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Fairway Market has announced a "qualified overbid" by Bogopa Enterprises, Inc.

Harps Food Stores plans to acquire 20 stores from Town & Country Grocers

Canada: Metro investing $420mln to build & expand Quebec distribution centres
Metro says it will spend $420mln over 5 years to build an automated distribution centre near Montreal and expand another facility in Laval, Quebec. The company says the new distribution centre for fresh and frozen products in Terrebonne will open in 2023. Employees at its existing meat and frozen food distribution centre in Montreal North, and fish and seafood distribution centre in Riviere-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles, will be transferred to the new 600, 000-sq.-ft. facility. Dairy products will then be distributed from the new Terrebonne centre.

US: United Natural Foods, Inc. reports second quarter fiscal 2020 results
United Natural Foods, Inc. (the "Company" or "UNFI") reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 (13 weeks) ended February 1, 2020. Second Quarter Fiscal 2020 Highlights: Net Sales of $6.14bln compared to $6.15bln in last year's fiscal second quarter. Total outstanding net debt reduced by $149mln compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Gross margin rate increased compared to last year's fiscal second quarter. Second quarter GAAP and adjusted results include charges of $0.44 per diluted share associated with three customer bankruptcies. Update to fiscal 2020 guidance.

US: Harps Food Stores to buy 20 Town & Country Grocers stores
Harps Food Stores plans to acquire 20 stores under five banners in Arkansas and Missouri from Fredericktown, Missouri-based Town & Country Grocers. Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Harps said the transaction is expected to be finalized this summer, pending customary due diligence and approval from Town & Country shareholders. The deal includes 5 stores in northeastern Arkansas under the Country Mart (two locations), Town & Country Supermarket (two) and Price Chopper (one) banners and 15 stores in southeastern Missouri under the Country Mart (eight), Town & Country Supermarket (five), Cash Saver (one) and ALPS Supermarket (one) banners.

US: Fairway Market announces qualified overbid from Bogopa Enterprises, Inc. for sale of assets
Fairway Market, together with its debtor affiliates in their Chapter 11 cases in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 20-10161) has announced a "qualified overbid" by Bogopa Enterprises, Inc. for 6 Fairway stores and its Distribution Center, for $75mln. Bogopa is a family-owned business that has operated grocery stores in the New York area for 32 years, and currently operates 26 supermarkets under the "Food Bazaar" banner in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester. An auction will be held on March 16, 2020, pursuant to the Court-supervised sale process. Fairway has also received competitive bids for various other stores that are being evaluated.

Thailand: BJC set on expansion as planned
Berli Jucker Plc (BJC), the operator of Big C, plans to allocate THB8-10bln (US$254mln-US$318mln) this year to expand its business. Rami Piirainen, Vice-President for investor relations, said about 70% of the budget will be used to expand the business of Big C Supercenter this year, and the rest for its other businesses. Three Big C hypermarkets will be opened in Thailand, including one in Samut Sakhon in the fourth quarter. There will be two supermarkets, one under the Big C Market concept and the other as Food Place. 300 Mini Big C will be added to the network, bringing the total retail stores to 1,679 stores. The retailer has 1,374 stores by the end of last year: 1016 Mini Big C, 151 hypermarkets, 62 supermarkets and 145 Pure drugstores.

Australia: Aldi sets out SA plans for 2020
Aldi Australia has opened its first new store in South Australia this year and has plans for a further 5. Aldi opened its first stores in the state at the start of 2016 and with the new opening now has 34 up and running. Further expansion will take the network to 39 by the close of the year. Aldi originally announced that it believed there was capacity to open up to 50 stores across South Australia and is therefore well on its way to achieving that target. Aldi’s Managing Director of South Australia, Viktor Jakupec, commented: "Every year, our impact on South Australia becomes more significant as our store network grows. Our focus in 2020 is to continue to support local communities through new store openings, employment and food charity partnerships. We look forward to a successful year of growth in the state which sees even more South Australians save on their grocery shop”.

Carrefour Pakistan launches mobile application
Carrefour, operated in Pakistan by Majid Al Futtaim, has introduced a mobile app to better serve its Pakistani customers. The new app brings shoppers across Lahore a simple, digitised, and convenient mobile experience. Through the app, customers can now shop from the comfort of their home and choose from more than 5,000 products available at Carrefour stores, while also receiving reliable and timely delivery right to their doorstep. The application is set to lead the online marketplace in Pakistan, enabling thousands of shoppers to benefit from Carrefour’s extensive product offering. Initially, the app will offer products from the store’s grocery and household sections, eventually expanding to provide textiles, light household items, and fresh food items, adding more choice and value for consumers.

Ireland: Lidl reveals plans to open first pub at new Dundonald supermarket
German discounter Lidl has confirmed plans to open its first pub on the island of Ireland in one of its supermarkets in the north. The grocery chain has submitted a planning application to turn part of its new store in Dundonald into a public house. Lidl returned to the site with a new £7mln concept store in November, demolishing an older building that it last occupied in 2012.

Britain's B&M exits Germany with 12.5 mln euros disposal
British discount retailer B&M European Value Retail said it has agreed the sale of its loss-making German business, Jawoll, to a consortium led by AC Curtis Salta for 12.5mln euros ($14.2mln). Last November, B&M, a general goods retailer selling everything from furniture to electricals to food, wrote down the value of the 89-stores Jawoll and put it under review. Jawoll made a loss of 15.4mln pounds in the year to March 31 2019.

France: Carrefour launches another shop-in-shop concept
Carrefour is continuing with its strategy to widen the appeal of its hypermarket outlets by developing new formats and offerings that tap into the latest consumer trends. Having already established partnerships with Darty, Aubert and Pacific Pêche, the French retail giant has linked up with Cash Converters to launch the ‘Carrefour Occasion’ shop-in-shop concept. Introduced at its Les Ulis store, the 100 sq. m. space will allow consumers to buy and sell secondhand items such as smartphones, video games, jewellery, computer items, books and CDs/DVDs.

UK: Aldi heaps pressure on supplier packaging to be 100% recyclable or compostable within 5 years
In a muscular demonstration of solidarity with the environment of the planet, the CEO of the Aldi grocery chain sent a strongly written letter to suppliers informing them that anyone looking to sell to Aldi must package their products in 100% recyclable, compostable, or reusable material by 2025. This extends their corporate responsibility pledge of 2018 which vowed that all Aldi branded items must come in the same sustainable packaging by 2022. CEO Giles Hurley says now that 2,700 tons of plastic and 3,700 tons of non-recyclable material had been saved already since 2018, but that “much more was needed”, adding that the move to sustainability is “non-negotiable” and that buying decisions moving forward “will be based on our supply partners’ ability to lead and adapt in this area”.

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