Walmart, grocery delivery service provider Skipcart is parting ways with the retailer at some point in March, according to Bloomberg. The company first notified Walmart on January 31 that it would severing ties effective April 30, but that date has since been pushed up. Skipcart serviced 126 Walmart stores in 32 states, making about 50,000 deliveries per month in smaller markets. Since the warning letter, Walmart has reassigned Skipcart’s stores to its other delivery providers. Skipcart’s CEO Ben Jones told Bloomberg the company was losing money “hand over fist” working with Walmart and it would put more resources into restaurant deliveries, which are more profitable and easier than groceries. “The grocery model does not work”, Jones told Bloomberg in an interview. “It doesn’t work today, and it’s not going to work six months from now. We’re all losing money”.

Amazon to introduce “micro-fulfilment” areas within its grocery stores
Amazon is due to introduce “micro-fulfilment” areas within its new chain of physical grocery stores (separate from its Amazon Go format) which will fulfill online orders. The micro-fulfilment solution is provided by Dematic, a US-based supply chain technology, software and services provider, and has already supplied a similar solution to US discounter Meijer. The first Amazon store to host the solution is located in Los Angeles, precisely in the Woodland Hills area. The automated system will take up 20% of the store’s total floor space (35,500 sq ft), while its robots are able to fulfill up to 12 online orders per minute.

Italy: Moderna rebrands, rolls out new store formats
Italian regional supermarket chain Moderna has set up a new business unit, with which the group will seek to develop innovative projects in response to changing consumer needs. Moderna 2020 will in fact take over all the business activities of Moderna, with Nicola Mastromartino, president of Gruppo VéGé installed at the helm of the business. According to a company press release, Moderna 2020 will "reconcile tradition and innovation, ensuring quality, competence, convenience and courtesy with a more technological approach and a greater openness to new product categories such as organic, vegan, ethnic and healthy". Moderna is an associated member of Gruppo VéGé, a leading retail distribution company in Italy consisting of 35 member companies.

Kenya: Tuskys lays off workers as retail troubles deepen
Dozens of Tuskys employees are set to lose their jobs after the supermarket announced a restructuring process aimed at helping it stay afloat. Tuskys, citing a tough business environment that has seen its sales drop in the last two years, says an unspecified number of employees will be sent home by March 19. In a letter to Boniface Kavuvi, the secretary-general of Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers, a labour union for retail workers, Tuskys said it had already informed affected employees of the impending decision.

Tesco Malaysia rolls out Scan & Shop app
Shoppers at Tesco can now use a mobile app to scan items as they shop to help them check out more quickly. Shoppers can start the session by scanning a QR code by the entrance. They can then scan each product’s barcode to keep track of their shopping. Discounts and promotions are shown on the app and they can remove items from the virtual cart at any time. When the shopping is completed, the app generates a barcode that can be used at the self-service checkout or cashier counters. There is no need to scan each item again. Tesco Malaysia customer director Vivian Yap said that the app will help shoppers stick to their budget by tracking the total value of the basket. It will also help reduce the queue times and congestion at the stores during peak hours.

Jeronimo Martins plans Biedronka expansion beyond Poland, eyes Romania
Poland’s largest food retailer Biedronka is preparing to expand to other countries, the CEO of its Portuguese owner Jeronimo Martins said, adding that Romania was one potential new market. “The moment is coming to go beyond (Polish) borders”, Pedro Soares dos Santos told a news conference, adding that the Polish discount supermarket chain would also reinforce its balance sheet this year. “The country we’d like to go to is Romania ... whether it will be this year or the next, I don’t know,” said Soares dos Santos.

Metro Cash & Carry India plans more stores
European wholesale group Metro Cash & Carry will launch 5 new locations in India by the end of the year. The firm is also building its supply partnerships with local small-scale “kirana” stores, and has already secured 2000 partners in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. It has provided these small businesses with specialised point-of-sale devices outfitted with an app to help owners order items from Metro online, as well as generate daily sales and profit reports and track sales data. “We believe in helping kiranas in increasing their sell out”, said Metro Cash & Carry India MD and CEO Arvind Mediratta to ETtech, “not just sell to them because if their sell-out improves, and if they think Metro can help increase their sell out, we automatically become their preferred supplier”.

Ireland: Lidl and An Post team up to offer parcel collections
Lidl and Irish postal services provider An Post have joined efforts to offer customers the opportunity to collect parcels from lockers located in Lidl’s car parks. Customers based in Dublin and the surrounding commuter areas are able to collect their parcels from a secure An Post parcel locker, accessible 24 hours a day, with the exception of a couple of stores (Portmarnock and Cabra). Lidl’s Chief Information Officer Ivan Ryan commented about the new service: “Lidl are always looking for ways to offer more than just our amazing prices to our growing customer base and partnering with An Post has given us the opportunity to do just that. We are excited by this initiative and believe it will offer a valuable service to time-pressed shoppers”.

Woolies named #1 Online Retailer in Australia
Woolworths has been named the #1 Online Retailer at the Power Retail All Star Bash. For the fourth year running, Woolworth nabbed the #1 Online Retailer award. Woolworths has been a part of Australia’s supermarket duopoly for almost a century and continues to dominate. Annually awarding the best of Australian online retail, Power Retail bases its rankings on 4 key metrics, including acquisition, retention, conversion and fulfilment. “In earlier years, Power Retail has used revenue and traffic volumes as the primary measure for ranking the list - however in 2018 we began to recognise additional measures to focus on the overall application of best practice to distinguish the leading online retailers”, explained David Fear, Head of Analytics at Power Retail.

Spar introduces collection points for IKEA products in Denmark
Danish retail group Dagrofa has announced that Spar has teamed up with IKEA to introduce a new service that allows customers to pick up their online IKEA orders from Spar outlets across Denmark. Presently, the Klik og Hent (click and download) service has been rolled out to 20 Spar outlets in the country. The service aims to bring IKEA products to local communities, Dagrofa said in its statement.

UK: Tesco sells stake in Chinese joint venture for $357mln
Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco has sold its 20% share of a joint venture in China to a unit of its partner China Resources Holdings (CRH), raising 275mln pounds ($357mln) and completing its exit from the country. Tesco had established the Gain Land joint venture with CRH in 2014, when it started its retreat from China. The disposal allows Tesco to further simplify and focus the business on its core operations, it said, adding that the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

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