Analysts expect higher net income from Walmart amid COVID-19 crisis
Walmart is one of the U.S. and global retailers that has remained open during COVID-19. The Bentonville-based retailer is set to report first-quarter earnings before the market opens on May 19. Wall Street expects a solid performance from the retail giant. The average earnings-per-share estimate is $1.17, which would be 4 cents better than the results a year ago. Net income is expected to range between $3.179 billion and $3.318 billion, which would compare to $3.262 billion a year ago.
Ahold Delhaize USA ramps up cold storage capacity
Ahold Delhaize USA announced a partnership with cold storage provider Americold to build two fully-automated frozen warehouses as part of its supply chain transformation plan. Thanks to this partnership, Ahold Delhaize USA will expand its cold storage space by 500,000 square feet. The facility in Plainville, Connecticut, will serve Stop & Shop and Hannaford stores in the Northeast, while the one in Mountville, Pennsylvania, will serve Giant Food and Food Lion stores in the Mid-Atlantic. Both facilities will include enhanced automation and technology, such as an integrated transportation management system, and end-to-end forecasting and replenishment technology, designed to support the omnichannel experience and multi-channel growth.
Food sales stay strong in April despite U.S. retail sales plunge
Food and grocery sales remain high despite a partial leveling off in April, which saw overall U.S. retail sales fall nearly twice as much as in March. Sales at food and beverage stores for April (seasonally adjusted) rose 12% year over year but declined 13.1% from March, according to advance estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The month-over-month decrease reflects the falloff from sales jumps of 29.3% year over year and 26.9% month to month in March, when consumers rushed to stores and flocked online to stock up on food and essential supplies as the coronavirus outbreak escalated across the country.
Some chains to end "hero bonuses" but Target to keep paying
As Kroger and other retailers end hourly "hero" pay increases for front-line workers, Target says it is extending the temporary pay boost for its employees. Kroger said last week it would end its "Hero Bonus" pay program on May 17, no longer rewarding workers for staying on essential jobs during the pandemic. Other major chains — including Amazon and Starbucks — are expected to end hazard pay at the end of May, according to online business journals. One notable exception was Grand Rapids-based Meijer, which told hourly employees Friday that it would keep paying a $2-per-hour bonus at least through June 20, according to a company spokesman.
Grocery shoppers won't return to the high street once lockdown lifts
Nearly 22 per cent of consumers who had never done any online grocery shopping before the pandemic are now doing so. Online grocery sales in Britain seem set to surge permanently following the lifting of coronavirus lockdown. The survey reveals that nearly 22 per cent of consumers who had never shopped online for groceries are now doing so. Moreover, the percentage of consumers doing at least 50 per cent of their grocery shopping via the internet is also expected to increase from under 20 per cent to over 30 per cent.
100,000 frontliners to get 'pandemic bonus'
More employers are giving one-time incentives to heroes of the COVID-19 crisis. Australia’s second-largest supermarket chain is giving staff members a ‘thank you’ bonus for moving ‘record volumes of stock onto our shelves’ during a critical phase in the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 100,000 employees at Coles will receive a one-time bonus for working through March and April when the retailer “experienced an unprecedented level of demand and the pressure on our stores, sites, distribution centres and facilities were intense,” CEO Steven Cain wrote in a memo.
Alibaba Builds Shanghai’s First High-Tech Hema Village
Alibaba’s Hema Fresh supermarket brand recently completed construction on its first Hema Village in the Shanghai area — a digital agriculture base that will produce Cuiguan pears. The facility is located on Chongming Island, near the coast to the north of Shanghai’s urban center. This project represents the first step toward realizing the development strategy outlined by Hema in collaboration with the Shanghai Municipal Government. The Cuiguan pears produced there in the future will directly supply Hema Fresh’s online and offline supermarket platform.
Cuiguan pears are characterized by their thin skins, small cores, juiciness and sweet taste. They typically hit the market between approximately July and August each year. This year in particular, many growers of this pear variety have reportedly been inundated with advance orders and inquiries. This spike in interest can be attributed to a wordplay in Chinese on the name “Cuiguan pears,” which conveys the sentiment “may the coronavirus be gone soon.” Some growers have had their produce pre-ordered right through until next year and have even been receiving inquiries from overseas buyers.
Convenience stores take 20% of volume from multiples
A spokesperson for Costcutter said frozen figures in particular are triple what would normally be expected. The independent convenience sector has taken 20% of order volumes from the multiples, according to Costcutter retail director Mike Hollis. In an update about the coronavirus sent to the symbol group’s retailers last month, Hollis said: “At the start, the multiples had a big spike in volume, but they’re now seeing their demand slowing. Their on-shelf availability is better because of this, but according to the insight we’re getting, they’re 20% below in terms of volume from what they’d expect at this time of the year."