US: Sprouts, other retailers delay new store openings
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, some retailers are choosing to close their doors and many grocers are altering their hours to allow additional time to restock shelves and deep clean locations. COVID-19, however, has also hindered the new retail locations set to open in the coming weeks. Sprouts Farmers Market will no longer open its Silverdale and Seattle, Washington, stores, the former scheduled to debut March 18 and the latter on April 15.
Amazon on hiring spree as coronavirus spurs demand
Amazon has said it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to deal with a surge in sales during the coronavirus pandemic. The online retail giant also said it would increase pay for its staff in the UK, US and Europe. The company's delivery systems have come under pressure as consumers avoid shops and stock up online instead.
US: Walmart edges closer to Asda sale as buyout firms bid
US retail giant Walmart has edged closer to a sale of Asda after three private equity firms competing to buy the supermarket reportedly made it through to the next stage of bidding. Buyout firms Apollo Global Management, Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital submitted first round offers for the UK grocer and have been invited to the next stage of bidding. A deal could potentially value the UK supermarket at more than £7bln, Bloomberg reported. TDR Capital has reportedly joined forces with EG Group on the bid.
Supermarkets suspend online shopping service in Spain’s Costa del Sol
Big supermarket chains are having difficulties in responding to the high demand of online shopping orders. Mercadona has temporarily suspend its online shopping service in Malaga after receiving an influx of customers trying to register for the service in the last few days. According to the largely popular supermarket chain, this service will reopen when delivery slots become available again. On the other hand, Carrefour has begun prioritizing their home delivery service to attend to older citizens, disadvantaged groups, and customers currently quarantined. Although these measures were first adopted in Madrid, the evolution of the virus has forced Carrefour to extend these procedures to the rest of Andalucia. They inform customers that the rest of their shops will remain open during their usual times. Dia, another large supermarket in Spain, has informed on their webpage that “at this moment, their online shopping service will be affected by the volume of orders they have received”. This also applies to Malaga native supermarket, Maskom, where workers can barely manage to deliver all of the orders they have received. Services they would normally offer as next day deliver are currently taking up to a few days.
Australia: Woolworths to hold elderly and disabled-only shopping hour
Woolworths will open its doors exclusively to the elderly and people with disabilities for a dedicated shopping hour, after panic buying due to the coronavirus stripped shelves of essentials items. Most of its supermarkets across the nation will open to the vulnerable only from 7am to 8am, beginning on Tuesday. “The move has been prompted by the unprecedented demand in supermarkets over the past week, which has seen many elderly and vulnerable people in the community missing out on vital items they may need when they shop,” Woolworths announced.
Chat-to-checkout app lets shoppers interact real time
Tech startup OneDash has unveiled a chat-to-checkout service which eliminates the need to quit a chat session to complete a purchase. The OneDash app also enables interactive video so shoppers can connect with retailers in real time and interact personally. Oleksandr Matviishyn, CTO of OneDash, says one of the motivations behind creating the chat-to-checkout app was to address cart abandonment, a major problem for online retailers. “With the global growth of video content, and the promotion of short videos by platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, we realised that the hidden costs are enormous. We were driven by the idea of making video more affordable and providing the ability for every business to create, distribute, and monetise their video content, while at the same time, improving the production speed of interactive video content,” he said.
Tesco, Lidl allot shopping hours for the elderly in Ireland
Tesco Ireland has announced that it is to introduce dedicated shopping hours for the elderly and family carers across 151 stores in the country. People over the age of 65 and daily carers will have dedicated access to all Tesco stores up to 9:00 hrs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting 18 March. Elsewhere, Lidl Ireland announced on Twitter that it plans to introduce priority shopping hours for the elderly between 9:00 to 11:00 every day across all 163 outlets in the country.
UK: Aldi named ‘Best Grocer’ at Retail Week Awards 2020 for second year running
Supermarket Aldi has been crowned Best Grocer for the second consecutive year at the prestigious Retail Week Awards, beating stiff competition from runner up The Co-Op. The awards celebrate excellence in the retail sector. For 25 years, they have continued to create a platform to celebrate the creativity and innovation that the retail industry is renowned for. The Retail Week Awards are the most anticipated awards of the retail calendar, providing companies with the ultimate platform for industry-wide recognition and celebration. The title of ‘Best Grocer’ was given to Aldi for the second year running, in recognition of its achievements and successes over the past year as well its longstanding commitment to delivering products of the highest quality at unbeatable prices.
UK: Iceland asks store managers to dedicate Wednesday mornings to elderly and vulnerable shoppers
Food retailer Iceland is encouraging store managers to dedicate time each Wednesday morning to cater for elderly and vulnerable shoppers during the coronavirus outbreak. Shoppers have been flooding into supermarkets in recent days as panic over the supply of food and other essentials sets in.