GrubMarket has acquired Boston Organics

Amazon's partnership with Lyft: Win-win situation

US: Kroger posts 30% jump in March comparable sales, borrows $1bln
Kroger Co’s comparable sales surged about 30% in March as consumers stockpiled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the grocer said it had borrowed $1bln to boost its cash reserve as it prepared for any fallout from the health crisis. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company’s shares rose about 5% after the supermarket chain also maintained its forecast for the year, especially when most of its rivals have scrapped their estimates due to the virus-related uncertainty. Kroger, however, said it was being conservative about its expectations due to a fluid environment caused by the outbreak. “It is too early to speculate what will emerge as the ‘new normal’ in food consumption at home or what the impact on sales will be in future periods”, Kroger said.

US: GrubMarket acquires Boston Organics
GrubMarket has acquired Boston Organics, an online farm-to-table grocery delivery service in Massachusetts. The deal marks GrubMarket’s third farm-to-table grocery delivery acquisition in the past four months, after purchasing Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Doorganics late last year and San Francisco-based Eating With The Seasons in January. Based in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Boston Organics delivers fresh, certified-organic produce and groceries to Boston-area homes and offices. The company will continue to operate from its headquarters, led by its current leadership team and founder Jeff Barry.

Amazon's Lyft deal boosts efforts to fight coronavirus 
Amazon is making every effort to strengthen retail services in order to cater to customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is evident from the company’s recent partnership with ride-hailing company Lyft. Per the deal, Lyft has asked its drivers to consider job opportunities at Amazon as means of additional income. These comprise delivery drivers, warehouse and shopper jobs. This tie-up seems to be a win-win situation for both the companies in this challenging situation where people are being asked to practice social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

US: Dollar Tree CEO says supply chains stressed - but $1bln of goods in ‘pipeline somewhere’
Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin said the retailer’s supply chains have “been stressed” from a spike in coronavirus-related demand, but he sought to reassure customers that more products are on their way. “As our trucks show up to stores we probably have enough for a day or a day and a half, but more is coming”, Philbin said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “We’ve called out, and we have $1bln in the pipeline somewhere”. Employees at Dollar Tree’s 24 distribution centers in the country have been working seven days a week to send shipments to stores, Philbin said. Dollar Tree, which also owns Family Dollar, has about 15,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. 

Brazil supermarkets to hire 5,000 temporary workers in region most affected by coronavirus
Brazilian supermarkets are planning to hire 5,000 temporary workers in Sao Paulo’s metropolitan region, the most severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, to meet higher demand from consumers and replace employees under quarantine, according to the local association that represents the sector, APAS. Most of the new staff will be in charge of replenishing shelves and cash service, Apas said in a statement, adding interviews were being conducted mainly through WhatsApp, Facebook’s messaging app.

Thailand: Central Food Hall employs robot in coronavirus fight
Thai supermarket Central Food Hall has begun using UV-C Disinfection Robots to sterilise stores in a move to combat coronavirus transmission. The firm is the first supermarket in the region to implement disinfection robots, certified by the WHO and CDC to sanitise areas around 360 degrees to destroy more than 99.99% of all pathogens within seconds. The robot is currently being deployed at Central Food Hall Central Chidlom while the store is closed. Plans are afoot to introduce robots at other Tops Market and Central Food Hall branches in the interests of employee and customer safety.

France: Carrefour teams up with Uber Eats for lockdown deliveries
French supermarket retailer Carrefour and Uber Eats said they would launch a new delivery service aimed at helping Parisians buy essential goods and food during the nationwide lockdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis. Delivery groups and takeaway companies across Europe have been tapping into soaring demand for their services as customers grapple with how to stock up on basic goods during the shutdowns. Supermarkets are still open in France and elsewhere, though many have restricted the number of shoppers who can enter at one time for safety reasons, while many customers are looking to reduce their store visits. Carrefour and Uber Eats’ new service will start with around 15 stores in Paris and the surrounding region on April 6, before being rolled out nationwide. It allow users to choose a Carrefour convenience store on the Uber Eats app or website.

Picnic opens second fulfillment center in Germany
Online-only supermarket Picnic has opened its second fulfillment center in Germany. The site, which is 15,000 square meters big, has opened its doors in Herne, in the Ruhr area. Picnic says it has been working hard in the past few weeks to adapt its logistics to the increased demand, now the coronavirus is spreading across Europe. With help from the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Dutch company was able to quickly complete the new fulfillment center in Herne.

UK: Call to end Sunday trading restrictions during coronavirus 'national crisis'
One of Britain's leading supermarket bosses has called on the Government to suspend Sunday trading legislation - which limits large grocery stores' opening times - during the coronavirus crisis. Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland told ITV News: "We have spoken to Government about this. My hands are still tied with these archaic Sunday trading laws. This is a moment of national crisis and we need our shops open".

Germany: HelloFresh SE expects revenue and adjusted EBITDA ("AEBITDA") for Q1 2020 above market expectations
While HelloFresh SE ("Company") has experienced in the months January and February 2020 continued strong growth, it has started to see a further meaningful acceleration since the latter half of March 2020, driven by increased demand due to the heightened public focus on the evolving Covid-19 pandemic. Based on first preliminary indications, the Company expects: Consolidated revenue of the Company for the first quarter of 2020 in a range between approximately EUR685mln and EUR710mln (Q1 2019: EUR420.1mln). This revenue range meaningfully exceeds the latest published research analyst expectations; Group AEBITDA for the first quarter of 2020 in a range between approximately positive EUR55mln and positive EUR75mln (Q1 2019: negative EUR26.1mln). This AEBITDA range meaningfully exceeds the latest published research analyst expectations.

UK: Morrisons not liable for massive staff data leak, court rules
The UK’s highest court has ruled that Morrisons should not be held liable for the criminal act of an employee with a grudge who leaked the payroll data of about 100,000 members of staff. The supermarket group brought a supreme court challenge in an attempt to overturn previous judgments which gave the go-ahead for compensation claims by thousands of employees whose personal details were posted on the internet. A panel of five justices unanimously ruled that Morrisons was not “vicariously liable” for the actions of Andrew Skelton, who disclosed staff information online and also sent it to newspapers.

Germany: Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof begs for state aid
German chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is on the brink of collapse and is asking the German authorities for state aid in the form of emergency loans. So far, however, it has not had that much success. Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof has been negotiating an aid package with the German state bank: the group's board of directors is asking for urgent state aid, as it would lose more than 80mln euros in turnover every week, while the costs continue to rise. However, negotiations seem to have hit a rough patch, as many of the government's aid programmes are only available to companies that were previously healthy and got into trouble purely as a result of the corona crisis. In addition, 10 to 20 % of the total bail-out sum should come from commercial banks, and most banks seem unwilling to take on the risk with Galearia Karstadt Kaufhof. Over the last few days, TUI and Ceconomy (MediaMarkt's holding company) did secure billions in emergency financing.

Spain: DIA allies with Glovo and hires a thousand people to deal with increase in home orders
The DIA supermarket chain has signed an alliance with the Glovo home delivery platform and has reinforced its workforce with a thousand more workers in order to meet the increase in orders for home deliveries. This has been advanced to Efe sources from both companies, who have confirmed that pilot tests have been carried out with Glovo distributors in some of their stores in recent days. From DIA they have highlighted that the volume of home orders has increased strongly during the past weeks, coinciding with an interest from customers to receive the purchase at home and not have to go to stores due to the spread of the coronavirus.

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