Russia: Top retail and tech companies join forces to hunt for innovations in the rest of the world
As Russia’s retail and tech sectors consolidate, the leading companies turned their gaze outwards to hunt for new technology and innovation. Russia’s biggest supermarket chain X5 Retail Group, world's tenth largest white consumer goods retailer M.Video-Eldorado Group and German furniture chain Hoff have joined forces to “scout and adopt innovations” in a project dubbed the “Retail Innovation Tech Alliance” (RITA), the companies said in a statement emailed to bne IntelliNews. “The project is going to look for new technology solutions both in Russia and on major global start-up platforms”, the companies said.
UK: Waitrose.com launches national expansion campaign in preparation for its split from Ocado
Waitrose is this week starting a national online roll-out programme - adding its Waitrose.com online delivery service to 24 more of its shops across the country. The shops are strategically placed to handle increased demand for the retailer’s online shopping service in preparation for its split from Ocado. From 1 September, Ocado is going to lose the right to sell any Waitrose products, so Waitrose food and drink will exclusively be available online on Waitrose.com.
France: Auchan EasyScan service
Auchan is testing cashier-less stores with ‘EasyScan’ technology. The solution is currently available in the La Défense and Chelles hypermarkets. Taking inspiration from Amazon Go, EasyScan gives shoppers the ability to pay with their smartphones. The service is only for shoppers who have a ‘Waaoh’ loyalty card and the Auchan mobile application. Shoppers can scan any product they wish to buy, then are given a barcode as proof of purchase. Payment is then taken from their bank, while the barcode is shown at the exit gates to leave the store. Auchan hopes to make EasyScan widely available throughout most of its stores.
UK: Sainsbury’s opens 300th “milestone” Argos concession
Sainsbury’s has reached an “important milestone” after opening the 300th Argos shop-in-shop in one of its supermarkets. The concession, which offers customers Argos’ range of toys, tech and home products, has opened in Sainsbury’s Salford store in Manchester. Sainsbury’s first installed Argos concessions within stores in 2016, after Argos’ parent Home Retail Group agreed to a £1.4bln takeover by the Big 4 grocer.
Just Eat trials 3-minute drone delivery in Ireland
Just Eat, the online food delivery company, will launch an aerial drone delivery trial in Ireland. The company has partnered with drone delivery company Manna Drone Delivery for the trial which is set to take place in Dublin in March 2020. Manna claim to be the world’s first aviation-grade B2B drone delivery ‘as-a-service’ platform. It will pilot its airborne logistics platform ‘in-a-box’ in University College Dublin with partners, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and local premium food brand Camile Thai, via food ordering and delivery platform Just Eat. The aim is to deliver to a large customer base with a sub 3-minute delivery promise from vendor to customer.
UK: M&S to expand successful trial of fill-your-own container scheme
Marks & Spencer is to extend its trial of a refill scheme that enables shoppers to replenish their own food containers, after its research revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers said they were trying to reduce the amount of packaging they use. The retailer’s initial trial of its “fill your own” scheme at its Hedge End store in Southampton, which offers 44 packaging-free products from coffee to confectionery, will be expanded this month to include a second store in Manchester city centre.
Malaysia: 7-Eleven sets sales record
7-Eleven Malaysia set a full-year sales record last year after revenue rose 6.4% to $33.76bln. Much of the growth came from network expansion, but same-store sales rose 2.5%, despite declining cigarette sales. The company opened 165 new stores last year, 41 of those in the last quarter, taking its network to 2411. Other factors were higher footfall and an increase in the average transaction. Fresh-food sales grew more than 28% year on year.
Thailand: Central Retail eyes growth in Vietnam after trouble at home
Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Retail Corporation Pcl (CRC), plans to expand domestic online sales as well as its business in Vietnam, as the coronavirus outbreak slows economic growth at home, its top executive said. Shares of CRC, which went to market on February 20 in the country’s largest initial public offer (IPO), were trading 22% below its IPO price, against an 8% decline in the benchmark index.
US: Publix breaks ground on 1st North Carolina distribution center
Publix Super Markets has started construction on a refrigerated distribution center in Greensboro, North Carolina, that will deliver to Publix locations in the Carolinas and Virginia. The 940,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and to cost $400mln. “The Greensboro distribution center will play a key role in supporting our growth in the region”, said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “The hundreds of new associates who join the Publix family will help us provide the premier service our customers have come to expect”.
US: DoorDash files to go public in latest IPO test for unprofitable startups
DoorDash Inc, the loss-making U.S. food delivery startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp, said it has filed for an initial public offering (IPO), setting it up to be one of the most high-profile listings of 2020. The IPO will be yet another test of investor appetite for unprofitable Silicon Valley startups, after the likes of ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc struggled last year after going public.
US: Grocery innovator Joe Coulombe dies at 89
Joe Coulombe, the namesake and founder of the Trader Joe's grocery chain, has died at 89, the company confirmed in a statement. Coulombe died in his Pasadena, California, home on Friday after a long illness, the New York Times reported. Coulombe founded the Trader Joe's chain in 1967 and today the brand and stores have a cult-like following among shoppers in the United States and the world. After selling Trader Joe’s to German grocery retailer Aldi Nord in 1979, Coulombe remained its chief executive until 1988, when he left to launch a second career in consulting. He retired in 2013.
Canada: New Metro Plus store puts an emphasis on fresh
From the robust produce department to more than 100 ready-to-eat meals, Metro Plus is focused on fresh at its newest store in Lachine, Quebec - a borough on the south shore of Montreal Island. The 39,000-sq.-ft. store took 6 months and an $8.3mln investment to build, according to a press release issued by Metro, and “showcases all the freshness, product diversity and service quality” the grocery chain is known for. The produce department, for instance, features local and seasonal products, fresh-cut fruit, smoothies and flavoured waters, a section of vegan products, and a bulk section is only a few feet away.
Canada: Goodfood expands into grocery delivery
With an aim to offer consumers the “full grocery basket,” meal-kit company Goodfood has added private-label grocery staples to its product offering. There are currently around 100 SKUs, including oils, peanut butter, pasta, condiments, coffee, juices, breads, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, meats and more—delivered to consumers’ doors along with their meal-kit orders. Goodfood, which has meal kits for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus ready-to-eat options, plans to have 2,000 to 4,000 private label SKUs in the medium to long term, says Roslane Aouameur, director of investor relations at Goodfood.