Placer.ai: U.S. supermarkets see ‘enormous’ year-over-year store traffic jump
For supermarkets, the increased demand due to the coronavirus outbreak really kicked off in the second week of March. Foot traffic analytics platform Placer.ai studied the latest data surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic by looking at top six supermarket chains nationwide: Kroger, Wegmans, Albertsons, Whole Foods Market, Safeway and Publix. The report found that, comparing the year-over-year numbers, Kroger, Wegmans, and Albertsons had a strong start to March after a weaker end to February. But Publix, Whole Foods and Safeway all experienced a bigger year-over-year decrease. Publix saw the biggest dips, with a 5.3% year-over-year decrease in February visits, and a 6.2% decrease in March. Wegmans had a very weak last week of February, with a 6.7% year-over-year decrease, but made a significant recovery in the first week of March.
US: SpartanNash experiences unprecedented grocery sales volume driven by coronavirus (COVID-19) impact
SpartanNash Company (the “Company”) announced an initiative to hire displaced workers and students in its nine-state retail footprint and 14-state distribution network for temporary positions which may turn into permanent career opportunities. This hiring initiative is due to unprecedented retail and distribution sales volume trending at 2 to 3 times normal sales levels at some locations since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19). SpartanNash, one of the nation’s largest food distributors, operates more than 150 corporate owned retail stores, distributes to more than 2,000 independent retail locations in all 50 states, and is a leading distributor to US military commissaries around the world.
US: Walmart to hire 150,000 workers as shoppers surge on coronavirus fears
Big-box retailer Walmart Inc said it would hire more than 150,000 hourly workers in the United States, citing a jump in shoppers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rival Amazon.com Inc made a similar move earlier this week, announcing it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the virus outbreak boosts online orders. Walmart also said it plans to pay a special cash bonus of $300 to full-time hourly workers and $150 to part-time associates. The company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus, it said. The 150,000 new workers being hired through the end of May will work in Walmart’s stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, the company said, adding that they would be temporary at first but many would convert to permanent roles over time.
Russia: X5 Retail increases revenue by 13.2% in 2019
Russian food retailer X5 Retail Group has delivered considerable like-for-like growth figures, as outlined in its full-year 2019 financial results. The grocer’s financial performance in 2019 can largely be attributed to its focus on integrating innovative technology throughout its business, reducing costs and enhancing the customer experience. Igor Shekhterman, chief executive officer of X5, commented: “X5’s revenue grew by 13.2% year-on-year in 2019, reaching an 11.5% share of the food retail market while increasing the focus on customer feedback, like-for-like performance and development of new business lines. Our positive like-for-like performance in each quarter of 2019 was possible thanks to our strong retail brands and the greater loyalty of our client base as we continued to invest in our customers, as well as deliver improvements in key areas like assortment and in-store services”.
Spain: Mercadona puts 36 supermarkets up for sale for €200mln
Mercadona has put a portfolio of 36 supermarkets on the market. The properties are located all over Spain and are expected to be sold for around €200mln in total. The Valencia-based group is hereby seeking to reduce its portfolio of real estate assets in Spain, as confirmed by the company speaking to idealista/news. Mercadona is going to continue operating all of these establishments for a few years but on a rental basis. “The reason is that we currently have a significant number of owned properties, as a result of investments made in the acquisition of land and premises in recent years, but now we have decided to exchange bricks for euros in order to accelerate the ‘major’ transformation that Mercadona is immersed in, using our own funds”, explain sources at the group.
Ireland: Supermarkets report rocketing demand for home deliveries
SuperValu and Tesco Ireland have seen demand for online shopping services rocket since the escalation of social distancing practices across the Republic to slow down the spread of coronavirus. SuperValu described it as “a huge spike”, while Tesco said there had been “a significant increase” in orders on its home delivery services, adding that its drivers and store employees were “working around the clock” to keep up with orders. Social media users have reported waiting days for available slots, while there have been growing calls for shoppers not to use the services unless they have a special need to do so.
