India: Online sale fails to salvage grocers
Only 10 to 15 supermarkets in the city have registered with online delivery groups, though the sales were better during the first phase of lockdown, they came plunging down after restrictions were relaxed. When the lockdown came into force following Covid-19 outbreak, many supermarkets and hotels took the online delivery route. While online delivery of food was a trend that the city had fully accepted, the doorstep delivery of groceries saw an initial surge in during the lockdown. This helped online delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato increase their customer base. The applications had also asked their users to suggest grocery retailers in their area. However, the trend seems to have waned immediately.
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Spain: Overseas Chinese supermarkets explore new ways to weather pandemic
Overseas Chinese supermarkets are gradually reopening as local governments begin easing lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, yet the businesses must find new ways to survive due to a lack of goods and employees. Asia-Union Foods, one of the largest Chinese supermarket chains in Spain, registers about 800 to 1,000 customers every day, half as many before the outbreak of the pandemic, according to Pan Wenyao, president of the supermarket chain. To make matters worse, more than half of its 70 employees quit their jobs and Spain's food manufacturers partially resumed work at the beginning of May, so a lack of food supplies is common. The supermarkets have turned to online sales, but as online orders soar, logistics distribution has lagged behind. Asia-Union Foods suspended its online sales at the end of March because of the inefficiency of local delivery. "There were too many orders and too few staff members, and I had to deliver the goods in person," said the president of Asia-Union Foods.
UK: Retailer Marks & Spencer unveils post-pandemic plan
Marks & Spencer stock surged on Wednesday despite tumbling profits, as the retailer unveiled a £1 billion coronavirus action plan and turnaround strategy. The retailer fell out of the FTSE 100 last year after years of struggles at its clothing business piled pressure on the shares. The pandemic has brought clothing sales to a near-standstill and the company has written off £145 million of unsold clothing stock, driving a 21% drop in annual profits. But the stock climbed 9% as investors welcomed the company’s plan to adapt to life with and after coronavirus. Chief Executive Steve Rowe said the world will “never be the same again,” unveiling a turnaround strategy in a bid to learn from the pandemic and capitalize on changing consumer and working habits. The retailer’s partnership with online supermarket Ocado, will be at the center of the “never the same again” strategy, with more than 6,000 food items and some clothing and home lines being added to the platform from September. Ocado signed an exclusive partnership with U.S. supermarket chain Kroger in 2018.
South Africa: Spar reports losses in half-year earnings for the period ended March 31
South Africa’s Spar Group on Thursday reported a 13.4% drop in half-year earnings, hit by losses at its restructuring Polish business, and flagged a conservative dividend due to market uncertainty amid the coronavirus crisis. The grocery chain and wholesaler, which also sells building materials and medicines, said normalised headline earnings per share (Heps) dropped to 452.7 cents, for the six months ended March 31, from 522.5 cents last year. “Owing to the uncertainty, the board has declared a conservative interim dividend and will consider the annual dividend at year-end when there is more clarity,” the company said in a statement. The grocery chain, which has been expanding in Europe amid a weak economy at home but ran into troubles in newer markets such as Ireland and Switzerland, completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in Polish deli and supermarket chain Piotr i Pawel group in October.
US: Target's online sales surge eases coronavirus pain
A surge in Target Corp’s online sales due to panic buying during the coronavirus crisis helped the big-box retailer post better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, even as it grappled with soaring operational costs. Target, like Walmart, benefited from customers stockpiling staples and cleaning products at the start of the quarter, while demand for non-staple items like beauty products, home goods and clothes rose as stimulus checks arrived late in April. Although U.S. grocers and supermarket chains have seen a monumental surge in sales during the quarter, they have little to show in terms of profit as most of their funds were spent on bonuses and overtime payments to keep stores running during the pandemic.
US: Walmart upgrades apps due to coronavirus to combine groceries with electronics and more
Shoppers can now order bananas, chicken breasts, a puzzle and a television in the same purchase on the Walmart app for curbside pickup or delivery. The retailer has combined its Walmart Grocery app with its main app to allow consumers to shop for items in multiple departments, much like a trip to one of the company's supercenter stores. Until the recent upgrade, shoppers could only pickup groceries at curbside but were able to order items from other departments for pickup in the store. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up Walmart's plans to integrate the apps because of a surge in online and mobile shopping, Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said in an interview with USA Today Wednesday.
Source: USA Today
US: Apollo Global invests $1.75 billion in U.S. supermarket operator Albertsons
Buyout firm Apollo Global Management (APO.N) said on Wednesday it has invested $1.75 billion in Albertsons Companies Inc, a sign of confidence in the debt-laden U.S. supermarket operator whose fortunes have picked up in the coronavirus outbreak. The parent of grocery chains such as Safeway, Vons and Acme for years struggled to generate enough earnings growth to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) that would allow its owners, including private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, to cash out. But the pandemic has fueled a boom in its business as consumers who stay at home buy more groceries. Albertsons said last month that its sales in March and most of April were up 34% from last year. The deal with Apollo values Albertsons at around $10 billion, excluding its $8.7 billion debt pile as of the end of February. It gives Albertsons more time and a valuation floor in its pursuit of an IPO, for which it has registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
US: Kroger is expanding its hours, expiring senior shopping hours this weekend
Kroger stores in Georgia, eastern Alabama and South Carolina are expanding hours beginning this weekend, marking a return to more traditional store hours since COVID-19 altered hours at hundreds of stores. In a news release, Kroger’s Atlanta division announced increased hours at dozens of stores that will vary by location beginning Sunday, May 24. The hours of operation will remain the same for pharmacies at the grocery stores. “The expanded hours will help maintain social distancing requirements during busy summer months,” Felix Turner, manager of corporate affairs for Kroger’s Atlanta division, said in the statement. “The safety of our customers and associates remains our top priority. Kroger will continue to maintain protective measures established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Besides the longer hours, Kroger will no longer offer the special senior hours.
US: Walmart sales jump in pandemic-hit 1Q
Customers enter a Walmart store Tuesday at 406 S. Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. Walmart weathered the pandemic crisis in the first quarter to grow revenue 8.6%, to $134.6 billion, the company said Tuesday. Despite the higher operational costs related to the pandemic, profit rose 3.9%. Walmart Inc. weathered the pandemic crisis in the first quarter to grow revenue 8.6%, to $134.6 billion, the company said Tuesday. The Bentonville-based retailer said U.S. online sales jumped 74% in the quarter as shoppers relied on its grocery delivery and curbside pickup services rather than venture to Walmart stores. Federal stimulus checks also helped drive sales, the company said.