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Consumers recognized that food retailers stayed open during the pandemic

Two of Canada’s largest grocery chains pull back on support measures

Canada: Loblaw, Metro ending pandemic pay
Essential employees at Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Metro Inc. will see their COVID-19 bonus pay eliminated as 2 of Canada’s largest grocery chains pull back on support measures for their staff introduced early in the pandemic–a decision 2 unions say is premature. With the coronavirus a part of Canadians’ lives for more than three months, Loblaw’s stores and distribution centres “have settled into a good rhythm”, wrote Sarah Davis, Loblaw president, in an email. “With this stability and economies re-opening, we have decided the time is right to transition out of our temporary pay premium”. Metro, which also started paying a $2 premium March 8, will end its bonus pay as well, wrote communications manager Genevieve Gregoire in an email. “It is because of their dedication that we were able to meet the needs of our customers while ensuring their safety and well-being”, she said.

US: Food retailers earn pandemic respect from shoppers
Food retailers stayed open during the pandemic, providing essential services to consumers, and that effort has apparently been recognized by consumers, at least according to a new survey. The Harris Poll Essential 100 listed the 100 leading U.S. companies and organizations deemed to have played “a truly essential role during the crisis” known as the COVID-19 outbreak. The U.S. Postal Service took the top spot, but some major food retailers were recognized. They include Walmart (No. 5), Amazon (6), Target (29), Costco (34), Kroger (38), Aldi (44), Dollar General (45) and Sam’s Club (48). The bottom half of the list includes Whole Foods (52), Trader Joe’s (66) and Publix (86).

Bahrain: Carrefour launches mobile app
Carrefour has introduced a new app for online shopping in Bahrain. Shoppers can choose from over 4,000 products for home delivery through the app. The retailer said it is the first of its kind in Bahrain. Initially, products offered will include grocery and household items, with future expansions to include apparel, light household items and fresh food. In addition, shoppers who register for a MYCLUB loyalty card will be able to earn points through purchases made on the app.

Poland: Auchan tests InPost refrigerators
Auchan Poland has begun trialling InPost refrigerators, which will be in car parks at shopping centres in Piaseczno and Lomianki. A third site will be added in Warsaw, with the exact location unknown yet. The service will enable the safe storage and collection of food, beverages and frozen foods ordered through its online shopping service, Auchan Direct. Shoppers can collect their groceries from the fridges, but also have an option of home delivery.

UK: Spar outraged at government plans to suspend Sunday trading laws
Leading independent convenience group Spar is criticising the government’s plans to suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in a bid to boost the economy. Speaking on the proposal, managing director of Spar UK, Louise Hoste, said: “We are outraged that the government are planning to suspend Sunday trading laws. We feel disappointed that our efforts to feed the nation have not been seen as enough. Independent retailers adapted on a daily basis to ensure the general public all over the UK had access to essential items during the pandemic”.

Amazon may face EU antitrust charges over merchant data in coming weeks: source
Amazon may face EU antitrust charges in the coming weeks over its use of data from merchants with whom it competes on its platform, a person familiar with the matter said, putting it at risk of a hefty fine. The European Commission has been investigating the U.S. online retailer’s dual role as a marketplace for merchants and as a rival since July last year, triggered by complaints from traders about Amazon’s practices.

Australia: Woolworths makes huge coronavirus restriction announcement
Woolworths has announced the lifting of all coronavirus purchasing restrictions in a new milestone decision. The buying limits were put in place to combat the unprecedented shopping demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Now all purchasing limits have finally been lifted - including those on antibacterial wipes, frozen fruit and hand wash items, which have remained in place for almost four months.

UK: Aldi extends Deliveroo trial into capital for first time
Aldi has extended its trial of on-demand grocery deliveries to the capital for the first time after launching with Deliveroo in Camden. The supermarket first started offering an on-demand delivery service last month. Following a successful start in eight stores across the Midlands, it has decided to extend the trial to Camden. Customers will be able to order from around 200 essential Aldi products, which will be picked and packed by Aldi colleagues for delivery by Deliveroo’s network of riders. They will then be delivered to addresses within around two miles of Aldi Local in Camden - including West Hampstead, Belsize Park and Mayfair - in as little as 30 minutes. This is especially helpful for those who are isolating at home.

Auchan aiming to increase share of online sales in Ukraine
Auchan is looking to increase the share of its online sales to 15% as it looks to expand its ecommerce coverage to all regions of Ukraine. The retailer will support this through the expansion of its store network, with new proximity stores to be opened in populated areas. These will enable it to add a click and collect service and expand the coverage of its ecommerce service. In January 2020, Auchan opened its first ultra-proximity collection point in Kyiv, the smallest in the network at 40 sq.m.

India: Regional supermarket nr1 Ratnadeep to cross 100 stores this year and 200 over the next 3 years
Ratnadeep Retail Pvt. Ltd embarked on its food and grocery supermarket journey 33 years ago - in 1987 - when it opened its first store in the city of Hyderabad. With a storied legacy to fall back on, and which is continually being burnished further, Ratnadeep has now become the most awarded supermarket chain in the State of Telangana and among the most credentialled regional supermarket chains in India. This fiscal year, it wants to reach a benchmark of 100 stores. Over the next 3 years, it has plans to open 200 stores across the country.

Online platform for Polish food products
Since few weeks a new platform ( for direct purchase from farmers is operating in Poland. The aim of the platform is to create an easy access to fresh products produced on Polish farms. Farmers receive a fair price for their products and customers know the source of the product, are sure the product is fresh and don’t have to pay for any intermediation, which also mean the whole profit is taken by the farmer. The initiative is taken by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and realized by the regional Agricultural Advisory Centra.

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