Spain: Supermarket chain faces GDPR probe over facial recognition system
Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona is under investigation by the country’s data protection regulator over the use of a new facial recognition system in 40 of its stores. The company introduced the AI-powered facial recognition system on 2 July in the cities of Zaragoza and Mallorca, as well as its home city of Valencia. As reported by The Local.es, the “early detection system”, as the company is calling it, is intended to detect people who have restraining orders issued against them preventing them from entering Mercadona shops or contacting members of staff, or who have been convicted of offences such as shoplifting.
Online grocery's share of UK market set to double, Ocado says
Online grocery shopping will double its share of the UK market over the new few years, building on a huge increase during the coronavirus lockdown, internet supermarket and technology group Ocado forecast. Industry data shows online orders have surged to account for 13% of all UK grocery spending from 7% before the pandemic. “We’ll see another doubling of the market in the next few years”, Ocado CEO Tim Steiner told reporters. Revenue at Ocado’s retail business - now a 50/50 joint venture with Marks & Spencer - soared 27.2% to 1.02bln pounds in its first half to May 31, with growth topping 40% by the end of the second quarter. Core retail earnings (EBITDA) jumped 87.3% to 45.7mln pounds.
UK: Aldi doubles the size of its Deliveroo trial with 11 new stores
Aldi is extending its current trial with Deliveroo into 11 new stores, including 5 more in London and launching in Greater Manchester and Cambridge for the first time. The extension more than doubles the number of stores currently running the trial partnership after 8 stores in Nottinghamshire introduced the Deliveroo service in May, with Camden launching in June. It means customers living near 20 stores in England will now be able to choose from around 200 essential Aldi groceries online, then have them delivered to their door in as little as 30 minutes.
Waitrose: Online shopping orders increase as Brits book UK holidays
The recent easing of lockdown rules is seeing Brits booking UK summer holidays and ordering online groceries to be delivered to their accommodation. Customer orders on Waitrose.com for deliveries to vacation spots including Truro and Weston-Super-Mare are proving particularly popular as customer demand reaches an unprecedented peak. The supermarket has also added 35% more driver hours to its fleet of delivery vans to cope with demand in 2020. Other branches to see an increase in orders are Swaffham and North Walsham in Norfolk, Saxmundham in Suffolk, Menai Bridge in North Wales and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Germany: Second phase review initiated with regard to Kaufland’s acquisition of Real stores
The Bundeskartellamt has initiated an in-depth examination (also referred to as a second phase review) in the context of Kaufland GmbH & Co. KG’s (Kaufland) planned acquisition of up to 101 Real stores from SCP Retail S.àr.l. (SCP) since further investigations regarding the relevant sales and procurement markets are necessary. Based on its decision of 11 June 2020 (received by the Bundeskartellamt on 12 June), the European Commission had referred the merger project to the Bundeskartellamt. Kaufland, just like Lidl, is a member of the Schwarz Group, which is the largest food retailer in Europe. SCP Retail is a Russian investment company, which has acquired all of the more than 270 Real stores from Metro.
Lidl chain ready to open stores in Estonia
The German discount store chain Lidl is opening its first stores in Estonia, the construction of the company's stores is underway, and the company is looking for employees in the stores. According to the representative of the store chain, it is too early to comment on the opening of the stores. However, a spokesman for the company said that the chain usually opens several stores at once.
Malta: Deloitte must pay €42,000 in damages over Priceclub supermarket fiasco
Audit firm Deloitte has been ordered to pay nearly €42,000 to former Priceclub supermarket suppliers Valle Del Miele (VDM) after losing an appeal it had filed against a judgment which had found it to have been negligent. In 2000, the defendants Deloitte had been auditors of a debtor of Valle Del Miele who owed the company €182,373. A statutory report it published had painted a rosy picture of the troubled Priceclub supermarket chain’s finances and had misled Valle Del Miele into allowing this credit to increase to over €350,000.
Germany: HelloFresh again exceeds expectations
The lockdown measures against the coronavirus proved to be a blessing for meal supplier HelloFresh: just as in the strong first quarter, demand for meal boxes increased sharply in the second quarter. Quarterly sales will be somewhere between 965mln and 975mln euros, the German company reports in a press release. This is much better than expected: both in the US and in the international division, annual growth exceeded 100%. Profits will also increase significantly: AEBITDA is expected to be 145 to 155mln euros. These are provisional figures: the complete financial results will follow on 11 August.
Tesco and Tata inject new funds into Indian JV
Tesco and Tata have both invested a further Rs 67 crore (US$8.9mln) into their Trent Hypermarket joint venture. The new investment has been picked up in local regulatory filings and signals the first major injection in funds by the partners in the past 2 years. It also follows on from the appointment of a new CEO, Martin Bailie, in April this year. Bailie joined Trent Hypermarket in November 2019 and was promoted from his role as COO, replacing Jamshed K Daboo, who remains a board member and consultant to the business.
Ireland: Lidl goes to court over Aldi price survey
Supermarket chain Lidl Ireland has brought High Court proceedings over an allegedly flawed price survey commissioned by rival Aldi which put Lidl in second place. Aldi commissioned accountants Grant Thornton to carry out the survey in February 2018. The results, which were published through the mainstream media, said on average Aldi was the cheaper retailer. Lidl claims the methodology of the survey was flawed because it did not, in several instances, compare like products with like products. Lidl also claimed the Aldi prices were not “in-store” prices but came from a master list. The survey compared an average shopping basket containing 62 items in Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, SuperValu and Dunnes.
Walmart leads $1.2bln investment in India’s Flipkart
Walmart is increasing its majority-stake in Flipkart by leading a new $1.2bln financing round in the Indian e-commerce giant. The fresh equity round led by Walmart, which acquired majority stake in Flipkart for $16bln 2 years ago, values Flipkart at $24.9bln post-money, the 2 companies said. The American retail group said the fresh capital would help Flipkart, which was valued at $20.8bln 2 years ago, further grow its e-commerce marketplace in India as the world’s second largest internet market begins to recover from Covid-19 crisis.
Amazon unveils smart cart for new store
As it moves more decisively into brick-and-mortar retailing, Amazon is introducing Amazon Dash Cart, which will be available for use at its grocery store in Woodland Hills, California, slated to open later this year. Designed for small- to medium-sized grocery trips of 2 bags or fewer, the smart shopping cart “is another way we’re helping customers save time during a quick grocery shopping trip”, according to the Seattle-based company. Amazon Dash Cart enables users to bypass the checkout line. It employs a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items a shopper puts in the cart. When the shopper exits through the Dash Cart lane in the store, sensors automatically identify the cart, and the shopper’s payment is processed using the shopper’s credit card on the shopper’s Amazon account.
US: Food Lion expanding Instacart delivery service to more than 300 stores
Food Lion, in partnership with Instacart, is making fresh and affordable shopping as easy as opening an app. The availability of its grocery delivery service is expanding to 302 stores in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Customers in these delivery areas can use Food Lion's To-Go website or the Food Lion To-Go app to confirm availability and place orders.