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Albertsons filed paperwork for IPO

Instacart announces a new way for shoppers to check out

US: Safeway & Giant agree to guarantee pension payments for UFCW members
Members of two United Food & Commercial Workers locals in the Washington region reached a collective bargaining agreement with Safeway Inc. that guarantees full funding of pension benefits for current employees and retirees. A similar agreement was also reached with Giant Food of Maryland, which in February reached a tentative agreement. Union officials said that the more contentious Safeway agreement, ratified by local members hours before a planned strike, was one of very few agreements guaranteeing pensions. The Safeway and Giant collective bargaining agreements take effect retroactively to October 27 and expire October 2023.

US: Instacart now offers deliveries that don't require human contact amid coronavirus fears
Amid fears of the coronavirus, Instacart customers can now choose to have their groceries left at their doorstep to avoid human interaction. The grocery delivery startup said that it has rolled out a new feature call "Leave at My Door Delivery", which gives customers the option to have an order left by their door during a designated time frame instead of having an in-person hand-off. The company said it had been testing the opt-in feature in recent months and decided to roll out the option to all customers now because of "increased demand" for it in recent days.

US: Tops Markets to shut down Orchard Fresh in Orchard Park
Tops Markets is closing its Orchard Fresh store in Orchard Park, ending the supermarket chain's seven-year experiment to push into the higher-end grocery market and cash in on the growing popularity of organic food. Tops said it would shut down the store, which opened in 2013 with hopes that it would turn into a concept that the grocery store chain then could roll out across the Buffalo Niagara region and its other markets. "The decision was not made lightly and is in no way a reflection of the performance or dedication of our associates at this location", Tops said in a statement. "Since opening the concept store in 2013, a number of initiatives and programs have been developed and tested there that are now being incorporated into our recent and future Tops store remodels".

US: Walmart adds grocery to flagship app
Walmart has become a one-app kind of retailer. For years, Walmart operated two separate apps for general shopping and for grocery. Now, the discounter is adding the functionality of its grocery app to its Walmart app. The updated Walmart app offers fresh groceries, everyday essentials and local store assortments for omnichannel pickup or delivery. In addition, customers can place mobile orders for’s extended online assortment for free next-day and two-day delivery. The app also offers access to digital in-store services such as Walmart Pay and an item finder.

US Foods to buy Smart Foodservice for $970mln
Food distribution company US Foods Holding Corp said it would buy Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores from private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $970mln, in a move to expand its base of restaurant customers. Smart Foodservice operates 70 cash-and-carry stores in the United States, which cater to small and mid-sized restaurants. The company had revenue of about $1.1bln in 2019. Size is critical in the U.S. food distribution industry where margins are razor thin and larger companies have more negotiating power to squeeze lower prices from suppliers. US Foods said it will finance, the all-cash deal mainly with $700mln in loans from Citigroup and Bank of America. The company’s shares fell nearly 7% in early trading.

US: Instacart introduces Mobile Checkout for shoppers
Instacart, a North American leader in online grocery, announced a new way for shoppers to check out using mobile payments directly in the Shopper app. Instacart Mobile Checkout will be available for all shoppers in the coming months, so shoppers can easily tap their phone and pay at the register without needing to reach for their wallet. Instacart Mobile Checkout is being offered in partnership with Marqeta, the modern card issuing platform. Using NFC technology, Instacart Mobile Checkout will be available anywhere credit cards are accepted through Google Pay or Apple Pay. 

US: Albertsons eyes IPO again
U.S. grocery retailer Albertsons Cos Inc filed paperwork for an initial public offering on Friday, years after poor market conditions derailed its earlier attempt at going public. Albertsons’ IPO could value the company around $19bln, the Wall Street Journal reported in January. The company did not indicate the size of the offering or the price range at which it would market it. The company, which owns U.S. supermarket chain Safeway, launched an IPO in 2015, but shelved it as market volatility slammed stocks of grocery retailers.

Amazon launches themed pop-up stores
Amazon’s latest physical retail concept comes in the form of rotating pop-up stores in the US, featuring new themes and brands updated regularly, as reported by GeekWire. Amazon’s 6 Pop Up stores are located in California, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada and Texas, with its newest store located in Seattle, Washington. As a physical extension of, Amazon Pop Up offers customers an immersive experience, allowing them to see and feel products before purchase. Brands and themes within the stores are regularly updated. 

Mexico: Walmart says same store sales rose 8.3% in February
Walmart de Mexico, Mexico’s biggest retailer, said that sales at stores open for more than a year in Mexico rose 8.3% in February compared with the same month last year. Walmex, as the company is known, said total sales in Mexico increased 10% in February.

Australia: Woolworths and Terracyle reveal trial plans
Woolworths and Terracyle's Loop are working to bring on board both suppliers and customers to test the new solution in a trial that will kick off in June 2021. Woolworths and Terracyle announced their new partnership last year, which will give the retailer exclusivity to Loop's reusable product packaging for its first year of operation in the market. Tom Szaky, TerraCycle founder and chief executive has been in Australia to get suppliers to sign up to the initiative whereby products are delivered to customers in reusable packaging and once used, returned to Loop for cleaning and reuse.

French retailer Auchan cautions on virus uncertainty as revival plan lifts earnings
France’s Auchan said it was reaping the first benefits of its revival plan which lifted 2019 operating profitability at its core retail arm. Auchan, however, warned of a potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak on its Chinese hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail which is already struggling amid fierce competition. About 27% of Auchan’s revenue is earned in Asia. “The evolution of economic results ...depends on the consequences of COVID-19 on the Chinese economy and on Sun Art results, which it is too early to estimate, as well as on other countries”, the group said in a statement. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) at unlisted Auchan Retail reached 1.831bln euros in 2019, a rise of 14% year-on-year and a 9% rise on a comparable basis.

Tesco agrees sale of Thailand and Malaysia businesses to CP Group
Tesco has announced it has agreed to sell its Thai and Malaysian businesses to CP Group, a Bangkok-based food, retail and agri conglomerate. The transaction has an enterprise value of $10.6bln (€9.27bln), with net cash proceeds of $10.3bln before tax and other transaction costs. In a statement, Tesco said that the completion of the disposal is expected to be completed during the second half of 2020. It added that the move will 'further simplify the Tesco Group, enabling a stronger focus on driving cash generation' at its businesses in the UK and Ireland, as well as Central Europe.

China: Most Hong Kong e-commerce businesses are eyeing offshore markets
More than half of Hong Kong e-commerce businesses want to develop new offshore markets, according to a whitepaper released by e-commerce platform creator Shopline. The report found that about three in five online merchants in the territory want to develop new products and 57.5% wanted to expand sales into other countries. The most popular destination is Taiwan (45.8%), followed by other Asian countries including Malaysia and Japan.

Philippines: Walter Mart expands network in Luzon
Luzon supermarket operator Walter Mart has added six new stores to its network this year and the company has also ventured online. The Philippine firm says online retailing is its way of expanding its customer base beyond its physical stores across Metro Manila. Rosemarie D Caalam, Walter Mart Supermarket GM, said that the expansion would further boost Walter Mart’s presence in Luzon. The company has no plan yet to expand in another area however she stressed it will continue to provide the community’s needs.

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