How big unions smooth the way for Amazon worker protests
Warehouse employees last month staged a walkout in Michigan to demand safer working conditions at their facility. So did workers in New York, Illinois and Minnesota. These and other Amazon.com Inc employees across the country are seizing on the coronavirus to demand the world’s largest online retailer to offer more paid sick time and temporarily shut warehouses with infections for deep cleaning. Employees in at least 11 states this year have voiced their concerns and staged actions to highlight a variety of purported workplace deficiencies, allegations the company has denied.
US: Schnucks to open new natural store format
Schnuck Markets Inc. announced it is introducing EatWell, A Natural Food Store by Schnucks, a new store format in Columbia, Missouri, focused on consumers prioritizing health and wellness, natural foods “and the occasional splurge”, according to the company. Schnucks’ EatWell store will open in early summer 2020 at 111 South Providence Road in Columbia at a former Lucky’s Market purchased by Schnucks during a bankruptcy auction earlier this year. Schnucks is currently remodeling the 42,000-square-foot store in preparation for the new format.
Canada: FreshCo forges ahead with Western rollout
COVID-19 isn’t halting FreshCo’s push into Western Canada. The discount banner, owned by Empire Company, recently opened stores in Kamloops and Kelowna, B.C., in former Safeway locations. Three more FreshCo stores are opening in the coming weeks in Williams Lake, Powell River and Vernon, B.C. All five stores were originally supposed to open in the spring, but were delayed by the pandemic, as construction was slowed and safety measures had to be implemented in the stores. “Our number-one priority is the health and safety of our customers, our teammates and our community… so we’ve been taking every precaution that we know of,” says Mike Venton, general manager, discount, Sobeys Inc., a subsidiary of Empire Company.
Patriotic Poles led astray by mis-labelled Ukrainian cucumbers
Local supermarket Biedronka has been mis-labelling goods including Belgian carrots and Ukrainian cucumbers as home grown, Poland’s anti-monopoly office said. The watchdog said Biedronka, part of Portuguese retail group Jeronimo Martins, had labelled the imported vegetables as Polish at a time when many Poles were making “patriotic” shopping choices. The government has encouraged Poles to buy Polish products to support the local economy during the coronavirus crisis. Tomasz Chrostny, who heads the anti-monopoly watchdog UOKiK, said consumers had complained that labels in the Biedronka chain stores were misleading as to the country of origin of fruit and vegetables.
South Korea: Lotte Shopping speeds up store-exit plan
South Korean retail group Lotte Shopping will sell off 121 stores this year in an attempt to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sales. The company says it will close 5 department stores, 16 discount stores, 75 supermarkets and 25 physical stores linked to its online mall LOHB within this year. The move accelerates Lotte’s existing plans to sell roughly 200 stores to refocus on e-commerce.
Australia: Woolworths to offer checkout-free service using app to scan, buy products
An increased offering of checkout-free self-service when paying for your groceries could be a consideration for the future of Australian supermarket giant Woolworths post-coronavirus. An exclusive report by the Australian Financial Review revealed along with checkout-free buying, digital assistants and widespread online shopping have all been put on fast forward as consumers’ appetite for digital options increased “by years” because of the pandemic. Managing director of the store’s WooliesX digital innovation division, Amanda Bardwell, told the publication the company had seen lasting changes in consumers’ willingness to embrace digital channels. Ms Bardwell said social distancing concerns had spurred more customers to take part in its trials in some stores of contactless shopping, where items are scanned with a mobile app and paid for without interacting with a checkout. With the app, customers are able to scan products with their smartphone as they walk through the store and pay in the app before tapping off at a kiosk in the self-serve area or dedicated Scan&Go lane.
Denmark: Netto completes transformation of 100 stores to 'Netto 3.0'
Salling Group’s Netto retail chain has announced that it has renovated its 100th store to its Netto 3.0 store format. The transformation project, which has seen several Netto stores adopting the new format, started a year ago. Braw Bakir, sales director at Netto, said: “We want to create discount stores of the future, and we want to make the stores more inviting and the shopping experience better. We have come a long way and are now making an important milestone with the first 100 stores that have been fully renovated and improved”.
India: Reliance launches JioMart online grocery service, challenging Amazon, Flipkart
Reliance Industries Ltd has launched an online grocery service, JioMart, the head of its grocery retail business said, in a move aimed at rivalling Amazon.com’s local unit and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart in the huge Indian market. JioMart will deliver groceries in more than 200 towns across the country, Damodar Mall, chief executive of grocery retail at the Indian conglomerate, said on Twitter.
Spain: Mercadona sees growth in the sales of sweet corn and canned peas
Spanish retailer Mercadona has seen a 20% increase in the sales of sweet corn and canned peas due to changes in consumer habits in summer. People prefer lighter dishes during the season and sweet corn is used in the preparing salads, while peas go into stews, salads and garnishes, the retailer added. The retailer sources its corn and peas from locally grown crops in Navarra, Albacete and Zaragoza. The products are canned and packed by its supplier Cidacos in its facilities in Autol, La Rioja.
Germany: Lidl restructures purchasing to become more price aggressive
Lidl is to become more price aggressive, including a stronger focus on its digital loyalty card Lidl Plus and on special offers: according to Lebensmittel Zeitung, these are the management's recent orders. As a recession looms as a result of the corona pandemic, the retailer wants to be well prepared. A prime target is its purchasing department. German purchasing director Jan Bock will now take up an international position within the group and will concentrate mainly on purchasing in Belgium, Czechia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. His arrival gives international sourcing director food Christoph Pohl more time to focus on private labels, fruits and vegetables and the supply chain - issues that are vital to sharpen the retailer's price positioning.
South Africa: Spar Group says COVID-19 will impact operations 'for the foreseeable future'
South Africa's Spar Group has said that both its domestic and Europe-based operations have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it expects the remainder of the year to be 'extremely challenging' in all markets. Announcing its six month results to the end of March, in which it saw group turnover rise by 10.1%, but operating profit fall 3.4%, Spar Group said that the pandemic has created a 'real risk' to retail sales, and consequently to its wholesale business. 'This situation will be further aggravated by expected economic slowdown, possible increases in unemployment and additional pressure on already financially-constrained consumers,' it said.
China: NetEase and JD.com set dates for $5bln Hong Kong listings
Chinese technology company NetEase plans to carry out a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on June 11, which will be followed one week later by web retailer JD.com, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The two transactions could raise a combined $5bln, separate sources said, and the deals would be the largest for Hong Kong’s equity capital markets so far this year. The sources could not be named because the information has not yet been made public.