US: New leases on life for Earth Fare
Earth Fare is coming back to life thanks to the sale of 10 store leases across the South and mid-Atlantic. A&G Real Estate Partners announced that it has sold the leases, and negotiated lease termination agreements on nine other locations, from the bankrupt Earth Fare natural and organic specialty grocery chain. The court-approved transactions contributed more than $6mln to the estate of Earth Fare, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on February 4 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.
Amazon stops accepting new online grocery customers amid surging demand
Amazon will begin to put new grocery delivery customers on a wait list and curtail shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores to prioritize orders from existing customers buying food online during the coronavirus outbreak, the company said. Many shoppers recently seeking to purchase groceries from the Seattle-based e-commerce company found they could not place orders due to a lack of available delivery slots. Amazon said it would have to relegate all new online grocery customers to a wait list while working on adding capacity each week. In recent weeks, it increased the number of Whole Foods stores offering grocery pickup to more than 150 locations, up from 80 previously. Amazon also plans to shorten some Whole Foods stores’ hours for the public so its employees can more quickly fulfill online grocery orders, the company said.
US: Stater Bros. extends $2 hourly raises through May 3
Stater Bros. Markets said it will continue to pay its workers an extra $2 hourly through May 3 as the state remains under shelter-in-place orders. The San Bernardino-based chain said the wage incentive is for all of the company’s hourly employees who work in the stores, distribution, transportation, corporate offices and construction. Supermarket employees are among those deemed essential workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, putting them in a vulnerable position and more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. They’ve also been working long hours to keep up with demand from shoppers.
US: Kroger pushes to reclassify supermarket employees as 'extended first responders,' get them access to PPE
A major grocery chain is joining the push to get its workers classified as “emergency personnel” or “extended first responders" amid the coronavirus outbreak. Kroger, considered to be America’s largest grocery store chain, issued a joint statement with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union to address the issue. The goal of the movement is to urge state and federal government officials to reclassify the workers as they face daily challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.
US: Walmart caters pickup to seniors & first responders
Walmart is launching a pickup hour from 7 to 8 a.m. during the COVID-19 outbreak for shoppers over 60, first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone designated high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When shopping online, customers at 2,400 select locations will see a new prompt that displays the qualifications for choosing the slot listed as ‘At Risk Only’. These groups can reserve a time within the new hour, or all other pickup times are open for their use as well. Once arriving at the pickup area, shoppers simply open their trunks, and associates load their groceries in the vehicle with no need for contact or a signature.
French judge limits Amazon shipments
In France, Amazon is limited to selling essential goods as long as the company cannot guarantee the safety of its employees in the distribution centres. This was decided by a French court at the request of the trade unions. According to the Court of Nanterre, it is clear that Amazon has ignored its obligation to ensure the safety and health of workers. The company is now required to carry out a coronavirus risk assessment at its six French sites within 24 hours. Pending the results, the online store must limit its activities to the supply of essential products, according to French media.
SPAR Denmark delivers groceries to shoppers’ doorsteps
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, grocery shopping has become more difficult for many people, especially those in high-risk groups. For customers who are unable or unwilling to leave the house, or possibly need to do grocery shopping for others, SPAR Denmark has introduced a home delivery service called ‘We shop for you’. This new home delivery service was quickly developed by SPAR Denmark to meet the growing demand for online shopping and home delivery options in these challenging times. The service is available throughout Zealand, Funen, Jutland, Bornholm, and the islands connected to the mainland by bridge.
Ecommerce in UK to reach €222bln in 2020
Ecommerce in the United Kingdom is expected to be worth 222.5bln euros at the end of this year. That would mean an increase of almost 11% compared to the situation last year, when the b2c ecommerce turnover was worth just over 200bln euros. Last year, ecommerce in the United Kingdom finally surpassed the milestone of 200bln euros. Now, it’s set to add an extra 22bln euros on top of that, with the expectation that the British online retail industry will be worth 222.5bln euros at the end of the year. The predicted growth of 10.96% is the smallest growth rate since 2016, when the industry increased with only 4.47%, a study from RetailX shows.
Tesco’s Asian business returns 33.5% profit in final full year
Tesco’s Asian business achieved a 33.5% increase in operating profit last year, the last full trading year before it is sold to Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand group. In results, Tesco reported a profit of £426mln, and a margin of 8.2% in Asia, on sales of £5.2bln, up 6.7% on actual currency rates, or by 0.1% on a constant-currency basis.
UK: Morrisons reveals new service to help feed the elderly and vulnerable
A new service aimed at making it easier for people who are self-isolating to get groceries has been launched after many struggled to get home delivery slots. Morrisons has launched its Doorstep Delivery scheme which gives elderly and vulnerable people a phone number to call where they can place an order. Those using the service can choose from Food Box or place a handpicked order from a selection of 45 essential groceries. The order is matched to a local store where staff will pick the order and it will be delivered to the customer the following day.
SPAR Northern Ireland boosts retail efficiency with mobile technologies
SPAR UK partner Henderson Group has introduced Ubamarket’s mobile retail technology: “Scan, Pay, Go!” in three SPAR and EUROSPAR stores in Northern Ireland. This cutting-edge technology will vastly improve the convenience shopping experience for their customers and ensure store operations are as efficient as possible in these challenging times. Ubamarket’s Scan, Pay, Go! app allows customers to build shopping lists ahead of planned store visits to see what is in stock, be guided around the store and scan products as they shop. Other benefits of the end-to-end mobile shopping app include allergen and dietary alerts for every product, and sustainability information regarding the recyclability of any plastic packaging associated with each product.