Co-op: 60 stores under review to continue operating

Lenta: Redomiciliation into Cyprus completed

UK: Coronavirus drives biggest month for grocery sales in history
A record £10.8bln ($13bln) was spent on groceries in the UK in March, as fears about the spread of novel coronavirus and a possible lockdown drove people to stock up. Market research firm Kantar Worldpanel said that grocery sales in the UK had risen by 20.6% over the last 4 weeks. The unusually large growth makes March the biggest month on record for grocery sales. “It has been an extraordinary month and social distancing measures have had a profound impact on all our daily lives - from the way we work and socialise, to how we shop and care for our loved ones”, said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar. “Retailers and their staff have been on the frontline as households prepare for an extended stay at home, with grocery sales amounting to £10.8bln during the past 4 weeks alone - that’s even higher than levels seen at Christmas, the busiest time of year under normal circumstances”.

Coronavirus: German supermarkets to pay their workers bonuses
The supermarket Rewe (and its subsidiary Penny) has decided to give bonuses to employees who have carried on working - despite the risk of infection - throughout the coronavirus pandemic by stacking shelves, fielding panic buyers, and keeping everyone well-stocked with food and other essential items. The bonus will be paid to the employees as extra credit on their employee cards, effectively making it tax-free. The amount each employee will receive depends on the nature of their work and their working hours. Rewe is not the only company showing appreciation of its employees. Employees of the discount supermarket chain Aldi Süd may also soon be able to look forward to a bonus. "We are currently thinking about how we can show our employees how appreciated they are," a company spokesperson said.

Lenta completes redomiciliation into Cyprus
Russian retailer Lenta has announced that it has completed the process of transferring its registration to Cyprus. The company has obtained the Certificate of Continuation of the Company in Cyprus from the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (DRCOR). It certifies that the Company was registered from 21 February 2019 in accordance with the Cyprus Companies Law Cap 113, in particular section 354H as a company continuing in the Republic of Cyprus, the company said. On 21 February 2020, the DRCOR issued the company a certificate of temporary registration in Cyprus. It also obtained a certificate of discontinuance of the company in the British Virgin Islands on 25 February 2020 by the Registry of Corporate Affairs in the British Virgin Islands.

Czech billionaire Kretinsky working in isolation after contracting coronavirus
Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, owner of the energy holding group EPH with assets around Europe, said he had contracted the new coronavirus and had been working in isolation. He has diversified investments in recent months, buying into media and retail groups, including becoming the biggest shareholder of German retailer Metro and a stakeholder in French group Casino.

UK: Co-op mulls 60 store closures to continue operating
The Co-op has reportedly said it will continue to deliver food to the “needy” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but more shops may have to close their doors. The retailer has closed 10 stores and has put another 60 under review as group chief executive Steve Murrells said Co-op has been “at the epicentre” of scurrying panic buyers, This Is Money reported. Co-op currently has over 60,000 staff and more than 2500 stores in the UK. Murrells estimated that stores can remain operational with an absence rate of up to 25%. He added that Co-op is working to keep shops open and ensure supplies arrive every day while also putting measures in place to protect staff.

Forex volatility to make providers hike prices: Walmart de Mexico
Walmart de Mexico said that foreign exchange fluctuations will make its providers increase some of their prices, pointing to the depreciation of the peso and other currencies during the coronavirus crisis. The Mexican unit of U.S. retailer Walmart Inc said in a statement it would seek to avoid increasing prices for consumers where possible.

US: Will record online grocery sales continue after COVID-19?
Monthly users of online grocery delivery or pickup services have more than doubled since August 2019, according to the Brick Meets Click/ShopperKit Online Grocery Shopping Survey. The new research shows that 31% of U.S. households (about 39.5mln in total) have used ecommerce for groceries in the past month. In August 2019, that number was 13%. COVID-19 is undoubtedly having an impact on these record levels. Of those surveyed, 26% say they're using online grocery delivery or pickup for the first time. For those 60 years or older, that rate jumps to 39%. Due to the increased number of households using only grocery services and a jump in order rates, overall monthly order volume has surged 193% compared with August 2019 levels. The rate of adoption likely will not slow anytime soon either, with 30% of respondents who have never used ecommerce for groceries saying they are either extremely likely or very likely to do so in the next three months if the crisis continues.

US: Kroger to hire 20,000 more workers to meet coronavirus demand
Kroger will hire 20,000 more employees to meet the demand for groceries and other supplies sparked by the coronavirus crisis. The supermarket chain, which has shortened the time between an employee applying for a job and starting work to as little as three days, says that this latest hiring surge will take place over the next few weeks. “Kroger’s top priority continues to be uplifting our associates and serving our communities, whether that’s by ensuring customers always can find food and products on our shelves or by providing a nearly immediate job opportunity to help an unemployed person to begin working again,” Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief people officer said in a statement.

US: DoorDash leads free grocery delivery program for seniors
More than 2,000 grocery stores are helping make on-demand grocery delivery more accessible to those most vulnerable during this crisis, by collectively waiving delivery frees on orders fulfilled by DoorDash for shoppers age 60 and older. Eligible customers in almost every major U.S. city can shop from local specialty markets, independent grocers and major regional chains, and get free delivery on their orders. Spearheaded by on-demand local logistics platform DoorDash, the effort also includes ecommerce grocery services Freshop, GrocerKey, Mercato and Rosie. Via DoorDash Drive, the tech company’s white-label logistics platform, grocery partners have on-demand access to the DoorDash Dasher fleet to fulfill deliveries. To lessen contact between the customer and Dasher (DoorDash delivery person), customers will be able to request a no-contact delivery at checkout, noting where to leave their order in the checkout page. Sign-up details, promo terms and age verification vary by location and partner.

US: C&S Wholesale Grocers expand benefits
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S., announced it will provide frontline workers with a special appreciation bonus and all employees with additional paid time off (PTO), among other significant benefits enhancements, in the wake of challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "For the last several weeks, every C&S employee has gone above and beyond to help feed our communities amid this unprecedented situation", said Mike Duffy, Chief Executive Officer, C&S Wholesale Grocers. "Our frontline employees are working countless hours to ensure shelves are stocked and families have food, and I couldn't be prouder of their grit and efforts. As with all of the difficulties that we have faced at C&S, we have risen to the occasion together".

Teamsters reach agreement with US Foods, Safeway
Representatives of the Teamsters Union have worked out a temporary agreement with foodservice distributor US Foods and Albertsons banner Safeway that will enable members of Locals 455, 690, 174 and Joint Council 28 to continue working through the coronavirus pandemic. The foodservice industry has been designated as “essential infrastructure” by the federal government, and supermarkets are required to operate during the pandemic. Both companies agreed for bargaining unit members employed by Rosemont, Illinois-based US Foods, which has 25,000 employees and 75 distribution facilities, to begin working at Safeway distribution centers to address what the Teamsters call "the imbalance between the broadline foodservice and grocery industries" caused by the public health crisis.

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