UK: Sainsbury's new boss Roberts faces unexpected in-tray
When Sainsbury’s new boss Simon Roberts hosts a virtual focus group with supermarket shoppers on his first day in charge on Monday, the conversation will be radically different from the one he might have imagined when he got the job. In late January, Britain’s second largest supermarket group by sales after Tesco announced retail and operations director Roberts would succeed Mike Coupe as chief executive after his 6 years in the job. Roberts has to figure out which changes will survive into post-lockdown times and how much money to plough into online delivery and technology. He also has to assess the optimum configuration of Sainsbury’s store estate - currently over 600 supermarkets, 800 convenience stores and 573 standalone Argos stores.
Italy: Esselunga expands its proximity store presence
Esselunga revealed it intends to expand its La Esse banner after launching the first proximity store in November 2019. The retailer plans to open its La Esse banner in cities such as Genoa, Livorno and Mantua. Esselunga expects to invest €300mln to open 12 La Esse over the next 18 months. The retailer claims its growth strategy focuses on meeting shoppers’ need for increased convenience. Therefore, Esselunga is implementing a multichannel approach, combining the best elements of its ecommerce store and its traditional supermarkets.
Malaysia: 7-Eleven sales surge on store network expansion
7-Eleven Malaysia sales grew by 6.1% in the first quarter of this year, largely on the back of 34 new store openings. Total sales grew by US$8.2mln during the quarter to $142mln and profit attributable to shareholders rose by 1.9% to $2.6mln. Same-store sales were up 1.9%. CEO Colin Harvey said the company’s strategic roadmap of strengthening assortment, supply chain, operational excellence, store base and digitally enabling the organisation continues to bear fruit.
Alibaba extends its reach in China as coronavirus outbreak opens doors
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is emerging as one of China’s biggest corporate winners of the coronavirus crisis, gaining the opportunity to expand its businesses and solidify its status as a critical part of the country’s socio-economic engine. While many companies are hurting from disruption caused by the virus, Alibaba has seen traffic at its online marketplaces shoot higher and demand grow for services like food delivery. Local authorities have even turned to its cloud business to build health-tracking apps. The company, which emerged as China’s leading e-commerce company after the 2003 SARS outbreak, is now positioning itself as a hirer and a lender too, advertising for over 100,000 jobs and offering billions of dollars in loans to small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) at a time when many others are retrenching.
US: Online grocery shoppers favor Walmart during pandemic, survey shows
Walmart was the top choice of U.S. online grocery customers during March and April, with 47% of these shoppers ordering from the retailer, according to research conducted by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics company. 34% of online grocery shoppers purchased from local grocery stores, 24% used Instacart and 5% ordered via Shipt. Walmart far outdistanced rival Amazon, which attracted orders from 19% of people who bought groceries online. Amazon was the most popular choice among online grocery consumers when asked which online grocery retailer they intended to try in addition to their favorite, with 31% saying they would likely place an order from the e-commerce giant. The findings also showed that 38% of online grocery shoppers expect to maintain or increase online shopping for groceries after the pandemic subsides. The study was based on a survey conducted between April 22 and 24 of 1,500 U.S. shoppers who buy groceries at least once per week.
US: ALDI to expand Curbside Grocery Pickup availability to nearly 600 stores
ALDI is expanding its Curbside Grocery Pickup to offer even more options to customers. After a successful pilot in select markets, Curbside Grocery Pickup will be available in nearly 600 ALDI stores across the country by the end of July. "Our Curbside Grocery Pickup pilot was quickly embraced by our customers and demand for this service has continued to increase. We're pleased to be bringing this service to customers across 35 states over the next several weeks", said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI U.S. "We are always looking for ways to make the ALDI shopping experience even more convenient and accessible for everyone. Whether shopping in-store, or online for delivery or pickup, we'll continue to be here to safely serve our customers".
US: Dollar General sales surge on coronavirus-driven demand
Dollar General Corp reported its biggest rise in quarterly sales in at least 14 years, benefiting from a surge in demand from customers stocking up on groceries and household essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s net sales rose 27.6% to $8.45bln in the first quarter ended May 1, beating analysts’ estimates of $7.61bln. It was the company’s biggest jump in sales since at least February 2006, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. Dollar General’s same-store sales jumped 21.7%.
Nearly 80% of U.S. consumers shopped online for groceries since COVID-19 outbreak
More Americans are shopping online for groceries and doing it more often since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by Inmar Intelligence. Of more than 300 U.S. consumers polled, 78.7% reported shopping online for groceries after the COVID-19 outbreak, up 39% from before the pandemic, said Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Inmar, which provides data analytics and technology solutions for retailers and manufacturers. What’s more, 56.7% of respondents said they shop for groceries online more often now than before the pandemic.
US: Costco profit falls on coronavirus-related costs
Costco Wholesale Corp reported a 7.5% fall in quarterly profit, as it spent more on wages and sanitizing its warehouse clubs and halted sales of some high-margin products due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shares of the warehouse club operator fell about 2% in extended trading. Total revenue rose 7.3% to $37.27bln in the third quarter, beating estimates of $37.13bln, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Net income attributable to Costco fell to $838mln, or $1.89 per share, in the quarter ended May 10, from $906mln, or $2.05 per share, a year earlier.
US: Dollar Tree is ready for liftoff
Dollar Tree plans to ride a wave of pandemic-related sales momentum into a second quarter opportunity that the company is uniquely positioned to leverage. The deep discounter says it plans to restart renovation projects and other strategic growth initiatives in a bid to capitalize on the sales boost the company experienced during the first quarter as a result of pandemic shoppers. Looking ahead to what is expected to be a deepening economic recession, Dollar Tree plans to do everything it can to attract shoppers in financial distress.
US: E-Commerce sales records shattered in May
Brick Meets Click started monitoring e-commerce grocery sales on a monthly basis in March, and the numbers were impressive: Delivery and pickup sales had grown from $1.2bln in August 2019 to $4bln in March 2020, but fast-forward two months, and there seems to be no ceiling in sight. Sales in April increased to $5.3bln, and now the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey, fielded May 20-22, shows an additional 24% sales increase in May, to $6.6bln.