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SpartanNash: Food distribution and retail sales lifted by double digits

Southeastern Grocers plans to expand in Florida with 8 new Winn-Dixie stores

US: Wegmans rethinks approach to store openings amid COVID-19 crisis
As the nation slowly reopens after months in lockdown mode during the coronavirus pandemic, Wegmans Food Markets plans a more cautious approach to opening new stores. Wegmans said that it will now give a targeted time frame for when a new location will open its doors to customers. For this year, the Rochester, New York-based regional grocer has announced plans to open three stores, in Harrison, New York; West Cary, North Carolina; and Tysons Corner, Virginia. Because social distancing requirements continue across Wegmans’ Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market area, the chain also said it will suspend grand-opening events.

US: SpartanNash reports top- and bottom-line gains in first quarter
Coronavirus-driven demand lifted food distribution and retail sales at SpartanNash by double digits in the fiscal 2020 first quarter, with earnings per share exceeding the high end of Wall Street’s projections. For the 16 weeks ended April 18, net sales totaled $2.86bln, up 12.4% from $2.54bln in the prior-year period, SpartanNash said. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based grocery distributor and retailer attributed the gain to higher sales in all business segments during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to growth with existing food distribution customers.

Most Americans still prefer in-store shopping
Although the coronavirus pandemic initially pushed grocery shoppers to online methods, most still prefer to shop in stores. In particular, consumers prefer to pick their own perishables, such as produce. Freshness of vegetables and fruits was found to be a concern that could hamper the growth of online grocery shopping, according to Radiant Insights Inc. 

US: Southeastern Grocers to open 8 Winn-Dixie stores
Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), parent company of Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket, and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has revealed plans to expand in Florida with eight new Winn-Dixie stores before the end of this year. The Jacksonville, Florida-based retailer is converting its recently acquired Lucky’s Market locations in Fort Myers, Gainesville, Lake Mary and Melbourne, as well as the Earth Fare stores it just obtained in Boynton Beach, Jacksonville, Lakewood Ranch and Viera.

Amazon announces 5 new utility-scale solar projects to power global operations in China, Australia and the U.S.
Amazon announced 5 new renewable energy projects in China, Australia and the U.S. that further support Amazon’s commitment to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 (and potentially as early as 2025), as well as to reach net zero carbon by 2040. Amazon’s first renewable energy project in China is a 100 megawatt (MW) solar project in Shandong. Once complete, the project is expected to generate 128,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean energy annually.

UK: Costcutter back in the black after “outstanding year”
Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) has returned to profit on the back of a strong year of sales, according to results filed at Companies House this week. Sales increased by 10% to £426mln for the period Jan 1 to Dec 31 2019, with EBITDA increasing by over £9mln to +£5.1mln. Ceo Darcy Willson-Rymer said: “2019 has been an outstanding year for CSG, delivering one of our strongest set of results to date”. Willson-Rymer attributed the results to the performance of the group’s Shopper First initiative, which creates a demographic map for each trading location, enabling retailers to refine their store offer more closely to their specific customer base.

FamilyMart Japan: 5% of stores to trade shorter hours
FamilyMart in Japan has announced that 787 of its stores will officially implement shorter business hours beginning June 1. Of the FamilyMart stores that have adjusted trading hours, about 70% operate on a truncated schedule every day, while the remaining have only shortened business hours on Sundays. For the reasons to adjusting trading hours, The Mainichi reports: 57.5% of the stores cited a “labour shortage”, while others claimed “having few night time visitors” (18.9%) and others “to improve the work environment” (16.1%).

UAE: Carrefour responds with ‘Click and Collect’, a faster and more flexible online shopping
Carrefour, operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE, is introducing Click and Collect, a new service that will give online shoppers added flexibility and convenience with their order. Carrefour online customers now have the option to collect their orders from select locations. Carrefour launched Click and Collect to address increased demand for online shopping in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. The new service allows shoppers to fill their online grocery baskets, place an order, select the store they wish to pick up their items from, and a timeslot that fits their schedule. Groceries will be carefully packaged and stored, where necessary refrigerated, until customers pick up their orders from participating Click and Collect stores.

Israeli supermarket chain Shufersal Q1 profit, revenue jump
Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, reported sharply higher quarterly net profit due to shopping for the Passover holiday and the coronavirus outbreak. Shufersal said it earned 90mln shekels ($26mln) in the first quarter, up from 48mln a year earlier. Revenue rose 19% to 3.7bln shekels. Same store sales increased 17.5%. Its online sales accounted for 17.5% of its total food sales in the quarter, up from 16% a year earlier. This number rose to 19.7% in April.

Casino plans further 300 convenience stores in France by next year: Report
French retailer Casino plans to open a further 300 convenience stores to tap into growing customer demand for proximity, its boss told the Le Figaro newspaper. "The future of food retailing is to be as close as possible to clients. This is why we are going to open nearly 300 convenience stores by next year", chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri said, pointing to a strong performance since France started easing its eight-week lockdown on 11 May. "The end of lockdown confirmed very good activity at proximity stores, supermarkets and e-commerce ... In contrast, hypermarket sales remain in clear decline", he added.

Philippines: Puregold expands online grocery footprint for new normal
Puregold Price Club Inc said it would expand its online grocery service as consumers take their purchases online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 100 Puregold stores from the current 40 stores on its mobile app will offer online shopping by the end of 2020, the supermarket chain operator said in a statement. "This will provide our shoppers better convenience especially now that travel is limited due to quarantine", Puregold said.

UK: Supermarket REIT and BAPTL form JV
Supermarket Income REIT, a UK supermarket real estate investor, has formed a 50:50 joint venture with British Airways Pension Trustees Limited (BAPTL) acting on behalf of the British Airways Pension Fund to acquire from British Land Plc a 25.5% stake in one of the UK's largest portfolios of supermarket properties for GBP102mln. The Company’s contribution to the JV is GBP51mln, excluding costs which will be satisfied from its existing cash balances and credit facilities. The Portfolio consists of 26 Sainsbury’s supermarkets. It is a geographically diverse high quality portfolio of stores with a London and south east bias. It was created through two sale and leaseback transactions by Sainsbury’s in 2000. Following this transaction, the freeholds of the properties are now owned by Sainsbury’s (49%), Aviva (25.5%) and the JV (25.5%).

China: Hong Kong retailers urge restrictions on landlord action amid slump
Hong Kong’s biggest retailer association has urged the local government to protect tenants from legal action or eviction for at least 9 months even if they are unable to pay rent due to the impact of protests and virus restrictions. Retailers in the financial hub have been battered by months of anti-government unrest that escalated in June last year, and the outbreak of coronavirus has sent many to the brink of collapse. “The retail industry is facing a critical moment of life and death,” Annie Yau Tse, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA), said in an open letter to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

SPAR Hungary rolls out sustainable packaging nationwide after successful trials
Following a successful test period, SPAR Hungary has now expanded the use of various eco-friendly packaging solutions in all SPAR stores nationwide. Launched last year, the range helps to cut down on the use of plastic and includes reusable bags for fruit & vegetables and bakery products, as well as multi-use silicone lids for certain SPAR Own Brand dairy products and sandwich spreads.

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