US: Walmart launches fulfillment service for third-party marketplace sellers
Walmart has begun the rollout of its fulfillment service for third-party marketplace sellers, the company told Supply Chain Dive in an email. Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) offers storage, picking, packing and two-day shipping, returns and customer service and will eventually expand to next-day shipping according to the company. The service was developed with marketplace seller input at a Walmart fulfillment center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky and requires no monthly membership fee. The program will expand to other fulfillment centers this year, said a spokesperson adding: "Kentucky is a strong central location for us as we can guarantee 2-day delivery anywhere in the country".
US: Target raised wages. Then it cut workers' hours and doubled their workload
Workers say Target is making drastic cuts to their schedules and doubling their workload as it increases minimum wage under its ‘modernization plan’ to increase efficiency. Target Workers Unite recently released a survey of more than 500 Target workers around the US, representing 382 different stores in 44 states. Only 12.7% of the workers who responded said they could survive on the wages from Target alone, with 56% of workers citing they have ran out of food while employed at Target, and 12.8% of workers reported experiencing homelessness.
Amazon grocery strategy extends to Illinois
Just a few days after opening its first full-sized grocery store in Seattle, Amazon is apparently set to open another grocery store, this time in a western suburb of Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Amazon is planning to open a grocery store in Naperville, taking over part of what had been a Dominick's supermarket on Illinois Route 59 in the southern part of the suburb. Amazon has submitted a liquor license application to the city to sell package goods. An opening date for the store has not been released nor has the name of the store been announced. It remains to be seen whether the Naperville store will be bannered as Amazon Go Grocery, or have another banner.
Walmart US Alphabot micro-fulfillment center now fully operational
Walmart in the US has revealed that its 20,000 square metre micro-fulfillment center at its Supercenter in Salem, New Hampshire, is now fully operational, following tests that started in mid-2019. Supported by Alphabot technology, robots pick ambient, refrigerated and frozen items and forward orders to a commissioning point, where human associates check and bag the orders before taking them to the pick-up station or delivering. With speed emerging as a major competitive battlefield in US ecommerce, Walmart is investing in exclusive technology by Alert Innovation to build a competitive advantage through accelerated online fulfillment. The move comes as Amazon, too, invests in rapid delivery capabilities in grocery, eliminating its Fresh delivery fee while phasing in a two-our delivery service since late 2019.
US: 7-Eleven expands Evolution Store concept to Washington, D.C. and San Diego
7-Eleven, Inc. has scaled its Evolution Store concept following the successful opening of its beta store in Dallas last March. These Evolution Stores serve as real-time experiential testing grounds where customers can try the retailer's latest innovations in new store formats. Both stores include a Laredo Taco Company restaurant. "7-Eleven's mission is to give convenience customers what they want, when and where they want it", said 7-Eleven President and Chief Executive Officer Joe DePinto. "Our evolution stores bring outstanding innovation to life through new food and beverage platforms as well as through digital experiences",
US: Walmart is quietly working on an Amazon Prime competitor called Walmart+
As soon as next month, Walmart plans to start publicly testing a membership program called Walmart+, according to sources. The program is expected to essentially launch as a rebrand of Walmart’s existing Delivery Unlimited service, which charges customers $98 a year for unlimited, same-day delivery of fresh groceries from one of the 1,600-plus Walmart stores in the US where the program is available. The company is also considering launching Walmart+ with a feature that would allow customers to use text messaging to place orders. Sources said that the amount of the Walmart+ fee could still change or the company might test multiple price points.
Italy: Coop 'operating at full speed' to replenish supplies in Lombardy
Italian retailer Coop has said that it is 'operating at full speed' to replenish supermarkets in the region of Lombardy, at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. In a statement, the retailer said that it was 'taking stock of the most-requested items' in stores, which include long-life foodstuffs such as pasta, as well as sanitisers and disinfectants, after in-store supplies 'quickly ran out' in the region. Last weekend, sales in its stores across Milan and Lombardy were up more than 50% on a typical weekend, as shoppers stocked up amid fears of a lockdown, similar to that which has occurred in Wuhan province, in China. "Supplies of goods are regular and are continuous, with warehouses operating at full speed", a Coop spokesperson said.
Japan supermarket sales remain weak in January as tax impact lingers
Japan's supermarket sales showed a fourth consecutive monthly fall in January, remaining pressured since the consumption tax hike last year, while a warmer-than-usual winter caused many vegetables to grow faster and their prices to decline, an industry body said. Sales in the reporting month declined 2.0% from a year earlier on a same-store basis, according to the Japan Chain Store Association. Sales at 10,543 supermarkets operated by 55 companies totaled 1.00tln yen ($9.1bln), the association said.
The state of ecommerce delivery in the UK
Ecommerce in the United Kingdom is still booming, with last year’s sales up 11% on 2018. This growth is also driving the delivery business. But what is the current state of the UK ecommerce delivery market? To answer this question, Parcelhub interviewed a hundred B2B and B2C mid-market retailers from the United Kingdom. With the survey, the delivery management solution wanted to find out how retailers respond to customers’ demands regarding flexible delivery options. The survey found that about 6 in 10 retailers offer next-day delivery, while two thirds offer 48-hour delivery. When orders need to be delivered, half of respondents offer the possibility to leave the parcel in a safe place, while 31% offer Collect+ and only 1 in 4 offer tailored delivery windows.
Thai tycoons in fray as Tesco sets bid deadline for $9bln Asia business: sources
British retailer Tesco has asked bidders to submit binding offers for its Asian business by Friday, in a deal that will see Thai billionaires fight for an asset valued at up to $9bln, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The bidding is shaping up as a battle between Dhanin Chearavanont’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, Central Group, controlled by the Chirathivat family, and beer-and-property magnate Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Group, they said. Tesco’s Asian operations comprise some 2,000 supermarket outlets and convenience stores in Thailand, where it is one of the biggest retail players, and 74 stores in Malaysia.
Australia: Kaufland hastens exit with portfolio sale
German supermarket giant Kaufland has moved swiftly ahead with the divestment of its local property portfolio after its surprise decision a month ago to pull out of Australia. The portfolio includes 9 mixed-use properties across the country, from Queensland to South Australia and Victoria. Given the complexity of different locations and planning regimes, estimates of the total worth of the portfolio vary. In all it could potentially fetch as much as $250mln, according to market sources. The retail giant has appointed Colliers International to broker the portfolio, a combination of retail, industrial and mixed-use development sites.
France: Retailer Carrefour raises cost savings goal as 2019 core profits rise
France’s Carrefour raised its savings target as Europe’s largest retailer delivered cost cuts of 1bln euros ($1.1bln) last year, helping it fund e-commerce investments and price cuts for customers. It posted a well-flagged 7.4% rise in 2019 operating profit, reflecting savings in its domestic market and a robust performance in Brazil, its second-largest market after France. “The Carrefour 2022 plan is generating solid results and sets the group on a profitable growth trajectory”, Chairman and CEO Alexandre Bompard said in a statement.