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Magnit: Marginal increase in like-for-like sales in full year 2019

Carrefour: Protective barriers for cashiers in its French supermarkets

IGA looks to China operations for coronavirus guidance
Just like the U.S., supermarkets in China saw a sharp uptick in business as COVID-19 infections spread, shopping malls and restaurants closed and people had to rely on grocery stores for their everyday needs, said Zhe Zeng, IGA’s deputy representative to China. Over the past two months, the majority of orders came through e-commerce as consumers hunkered down in their homes, and retailers had to develop special delivery protocols in order to service heavily quarantined communities, Zheng wrote. Shoppers focused on buying necessities such as fresh vegetables, condiments, poultry and meat. Sales of vegetables alone jumped by two to four times as a result of the rush by consumers to stock up on items needed to prepare meals at home, Zheng noted. Chinese consumers affected by the nation’s response to the coronavirus became less price-conscious when shopping for essential products and were uninterested in products they perceived as unnecessary, such as items related to “luxurious indulgence, vanity care, or recreation”.

France: Carrefour mounts shields for French cashiers in coronavirus crisis
Carrefour began putting up protective barriers for cashiers in its French supermarkets, as it beefs up sanitary measures and looks to keep business flowing as France shuts down other sectors to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Carrefour - Europe’s biggest retailer, and which competes in France with chains from Germany’s Lidl and Aldi to homegrown Casino and Leclerc - has, like its peers, seen an increase in stockpiling by shoppers in recent days, a senior official at the firm said. The company has started mounting translucent shields made of plexiglass and other materials to protect cashiers who are exposed to customers, the executive added, on top of other measures extended to all staff, including the use of hand gels.

UK: Sainsbury's limits sales of all food items amid stockpiling
Sainsbury's has said it will prioritise vulnerable and elderly people for online deliveries and limit people to only buying three of any single item. Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe said the firm "is trying to make sure everyone has access to the items they need". The move comes as supermarkets continue to try to stop customers stockpiling. Aldi has already introduced limits of four items per shopper on all products, while Morrisons has said it will expand its online delivery service.

Poland: Eurocash Group posts solid results in FY 2019
Polish retailer Eurocash Group has reported a 28% jump in net profit to PLN86mln (€1.8mln) in its financial year 2019. The company’s EBITDA, excluding one-off events, amounted to PLN415mln (€93.51mln), up 11% year-on-year. The company’s revenue increased by 9% during the fiscal year to exceed PLN24.8bln (€5.59bln). Sales in the retailer's wholesale division were up 6% year-on-year to PLN18.7bln (€4.21bln), while the retail segment recorded 19% growth amounting to more than PLN5.9bln (€1.33bln).

Russia: Magnit sees marginal increase in like-for-like sales in full year 2019
Russian retailer Magnit has posted a 0.4% increase in like-for-like sales in full-year 2019, with net retail sales for the period coming in at RUB1,333bln (€16.1bln). The retailer said that its performance was largely driven by a combination of 12.7% selling space growth. Wholesale revenue at the business was up 77.4% to RUB35.8bln (€430mln), which was driven largely by distribution of pharmaceutical products. The group said that its supply chain costs remained flat year-on-year, while shrinkage increased - however improvements in this area were made due to 'renegotiation of quality standards with suppliers' the retailer said, as well as changes to the delivery schedule.

US: Gristedes CEO says supermarket supply chain in 'pretty good shape' amid coronavirus pandemic
John Catsimatidis, the owner and CEO of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes, told Fox News Radio's “The Brian Kilmeade Show” that his stores' supply chain is in “pretty good shape", despite coronavirus fears triggering a run on grocery items in some locations. Fears of the fast-spreading virus has caused long lines and crowded parking lots across the country as shoppers stock up on food and other items.

Amazon warehouses receive only vital supplies in U.S., Europe amid coronavirus Inc will only receive vital supplies at its U.S. and UK and other European warehouses until April 5, its latest move to free up inventory space for medical and household goods in high demand as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The change does not mean Amazon will stop selling non-essential items like phone cases and toys for now, only that products may be more likely to run out of stock in the next few weeks or that sellers have to ship directly to consumers. The move reflects how the global spread of the virus has created challenges for retailers, from supply chain to delivery.

US: Real estate company acquires 7 grocery-anchored properties
Slate Retail REIT, an owner and operator of U.S. grocery-anchored real estate with offices in Toronto and Chicago, has entered into a binding agreement to acquire a portfolio of seven grocery-anchored assets in the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic region for $106.5mln at a capitalization rate of 7.6%, or $171 per square foot. The seven acquired properties comprise 623,770 square feet of gross leasable area, and are anchored by market dominant high-credit grocers Harris Teeter, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co.; Ahold Delhaize USA banner Food Lion; and Weis Markets.

US: Raley’s, Safeway each ‘mass hiring’ in California amid coronavirus crisis
Northern California supermarket chain Raley’s is mass hiring for personal shoppers at many of its locations, as millions of Californians are limiting exposure to the public due to the rapidly developing coronavirus crisis. Safeway also announced a surge of hiring for in-store employees and delivery drivers at its Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii stores. The supermarket chain, a subsidiary of Albertsons, in a news release said it has more than 2,000 immediate openings across more than 280 Safeway, Adronico’s, Vons and Pak ‘N Save locations in those three states. Those interested can apply online or in person at their local store, the news release said.

US: Costco buys logistics firm Innovel for $1bln
Costco Wholesale Corp said it had acquired Innovel Solutions for $1bln, as the membership-only retailer beefs up its final-mile delivery of bulky products across the United States and Puerto Rico. The purchase, first reported by Reuters, is part of Costco’s efforts to focus on growing its online sales. Innovel, which has serviced Costco since 2015, was previously owned by Sears-operator Transform Holdco LLC and will continue to serve Sears and its existing third-party customers.

'They don't care about safety': Amazon workers struggle with pandemic demand
As the coronavirus spreads across America many workers are being directed to work from home but staff at Amazon and Whole Foods are being squeezed to keep up with increasing demand caused by Americans stockpiling food and household products. Amazon is the US’s largest online retailer and it also owns Whole Foods, the largest natural foods grocer in the US, and fifth largest overall in the world. Workers say the hectic pace of work amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is devastating for their physical and mental health as they try and keep up with massive new demand. They also have to deal with their own worries and problems coping with the pandemic.

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