UK store gallery: Holograms and automation at Asda Stevenage
Supermarket chain Asda is trialling a number of futuristic pieces of technology in its designated tech hub store in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, including 3D holograms and an automated click-and-collect machine. The store was designated Asda’s official technology “test and learn” hub store in August and, since phase one of the initiative was rolled out, the grocer has trialled 24 new pieces of technology in the shop. Senior director of central retail operations Louise Bagshaw said Asda was moving quickly on these innovations “to prove that a heritage retailer can be quick and agile when it comes to innovating in the tech sector”.
Sainsbury's is only 'big four' UK supermarket growing sales - Kantar
Sainsbury's was the only one of Britain's "big four" supermarkets to record year-on-year sales growth in the 12 weeks to February 23, although it still lost market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl, according to researchers Kantar. Sales at Sainsbury's rose 0.3%, Kantar said, whereas market leader Tesco recorded a dip of 0.8%, Asda was down 1.2% and Morrisons fell 2.0%. Lidl was the fastest growing supermarket for the first time since 2017, with sales up 11.4% in the period, taking its market share to 5.8%, Kantar said. Its bigger rival Aldi recorded growth of 5.7%, giving it a 7.9% market share. The impact of the coronavirus crisis has been seen at the tills, with sales of hand sanitiser up 255% in February while liquid soaps grew by 7%, Kantar said.
South Africa: Pick n Pay launches online scheduled grocery delivery
South African supermarket chain Pick n Pay said it has launched an online scheduled grocery delivery service that enables customers to set up an automatic weekly or monthly delivery of products they buy regularly. Having been the first retailer to launch online grocery shopping in South Africa, Pick n Pay said it has now become the first supermarket to introduce scheduled delivery, which is gaining traction overseas with companies like Amazon Prime.
China's JD.com FY19: 24.9% YoY in net revenues
JD.com reported net revenues of CNY576.9bln (US$82.9bln) for the full year of 2019, an increase of 24.9% from the full year of 2018. The company achieved robust top-line growth for the full year of 2019, especially its service business. The key performance indicators are: Net revenues: CNY576.9bln (US$82.9bln), +24.9%YoY. Net service revenues: CNY66.2bln (US$9.5bln), +44.1%YoY. Annual active customers: 362mln, +18.6%YoY. Richard Liu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JD.com, said: “We saw strong customer growth, especially in China’s lower-tier cities, driven by innovative marketing, superior product selection and better customer service”.
China: New Freshippo store formats cater to different consumer needs
Unmanned checkout kiosks, mobile-scanned product details, fast-running fulfillment conveyor belts - these are just some of the things you’ll find at Freshippo, the New Retail-powered supermarket by Alibaba. Since launching in 2016, the chain has brought grocery shopping into the digital era and has soared in popularity with Chinese consumers thanks to its mobile-first shopping experience, 30-minute delivery options and vast selection of products, including live seafood with cook-in-store options. Within a few years since creation, Freshippo has expanded to about 200 stores. To expand its reach and capabilities in China, Freshippo has been experimenting with new store formats that cater to the needs of different consumers across the county. While the original supermarket concept remains at the heart of most Freshippo locations, the chain started to introduce new shopping experiences to its portfolio about 2 years after its initial launch.
France: Paris Commercial Court approves Rallye's safeguard plan
The Paris Commercial Court has approved the safeguard plan for Casino parent Rallye and its subsidiaries Cobivia, HMB, and Alpétrol. The companies Foncière Euris, Finatis and Euris are also a part of the safeguard plan. The retailer has taken due note of the court's decision, which includes financial commitments for these companies from 2023 onwards. Meanwhile, the retail group will continue to implement its strategic plan for 2020-2022, which includes further development of the group's unique positioning in promising geographical areas and store formats such as premium, local, and e-commerce.
US: Target to add fresh food and alcohol to same-day pickup at nearly half its stores by the holidays
Target is adding fresh food staples and alcohol to same-day services at hundreds of its stores this year. That means along with paper towels and bags of chips, customers can pick up a gallon of milk, a bunch of bananas or a six-pack without getting out of the car. The Minneapolis-based retailer also plans to test convenience store-sized brick-and-mortar locations in some markets. Target will start testing fresh food pickup and drive up in the Twin Cities in late March and then add it to Texas and Florida stores. The company said it will expand the fresh food service to nearly half of its stores by the holiday season.
US: DC-area Safeway workers careening toward strike vote Thursday
After six months of negotiations, it is crunch time for 10,000 D.C.-area union grocery store workers to reach a deal with Safeway. If not, they plan to strike. “The main sticking point at this point is the pension”, said Jonathan Williams with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400. The union has been negotiating with Albertsons, which acquired Safeway in 2015. When they both met again Tuesday, there was no deal.
Amazon adds warehouse network closer to cities to speed up same-day delivery
Amazon.com Inc has quietly opened a series of small warehouses closer to big U.S. cities in a move to shave hours off delivery times, the company told Reuters. The world’s largest online retailer is updating its same-day delivery program for shoppers in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Dallas and Orlando, it said. Amazon will guarantee packages arrive by several set times daily. The initiative underscores the company’s aim to stay quick in online retail, outdoing competitors’ free two-day delivery offers so shoppers remain loyal to Amazon’s shipping and media-streaming club Prime, which costs $119 per year in the United States.
US: Online grocery orders up in urban areas due to coronavirus concerns
New York-based tech firm Chicory predicts that a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. will be a major catalyst for widespread online grocery adoption by consumers. With increased usage and orders, the company sees brands supporting retailers with media strategies to push ecommerce options to consumers who choose to buy online instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores. “As evidenced in China and now the UK, coronavirus causes inventory wipeouts in grocery stores, as worried consumers stock up on nonperishable foods, toiletries and anti-bacterial and sanitizing products”, noted Nick Minnick, Chicory’s director of retailer development. “However, for those living in food and retail deserts in rural areas and inner cities, online grocery will be that much more important to ensure that they receive the supplies needed. And for those in more populated areas, human-to-human contact will be inevitable in brick and mortar, and people will most likely quarantine themselves to avoid spreading the virus. Retailers who don’t offer online ordering and delivery, or only offer limited options, will experience detrimental hits to sales as consumers opt for competitors who offer ecommerce options and delivery, like Amazon and Walmart”.
Target Q4: solid foundation as it outlines 2020 strategic priorities
Target reported its fourth quarter performance. Key numbers: Fourth quarter revenue increased 1.8% to $23.4bln. Q4 comparable store sales increased 1.5%. Comparable digital sales up 20%. Operating income increased 7.3% to $1.2bln. Full year revenue increased 3.7% to $78.1bnl. Full year operating income up 13.3% to $4.7bln. For 2020/21, the retailer expects a low-single digit increase in comparable sales and a mid-single digit increase in operating income.