Lucky’s Market plans to sell 23 stores and its distribution center

Walmart: Customers will be able to check out completely contact-free

US: Albertsons Companies partner with major businesses to offer part-time jobs to their furloughed employees
Throughout the country, businesses have been forced to close or scale back operations, furlough employees or reduce hours due to the COVID-19 crisis. Albertsons Companies is in a unique position to help and is partnering with major companies to provide part-time jobs to their employees who have been furloughed or had their hours cut. “The most valuable asset and the core of any business is people, and we are working hard with many Human Resource teams across a variety of businesses who are actively defining next steps for their employees”, said President and CEO Vivek Sankaran. “So many businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors are scaling back hours or temporarily closing as their customers remain home and adhere to shelter-in-place orders. We are grateful to be a resource to help fill a critical need in our own business and take care of people who want to continue working during this time of national emergency”.

US: Costco cutting hours at stores, gas stations as of March 30 because of coronavirus crisis
Costco Wholesale Club is temporarily cutting weekday hours starting March 30 because of the coronavirus crisis. Stores will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and gas stations will close at 7 p.m., the company announced in a Facebook post. "This temporary change will not affect weekend hours", Costco said in the post. Costco is the latest to cut store hours in response to COVID-19, which also has led dozens of retailers to temporarily close. Walmart has trimmed hours twice at its more than 5,000 stores.

US: Instacart workers plan strike as coronavirus makes the job riskier
A possible strike by Instacart workers highlights the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the grocery delivery business, where workers are worried about their safety as they try to meet a surge in demand for online groceries. A group called the Gig Workers Collective is calling for a nationwide walk-out Monday. They’ve been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands. Instacart said Sunday it would soon provide workers with a new hand sanitizer upon request and outlined changes to its tip system. The group said the measures were too little too late.

US: Walmart shoppers can check out, pick up and get deliveries totally contact free
Walmart is answering the call to socially distance by offering no contact services for in-store payment, pickup and delivery options. The discounter said that customers will be able to check out completely contact-free on any store register when they use Walmart Pay on the Walmart app in the coming week. Customers scan a QR code and Walmart Pay is synced, allowing them to pay free of contact. (Previously, customers had to select a payment method by touching a screen on Walmart’s self-checkouts). In addition, Walmart is offering no contact pickup and delivery Pickup customers open their trunk, and employees will load their groceries in - with no need to sign for the order, the company said. Walmart is also bypassing the signature for delivery. Delivery drivers will simply leave the order on customers’ doorsteps.

US: Bankrupt Lucky’s Market to sell 23 stores, distribution center for $29mln
As part of a court-supervised auction, bankrupt Lucky’s Market plans to sell 23 stores and its distribution center for about $29mln to 10 winning bidders, including its founders and Publix Super Markets, Aldi, Southeastern Grocers, Schnuck Markets and Dollar General. Niwot, Colorado-based Lucky’s said that six stores will continue to operate: North Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Traverse City, Michigan; and Columbia, Missouri.

US: Instacart announces new health & safety supplies for shopper community
Instacart, the North American leader in online grocery delivery, announced plans to distribute new health and safety supplies to full-service shoppers as a part of its ongoing commitment to safely serve all members of the Instacart community in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, Instacart has launched a new customer tip default setting that makes it easier for customers to set their own tip default based on previous orders, ultimately helping shoppers earn higher, more consistent tips.

France: Auchan gives its employees bonuses for staying at work
French retailer Auchan, one of the leading food retailers in the world, will pay bonuses to all its employees in stores, warehouses and home delivery divisions. Thus, in total, over 65,000 employees at Auchan stores in France will receive a EUR 1,000 bonus because they "have demonstrated exceptional mobilization" by continuing to go to work in the midst of coronavirus outbreaks, the company said, reported. According to the media, the same principle will be applied to employees in Romania, Hungary, Portugal and Spain, but the size of the bonuses will be decided for each country separately.

Croatia: Konzum to increase sale of local fresh produce due to closure of greengrocers
Croatian retailer Konzum has said that it will open additional sales channels for local producers affected by the closure of greengrocers in the country due to COVID-19. The retailer, which is part of Fortenova Group, said in a statement that it was 'ready to offer' its repurchasing capacities and sales networks to producers that are unable to put their products on the market due to store shutdowns. Farmers and local producers are encouraged to contact distributors PIK Vinkovci, Marinada and Fragaria, which will in turn establish delivery channels to Konzum stores. Konzum said that fruit and vegetable products of local origin already account for more than 80% of the retailer's turnover in the fresh produce category.

UK: Ocado buys 100,000 Covid-19 test kits to ensure 'safety for all'
Food delivery company Ocado has said its decision to order 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits for staff would help keep grocery supplies flowing and protect both staff and the public - but has promised to hand them over to the NHS if required. The firm said it wanted all its staff to be tested regularly to ensure customers who cannot visit the shops because they are observing lockdown protocols can receive deliveries safely.

India: Kishore Biyani mulls stake sale in Future Retail, insurance biz to offset debt woes
One of the unintended victims of the coronavirus pandemic could be the Future Retail Group’s promoter Kishore Biyani. While the operations in the retail outlets have come to a complete halt due to the lockdown where large format stores have been told to shut down, the company’s market capitalisation has taken a severe hit, falling by over 70% in one month alone. The consequence of all this is that Biyani is now planning to offload his promoters’ quota of stake-holding in the company or alternately bring out a rights issue, as per a report in the Economic Times.

UK: Tesco limits online shop to 80 items during coronavirus crisis
Britain’s biggest supermarket group Tesco will limit the number of items customers can order in an online shop to 80 during the coronavirus emergency, it said. A typical online order before the crisis hit would contain fewer than 60 items but the average had notably increased recently due to the number of very large shops over 100 items. Tesco said the threshold of 80 had been set so that it did not restrict customers doing a normal weekly shop. “By introducing this new limit, we can get more orders onto each van, allowing us to release significantly more delivery slots over the coming weeks, as part of our efforts to ensure all customers can access the essentials they need”, it said.

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