Australia: Coles receives 36,000 applications after advertising for casual staff amid coronavirus crisis
Tens of thousands of Australians have scrambled to apply at Coles after it advertised for 5,000 new casual employees to restock empty shelves during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 36,000 people sent their resumes to the supermarket giant in response to a call-out, which aims to combat an upturn in demand. Coles says the new casual employees hired in the 5,000-person blitz will be given “fast-tracked inductions”.
French Amazon workers protest in coronavirus pushback
Several hundred Amazon workers protested in France, calling on the online retailer to cease operations or make it easier for employees not wanting to work during the coronavirus outbreak to stay away. Retailers across France were ordered to shut over the past weekend as the country stepped up measures to try to control the disease, with only stores providing food and other basic goods or services allowed to operate. Online deliveries are still allowed, however.
Poland to temporarily lift Sunday shopping ban
Poland plans to temporarily lift its Sunday shopping ban, private Radio Zet said, citing the government's plans, in a move seen as a measure to prevent too many people doing groceries at once. Poland has shut restaurants, bars, clubs and shopping malls, among others, but not grocery stores and pharmacies, to keep people at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
UK: Sales growth doubles at Ocado
Alongside a first-quarter trading update, Ocado Retail has given some insight into how the panic buying linked to the coronavirus is impacting its business. The online grocery retailer, which is now a joint venture between the Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, saw a 10.3% uplift in revenue to £441.2mln over the 13 weeks to 1 March. Average orders per week rose by 10.2% to 343,000, while the average order size edged up 0.3% to £110.24. The impact of the coronavirus was limited during the period. However, the group confirmed that demand has picked up significantly in recent weeks with growth in the second quarter so far double that of the first.
India’s online grocers hold up as coronavirus triggers panic buying
The coronavirus outbreak has thrown up a massive opportunity for India’s online grocers. Yet, only time will tell if they succeed in making the most of it. With people avoiding crowded places as a precautionary measure, online grocery retailers in India have seen a massive spike in business. For instance, BigBasket’s traffic and revenue doubled in less than two weeks. The average “basket values” on the platform are around 20% higher than regular days, and many new users are also flocking to the brand. Rival Grofers has seen a nearly 80% growth in orders across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, and Ahmedabad in recent weeks, and a 60% spike in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) and Hyderabad. The number of orders on Grofers is 45% higher than regular days, while the average order value has increased by 18%, the company said.
South Africa: Massmart to close non-performing stores
South African retailer Massmart said it had decided to close all of its non-performing stores, as cash-strapped consumers battle with high unemployment, modest wage increases and higher average fuel and utility prices. Massmart, majority-owned by Walmart, said management will close trading at 23 Dion Wired Stores on March 19 and will decide whether to cease trading at 11 Masscash stores. The company said it would continue talks with labour unions on measures to mitigate job losses and look at moving affected workers into vacant roles in other stores “where practical and reasonable”.
UAE: Carrefour reveals almost 60% increase in online customers
Carrefour has revealed a 59% increase in new customers onto its online platform, as shoppers choose to go down the digital route during the current coronavirus crisis. The supermarket giant also told Arabian Business that its online business witnessed a 32% increase in the first two weeks of March, compared to the same period the previous month. A spokesperson for Carrefour UAE said: “To cater to increased demand for delivery orders, we’ve opened six new fulfilment centres across the region. We’re also replenishing stocks more frequently and increasing resources at our fulfilment centres to guarantee timely delivery to our customers who do choose to shop online”.
UK relaxes trading rules so food stores can work together
The government is relaxing competition regulations to allow retailers to work together more closely to help feed the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. Supermarkets will be allowed to cooperate to keep shops open, to share distribution depots and delivery vans and to share data with each other on stock levels under the temporary waiver approved on Thursday evening. The move will also allow retailers to share staff to help meet demand. The government is also temporarily lifting the plastic bag tax for online deliveries, to help retailers deliver groceries to those self-isolating at home without cross-contamination from delivery crates.