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Sainsbury’s has selected Blue Yonder

Sime Darby is divesting its 30% stake in Tesco Malaysia

Australia: Coles and Woolworths resume online delivery services
Supermarket giant Woolworths has joined Coles in increasing home delivery service for online customers, starting this week. Coles also reopened their home delivery and "click and collect" services to all customers, after previously restricting them to vulnerable and remote Australians due to the COVID-19 crisis. Woolworths announced there will be "tens of thousands of extra weekly home delivery windows for online customers", with more staff added to help fulfil the extra capacity. Hundreds of Woolworths stores across Australia and a new "Pop-Up" delivery hub at their Notting Hill, Melbourne location will begin operating by the end of the week.

UK: Sainsbury’s turns to AI for supply chain management
Sainsbury’s is handing its supply chain management to an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that aims to help improve its response to changing consumer demands. The retailer has selected the Luminate end-to-end supply chain platform from US software group Blue Yonder as the foundation of its planned supply chain transformation. Sainsbury’s will deploy the AI-powered system in areas such as demand forecasting and replenishment, space and range management, warehouse management, and labour management.

France: In Versailles, king of online retail Amazon fights union backlash
Amazon made its case in a French court of appeal to keep deliveries on track in the country, rejecting unions’ allegations that it was not doing its best to protect employees from COVID-19. The world’s largest online retailer is facing mounting scrutiny as it juggles a surge in online orders during government lockdowns to curb the pandemic and employees’ safety, and France has become a major battleground. Amazon closed six French warehouses employing about 10,000 people on April 16, following a lower court’s ruling that sided with unions last week, ordering Amazon to focus only on delivering essential items like food while it revised health protocols.

Lidl and Einride partner to electrify supply chain in Sweden
Einride will supply electric trucks to grocery chain Lidl this year as the next step in a long-term partnership to transform Lidl’s supply chain to be emissions-free. Lidl and Einride have been ambitious, since the start of their partnership in 2017, to electrify and automate deliveries to Lidl locations in Sweden. The transformation to a zero-emissions transport network will take place in stages and focus mainly on electrification in the short term, with automation coming in the next phase. Carl Seder, logistics manager of Lidl Sweden, says: “At Lidl, we intend to be the industry leader for sustainable and completely fossil-free transport by 2025. To enable this, we will now begin the transition to fully electric transport together with Einride”.

UK: Supermarkets 'to face day of reckoning' on wages
Supermarket and shop workers deserve to be paid a minimum of £10 an hour after coronavirus, a union leader has argued. Paddy Lillis of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), said retail "heroes" should be rewarded for risking their health to keep people "fed and watered". He predicted a post-crisis "day of reckoning" on pay and conditions. But the British Retail Consortium said now was "not the right time" to ask for a wage increase. It added that, across the retail sector, footfall - the number of people visiting shops - had suffered its "worst ever decline" in March.

Sime Darby divests 30% stake in Tesco Malaysia for MYR300mln
Sime Darby Bhd. said it is divesting its 30% stake in Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for 300mln ringgit ($68.3mln). Sime Darby said in a stock exchange filing that its wholly-owned subsidiaries Sime Darby Allied Products Bhd and Sime Darby Holdings Bhd have entered into conditional agreements with C.P. Retail Development Company Ltd, Tesco Holdings B.V. and Tesco PLC for the stake disposal. Sime Darby expects an estimated net gain of MYR270mln from the sale of its stake in Tesco Malaysia, a joint venture it has held since 2001. The proposed stake disposal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020.

Singapore: FairPrice introduces 'store on wheels' to bring groceries closer to residents during COVID-19 circuit breaker
Singapore's largest supermarket chain will roll out an initiative called FairPrice on Wheels, to allow residents in selected areas to buy groceries without venturing too far from home during the extended COVID-19 "circuit-breaker" period. From Thursday April 23, a FairPrice van will stop by 5 locations - at Commonwealth Link, Telok Blangah Crescent, Telok Blangah Rise, Kampong Glam Community Club and Jalan Kukoh - from 9am to 2pm daily. It will be stocked with essential items such as rice, milk, cooking oil, bread, fruit, vegetables and toiletries.

Meet the new American grocery shopper
Food retailers wondering when the pre-pandemic consumer will return to stores may be in for a longer wait than they anticipated. According to Acosta's latest study of shifting consumer shopping habits, shopper concern over the pandemic is escalating, especially among older households and those in hardest-hit areas. “While we’re still seeing new trends form week-to-week, like the prioritization of comfort foods over pantry and paper products, we’re also seeing trends solidify with e-commerce continuing to surge and in-store trips continuing to decline due to growing concern”, said Darian Pickett, CEO of Acosta. “Our research shows that shopper concern continues to increase as weeks go by. In our first shopper survey from March 6 to March 12, concern levels averaged 6.9, and now it’s risen to 8.2 out of 10. That said, we’re optimistic these concerns will reverse with more than half of shoppers surveyed noting they expect their shopping habits to return to ‘normal’ once the pandemic is over”.

Hundreds of Amazon employees plan to protest coronavirus safety by calling out of work
More than 300 Amazon warehouse workers are calling out of work this week to demand additional coronavirus protections for the nearly 250,000 warehouse workers employed nationwide at the company, which has seen its stock price soar during the pandemic even as concerns among its employees emerge.

US: GrubMarket acquires Chasin Foods
GrubMarket has completed the acquisition of Chasin Foods, a leading wholesale distributor of produce, dairy, meats, seafood, and provisions. Derek Chasin, the CEO of Chasin Foods, said: “GrubMarket recognizes the corporate values and philosophies of Chasin Foods, and they respect our focus on world-class customer service. Our company mindset will stay with us as we leverage this new relationship to reach more customers looking for an exceptional overall service”.

Metro sales up as shoppers started stocking up amid COVID-19
Metro Inc. reported its second-quarter profit rose from a year ago and sales climbed as shoppers began stocking up due to the pandemic during the last two weeks of the period. The grocery and drug store company says it earned $176.2mln for the 12-week period ended March 14 compared with a profit of $121.5mln in the same quarter a year earlier. Sales for the quarter totalled $3.99bln, up from $3.70bln a year earlier. Food same-store sales were up 9.7% for the quarter, while pharmacy same-store sales were up 7.9%.

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