‘J.C. Penney to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week’
According to Reuters J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week, with plans to permanently close about a quarter of its roughly 850 stores, becoming the latest major U.S. retailer to succumb to fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, according to people familiar with the matter. A bankruptcy filing would cap a long decline for the iconic 118-year-old department store chain, which struggled with a nearly $4-billion debt load and competition from e-commerce firms and discount brick-and-mortar retailers even before the pandemic’s onset.
The Plano, Texas-based company, which employs nearly 85,000 people, is in discussions with creditors for a so-called debtor-in-possession loan to bolster its finances while it navigates bankruptcy proceedings, the sources said. The loan could total between $400 million and $500 million, some of the sources said. J.C. Penney declined to comment.
Ahold Delhaize sketches out COVID-19 investment plan
This year, Ahold Delhaize plans to focus on improving in-stock levels, adapting store operations, and accelerating digital and omnichannel initiatives as part of investments in safety, relief and support during the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Frans Muller said the global food retailer already has committed €170 million ($184 million) to those efforts, with €100 million already spent in the first quarter and another €70 million carrying over into the second quarter. More will be forthcoming, he noted. He also said changing conditions make it difficult for the company to quantify future coronavirus-related investments, but the funds allocated so far provide an indication of what may be needed.
Supermarket chains begin terminating ‘hero’ pay to workers as coronavirus pandemic continues
Kroger-owned QFC and Fred Meyer have confirmed they will be ending the $2 hourly bonus added to employee wages by the end of next week after company officials told employees in internal bulletins recently to expect the extra money to be discontinued. Other supermarket chains, including Safeway and Albertson’s, have yet to decide end dates for their $2 hourly bonus plans, while Walmart’s plan for some associates is due to expire in two weeks.
“In the coming months, we know that our associates’ needs will continue to evolve and change as our world responds and recovers,” QFC spokeswoman Tiffany Sanders said in confirming that the company’s “Hero Bonus,’’ enacted March 29, will end May 16. Fred Meyer spokesman Jeffrey Temple confirmed that the chain will also end its bonus pay program on May 16.
Walmart and other superstores continue coronavirus-fueled hiring spree
Amid the carnage of the US employment report for April was one bright spot: Superstores led by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, added more than 90,000 jobs. Overall, roughly 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, the Labor Department said on Friday, a wipe-out of jobs at a rate not seen since the 1930s. The unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent, although some economists estimate the true level is closer to 20 percent due to misclassifications of workers.
Warehouse clubs, superstores and supercenters, which usually sell both groceries and other general merchandise including clothing and appliances, saw such an uptick in demand that an additional 93,400 workers were hired last month. That was a record for that sector and nearly double the next-highest increase in November 2007 as the economy was about to enter the 2007-2009 Great Recession.
Target Corp. plans to buy technology assets from last-mile delivery specialist Deliv.
Menlo Park, Calif.-based Deliv provides crowdsourced, last-mile logistics for same-day delivery services to more than 4,000 merchants and businesses in 35 markets and 1,400 cities, including food retailers and restaurants. In its announcement yesterday, Target specified that it aims to acquire the startup’s last-mile batched delivery platform, but not the company itself. No financial terms were disclosed. However, Target said Deliv founder and CEO Daphne Carmeli and members of the Deliv team could be joining the Minneapolis-based discount store chain “as we research and develop how we’ll use this technology in the future.” Target noted that Deliv’s proprietary last-mile platform would help the retailer deliver packages faster and reduce shipping costs, while fitting into its omnichannel strategy that positions stores at the center of digital order fulfillment.
Asda in Kettering and Rushden adds hundreds more order slots with new electric vans
Asda has increased the number of click and collect orders available at Kettering and Rushden by adding electric vehicles to their fleet of vans. The supermarket is using the new electric vans to move food between the store and the click and collect lockers, a task that was previously done using home delivery vans. Asda said: "By using these vehicles to fill the lockers, the vans are freed up to deliver even more orders to customers' homes." The supermarket has rolled out the electric vans at 48 stores, including Kettering and Rushden, and will create 27,000 more click and collect orders a week across all the stores. On average, that should mean there will be a few hundred more slots available in Kettering and Rushden.
Source: Northamptonshire Telegraph
CMA does not have ‘any concerns’ over Nisa following price-hike complaints
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has contacted Nisa following consumer complaints about price rises in Nisa sites. A leaked document to retailers from Nisa, seen by betterRetailing, stated: “Last week we were approached by the CMA following a number of consumer complaints about unusually high prices in Nisa partner stores. “We are aware that in some instances this has been down to products coming off promotion, newly introduced lines or pricing being higher on some substituted lines,” it read. “But, we would advise where this is the case, you highlight the reasons for the higher prices, either on the shelf edge or on posters around the store, to avoid consumer confusion and frustration.” The CMA’s ‘taskforce guidance information’, also seen by betterRetailing, shows the regulator has written to 187 traders that had received a total of 2,500 complaints about price rises.
New Southampton city centre Lidl supermarket to create 40 new jobs
Budget retailer Lidl hopes to open a new store at the junction of The Avenue and Banister Road. Positioned on the site of the former H.A Fox Jaguar showroom, it is hoped the multi-million-pound supermarket will be open this autumn. The brownfield site will be transformed to create 1,329m² of shopping space. With an in-store bakery, Lidl reports the retail project would create 40 new jobs. A spokesperson for the chain said: “We are looking forward to bringing a new Lidl store to Banister Road, and hope to open in the autumn.”
Aldi looking to progress with new retail park store
Aldi has lodged plans for signs on its approved premises at Gateside Retail Park, on the town’s western edge. The supermarket chain confirmed at the beginning of the year that it would be closing its store on the town’s Whittingehame Drive as part of the move. The current 17 members of staff at the town centre business will move to the new store, which will be 50 per cent larger than the existing premises. Work on the retail park has ground to a halt due to the coronavirus, with the site’s opening date now unknown. The Food Warehouse, part of the Iceland brand, has also been confirmed as one of the five businesses at the site. Home Bargains and Costa are thought to be keen to move to the retail park, which is sandwiched between the A199 and B6471. The retail park was approved at the end of last year and will feature three major stores, two restaurants, including one drive-thru, and about 300 parking spaces.
Source: East Lothian Courier
Morrisons expands next day delivery to Amazon Prime customers
Supermarket chain Morrisons says it is expanding its same-day, online grocery delivery service to Amazon Prime members, covering most of London and more cities across the UK. In March this year the service was only operating from 17 Morrisons stores in eight cities across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. Now the supermarket giant has announced plans to extend the service to over 40 stores by the end of May, including Leeds and Sheffield. Most of these locations are live today and can be accessed by shopping the Morrisons store on Prime Now – either on the app, or at primenow.amazon.co.uk. Customers can choose from delivery options including delivery at no additional cost within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight.
Source: Telegraph & Argus