US: ShopRite introduces virtual dietitian program
ShopRite supermarket’s newly launched Registered Dietitian Virtual Chat program enables shoppers to ask questions about diet and nutrition without having to go to a store for an in-person consultation. The innovative service is available on ShopRite’s website. Visitors to the site will encounter a pop-up box that prompts them to chat with a member of ShopRite’s team of registered dietitians (RDs), who are available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If the dietitian is chatting with another customer, the shopper can leave a message, and the dietitian will respond when available.
Canada: Walmart partners with PenguinPickUp in Montreal
After launching in Ontario with a pilot project two years ago, Walmart Canada is opening a Walmart/PenguinPickUp location in downtown Montreal. This brings the number of co-branded pick up locations to six across Canada. Shoppers at Walmart.ca can now order groceries and general merchandise for pick-up at the Mont-Royal Avenue East location. Walmart is charging a $3 fee for the service ($5 on weekends), with a minimum order of $50.
US: 99 Cents Only Stores has a new CEO
Extreme discounter 99 Cents Only Stores has a new CEO to lead the company during the next phase of its transformation. The retailer announced that former Cost Plus CEO Barry J. Feld has joined 99 Cents Only as CEO. Feld will also serve as a member of the company's board of directors. He replaces 99 Cents Only interim CEO Felicia Thornton, who will remain as vice chair of the board. Founded in 1982, 99 Cents Only Stores is a food retailer that flies under the radar. The company, which hasn't published financial results since 2017, has nearly 400 stores that derive close to 80% of their sales of $2.4bln from categories such as fresh, grocery and consumables that overlap with those of traditional grocers and discounters. The company operates 386 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
US: Walmart plans to bolster private fleet with push to hire 500 new truck drivers
Walmart plans to hire 500 truck drivers in 2020, even with its private fleet already at record levels, as surging Internet sales create a greater need for people to deliver those orders. The big-box retailer already employs over 9,000 drivers, but needs more on both coasts - especially in states like Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Nevada will also be a key area for recruitment, according to Walmart. The hiring push comes amid a nationwide truck driver shortage, and increased demand to move more freight. For a retailer like Walmart, trucking is its lifeblood, with drivers hauling freight from distribution centers and vendors to service Walmart's 4,700 U.S. stores.
Italy: Pam introduces home delivery
Pam has introduced a home delivery service in Milan, called Pam a Casa. The retailer has partnered with ReStore to deliver goods in two-hours, Monday to Sunday. The group picks products in-store, allowing shoppers to have access to 7,000 SKUs across: fresh, frozen and non-grocery products. The retailer has taken a sustainable approach by using electric vans to keep carbon emissions low. Pam’s home delivery is free for shoppers spending over €70.
UK: Founders of Iceland Foods may seek bigger stake in the company
The founding family of Britain's Iceland Foods could seek to regain outright ownership when South African investment company Brait disposes of its stake, the frozen food specialist's joint managing director said. It would be a vote of confidence in a sector under pressure from German discounters Aldi and Lidl, wage growth and an uncertain economic outlook. Some 63% of Iceland is owned by Johannesburg-listed Brait with the balance held by Malcolm Walker, who founded the supermarket group in 1970, his son and joint managing director Richard Walker and other management.
Bahrain: Carrefour signs MoU to support farming sector
Carrefour in Bahrain where it is operated by Majid Al Futtaim, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bahrain Agricultural Cooperative Society to enhance the diversity and sustainability of Bahrain’s agricultural sector. The retailer aims to use its knowledge to increase support for local farmers and help them to develop and promote their products. It has committed to improving the sales and marketing platform for Bahraini agricultural products including vegetables, fruits, herbs and plants, among others. It hopes the partnership will encourage farmers to work towards sustainable production, as well as spread awareness about food security while promoting environmental preservation.
UK retail sales see marginal growth in February: BRC-KPMG
Retail sales in the UK saw a marginal growth of 0.1% in February 2020 compared to a 3.2% increase in the same period last year, the latest BRC–KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has revealed. On a like-for-like basis, retail sales decreased by 0.4% in this period compared to a 2.6% increase in February 2019. Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that the reported rise in consumer confidence in the UK failed to translate into higher retail sales. “However, the end of the month saw a slight rise in spending on food and healthcare as a result of concerns around coronavirus,” she added.
Amazon launches dedicated Dutch service with ‘thousands’ of retailers
E-commerce giant Amazon has started its sixth European platform in the Netherlands with ‘thousands’ of Dutch retailers opting for the sales channel. ‘With Amazon.nl we are providing the service our Dutch customers had been asking for: the possibility to buy goods in a Dutch-language Amazon store with access to local and international products’, Amazon EU expansion president Alex Ootes said in a statement.
UK: Iceland slashes plastics packaging by almost one-third in two years
Posting the achievement on 10 March to mark two years since the publication of its plastics-free pledge, Iceland said that it was on track to meet the overarching ambition. Its progress to date, the retailer said in a statement, has focused on “significant wins across high-volume ranges”. For example, 74 frozen ready-meals have been moved from hard-to-recycle black plastics trays into cardboard alternatives; frozen pies and desserts have been shifted to cardboard boxes; and several fruit and vegetable lines are now only available loose, rather than in plastic-covered multipacks.