Mercato is working to have stores online and delivering groceries within 24 hours

Instacart announced the launch of two new product features

US: Panera debuts grocery delivery service
In another example of restaurants and other retail channels getting in on the grocery business amid the coronavirus outbreak, fast-casual restaurant concept Panera has launched Panera Grocery, a service enabling users to buy high-demand pantry items like milk, bread and fresh produce, as well as Panera soups, salads and sandwiches. Consumers can access the service via the Panera app or website, with contactless delivery, Rapid Pick-Up, Drive-Up and Drive-Thru options available, in addition to contact-free delivery by Chicago-based Grubhub.

US: Instacart launches new customer product features to speed up service & unlock more delivery windows as demand for online grocery continues to surge
Instacart, the North American leader in online grocery, announced the launch of two new product features designed to speed up service and unlock more delivery windows as demand for grocery delivery continues to surge in North America. The new features - "Fast & Flexible" and "Order Ahead" - which the company has been testing over the last few weeks, increase delivery availability for customers across North America and provide more choice and convenience for customers who are moving their weekly grocery shop online.

US: Mercato gets independent grocers online and delivering within 24 hours 
Mercato, the online grocery e-commerce platform for independently owned grocery stores, is working to have stores online and delivering groceries within 24 hours for center aisle staples and produce, and 72 hours for most meat, dairy and prepared food items upon receiving their inventory file. “From addressing the needs of seniors and medical professionals, and those simply more cautious about multiple trips to the store during the coronavirus crisis, independent grocers are scrambling to get online and serve the needs of their communities. Their customers need fresh groceries they either can’t find at supermarket chains or can’t wait for until national grocery delivery windows to open”, says Bobby Brannigan, Mercato Founder and CEO.

Brazil's retail sales post pre-coronavirus surge in February
Retail sales in Brazil surged in February, recording their biggest rise for that month in six years, with consumers’ urge to spend yet to be affected by the looming coronavirus crisis, official figures showed. Sales volumes excluding cars and building materials jumped 1.2% in February from January, government statistics agency IBGE said, much stronger than the median estimate in a Reuters poll of economists of a 0.3% decline. Sales jumped 4.7% from the year-earlier period, IBGE said, more than double the expected 2.1% increase in the Reuters poll.

Irma rolls out first Danish strawberries of the season
Coop Denmark has announced that the first Danish strawberries of this season are now available in select Irma stores. Due to limited availability, the strawberries are presently being sold at Irma Mozartsvej, Platan, Nørreport, Kastrupvej, Codanhus, Østerport, Hørsholm, Ordrup, Roskilde, Dragør and in the SuperBrugs store in Skælskør. Next week, the retailer aims to offer larger quantities of strawberries and gradually increase supplies to cover all 1,100 Coop stores in the country. The strawberries have been sourced from the Hunsballe Grønt nursery in Skælskør.

Portugal: Sonae MC 'strengthens contingency plans' in wake of COVID-19
Portugal's Sonae MC has 'strengthened contingency plans' and is engaged in 'close dialogue with all stakeholders in the supply chain' as it seeks to tackle the growing COVID-19 crisis, its parent company, Sonae, said in its annual report. Sonae said that it delivered 'outstanding operating and financial results' across its portfolio, as consolidated turnover rose 9.2% to €6.44bln and underlying EBITDA was up 22.2% to €599mln. Its Sonae MC business 'continued to reinforce its leadership position', it added, with turnover growth of 9.2% to €4.7bln.

UK: Tesco defends dividend payout as it warns coronavirus costs could top $1bln
Tesco has defended its decision to pay investors a 635mln pound ($782mln) dividend while accepting business tax relief from the British government aimed at helping distressed retailers through the coronavirus crisis. Tesco estimated extra costs related to the pandemic could be between 650mln and 925mln pounds, with up to 580mln due to additional payroll costs. It said that in the last two weeks alone it had recruited more than 45,000 workers in Britain to help cover staff sickness and cope with additional demand.

Lithuania: Jurgita Šlekytė named new CEO of Maxima Grupė and Franmax
Jurgita Šlekytė has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of Maxima Grupė UAB and Franmax UAB. She will replace Andris Vilcmeiers, who has decided to leave the company, having led the firm for five years. Šlekytė will also be a member of Maxima Grupė’s board, which has named Maxima LT CEO, Jolanta Bivainytė as its chairperson. Petar Pavlov, the CEO of Maxima Bulgaria EOOD, will also join the board, the company added. Other members of the board include Arūnas Zimnickas, Viktors Troicins, Edvinas Volkas, and Vitalij Rakovski.

UK: Costcutter launches 20 pop-up stores in NHS hospitals
Costcutter has installed 20 pop-up stores in NHS hospitals to serve doctors and nurses who are unable to travel to stores amid the coronavirus crisis. The retailer said it has worked in partnership with food service giant Compass to launch the stores. It added that the new shops will fill units left by the temporary closure of some non-essential retail spaces across the hospital sites.

India: Zomato begins grocery delivery in 80 cities
Online food ordering and delivery platform Zomato said the company has begun grocery delivery services in over 80 cities in India - after launching it in a few cities - as it seeks to ensure last-mile delivery of essentials to Indian households that are in the middle of a three-week lockdown. Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, said in a company blog: "We have started grocery delivery in 80+ cities across India to help with the supply of essentials. Our delivery network in the country is only second to India Post, and we are putting in every effort to make sure that we put it to good use to serve the community".

UK: Morrisons and Deliveroo join up to offer grocery home delivery
Morrisons and Deliveroo are announcing a partnership to enable customers to order from 70 essential household items from Morrisons stores for on-demand delivery. Both Morrisons and Deliveroo want to play their full part in feeding the nation during this very difficult and uncertain period. A new service will allow customers to order from a range of essentials delivered to their door, on-demand, by a Deliveroo rider in as little as under 30 minutes.

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