US: Walmart's employee bonuses near one billion USD
Walmart has already paid out $550 million in employee bonuses during the coronavirus pandemic, and it announced an additional $390 million. This $390 million will be distributed as $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary associates who were employed by the company as of June 5. The bonuses will be distributed on June 25. The first special cash bonus, with the same payout amounts for individual associates, was distributed on April 2. Walmart also accelerated the payout for the Q1 associate incentive bonuses to April 30 to provide more cash in hand sooner. These three rounds of cash bonuses equate to more than $935 million so far this year.
Source: Progressive Grocer
US: Three ways US retailers are innovating with grocery ecommerce
RetailAnalysis.igd.com did some research on how retailers are innovating with grocery ecommerce. Mid-west based Hy-Vee has introduced a new express pickup option as port of its Aisles Online grocery ordering service. For an additional fee of $9.95, customers can collect their shopping within two hours of ordering. Giant Eagle has converted an existing store to a dark store model to support its grocery ecommerce service. The store, has added over 100 employees to its 60 existing associates and created more than 40 dedicated parking spaces. The store has also developed a contactless model, with customer orders delivered directly into their cars. Kroger and Whole Foods Market are among other retailers which have adapted existing stores in this way. Albertsons has partnered with Nuance Communications to deploy virtual assistants and live chat solutions to customers shopping online. The AI-powered application assists customers through their shopping experience and provides real-time answers to customer inquiries such as how the delivery service works, item availability, online order tracking status, and store locations and hours.
Source: Retail Analysis
US: J.C. Penney in talks for $450 million loan as it eyes Friday bankruptcy filing
Retailer J.C. Penney is trying to get its hands on $450 million in loans, CNBC reports. The first half of the financing would avoid possible bankruptcy, but J.C. Penney would have hit certain goals to receive the second half of it. J.C. Penney would be able to draw $225 million on the first day, and then have to achieve certain milestones before they can receive the second half of the loan. The company is planning to file for bankruptcy as soon as Friday, though that timing could still be delayed, one of the people said. It’s working on a plan that would contemplate closing 180 to 200 stores while in bankruptcy.
US: Amazon says delivery speed returning to normal after Covid-19 crush
Amazon.com says the one- and two-day delivery times that shoppers have come to expect should gradually return in coming weeks as the online retailer catches up from a demand surge tied to the coronavirus outbreak. The company on Sunday lifted restrictions on the amount of inventory its suppliers can send to Amazon warehouses and is shortening delivery times - which had stretched for weeks for some products since the outbreak began - back to days. Amazon spends months preparing for the surge in consumer demand that usually comes during the holiday season. The Covid-19 outbreak that closed many retail brick-and-mortar stores and sent millions of shoppers online created a month's worth of Black Friday spending without warning. Once Amazon fell behind, it took several weeks and hiring 175,000 people to get back on track.
Italy: Spar Italy records a €3.6 billion turnover in 2019
DeSpar Italia released its 2019 annual results, recording sales of €3.6 billion, a growth of 3% year-on-year. In 2019, Spar Italy partners invested over €95 million in its retail store networks, expanding its footprint through new store openings and upgrading existing stores to the latest world class standards from SPAR. Upgrading SPAR retail stores to the latest industry standards is an important way to constantly provide customers with the highest service standards in modern stores, while introducing features that contribute towards environmental sustainability. The buying turnover for DESPAR own brand also increased significantly in 2019, to €353.8 million, a +5.7% rise from 2018. This reflects the ongoing growth of own brand share out of total food sales, which attained 19.8%. The buying turnover for Own Brand products is estimated to be growing at 3% in 2020.
Sweden: Lidl to introduce electric trucks to the supply chain
In a partnership that began in 2017, Lidl and the Swedish electric and self-driving vehicle company Einride are aiming to electrify and automate deliveries to the supermarket’s locations across Sweden. This model, along with its lessons and successes, will soon be expanded to other operations in Sweden, Europe, and eventually, to the US. The project aligns with Lidl Sweden’s vision of “setting new standards to build climate neutral stores, to in this case, reducing emissions in the supply chain to the stores. The partnership will see the regular transport routes between Lidl’s central warehouse and their stores in Stockholm shift to deliveries that are powered by electric trucks this autumn. Electrification is the short term plan, with automation said to be coming in the next phase.
UK: Brit sells vital Tesco delivery slots for £30 to fund holiday
An opportunistic Briton has made a huge profit during the coronavirus crisis by selling vital supermarket delivery slots for up to £30 a go. A woman of 42 years old has revealed she has been block-booking supermarket delivery slots from major supermarket chains including Tesco, and then re-selling them for up to six-times their original price. The mother-of-two has admitted to booking up to 10 delivery slots per week through supermarket websites and a newly-found network of online sellers. She has defended her actions and insisted her customers are more than willing to pay for her services and branded herself a “community helper”. She said she stumbled across the idea after losing her job during the COVID-19 crisis working at a beautician.
UK: retail sales plunge 19% in April as COVID lockdown hits; supermarket sales up 14%
British retail spending plunged by nearly a fifth in April as the government’s coronavirus lockdown hammered the sector, and a broader measure of consumer spending tumbled by more than a third, surveys showed on Wednesday. The British Retail Consortium said its members reported a 19.1% drop in total sales last month compared with April last year, the biggest fall since it began its monthly index in 1995. Barclaycard said spending at pubs and restaurants had fallen by 97%, but supermarket sales were up by 14%.