Target: Digital comparable sales surged more than 275% in April

Instacart plans to hire 250,000 more workers

US: Giant Co. hiring 3,000 more associates
The Giant Co. will hire an additional 3,000 employees - almost 10% of its total workforce - to meet the skyrocketing demand for groceries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past month, the grocer has hired about 4,000 temporary and part-time workers across its Giant, Martin’s, Giant Direct, Martin’s Direct and Giant Heirloom Market divisions. “At The Giant Co., our purpose is to connect families for a better future, and our mission is more vital now than ever before”, noted VP of Human Resources Matthew Lutcavage. “We’re committed to serving our communities and customers during this extraordinary time while helping our neighbors who are looking for work”.

US: Target sees margin squeeze as it spends more to meet coronavirus-led demand
Target Corp said rising costs from trying to meet the fast-changing needs of consumers during the coronavirus crisis were set to hurt its first-quarter profit and margins, even as it recorded robust online sales during March and April. The big box retailer said digital comparable sales surged more than 275% in April, with several days in the month recording more online sales than Cyber Monday, traditionally the busiest day for e-commerce companies. However, shares of the retailer fell nearly 3% after the company said it expects margins to drop by 5-percentage points in the first quarter due to temporary wage increases and higher sales of more low-margin products such as groceries. The company now plans to pay an extra $2 an hour for store and distribution center workers until May 30.

US: Instacart hired 300,000 workers in a month. It plans to hire 250,000 more
Instacart hired 300,000 workers in recent weeks to meet surging demand for grocery deliveries spurred by the pandemic. Now, the startup is seeking to hire another 250,000 workers over the next two months. The on-demand grocery delivery company said that it is seeking to hire the additional "full-service shoppers", who are treated as independent contractors, in areas with the highest demand with the aim to "get back to same-day delivery". Some customers have struggled in recent weeks to secure delivery slots due to the high demand.

Brazil's GPA gross sales rise in first quarter after coronavirus boost in March
Brazilian food retailer GPA reported a 14% rise in first-quarter gross revenue for operations including Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay to 21.6bln reais ($4bln), with the coronavirus outbreak boosting sales in all formats and regions later in March. Controlled by France’s Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, which last year concluded a shareholding overhaul that allowed the Brazilian unit to book revenues from Colombia’s Almacenes Exito SA, GPA’s same-store sales grew by 8.2% year-on-year excluding calendar effects. “As a result of social isolation measures, we have noted larger sales volumes and lower shopping frequency levels”, GPA said in a securities filing.

UAE: Majid Al Futtaim launches online marketplace through Carrefour
Majid Al Futtaim has officially launched an online marketplace through that provides the company's shopping mall tenants and other businesses across the UAE with a new e-commerce channel to reach their customers. The platform, which has been successfully piloted for six months with third-party sellers, is available on the popular Carrefour mobile app and website which draws millions of visits per month, making it one of the most visited e-commerce platforms in the UAE.

UK: Morrisons gives farmers 5% shopping discount for feeding nation through crisis
Morrisons has announced new measures to say thank you to British farmers for their efforts in helping to feed the nation since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country. The Big 4 grocer is offering a 5% discount on shopping for 2700 of its farmers when they buy their own groceries in-store to support them and their families. Morrisons said eligible farmers will receive a discount card in the mail that can be used in stores.

Casino's Q1 sales growth accelerates, boosted by food demand in France
Retailer Casino, battling investor concerns over its high debt, said revenue growth accelerated in the first quarter, reflecting strong food sales in its core French market amid the coronavirus epidemic, and a robust performance in Brazil. On a same-store basis and excluding acquisitions, currency effects and revenue on fuel, sales rose by 6.4% compared to 1.6%growth in the fourth quarter of 2019. In France, total sales for the quarter came to €3.9bln, an increase of 5.8% on a same-store basis. City centre convenience stores and e-commerce have been in particularly high demand since the lockdown started, with sales rising 3.6% at Monoprix and 12.6% at Franprix. Meanwhile Geant Hypermarkets sales grew by a more modest 1.5% on a same-store basis, of which 2.9% was in food.

Europe: Amcor research reveals consumers’ online grocery shopping habits for fresh foods
New research conducted by Amcor, a global leader in packaging, reveals the differences in European consumer attitudes to buying grocery products online. Amcor’s research surveyed 1,000 online grocery shoppers across France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden, to study their buying preferences and understand wider ecommerce trends in Europe. For brands and food producers, this research represents a valuable insight into varying preferences for fresh produce, meat and dairy deliveries, and what measures brands can take to ensure the freshness and quality consumers are demanding from online shopping. Key highlights from Amcor’s consumer research include: UK consumers show much stronger willingness to buy fresh food online; Ensuring quality and food waste reduction are important for online shoppers; Food subscriptions are booming - particularly in the Netherlands; Dairy and chilled desserts are popular with online shoppers across Europe; The biggest packaging consideration for consumers is sustainability - which is the primary packaging requirement for 65% of consumers.

Sweden's Axfood: Growth and higher profitability
Axfood reports a strong first quarter with continued high growth and improved profitability. This at the same time that the company is in a tumultuous and exceptional period - a situation in which the food industry has an important and societally essential role in providing the entire country with food and groceries. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has had and will continue to have a major impact on society and thus also on the company’s operations.

New Zealand: Countdown opens 'supermarket of the future' with drive-thru grocery collection in Hamilton
Countdown's brand new Rototuna supermarket will allow Hamilton shoppers to pick up their online orders via a "store-to-boot" drive-thru, the store opening one month earlier than expected to meet increased demand. The supermarket will initially be used solely to fulfil online orders. Its opening has been fast-tracked to meet the significant demand for groceries online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dubbed the "supermarket of the future", the store will offer home delivery as well as "contactless convenience" for customers collecting their orders through its drive-thru service.

UK: Co-op revenue smashes £10bln but CEO remains cautious
The Co-op has seen its revenue rise thanks to a strong performance in food amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company reported an overall revenue uptick of 7% to £10.9bln in the 52 weeks to January 4. Revenue in its core grocery retail business rose by 3% to £7.5bln, with like-for-like sales up 1.9%, while wholesale like-for-like income rose 1.1%.

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