Singapore: Sheng Siong staff to get extra month of salary as Q1 profit soars
Supermarket operator Sheng Siong will reward its staff with an additional month of salary, following a 49.9% jump in net profit to $29mln for the first quarter that ended on March 31, compared with a year ago. The higher net profit comes on the back of a revenue rise, better gross margin, higher other income and a less-than-proportional increase in operating expenses relative to the increase in revenue. Revenue went up 30.7% to $328.7mln, attributed mostly to the impact of Covid-19 and better-than-expected Chinese New Year sales.
In a UK first, Tesco serves more than 1mln online grocery orders in a week
Tesco reported: "Tesco is now the first retailer in the UK to fulfil 1mln online grocery orders in a week. Following a huge effort to increase online delivery capacity, we delivered our millionth weekly order to our customer Lesley Bush. Thank you to Lesley and all our drivers and pickers who make it possible. Capacity continues to increase and in the coming weeks will reach 1.2mln weekly slots - double the number of slots at the start of the COVID-19 crisis".
Australia: Coronavirus panic buying rockets Coles sales to record levels
Mass panic buying in March saw supermarket giant Coles book its highest-ever quarterly sales growth. An "extraordinary March sales spike" topped out at 13.1% growth in quarterly comparable sales across its supermarkets. Coles said total supermarket sales revenue for the third quarter rose to $8.23bln - up 13.8% on the same time last year - as shoppers stockpiled groceries in the face of looming COVID-19 restrictions.
Coop and Posten deliver groceries in Norway
Grocery chain Coop and postal company Posten Norge have launched grocery home deliveries in Norway. The 2 companies have partnered to deliver groceries to those who can’t go to stores during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. In record time, Coop has set up an ordering solution on its website Coop.no. And thanks to a cooperation agreement with Posten Norge, online grocery shoppers can have their order delivered to their door step.
UK: Marks & Spencer strengthens liquidity to cope with coronavirus impact
British retailer Marks & Spencer said it had taken steps to secure more liquidity to help it cope with the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and it had significant facilities available to it for 18 months. Marks & Spencer said that its banks had agreed to relax or remove covenant conditions later this year and in 2021, and it had also accessed a UK government coronavirus corporate finance scheme. The retailer also said it did not anticipate paying a dividend for the 2020/21 financial year, saving it 210mln pounds of cash.
Co-op, Ocado see sales up by a fifth in UK market: Kantar
UK retailers The Co-operative and Ocado have seen their sales rise by a fifth (+20.0% and +19.4%) respectively, according to the latest market share data from Kantar, due to changed shopper habits as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. According to the 12-week data to 19 April, which takes in both the initial stockpiling surge of March as well as the current changed shopping routines, all retailers saw a surge in sales, with the total grocery market rising 9.1% to £29.9bln in the period. Tesco, the market leader, saw sales up 7.2%, while Sainsbury's was up 8.4%, Asda was up 3.5% and Morrisons rose by 4.3%. Lidl was the best performing of the discounters, with sales up 14.8% to Aldi's 8.8%, while there were also solid performances from Waitrose (+9.4% increase in sales) and Iceland (16.6%).
Ireland: Online grocery delivery service Buymie raises funds to expand amid Covid-19
Dublin online grocery delivery company Buymie has raised €2.2mln from investors to scale up and add a second city to its service in response to demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The company has also extended its trial partnership with German discount supermarket retailer Lidl into a multi-year arrangement. Buymie also delivers groceries from Tesco to customers.
Estonia: Selver acquires Comarket supermarket chain
Estonian supermarket Selver has signed a deal by which it has acquired the Comarket chain of supermarkets. Selver, which is owned by the Tallinna Kaubamaja Group, will also acquire two branches of the Delice supermarket as well as the Solaris food store, in addition to the 16 Comarket outlets. "It has been a long-term strategic goal for Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp to expand our operations in the area of supermarkets and this deal helps us achieve it", said Raul Puusepp, Tallinna Kaubamaja Group AS board chair.
Carrefour Brasil's Q1 sales rise 12.5% as coronavirus boosts e-commerce
Brazilian food retailer Carrefour Brasil SA reported a 12.5% rise in first-quarter gross revenue from the same period a year ago, with the coronavirus outbreak boosting sales in all formats, especially its food e-commerce. Excluding gasoline, total gross sales hit 15.197bln reais ($2.69bln) in the quarter, the local subsidiary of France’s Carrefour SA said in a securities filing. On a like-for-like basis, excluding calendar effect, gross sales rose by 7.6% year-on-year. Online sales under the flagship Carrefour brand more than tripled.
Rappi trials robot food deliveries in Colombia
In response to COVID-19, Rappi has partnered with Colombian technology business KiwiBot to trial using robots for last mile food deliveries. The aim is to fulfil safe food deliveries, which reduce face-to-face contact and, therefore, prevent spreading the virus further. To protect customers’ safety, the robots are thoroughly disinfected before and after each delivery. “We believe that by partnering with technology we will be able to continue meeting our aim of safely making people’s lives easier, especially in situations like the one we find ourselves in,” said Matias Laks, Rappi Country Manager for Colombia.
US: Stop & Shop, Union call for grocery workers to be classified as first responders
The supermarket chain Stop & Shop and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are calling on federal and state governments to designate associates at grocery stores as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.” In a joint statement, Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid and UFCW International President Marc Perrone said grocery workers "are essential workers and they deserve essential protections." “Stop & Shop workers, who are also UFCW members, across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have worked to make sure that families have the food and groceries they need during these difficult times. Make no mistake, Stop & Shop associates are essential workers and they deserve essential protections," the statement reads in part.
Ocado launches its first robotic automated warehouse in North America
Ocado has announced the launch of its first robotic automated warehouse in North America, which will be used by the Empire company to begin testing orders in Ontario, Canada. Following successful completion of this test, Empire plans to begin a phased rollout of its new online grocery home delivery service, named Voilà, across the Greater Toronto Area. It is the second Ocado customer fulfilment centre to be opened internationally in the past month, following the launch of a warehouse for an Ocado solutions partner in France.
US: Wegmans rolls out new way to scan and bag groceries as you shop
Wegmans has rolled out a new way customers can shop using a mobile app on their phone to scan and bag their items as they shop, reducing the time spent at the self-checkout registers. Wegmans SCAN app can now be used at Wegmans’ DeWitt store - the first store in the Syracuse-area to use the technology. The app is free.