Statistics Canada: Retail sales fell by more than a quarter in April

Angelo Caputo's Fresh Markets has chosen Locai

US: Union demands food retailers reinstate hazard pay
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3mln workers in grocery stores and other businesses, has called on major supermarket chains such as The Kroger Co. to reinstate hazard pay following news reports that cases of the coronavirus are at record highs in at least 10 states. “Across the country, America’s food retailers have ended hazard pay even as COVID-19 health risks have increased for grocery workers on the frontlines of the pandemic”, noted UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Even worse, multibillion-dollar companies like Kroger are raking in record sales just weeks after cutting hazard pay for the very grocery workers who made that success possible”.

US: Caputo's streamlines online grocery fulfillment
Angelo Caputo's Fresh Markets in the Chicagoland area has chosen Locai Solutions' PowerPick fulfillment management software to keep up with an increasing demand in online grocery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caputo's has switched to a new dedicated fulfillment area, or "wareroom", using the technology to take the pressure off in-store picking. The PowerPick software supports both the wareroom pick and in-store pick with multi-ordering and inventory management. Caputo's has also worked with Locai for its e-commerce site and meal-planning solution.

Grocery store sales fell 12% from March to April: Statistics Canada
Retail sales fell by more than a quarter in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Statistics Canada said they regained some of the lost ground in May. The agency said retail sales plunged by a record 26.4% to $34.7bln in April leaving them down 33.6% since physical distancing measures were implemented in mid-March. However, Statistics Canada said early estimates suggest retail sales rose 19.1% in May.

Germany: Discount grocers look to jump on home delivery bandwagon
Discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl look poised to accelerate their push into home delivery to satisfy burgeoning demand for online grocery shopping in a shift expected to endure beyond the coronavirus crisis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic the German duo had grown at breakneck speed, most notably in the United States and Britain. However, the rise in their market share has since stalled in Britain and slipped in Germany and France. From the start of coronavirus lockdowns, they have been losing out to larger supermarkets as consumers make fewer shopping trips and opt for stores offering a wider choice and more branded goods, data from research companies Kantar and Nielsen shows. Home delivery and curbside pick-up services, meanwhile, are attracting many older customers for the first time.

Austria: SPAR partners with service station operator AP-Trading
SPAR Austria has announced plans to strengthen its SPAR Express banner by partnering with service station operator AP-Trading. The first SPAR Express store under the partnership opened recently in Anthering, near Salzburg, while two further sites have been identified and will open during 2020. The 80 square metre store in Anthering will offer 1,500 SKUs, including fresh fruit and vegetables from the region and a range of prepared food to go items.

New Zealand: Countdown begins work on new Palmerston North distribution centre
Work on Countdown's new, bigger Palmerston North distribution centre has begun. The supermarket chain announced in January it was building a new facility. It is expected to create 50 jobs when it opens on Alderson Drive, near the airport, in late 2021. Countdown operations manager Brett Ashley said after the coronavirus crisis disruptions having a strong supply chain was more important than ever. "We could never have imagined the responsibility supermarkets have held over the past few months to safely and quickly provide Kiwis with food and essentials. We've pushed our supply chain beyond what we ever thought was possible".

Amazon to hire 3,000 people in South Africa for customer service roles Inc is hiring 3,000 people in South Africa this year to provide support to customers in North America and Europe, it said. The work from home roles will range from customer service associates to technical experts, providing 24 hour support to customers, the world’s largest online retailer said in a statement. The new positions will bring the total permanent workforce in South Africa to 7,000, it added.

Germany: Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof to close 62 stores
The ailing German department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof has reached an agreement on a social plan: 62 of the 172 stores will close. This is less than initially feared. For subsidiary Inno, the plan seems good news. Until a few weeks ago, there was talk of the possible closure of as many as 80 stores, a drastic restructuring plan that was not to the liking of the trade unions. German media now report that the company has agreed a plan to close 62 of the 172 stores. Approximately 6000 of the 28000 employees will lose their jobs as a result. However, the restructuring plans have yet to be formally approved.

Spain: Eroski and Avia sign agreement to expand RAPID c-stores
Eroski and Avia have signed a collaboration agreement to open new RAPID supermarkets at Avia service stations in Spain. The agreement envisages the opening of ten stores under the franchise system throughout 2020 and an annual forecast of the same number in future years. There are currently six Eroski convenience stores at Avia stations in Spain.

UK: SPAR Scotland partner launches new click-and-collect service
SPAR Scotland partner CJ Lang & Son has launched a click-and-collect service aimed at providing trade customers with a full ambient and selected chilled range. Operating from its 16700m2 distribution centre in Dundee, the wholesaler will provide a click-and-collect service seven days a week, where trade customers place orders via its website before 2:30 p.m. and collect them by 6 p.m. on the same day. Orders received after 2:30 p.m. will be available for collection the next day.

Amazon UK boss Doug Gurr stepping down for Natural History Museum
Amazon’s UK boss, Doug Gurr, is stepping down from his role to take up a new position as the new director of the Natural History Museum. Gurr first joined the online retail giant in 2011, having previously worked at Asda. He was promoted to Amazon’s UK country manager in April 2016, after leading the retail giant’s China arm for two years. “We thank Doug for more than eight successful years at Amazon and for his leadership of the UK business in the last four,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Hard discounter Mere enters Lithuania
The discounter, owned by Russian retail group Torgservis, has opened its first store in Lithuania on 15 June 2020. The first store opened in Kaunas, the country’s second largest city. For now, the discounter only offers a very limited range of products with prices 20% cheaper than the market on average. Mere stores have a very simple and efficient concept with products sold directly on pallets in a warehouse type environment. The limited grocery assortment is expected to grow as it currently only includes ambient food products.

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