San Miu Supermarkets: Priority time-slots for high-risk clients

Walmart: Possible sale of a majority stake in Asda on hold

Romania: Food retailer Profi keeps expanding despite Covid-19 crisis
Romanian supermarket chain Profi, controlled by investment fund Mid Europa Partners, continues its expansion at the usual pace despite the Covid-19 pandemic, opening 20 new stores in March. The number is relatively similar to that in the first two months of the year, even slightly higher, despite the fact that, in March, the authorities have enforced the first restrictions in the context of Covid-19. “The Covid-19 phenomenon has produced significant changes in retail, from the unprecedented health protection measures to the way people interact in stores or to changes in the supply chains, all with huge costs. What hasn’t changed is Profi’s strategy”, said company officials quoted by Ziarul Financiar.

Malaysia: AEON expands their drive-thru service to more outlets
After providing personal shopper services and drive-thru locations in only two locations (AEON BiG Subang Jaya and AEON Style Taman Maluri) last month, AEON has expanded drive-thru services to more outlets. This time, a total of 28 outlets in Malaysia are available for the service, as part of their initiative to help more customers keep safe during Movement Control Order (MCO).

Walmart puts partial sale of UK's Asda on hold due to coronavirus crisis: source
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has put the possible sale of a majority stake in its British supermarket arm Asda on hold until the coronavirus crisis is over, said a person familiar with the situation. The U.S. group had said in February it was in talks with possible buyers of a stake in Asda, which it failed to combine with UK rival Sainsbury’s last year. However, Walmart has now paused the process so that Asda Chief Executive Roger Burnley and his leadership team can fully focus on responding to the current health emergency.

UK: Morrisons store staff get bonus for coming into work
Morrisons is the latest supermarket to reward workers during the coronavirus crisis, with a threefold increase in bonus for the next 12 months. Marks & Spencer had already promised staff an extra 15% pay, while Aldi, Sainsbury's and Tesco have pledged 10%. Asda meanwhile has offered an extra week's pay in June, working out as a 25% bonus for the month. Bosses say they are rewarding "dedication and commitment" and "outstanding work".

Greece: Supermarket sales soar 35.1%
Greek supermarkets have cashed in over 615mln euros in just four weeks - i.e. in the first month of the coronavirus epidemic in Greece - as fear of what is yet to come led to consumers panic buying large quantities of disinfectants and food with a long shelf life. However, that trend does appear to be tailing off, likely because most are now all stocked up, along with the curfew and the defensive consumption behavior many are expected to develop in the coming days as a result of job insecurity. The updated statistics by IRI market researchers for the period from February 24 to March 22 showed that supermarket turnover in the 340 main product categories came to 615.01mln euros, up 35.1% from 455.25mln euros in the same period a year earlier.

UK: B&M shuts 49 UK stores due to coronavirus outbreak
British discount retailer B&M European Value Retail said it will temporarily shut 49 UK stores as the coronavirus pandemic affects its business. The stores represent 3% and 2% of the company’s annual revenue and store contribution core earnings, B&M said. The company said employees at the affected stores were furloughed and other UK store and distribution workers will be paid 10% more to reflect the additional workload that the government guidelines impose.

China: San Miu Supermarkets introduce priority time-slots for high-risk clients
Supermarket chain San Miu announced that it has added priority time-slots for customers aged 65 and above, pregnant women and those with disabilities in 24 of its supermarkets. ‘The prioritised shopping hours run from opening time to 9am, Monday to Friday. The groups mentioned will enjoy priority check-out service during each session. Meanwhile, our team members will be happy to provide additional special assistance to these customers, retrieving products from the higher shelves or carrying any heavier products to the check-out counters’, the company noted.

Spain: El Corte Inglés signs new financing contract worth €1.3bln
Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés has announced that it has signed a new financing contract worth €1.3bln with 14 national and international financial entities. The contract has a one-year maturity articulated through a revolving line of credit, the company added. It will help the company in facing the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic in the coming months. The new deal, piloted by CEO Víctor del Pozo, will ensure stable short-term financing without the provision of guarantees.

Ukraine: Silpo allocates funds for the purchase of medical equipment
Ukrainian retailer Silpo has announced the allocation of UAH100mln (€3.3mln) towards the purchase of hospital equipment and medical supplies, amidst the growing coronavirus epidemic. The retailer, which is part of the Fozzy Group conglomerate, said that it has consulted with Ukraine's Ministry of Health on areas in which it can provide assistance. Silpo operates 260 supermarkets across Ukraine, including four Le Silpo delicatessen stores.

UK: Sainsbury's revives bicycle deliveries in central London
Sainsbury’s is using bicycles to transport essential groceries from a closed convenience store in London in an effort to bolster its delivery service during the coronavirus outbreak. The supermarket is relaunching its one-hour bicycle delivery service, Chop Chop, from its Blackfriars store in central London, which was one of 12 small local outlets used mainly by commuters that closed last week. The Chop Chop service was suspended last month as Sainsbury’s struggled to serve stockpiling shoppers before the imposition of government restrictions on movement.

US: Instacart to provide workers with safety kits following strike over coronavirus protections
Instacart announced that it will begin providing its full-service shoppers with health and safety kits in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The kits will contain a reusable cloth face mask, hand sanitizer and a thermometer. Instacart shoppers can request their kits beginning next week through a website the company built for its shoppers. In-store shoppers will also receive face masks from retail locations where the company has in-store operations, the company said. The safety kits come days after some Instacart workers went on strike to protest the how the company was handling their safety during the pandemic. One of their demands was for the company to provide hand sanitizer and wipes. Instacart also announced that it created a COVID-19 resource center, which will include information for shoppers and customers.

Canada: Empire offers support to small supplier partners
Empire Company Limited’s latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes a plan to support its 13,000 smaller supplier partners. Sobeys’ parent company announced it would shorten its payment terms and automatically pay suppliers, including local farmers, fisheries and waste collection companies, within 14 days.

Amazon picks southern California for second grocery-concept site Inc. is planning to open a new grocery store in Irvine, California, the second confirmed location for an as-yet-unnamed retail concept separate from the company’s Whole Foods Market chain. Amazon job postings show the retailer is hiring for managers and grocery staffers for a store in the city, located southeast of Los Angeles in Orange County. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed plans to open a store in Irvine this year. Amazon last year said it would launch a new supermarket, also distinct from the Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores, starting with a store in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The company’s plans in nearby Irvine had been the subject of speculation since Amazon began renovating a former Babies “R” Us there. The company has received a liquor license for the location under the name “Amazon Fresh”, the same name as its grocery delivery service.

US: H-E-B now selling full meals from local restaurants in response to coronavirus pandemic
Those looking to support local restaurants through this tough time now have another option beyond takeout and delivery: browsing the refrigerator case at H-E-B. The San Antonio-based grocer launched a pilot program to get restaurant-prepared meals onto its stores during the COVID-19 crisis, reports. “We are a family of foodies, and we have a deep relationship with lots of restaurants and chefs, so this is something we wanted to do to help in these difficult times”, H-E-B spokeswoman Dya Campos told MySA.

US: An Aztec restaurant is now offering groceries during the coronavirus pandemic
Most people don’t think about heading to a restaurant to pick up groceries, but Rubia's, a Mexican restaurant in Aztec, has been providing that service for a couple of weeks. The popular Aztec restaurant has had to switch to kerbside meal pickup as the state has restricted restaurant operations in attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus. Sales at Rubia’s are down 60% due to the coronavirus restrictions, which include social distancing and no in-restaurant dining, according to the owner, Randy Hodge. Hodge said half of the sales he makes are people wanting groceries.

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