Lidl started operations at its Regional Distribution Centre in Peterborough

Upcoming launch of Amazon Sweden

Australia: Woolworths tests supermarket queue app
Woolworths in Australia is testing a new app that will allow customers to reduce the amount of time they need to queue at their supermarkets. The app, known as Q Tracker, uses tech that was originally designed for smart car parks. It allows users to both see predictive information on the wait time of a queue at a store, as well as allows them to book a 15 minute window when they can turn up and enter the store. If a shopper has booked a time slot, they receive an email, which they show at the store entrance when they arrive. Entrance is then permitted immediately, unless the store is at capacity. The app is being tested at 4 stores in Victoria: Hampton Park, South Melbourne, St Helena and Taylors Lakes.

UK: Lidl begins operations at its new £70mln distribution centre in Peterborough
Lidl GB started operations at its new £70mln Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Peterborough on 1 August, employing 400 people with plans to recruit a further 50 this year. The new RDC forms part of Lidl’s commitment to invest £1.45bln in Great Britain across 2019 and 2020. The new 45,000 m² RDC, which is the equivalent of more than eight football pitches, will replace an existing smaller warehouse at Lutterworth, which will continue to operate as a non-food warehouse, and will strengthen Lidl’s infrastructure across the region.

India e-commerce to grow 27%, Reliance to capture half of online grocery sales: Goldman Sachs
India's e-commerce business is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% to reach $99bln by 2024, Goldman Sachs said projecting that Reliance Industries would capture half of the online grocery sales through Facebook. In a report titled 'Global Internet: e-commerce's steepening curve', Goldman Sachs said the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a doubling of penetration of e-commerce globally with categories such as consumer packaged goods driving as much as 3 years of penetration growth in 3 months.

Germany: Aldi Süd explores checkout-free solutions
At the end of July, Aldi Süd launched a global request for startups specialized in computer vision and sensor-based products monitoring technologies. This could contribute to the fast track of Aldi Sud’s technological evolution and enable it to catch up with competitors, especially Amazon. Like other recent projects launched by the discounter, Aldi Süd uses partnerships to accelerate its technological and digital developments. A bespoke website, entirely in English, which demonstrates the global nature of the appeal, has been developed for startups to register and submit their solutions and ideas.

UK: Tesco extends improved payment terms for small suppliers
Tesco has announced it will be extending its improved payment terms for smaller suppliers until 31 January 2021. Nearly 2,000 suppliers will continue to have their invoices paid immediately, instead of the usual 14 days. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller suppliers have been amongst the hardest hit in the food industry. This extension of Tesco’s improved payment terms will mean small businesses will continue to be supported throughout the busy Christmas period and beyond.

Amazon Sweden is on its way
Amazon Sweden will probably open its digital doors next year. The upcoming launch of a dedicated Amazon website in Sweden has now been officially announced. It would be the first time Amazon launches in a Nordic country. For years, there were rumors Amazon would launch in Sweden. In October 2017, the CEO of comparison site Pricerunner even said the US ecommerce giant would launch in Sweden within the next twelve months.

UK: McColl’s swings to loss as Covid-19 brings “extraordinary change”
McColl’s has swung to a loss on the back of a sales decline at its interim mark due to the “extraordinary change” brought on by the Covid-19 crisis. The convenience grocery chain posted a loss before tax of £500,000 in the 26 weeks to May 24, down from a £500,000mln profit in the same period in 2019. Meanwhile sales dropped 1% to £604.8mln due to store closures and reduced services.

SPAR announces further expansion in Africa with launch in the Republic of Ghana
SPAR, the world’s largest food retail voluntary organisation, with a presence of over 13,300 stores in 48 countries worldwide, has announced further expansion in Africa with the launch of the brand in the Republic of Ghana. The development will see the conversion of 17 existing supermarkets in and around the capital city Accra.

UK: M&S expands grocery offering ahead of Ocado launch
M&S has expanded its food range ahead of its partnership launch with Ocado next month. M&S purchased 50% of Ocado’s UK retail arm for £750mln last year, creating the new joint entity Ocado Retail. This will begin fulfilling online M&S grocery orders this September while 6000 products are available to view on the site now.

Ahold Delhaize reports strong Q2 results that continue to be impacted by COVID-19
Ahold Delhaize reported: Net sales were €19.1bln, up 17.1%, or 15.9% at constant exchange rates. In the U.S. and Europe, comp sales growth excluding gas was up 20.6% and 10.2%, respectively. Net consumer online sales grew 77.6% at constant exchange rates; Ahold Delhaize will reach €7bln net consumer online sales goal in 2020, 1 year ahead of plan. COVID-19-related costs were approximately €330mln in the first half of the year, and approximately €260mln in Q2, including safety measures and enhanced associate pay.

Walmart de Mexico reports 10% jump in quarterly sales, but EBITDA dips
Walmart’s Mexico unit reported a 10% jump in second quarter revenue compared with the year-earlier period, helped by more grocery sales and online shopping amid stay-at-home measures meant to contain the coronavirus. Still, Walmart de Mexico, the biggest retailer in Mexico, saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fall 3.3% from last year to 15.73bln pesos, despite analyst forecasts EBITDA would increase. The retailer also posted 1.66bln pesos ($72.4mln) in quarterly net profit, a huge year-on-year drop due to a 8.1bln peso payment to Mexico’s tax authority (SAT) in May.

US: Kroger launches contactless payments pilot in QFC division
The Kroger Co. announced the launch of a contactless payments pilot across the QFC division, located in Seattle, Washington, allowing customers to use their mobile device for a more seamless checkout experience. The pilot includes the acceptance of Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, mobile banking apps and contactless chip cards, underpinned by near-field communication (NFC) technology.

US: Weis Markets reports second quarter results
Weis Markets, Inc. reported its sales increased 23.7% to $1.1bln during the thirteen-week period ended June 27, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, while second quarter comparable store sales increased 24.1%. The Company's second quarter net income increased 102.5% to $41.5mln compared to $20.5mln in 2019, while earnings per share totaled $1.54 compared to $0.76 per share for the same period in 2019. Ecommerce sales increased 243% during the same period.

Instacart and Costco launch same-day delivery across Canada
Instacart, the North American leader in online grocery, and Costco announced the companies have partnered to launch same-day delivery from 76 Costco warehouses across Canada. Following a successful two-month pilot in select Ontario warehouses, the nationwide collaboration brings Costco's broad selection of groceries, pantry staples and household essentials directly from the store to the customer's door in as fast as 2 hours.

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