UK: Retail sales recovering but concerns remain
Retail sales in the UK rose again last month as more shoppers returned to the high street. However, the latest data suggests many shops are still struggling to make up lost ground and face an uncertain future. The figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KMPG show total retail sales increased by 3.2% year-on-year in July as the release of pent up demand continued. This was the second consecutive month of growth following 3 months of falling sales during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Like-for-like sales rose by 4.3%, excluding temporarily closed stores but including surging online sales.
Spain: DIA invested €50mln in logistics warehouse
DIA is launching a 68,000 sq. m warehouse, its largest in Spain. The retailer claims it will serve 500 stores in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y León. DIA is aiming to open the warehouse in H1 2022. The retailer said it will be built with environmentally responsible standards in mind, including solar panels to be self-sufficient. Lucia Maricalva, DIA Spain’s director of real estate stated: ‘We had to find a surface of significant dimensions, it also had to have a suitable location, which was in a strategic area to serve the stores efficiently… also a solid logistics network adapted to the current and future needs that can supply stores to respond in a timely manner to customer demands’.
Google Lookout: App reads grocery labels for blind people
Google's AI can now identify food in the supermarket, in a move designed to help the visually impaired. It is part of Google's Lookout app, which aims to help those with low or no vision identify things around them. A new update has added the ability for a computer voice to say aloud what food it thinks a person is holding based on its visual appearance. The UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) gave a cautious welcome to the new feature.
UK: 360 jobs up for grabs at M&S’s new Milton Keynes warehouse
M&S has announced plans to open a new national food distribution centre in Milton Keynes as part of plans to transform its food supply chain. The 365,000sq ft centre will open in September, creating 360 jobs across warehouse and inventory operations. Marks & Spencer said it would expand capacity to “drive improvements for stores and customers” and accelerate “the modernisation of its end to end supply chain”.
Amazon expands anti-counterfeit project to Singapore
Amazon has expanded its anti-counterfeit program Project Zero to 7 new countries, including Singapore and Australia, taking the number of operational territories to 17. The project combines Amazon’s technologies with the brands’ knowledge of their own intellectual property to counter the trade in forged products. The system works by scanning the more than 5bln attempted daily product listings on Amazon for suspicious products, using a machine-learning algorithm that is constantly improving.
UK: Asda launches the first fleet of sustainable delivery vans which will help drive down carbon emissions
Asda has announced a market first as it launches a new fleet of home delivery vans, which will aim to drive down carbon emissions and reduce the number of miles driven each day. The new carbon fiber fleet has a 10% improvement in miles per gallon and with an increased capacity inside, the 25 vans can delivery to more customers, drastically reducing miles on the road and cutting carbon emissions.
Portugal: DIA posts like-for-like sales growth of 9.3% in H1 2020
DIA Portugal has reported a like-for-like sales growth of 9.3% in the first half of its financial year compared to the same period last year. Gross sales in the Portuguese division amounted to €430.6mln, up 5.7% year-on-year from €407.6mln in the first half of 2019. Net sales for the period increased by 6.4% year-on-year to €309.2mln, driven by local transformation measures such as increased stock delivery frequency to support expanded fresh product offer and continued in-store refurbishment efforts.
US: Consumers say grocers' shelves are getting fuller, FMI research shows
The percentage of consumers who report that grocery stores are typically fully stocked reached 27% in mid-July, its highest level since late March, when it was 13%, according to research published by the Food Industry Association (FMI). The share of customers who say that many products are generally unavailable on store shelves has fallen to 18%, down from 46%, the latest findings from the association’s ongoing U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends COVID-19 Tracker survey indicate. Weekly spending on groceries remains above pre-pandemic levels, but is lower than it was when the health crisis was in its early stages. Consumers who participated in the FMI survey in July said they spent a weekly average of $134 on groceries, compared with the average of $161 reported by survey respondents in late March and early April.
US: Sprouts expansion on target in Q3
The continued penetration of Sprouts Farmers Market in the Tampa, Florida, area has the natural and organic grocer on track to achieve its 2020 growth targets. Sprouts opened its newest store on August 12, northeast of Tampa, the first of three planned locations following the company's entry into the market in 2017. There was a light crowd on hand for the opening of the 30,000-square-foot store, as was to be expected at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday, but traffic will surely build as word spreads among residents of the densely populated area about Sprouts' brand of food retailing.
US: Stop & Shop phasing out Peapod App
Stop & Shop is phasing out its Peapod app as the grocer launches a new integrated e-commerce platform and an enhanced customer loyalty program called Stop & Shop GO Rewards. The move from Stop & Shop comes a few months after sister Ahold Delhaize banner Giant Food introduced a new integrated e-commerce shopping experience for customers available on the retailer’s revamped Giantfood.com website and its mobile app.
US: Publix named United Way’s No. 1 Global Corporate Leader
Publix has been named United Way’s No. 1 Global Corporate Leader. For more than 40 years, Publix associates have shown their commitment to improving the early education, financial stability, and health and wellness of individuals in the communities Publix serves through donations to the annual United Way campaign. In 2019, associates pledged $38.6mln to United Way with Publix Super Markets Charities committing another $25mln, bringing the total to $63.6mln. The donation supports 109 local United Ways in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Canada: Walmart and Condor Properties break ground on newest and highest volume distribution centre in Vaughan
Walmart Canada and Condor Properties broke ground on a signature brand new state-of-the-art distribution centre in Vaughan, Ontario. On the heels of announcing a major $3.5bln investment into all aspects of the business, Walmart's new facility is a next generation 550,000 square foot distribution centre located at 11110 Jane Street (Jane St. and Teston Road).