Russia: X5 Retail testing click & collect grocery lockers Leading Russian food retailer X5 Retail has announced that its Perekrestok.ru online supermarket and subsidiary 5Post, which offers parcel delivery services, have launched a pilot click & collect service from grocery lockers in Perekrestok and Pyaterochka stores. The locker collection option is aimed at complementing its existing home food delivery services, as well as in-store pick up of parcels at checkout counters or pick-up points.
UK: Waitrose.com crosses 150,000 orders per week for the first time and adds 150 new vans to its online fleet
Waitrose.com has processed more than 150,000 online orders in a week for the first time. The figure is more than double the amount of weekly orders at the start of this year and represents a significant milestone in its online expansion plans. The retailer is also in the process of adding 150 new delivery vans to its fleet, which will enable it to offer further increases in delivery slots to customers over the coming weeks.
Carrefour, Google to launch voice grocery shopping service in France
Carrefour and Google said they were launching a voice-based grocery shopping service in France as part of the French retailer’s ambition to accelerate its expansion into food e-commerce. The service works via Google Assistant - a digital voice assistance service on smart phones and other devices - and is part of a strategic partnership between the two companies initiated in June 2018, the joint statement said. Carrefour is in the midst of a global overhaul to boost sales and profits and it plans to invest 2.8bln euros in digital commerce by the end of the year in the face of competition from Amazon. It is aiming to increase food e-commerce sales to 4.2bln euros by 2022 from 1.3bln euros in 2019 and 1.0bln euros in 2018.
Poundstretcher could close more than half its UK stores
Poundstretcher is considering closing more than half of its UK stores as part of a survival plan. Up to 253 shops are at risk of closure if landlords do not agree to rent cuts or holidays, the discount retailer said. A spokesperson said that the talks form part of a wider restructuring plan aimed at "stemming losses" from underperforming stores. It employs 5,500 people across 450 shops, its warehouse and head office.
Eroski upgraded close to 200 stores across Spain last year
Spanish retailer Eroski has announced that it upgraded an additional 197 stores to its 'Contigo' format last year, following an investment of more than €26mln. This means that the total number of stores operating under the Contigo model is now 845, with 80% of the group's sales made through its remodelled store network last year. The remodelled stores have increased their product offering by 15%, with increased focus on fresh produce as well as the retailer’s commitment to seasonal, local food, it said.
Belgium: Colruyt loses market share during lockdown
The corona crisis did Colruyt Group no good: the supermarkets lost market share in the second half of the year and during the lockdown. Sales growth over the financial year 2019/20 remained below expectations. Colruyt Group's turnover increased by 1.6% to more than 9.5bln euros in the financial year 2019/20, the company reports in a press release. On a comparable basis, sales growth was 1.7% including fuels and 1.4% excluding fuels. That's below analysts' expectations. Remarkable news is also that the market share in Belgium of the chains Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Spar fell slightly: it amounted to 32.1% in FY 2019/20 compared to 32.2% in 2018/19. This has put an end to a trend that has been rising for years.
UK: Iceland Managing Director's 'big shake-up' plan revealed: 'Our method is to disrupt!'
Iceland, Britain's famous frozen food supermarket, is currently rolling out its "biggest shake-up in a generation" in a "make or break" plan to compete in a fiercely competitive market. The company is famous for its frozen foods, including prepared meals and vegetables, but in 2018, Sir Malcolm appointed his son, Richard, as joint Managing Director to lead a new emphasis on selling grocery items such as chilled produce, meat, dairy and other dry goods. The move is a risk for Iceland, who have spent the last 50 years specialising in their sector of the market and Channel 5’s ‘Inside Iceland’ revealed some of the changes expected to be rolled out.
Carrefour China plans to open 100 restaurants
Supermarket operator Carrefour China plans to open 100 restaurants at its existing stores. The first outlet of Carrefour restaurant chain Mr Fu has opened at its Gubei branch in Shanghai, followed by a second in Chongqing. “With more than 2000 products in a self-run goods pool, Mr Fu will introduce at least 30 new products each month”, said Li Yijiang, head of catering business division at Suning Carrefour China. The renovation work will be launched at selected Carrefour branches and will not be outsourced to a third party.
US: Seattle debates ‘premium’ pay for grocery delivery workers
The pandemic has made frontline workers out of food retailers and grocery delivery drivers. But an effort in Seattle to mandate premium pay for those drivers has already run into serious resistance from Instacart. A bill before Seattle’s City Council would require those delivery services to pay $5 per delivery or trip, a program that could last as long as March 3, 2023.
US: Save Mart transitions nearly 700 temp workers to full-time jobs
The Save Mart Companies has made nearly 700 of 1,000 temporary workers hired during the coronavirus pandemic full-time employees. Modesto, California-based Save Mart said it initially hired the workers for part-time temporary positions in response to “overwhelming customer demand” triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company ramped up its recruitment and hiring efforts and said it added nearly 1,000 temporary staff “in a matter of weeks”, with most serving as multipurpose clerks to stock shelves, help at checkout, move product or handle incoming shipments.
US: Walmart tests new self-checkout system in Arkansas store
Walmart is testing a new shopping system at a location in Fayetteville, Arkansas, replacing its traditional, in-person checkout lanes with self-checkout kiosks. Customers can check out their own items, but they can also still have a store employee scan and bag their purchases at these kiosks, if they prefer. Walmart hopes the new system will speed up the checkout process, at a time when many retailers are encouraging social distancing and limiting the number of shoppers in stores, which can result in long lines.
Canada: Unions ask grocers to make pandemic pay permanent
Unions representing essential workers at some of Canada’s major retailers are pushing back against the decision to eliminate wage premiums that were put in place to compensate employees for working during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic is not over”, said Jerry Dias, Unifor National president, in a statement. “The danger has not passed. These workers are no less at risk and are no less essential today than they were yesterday. There is no justification for ending pandemic pay now, or ever”. The union, which represents some Metro and Loblaws employees, wants to make fair pay permanent. It created an online petition for people to ask leadership at some of Canada’s largest grocery stores and other retailers to institute the pay increases permanently.