Amazon plans to open more grocery stores across U.S., including ones in Seattle and Redmond
Amazon is preparing to open its second automated-checkout grocery store on the Eastside and is hiring managers for a third store in the nation’s capitol. The commerce giant’s grocery strategy is also advancing on another front, with new locations of its conventional checkout grocery stores coming to Seattle, California, and the Chicago and Washington, D.C., areas.
US: Instacart raises another $100mln in funding to expand further during the US online grocery boom
Instacart has raised another $100mln in funding, giving the company a $13.8bln valuation. The news was first reported by Axios and was confirmed in a statement to Business Insider. The additional funding comes less than a month after the company closed a $225mln round of investment led by DST Global and General Catalyst. “Instacart has expanded its recent fundraising round with an additional $100mln investment from the funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.”, an Instacart spokesperson said in a statement.
US: Wegmans adapts foodservice strategy with pub closures
US-based Wegmans is permanently closing all its Pub by Wegmans locations, having temporarily closed them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wegmans operated 12 ‘Pub’ restaurants within its stores, offering a casual dining experience and adult beverages. Moving forward, the retailer will focus on fast-casual solutions, including in-store, for pickup and for delivery. The retailer is recognised as one of the global leaders at the intersection of retail and foodservice, offering a range of models including self-service bars, counter services and take-home ranges. Its format remains unique despite the push of the broader industry towards this model.
U.S. online grocery sales rise 9% in June over May
Consumers are getting more and more comfortable buying groceries online. U.S. online grocery sales reached $7.2bln in June, a 9% increase over May, according to the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey, with the growth fueled by increased concerns about COVID-19 and additional fulfillment capacity. The report revealed that 45.6mln households used delivery and pickup services in June to satisfy a larger portion of their grocery needs.
US: Walmart Labs increases presence in Reston
Walmart Labs has leased approximately 162,300 square feet at 2245 Monroe Street, a Class A six-story office building in Reston, Virginia, owned by Barings Real Estate, according to the Washington Business Journal. Transwestern’s Caulley Deringer, Stephen Cloud and Andrew Hassett represented the landlord in the deal. No lease terms were disclosed but Walmart Labs is taking the entire building. The technological arm of Walmart, Walmart Labs will use the building as a technology center, helping to boost the area’s already strong status as a tech hub.
Mercadona invests €72mln in Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca
Valencian supermarket chain Mercadona is investing €72mln in the province of Alicante to improve efficiency and service and help reactivate the local economy after the coronavirus pandemic. The company will have opened 5 new supermarkets in the province by the end of this year, having already opened 3 with a further 2 earmarked for Torrevieja and Orihuela. In addition, Mercadona is refurbishing 9 existing stores, to adapt them to the new Efficient Store Model to improve “the shopping of our bosses, the customer”.
Sweden: Coop to test unmanned stores in Gävle
Coop Sweden has announced plans to open its first round-the-clock unmanned stores in the city of Gävle as part of a pilot project. The two stores will be operated by Coop Mitt, which has a network of more than 60 stores in Gästrikland, Hälsingland, Dalarna, Uppland and Västmanland. CEO of Coop Mitt, Meta Persdotter, said: “The focus on unmanned stores is a way for us to be in more places where we see potential. At the same time, we offer a solution for customers who want to be able to visit a Coop store regardless of the time of day”.
Holland: New potential buyer for Hema
Investors seem to be very interested in department store chain Hema: American investment fund Flacks Group is presenting itself as a potential buyer. The fund is also looking at other chains in the Benelux. “We are looking at medium-sized retail companies in the Benelux with a turnover of between 250mln and 2bln euros. So we are very interested in Hema”, confirms Russell Goldman of venture capitalist Flacks Group from Miami in De Telegraaf. “We plan to make an offer for a retail company in the next twelve to eighteen months”. The fund has some 300mln euros in equity to invest and also looks at other chains: “Companies such as Blokker, Intertoys, Big Bazaar and Beter Bed are serious options”.
Pret to close 30 UK stores
Leading UK food-to-go retailer Pret has announced that 30 sites will close permanently as part of a restructure to cope with the impact of COVID-19. The closures represent just over 7% of Pret’s 410-strong estate. Two-thirds of the closures will be outside London, including sites in Glasgow, Reading, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sheffield. It will also start a consultation to reduce headcount across remaining UK stores and support staff and will put the lease of its main support office in Victoria, London, up for sale.
Croatia: Fortenova Group reports revenue growth in 2019 and Q1 2020
The Fortenova Group, the successor to the Agrokor food and retail conglomerate, earned HRK24.8bln (3.18bln euro) in non-consolidated revenues in 2019, an increase of 3.6% compared with 2018, and the good trend continued in the first quarter of 2020 when its non-consolidated revenues grew by 8%, the company said. Presenting the results of last year's operations to holders of depositary receipts, the Fortenova Group highlighted the growth of the two most important performance indicators in 2019 - total revenue and EBITDA, along with strong liquidity reserves thanks to which it entered the year 2020 with a cash position of HRK1.6bln.