France: Amazon expects to extend France warehouse closures to 18 May
The six French Amazon warehouses’ closure could get extended until the 18th of May. The warehouses have been closed as of April the 16th, after court rulings ordering the retailer to restrict deliveries during the covid-19 pandemic. “Our fulfilment centres are safe. However, the potential penalty outlined by the Versailles Court of Appeal means that even a rate of 0.1% of handling or shipping items that are not included in the judgement could lead to a fine of more than a billion euros per week,” Amazon said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this means we have no option but to keep our fulfilment centres in France temporarily closed. We therefore anticipate a further extension of the temporary closure until 18 May.”
UK: Supermarket behaviour at a record high, survey reveals
The UK’s supermarkets have achieved a record improvement in their dealings with groceries suppliers, new research reveals. Early analysis of suppliers’ responses to the annual groceries sector survey shows that retailer compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is at an all-time high. Nearly 1,500 direct suppliers to the 13 regulated retailers completed the survey and just 36% said they had experienced a Code-related issue at any point in the past 12 months – down from 41% in 2019. This is a striking result as the survey period included three weeks when the sector was facing the challenge of huge increases in consumer buying of certain products as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Source: Talking Retail
UAE: Carrefour brings Ramadan essentials to those in need
Carrefour, which is operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the region, has now launched a donation campaign across its UAE stores that invites shoppers to provide boxes of essential Ramadan items to families in need during the holy month. The move is in a partnership with the Emirates Red Crescent charity, the initiative encourages customers to purchase boxes worth between 50-100 AED online or in Carrefour stores across the UAE. “During a month devoted to empathy and understanding, we are humbled to play our part in strengthening the community. Our collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent aligns with our approach to supporting people, especially during difficult times. This campaign aims to distribute the donated boxes on behalf of our customers for their convenience and peace of mind, while encouraging them to share in the generosity. We want the community to know that Carrefour is here for them and we hope we can help as many families as possible this Ramadan,” said Philippe Peguilhan, country manager, Carrefour UAE at Majid Al Futtaim Retail.
Source: Retail & Leisure International
Denmark: Nemlig delivers when customers aren’t at home
Online supermarket Nemlig has launched its largest geographical expansion in Denmark. This week, and in the coming weeks, Nemlig.com will open new delivery areas in Jylland, Fyn, Sjælland and Nykøbing Falster. The supermarket also introduces a delivery method where customers no longer need to be at home, in the form of flexible delivery. This means customers don’t need to be at home, although the driver must have free access to place the goods wherever the customer wants. This place must be reachable by trolley and within a reasonable distance from where the driver has parked the van. “We recommend that you choose a place where the boxes can stay dry and in the shade.”
China: Spar opens six new stores across China amid lockdown
At the time, China’s initial plan for its nationwide quarantine was the largest in history, spanning over 20 provinces during the Covid-19 outbreaks peak, with Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, being the first city to be put under lockdown in late January. The scale was ambitious and not without challenges. A number of businesses are now resuming operations. Notably, Spar China has expanded its presence in the country, opening six new supermarkets between 13 March and 1 May in the provinces of Guangdong, Beijing and Shandong. The stores primarily focus on offering local and essential goods in an accessible format, and have online and home delivery options.
Source: Retail Insight
Westchester grocery chain takes reservations to help keep social distancing
One Westchester County grocery store chain is already embracing the new normal of shopping in a post-COVID-19 world, by having customers place reservations ahead of time before entering the store in order to ensure social distancing. DeCicco & Sons was one of the first supermarket chains in the county to put up plexiglass at their registers and now their customers can reserve a designated time slot to go shopping at their grocery stores. Customers can simply log onto the OpenTable app, choose the grocery store, pick the time and date they want to get their groceries and simply show up on time and shop. However, if you are waiting in line, DiCicco’s says that the time in line will not increase.
Amazon.com asks for federal law against price gouging during national emergencies
Online retailer Amazon.com urged Congress on Wednesday to pass a law against price gouging during times of national emergency. Price-gouging is not usually illegal but can be in certain states if there is an emergency, like during a hurricane or the current pandemic. In a blog post, Brian Huseman, a vice president of public policy at Amazon, noted that different states had different definitions of gouging and that some fight gouging using consumer-protection statutes. “The disparate standards among states present a significant challenge for retailers working to assist law enforcement, protect consumers, and comply with the law,” Huseman wrote. In response to the price-gouging criticism, Huseman said Amazon had removed more than a half million items from stores, suspended nearly 4,000 selling accounts in the U.S. store, and given information to federal prosecutors and state attorneys about these sellers. Huseman argued for a law that would come into force if a national emergency is declared, be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the states, and which would define gouging.
Coronavirus prompts Amazon to convert more Whole Foods locations to online delivery only
Amazon is converting more of its Whole Foods locations to online delivery only to keep up with the increased demand for groceries while mitigating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “With stay-at-home orders in place, customers have generated unprecedented demand for grocery delivery," a spokesperson for Whole Foods Market said. "As we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19, we continue to find ways to increase delivery availability while navigating safety measures and social distancing.” So far, the company has converted five stores in its New York City (Bryant Park), San Francisco (SOMA), Baltimore, Austin, Texas, and Castle Rock, Colorado, locations. Additionally, Whole Foods will shut the doors of its DePaul store in Chicago and convert it to online delivery only effective Wednesday at 4 p.m. central time.
King Soopers worker pleads for grocery store to mandate masks for customers
As the state begins to reopen, the fear for frontline workers in grocery stores contracting COVID-19 is growing. Some communities require face masks, but it's not a mandate across the state of Colorado. And enforcing the face-covering policy can quickly take a turn. There have been reports of fights over enforcing the policy and in Michigan, a security guard was fatally shot after telling a customer their child had to wear a mask. Carol Foster has been a loyal King Soopers employee for five years and after taking a four-month leave from work, she's set to return at the end of May. "I'm really scared because not every customer wears a mask," Foster said. She is 70 years old and suffers from asthma, which puts her at a higher risk for serious illness if she contracts COVID-19. "I don't have a choice; I have to earn a living," Foster said. "I have to support myself."
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