Russia: X5 retail group sees faster revenue growth in Q1 2020 y/y - Ifax
X5 Retail Group, Russia’s biggest food retailer, expects revenue growth to rise in the first quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier, the Interfax news agency reported. The company, which has reported a rise in sales connected to the coronavirus outbreak, reported a rise of 13.2% in 2019 revenue to 1.7tln roubles ($22.5bln).
UK: Waitrose in U-turn on virus pay policy
Waitrose has pledged to reverse a policy where workers self-isolating because of their family had to make up their hours owed at a later date. The company said: "We're really sorry that we got it wrong. We've listened to our Partners and changed our policy". Worried Waitrose workers had warned the BBC that customers and staff were being put at risk during the coronavirus crisis through its time bank system, which demanded the hours be recouped. "Partners who are self isolating without symptoms and unable to work from home will no longer be required to 'time bank' any of their time", the company has decided. "Instead they will be on authorised paid absence from day one".
Croatia: SPAR increases cooperation with small-scale producers
SPAR Croatia has expanded its cooperation agreements with an additional 60 small-scale agricultural producers across the country, which are facing supply chain challenges due to the coronavirus. The retailer is purchasing salad ingredients, tomatoes, leeks, chard, parsley, spinach, and onions from these producers, it said, securing their placement on the shelves of stores nationwide. It has called on small agricultural firms to reach out to Spar directly so that their products can be packaged and delivered through the retailer's distribution network, if they are not able to do so themselves.
UK: Tesco sees FY sales marginally down due to central Europe transformation
Ongoing work to streamline Tesco's Central European portfolio meant that the retailer posted a 1.0% decline in group sales at constant currency rates in its financial year to 29 February. The business posted group sales of £56.5bln (€64.1bln) for the year. Tesco's UK and Ireland sales were £44.9bln (€50.1bln) for the year, a 0.2% increase at constant rates, while Asia reported £5.2bln (€5.9bln) in sales for the period. Its Central Europe business, where Tesco is selling a number of outlets and streamlining others, posted £5.3bln (€6.01bln) in sales, which was a 10.1% decline at constant currency rates. Tesco reported retail operating profit before exceptional items and amortisation of £2.77bln, which was up 14.9%. Margin was up 4.4%.
UK: Supermarkets wrestle with coronavirus demand conundrum
Britain’s big supermarkets fear they won’t be able to supply the country’s 60mln people without longer opening hours or a relaxation of social distancing rules introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Industry executives speaking on condition of anonymity said they expected a jump in demand once Britons under lockdown had worked through supplies amassed at the start of the crisis and as shoppers stocked up for the long Easter weekend holiday.
UK: McColl’s partners with Deliveroo to offer rapid delivery of daily essentials
McColl’s has formed a new partnership with Deliveroo to offer home delivery of goods from its convenience stores. A range of daily essentials from over 120 McColl’s outlets will be available on-demand for the first time on the Deliveroo app. This will be expanded to cover 300 McColl’s stores in the near future. The tie-up is aimed at helping customers, especially the elderly and vulnerable, access the groceries they need from the safety of their home during the coronavirus outbreak. Deliveries will be made by Deliveroo riders in as little as 30 minutes and will be ‘contact-free’.
Spain: SPAR Gran Canaria partners with local government to support farming sector
SPAR Gran Canaria has partnered with the local government (El Cabildo) to create a Programme of Support for local farmers and producers affected by the current pandemic. To mitigate the impact of the closure of hotels and restaurants and the resulting surpluses, SPAR Gran Canaria is directly helping producers in the management and sale of local produce. SPAR Gran Canaria’s fruit and vegetable logistics centre supports farmers keen to offer fresh local products which meet the quality standards required by the chain. SPAR also encourages its customers to consume fresh produce to support the numerous families working in the sector as well as a healthy lifestyle.
Holland: Ahold Delhaize gets 34% coronavirus bump
Ahold Delhaize says its same-store sales jumped an astonishing 34% in March thanks to consumers stockpiling groceries during the coronavirus outbreak. In a business update, the company said it expects group net sales growth of approximately 15% when it reports first quarter earnings on May 7. Same-store sales growth excluding gasoline is expected to be approximately 14% in the U.S., and 10% in Europe. “We expect underlying operating margin in Q1 to be above the prior year", said Frans Muller, chief executive of the Dutch company that operates Stop & Shop and other grocery banners in the United States. "The Q1 margin has benefited from the higher sales trends experienced at an earlier stage compared to the timing of the significant investments made enhancing associate pay and benefits and implementing additional safety and protective measures, which have become material towards the end of Q1”.
US: Albertsons, UFCW want grocery workers classified as first responders
Albertsons Cos. and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest food and retail union in the United States, have launched a joint national effort to seek a temporary designation of “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel” for supermarket employees to ensure that they’re prioritized for testing and given personal protection equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic.
US: C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sysco partner to supply groceries to New York
C&S Wholesale Grocers has teamed up with Sysco to provide temporary employment for workers at the foodservice distributor, the nation’s largest. Under the partnership, C&S will give jobs to certain Sysco warehouse and delivery associates to help supply food to New York, the state hardest-hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The workers will remain Sysco employees during the time period they work at C&S, the grocery wholesaler said, and Sysco will continue to provide their pay and any other benefits they typically receive.
US: Stop & Shop teams up with Uber
Many grocery chains have instituted early shopping hours for those ages 60 and older or for people most vulnerable to the coronavirus, and now Stop & Shop is making it easier for seniors to get to the store. Stop & Shop has partnered with Uber Technologies for half-price rides to and from all locations from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., beginning on April 8. Shoppers can use the promo code "STOPSHOPUBER" in their Uber app twice per week to access the half-price rides (up to $20 off). Friends, family or neighbors of customers 60 and older can order a ride on their behalf if those 60 and older do not have access to a smartphone or the Uber app.
US: Nuro gets OK to test its driverless delivery vehicles on California public roads
Autonomous delivery startup Nuro has been granted a permit to begin driverless testing on California’s public roads, paving the way for the company to roll out commercial operations throughout the state. Nuro, which raised $940mln from SoftBank Vision Fund last year, is allowed to put two of its low-speed electric R2 delivery vehicles on public roads in parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that regulates autonomous vehicle testing in the state.