UK: Asda equal pay row heads to the Supreme Court
A long-running equal pay dispute between Asda bosses and mostly female supermarket workers is being considered by the Supreme Court this week. Some 35,000 Asda shop floor workers, most of whom are women, have brought equal pay claims against the supermarket, on the grounds that male staff working in distribution depots unjustly receive higher wages. The fight has so far taken 13 years. Supermarket staff could be entitled to several years’ back pay if they win, lawyers say.
Malaysia: AEON launches dedicated grocery platform
AEON has provided new ways for shoppers to buy their groceries during the lockdown period due to COVID-19 in Malaysia. Its latest initiative is to launch a new supermarket online service on 14 July 2020. AEON is launching its own online grocery platform at https://fresh.myaeon.com.my. The service provides delivery within 30 minutes of its fulfilment centres. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and all other daily essentials will be available online.
UK: Lidl to open 1 new store per week & create 1000 new jobs before Xmas
Lidl has revealed ambitious plans to open 25 new stores in the next 6 months, equating to 1 store per week, creating up to 1000 new jobs in Great Britain by the end of 2020. The German discounter said its £1.3bln investment plans in Great Britain for 2021 and 2022 will drive the opening of 100 additional stores, creating around 4000 jobs for the British economy. By the end of 2023, Lidl said it would aim to have 1000 stores in Great Britain.
Portugal: Go Natural expands physical, online presence
Portuguese organic supermarket chain Go Natural is planning to expand its retail presence as well as introduce a wider range of products. As well as operating 12 stores Go Natural also distributes its products to more than 100 supermarkets throughout Portugal. Around 30 Go Natural SKUs are available in the food to go sections of Continente, Continente Bom Dia, Continente Modelo, My Auchan and Go Natural stores. The company's intention is to further expand distribution in the retail channel, namely in 50 stores belonging to its parent company Sonae MC.
Holland: Jumbo cuts restaurant chain La Place
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo is restructuring its restaurant business La Place: 23 restaurants, or more than a quarter of all establishments, are closing due to the corona crisis. At La Place 480 jobs are lost. The lunch restaurant chain has been severely hit by the corona crisis, owner Jumbo informs De Telegraaf. More than half of the 80 restaurants in the Netherlands are still closed and in recent months the chain has recorded a monthly loss of 6 to 7mln euros. Before the lockdown, the business had been "very profitable".
Japan supermarket starts slow checkout lane for elderly, disabled
A project in which a checkout counter is reserved for older and disabled customers to allow them to pay for their groceries slowly and without feeling pressured has been launched at a supermarket in Yukuhashi, Fukuoka (southwestern Japan) from July 8. Staff at the Minami-Yukuhashi branch of the Youme Town supermarket chain hope that older people will be able to shop with peace of mind, and that others customers will become more considerate of people who take time to pay.
SPAR Ireland launches fleet of biogas delivery vehicles
BWG Foods, supplier to SPAR and EUROSPAR Supermarkets in Ireland, has become the first FMCG group in Ireland to launch a fleet of biogas powered vehicles as part of the implementation of its ambitious sustainability strategy. In addition to the launch of its fleet, BWG will also contribute food waste from their 22300m² National Distribution Centre at Kilcarbery to the biogas production site at Nurney, County Kildare, making this a circular solution.
India: D-Mart supermarket chain has shocking first quarter
Avenue Supermarts reported an 87.61% fall in consolidated net profit for the June quarter, compared to the same period last year. The company saw its consolidated revenue decline by 33.22% to Rs 3,883 crore in the first quarter of 2020-21 from Rs 5,815 crore in 2019. The profit margin of the group fell 4.5% on a year-on-year basis to 1%. The Mumbai-headquartered company owns and operates the national D-Mart supermarket chain.
UK retail sales ‘return to growth’ in June: BRC-KPMG
Retail sales in the UK increased by 3.4% year-on-year in June compared to a 1.6% decline in the same period last year, registering its highest growth since May 2018 and the first since the lockdown, according to the latest data from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. On a like-for-like basis, retail sales increased by 10.9% compared to June 2019, when it dropped by 2.2% compared to the preceding year.
What Walmart Canada has in store for the post-COVID world
Changes to the in-store experience, increased investments in e-grocery, and a shift in merchandising strategies and promotions will be important issues for grocer retailers as the economy slowly returns to some semblance of normalcy. Walmart Canada is no exception. The big-box behemoth is examining these parts of its business and looking for ways to adjust to shifts in consumer behaviour in a post-COVID world. This, in part, means working with supply partners to find ways to win in online grocery as penetration continues to grow, said Walmart Canada president and CEO Horacio Barbeito during an online interview hosted by Retail Council of Canada.
US: Kroger stops giving change to customers
The Kroger Co. reportedly has stopped giving coins as change to customers during cash transactions, putting the money instead on loyalty cards or giving it to charity. The move reflects another of the many problems caused by the ongoing pandemic: a coin shortage in the United States because of the decline of cash transactions as more consumers and retailers shift toward contactless purchases. Kroger didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Progressive Grocer.
US: This MIT robot combats COVID-19 and may soon be in your grocery store
A robot that neutralizes aerosolized forms of the coronavirus could soon be coming to a supermarket near you. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory team partnered with Ava Robotics to develop a device that can kill roughly 90% of COVID-19 on surfaces in a 4,000-square-foot space in 30 minutes. “This is such an exciting idea to use the solution as a hands-free, safe way to neutralize dorms, hallways, hospitals, airports - even airplanes”, Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, told Yahoo Finance’s “The Ticker”.
US: Idaho Falls Costco officially opening its doors August 14
After nearly a year of construction, Costco in Idaho Falls officially has an opening date. Store General Manager Greg Gillingham tells EastIdahoNews.com the store will open August 14 at 8 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration. “We’re really excited. The reaction from the local community has been great. We’ve had over 4,000 applications for positions in the office. We’re going through the hiring process now, so it’s been a great start”, says Gillingham.
US: Big Y extends, expands price freeze
Big Y previously announced a price freeze in the midst of the pandemic, and now the retailer has extended the price freeze until September 2, as well as expanded the list of products from 10,000 to 15,000. The retailer operates 71 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The previous price freeze, which had been in effect until July 1, included staples such as fresh chicken, butter, grapes, macaroni and cheese, pizza and orange juice. The new items added to the list include meat franks, country-style pork ribs, frozen beef patties, jumbo fresh clam rolls, grape tomatoes, avocados, raspberries and deli salads, as well as store-made cheese pizzas, large subs and fried chicken.