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Hellman & Friedman to distribute its last remaining shares of Grocery Outlet

Amazon: ‘Dark’ grocery stores

US: Cub Foods chooses digital agency of record
Cub Foods has selected MSP-C as its digital marketing agency of record, marking the first time that the Stillwater, Minnesota-based supermarket banner has chosen an outside group to handle its digital marketing efforts. “We’ve been searching for the best agency to help us transform our digital presence and to better serve our shoppers”, said Darren Caudill, Cub SVP of sales, marketing and merchandising. “We found that in MSP-C. Their passion for storytelling really spoke to us, as did their ability to reach consumers in ways that matter most in our communities - all while driving sales for our organization.”

US: Hellman & Friedman to complete exit of Grocery Outlet
Hellman & Friedman, the private investor that acquired Grocery Outlet in 2014 and benefited spectacularly from gradually selling its shares on the public markets, has elected to distribute its last remaining shares to the retailer’s equity holders. “The ongoing reduction of Hellman & Friedman’s ownership stake has been a natural and expected part of Grocery Outlet’s maturation as a publicly traded corporation. Hellman & Friedman has been a valued partner since their original investment in our company in 2014”, Grocery Outlet CEO, Eric Lindberg said in a statement. “Over that time, we have expanded our leadership team and strengthened our supply chain and corporate infrastructure in order to support our long-term growth objectives”.

Amazon opens two ‘dark’ grocery stores to fill online orders
Amazon is taking the first steps toward opening its long-rumored chain of grocery stores (not in the Whole Foods or Amazon Go formats) with the opening of two locations in Woodland Hills and Irvine, California. The two stores are currently focused exclusively on fulfilling grocery delivery orders during the COVID 19 pandemic. The two locations were expected to become the first stores in the new chain. As a result of opening these two “dark stores” to support fulfillment of online grocery orders, Amazon says it has increased delivery capacity and is able to serve tens of thousands more customers in these communities. Woodland Hills is a neighborhood of Los Angeles, while Irvine is a suburb in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Carrefour Brasil targeted in Sao Paulo bribery probe, may face heavy fine
The city of Sao Paulo is investigating the wholesale unit of Carrefour Brasil SA in connection with an alleged bribery scheme, the local official gazette said, citing a probe that could result in a fine of up to 20% of the company’s 2019 gross revenue. The investigation is related to a criminal case that uncovered payments to city inspectors totaling around 1.5mln reais ($280,000) to operate, without a license, the headquarters of wholesale division Atacadao and an adjoining store in Sao Paulo. In a statement, Carrefour Brasil said it has not yet received any notification regarding the administrative probe or information about its content, but that it is committed to cooperating with authorities.

India: Paytm Mall in talks for Grofers stake as SoftBank pushes for consolidation
Online retailer Paytm Mall has held talks with e-grocer Grofers for a potential investment, multiple people in the know told ET, adding that the ongoing discussions may even lead to a merger. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a common investor in Paytm Mall and Grofers, initiated the deal talks, sources said. “SoftBank does not have any fresh capital, so it is looking to push consolidation and an investment or a merger between Grofers and Paytm Mall is something that will work,” said a person aware of the development.

German retail sales fall far less than expected in April
A surge in supermarket and online shopping prevented a double-digit dip in German retail sales in April, data showed, a sign of the relative resilience of Europe’s largest economy during the coronavirus crisis. Retail sales dropped by 5.3% on the month in real terms after an upwardly revised drop of 4.0% in the previous month, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. The reading was much better than a Reuters forecast by analysts for a 12% fall. On the year, retail sales dropped by 6.5% in real terms after an upwardly revised contraction of 1.2% in March. A drop of 14.3% had been forecast.

India: Flipkart loses bid to sell food online
Amazon-owned Flipkart has been blocked from entering the food-retail business by Indian regulators who had deliberated for almost a year on an application. Subsidiary Flipkart FarmerMart had applied to sell foodstuffs grown or manufactured in India online via its marketplace and on apps. However the company was told by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) marketplace, it cannot add food to its platform as a foreign-owned retailer. Foreign direct investment in retail has long been a controversial issue in India and only in the last several years have multinational retail giants been allowed to enter the market, usually with strict requirements for a proportion of goods they sell to have been manufactured in India.

Thailand: Central Retail buys remaining FamilyMart shares
Central Retail Corporation Plc (CRC) has acquired the remaining 49% share for FamilyMart from its Japanese partner, making it the sole owner in Thailand. CRC has partnered with Japan FamilyMart Co (JFM) since 2012. Over the last eight years, it has been working to improve the franchise’s business model and expand its product offering. FamilyMart has 1,000 stores nationwide and CRC will continue to expand the network for future growth. The acquisition is in line with the group's strategy to reaffirm its leading position in retail business. The Japanese firm said in a statement that it will license the Thai retail conglomerate to run the store network under the FamilyMart brand.

Denmark: Coop surpasses energy reduction target ahead of schedule
Coop Denmark has announced that it has reduced energy consumption by 21.7%, seven months ahead of its target. Four years ago, the retailer pledged to cut energy consumption by 20% by the end of 2020. The move has resulted in conserving 67,758,000 kWh of energy or the equivalent of the energy consumption of 15,000 households with two adults and two children. Commenting on the achievement, EVP of Coop Denmark, Kræn Østergård Nielsen, said: "We are very pleased that our targeted investments in lower energy consumption have succeeded and have resulted in such a marked green transition".

Mercadonas across Spain launch new opening hours starting on June
In accordance with the progression towards a new normality in Spain, Mercadona has adjusted its timetable and launched new opening hours on June 1. The popular supermarket chain is now a step closer to returning to its normal opening hours and shoppers will now have an extra hour in the supermarket. The new timetable for Mercadona will be from 09.00am to 9.00pm. This is not the only change the supermarket has undergone during the State of Alarm. Apart from these new opening hours, the establishment guarantees a minimum distance of one metre between shoppers around the establishment, as well as in the fish section and check-out area.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos invests in UK digital freight forwarder Beacon Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has picked British startup Beacon, a digital freight forwarder, for his latest investment. Beacon said it raised over $15mln in Series A fundraising, from investors including Bezos and venture capital firm 8VC. The startup, formed by two former Uber Technologies Inc executives two years ago, is already backed by Uber founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, along with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

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