South Korea: Continuous growth for Emart
Emart Trader, owned by the country’s retail giant Shinesegae, saw sales up by 21.9%YoY (year-on-year) from January to May. Emart Trader is a warehouse style supermarket chain like Costco. There are around 20 Emart Stores in South Korea, the first one in Seoul was opened in March 2019. The company expects to see a 20%YoY increase in sales for the second quarter, with operating profits reaching approximately KRW18 bn (US$15m).
Australia: ‘Leakage and larceny’ as supermarkets compete, with online grocery shopping the next big battleground
Australians spent $94.6bln in supermarkets in the year to March 2020. It’s an enormous market, which makes the dominance of so few major players all the more remarkable. Data from Roy Morgan’s latest Fresh Food & Grocery Report shows that, between them, the Woolworths Group and the Coles Group took 67.5% of that total. Woolworths has the larger share of overall spend, but Coles isn’t too far behind. When it comes to online grocery shopping, which is shaping up as the next major battleground, Woolworths also has the advantage, however Coles has closed the gap so far in 2020.
Ireland: Kooomo launches Pick & Pack app to improve grocery online shopping experience
Kooomo, the digital eCommerce specialist, has launched an innovative Pick and Pack app. It has developed the app to improve the online shopping experience for both retailers and customers. It will also be especially useful for eGrocery retailers struggling to cope with the recent surges in demand. The app can be plugged into the back end of any retailer’s existing website and synchronised with a barcode scanner. As a result, warehouse staff can easily select the orders to pack. It then creates a SKU list which is immediately updated as each item is scanned. This minimises human error and streamlines the order management process. Once each order has been picked and packed, it will be stored in the website backend as ‘waiting for delivery’ or ‘waiting for in-store collection’. The Pick and Pack app aims to create a faster and more accurate online ordering process. The company believes that it will help retailers to save staff time and reduce costs.
Holland: Ahold Delhaize eyes Hema once again
Ahold Delhaize joins the battle for Hema and undertakes a new attempt to incorporate the Dutch department store chain. There were earlier rumors that Ahold Delhaize was interested in Hema. Now Het Financieele Dagblad reports that the group has appointed merchant bank Lazard to supervise the process. Potential buyers of Hema have until Monday to make themselves known. In the past, Ahold Delhaize has already tried to take over Hema twice. In 2007, the group was defeated by Lion Capital. And also in 2010, when the British investment company Hema was put up for sale again, Ahold Delhaize narrowly missed the mark.
Spain: Caprabo sees sales of local cherries increase by 65%
Spanish retailer Caprabo has announced that the sales of local cherries from Lleida and Tarragona increased by 65% in the latest season. The sales exceeded the company’s initial forecast, which took into account the impact of storms on crops and the coronavirus pandemic. The cherry season runs from May to June in Catalonia and the retailer works with producers in Tarragona to source cherries. This year, the company also incorporated the Lleida cherry (Alcarrás) in its stores. Caprabo has been actively involved in promoting the sales of local products in its supermarkets.
Australia: Metcash off the hook for Ritchies buy-out for now
Metcash's largest customer, Ritchies Stores, says it has no intention of exercising an option to sell the business to Metcash this year even though it will meet financial hurdles for the first time in a decade after a surge in sales during the coronavirus pandemic. Metcash owns a 26% stake in Ritchies and faced having to pay at least $150mln to buy out chief executive Fred Harrison, chief financial officer Mal Cameron and 19 other minority shareholders if the put option had been exercised. However, Mr Harrison said the major shareholders had no immediate plans to sell, even though Ritchies would easily beat the financial hurdles in the option agreement.
UK: John Lewis to permanently close 8 stores
John Lewis is to permanently close 8 of its 50 stores to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs”. Amid falling profitability in recent years, rumours about the closure of some of the group’s underperforming sites have been circulating for some time. Last week, the partnership’s Chairman Sharon White warned staff that not all its outlets would return to trading after the coronavirus lockdown because of a cost-cutting drive.
Canada: Loblaw workers in Newfoundland to hold strike vote
Dominion store workers in Newfoundland will hold a strike vote across the island beginning on Sunday, July 12, said Unifor's Chris Macdonald. Macdonald is the lead negotiator on Unifor's retail files, and has been at the table with Loblaw throughout bargaining. He said he is 100% certain that Unifor members will vote in favour of taking strike action, at which point Unifor will move quickly to put Loblaw on a deadline to respond to issues of fair pay and an over reliance on part-time employees.
US: Meijer opens 5 supercenters in the Midwest
Meijer opened 5 supercenters across the Midwest, Meijer President & Chief Executive Officer Rick Keyes announced. Located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Sycamore, Illinois; Bad Axe, Michigan and Brimfield and Lorain, Ohio, the 159,000-square-foot stores offer a state-of-the-art shopping experience, providing customers multiple ways to shop in a specialty store environment. "These new stores reinforce our ongoing commitment to serving the needs of communities at a time when everyone is looking for a one-stop shopping experience", Keyes said. "We look forward to providing our customers with fresh options and innovative ways to shop so they can get the items they need while keeping their families safe".
Rowan research: online grocery shopping surges but “need for touch” remains high for produce
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have flocked to online grocery shopping services, happily filling virtual carts with few considerations beyond price and availability. They know what they want and, for the most part, have little need to touch the products or services they’re buying. An exception, says Rowan University’s Dr. Nina Krey, an assistant professor of marketing in the Rohrer College of Business, is for fresh produce, with many consumers reluctant to buy if they can’t hold, turn, sometimes even smell fresh fruits and veggies first. Krey outlined her findings in “The touchy issue of produce: Need for touch in online grocery retailing”, a study she co-authored with Frauke Kühn and Marcel Lichters, researchers at Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany. Their findings published June 10 in Volume 117 of the Journal of Business Research.
US: Kroger aims to boost consumer buying experience
The Kroger Co. has unveiled a multiyear relationship with Vibenomics, a location-based audio out-of-home (OOH) advertising and experience company. Through this relationship, Vibenomics’ Audio OOH Advertising Marketplace will enhance the customer experience and how brands communicate with customers at the point of purchase in 2,300-plus Kroger stores, as well as automate the audio ad-buying process to current programmatic standards, enabling users to strategically target shoppers depending on weather, local events and other factors.