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Japan’s biggest supermarket chain has seen strong food sales since the coronavirus outbreak

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is to invest in Reliance Retail Ventures

UK: New Tesco boss says Christmas 2020 can still be a merry one
The new boss of Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket group, said he expected the country to celebrate Christmas in a big way this year despite a recession and government curbs on socialising to stem the spread of COVID-19. Ken Murphy, who succeeded Dave Lewis as Tesco CEO last week, said Britons would be particularly keen to enjoy Christmas after such a miserable year.

UK: Waitrose steals market share from Ocado despite M&S deal
Waitrose has reportedly stolen some market share from Ocado during the early days of the latter’s partnership with Marks & Spencer. According data seen by The Sunday Times, Ocado Retail had an average of 328,000 weekly orders in the fortnight after it launched its Marks & Spencer partnership on September 1. In comparison, in the weeks leading up that launch weekly orders reportedly averaged 345,000.

Japan retailer Aeon bounces back to operating profit, wary on outlook
Japanese retailer Aeon Co returned to an operating profit in the 3 months through August but maintained a cautious outlook for the year as the pandemic weighs on consumption. Japan’s biggest supermarket chain has seen strong food sales since the coronavirus outbreak as people cook at home instead of going out. But its general merchandise stores and shopping malls have struggled to attract shoppers.

India: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority takes $750mln stake in Reliance Retail Ventures
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is to invest 55.12bln Indian rupees ($750.9mln) in Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail Ventures, the country's largest retail chain. Adia has taken a 1.2% stake in the venture, which is valued at 4.285tln rupees, according to a statement issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Its investment brings the total amount raised by Reliance Retail through recent stake sales to about $5.1bln.

COVID-19 has flipped the value proposition of omnichannel shopping for constrained consumers
With few alternatives available during the widespread lockdowns earlier this year, e-commerce quickly became a go-to means-to-an-end for shop-needy consumers around the globe. 6 months later, that early reliance on e-commerce has expanded into a fundamental dependence on still-evolving omnichannel shopping experiences. The premise of omnichannel shopping certainly wasn’t borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the global health crisis has dramatically elevated consumers’ use of both on- and offline channels in tandem, whether for click-and-collect, contactless delivery or an array of other fulfillment options. And across consumer groups, online channels have become the most critical shopping resources for constrained consumers - those whose income and spending have been significantly curtailed or constrained due to unemployment, furloughing or other COVID-19-related challenges. 

Saudi Arabia: BinDawood Holding prices IPO at 96 riyals a share
Saudi Arabian supermarket retailer BinDawood Holding has priced its initial public offering at 96 riyals ($25.59) a share, the company said. The retailer, which owns the Danube and BinDawood supermarket brands, said the book-building process generated an order book of 106.9bln riyals ($28.50bln).

US: Good Food Holdings names Neil Stern CEO
Good Food Holdings (GFH), the Los Angeles-based holding company for upscale food retailers Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres Natural Market, Metropolitan Market, New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Market, has appointed Neil Stern its new CEO. Stern, a GFH board member for the past 2 years, is a partner emeritus of strategic consulting firm McMillan Doolittle.

US: Wakefern brings new look to expanded Wholesome Pantry brand
Wakefern Food Corp. is rolling out a redesigned and expanded lineup of its better-for-you Wholesome Pantry and Wholesome Pantry Organic brands at ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer supermarkets. The rebranding brings a cleaner, simpler logo and package design plus a new tagline - “Food Set Free” - that accentuates Wholesome Pantry’s free-from product standards, which include clean ingredients and no artificial additives or preservatives, Wakefern said. Wholesome Pantry Organic offers the same standards but with a USDA Organic certification. All Wholesome Pantry Organic products are deemed as non-GMO under the USDA’s National Organic Program, the company noted. As part of the brand relaunch, Wakefern plans to roll out more than 100 new Wholesome Pantry items - such as nut butters, organic fruits and vegetables and packaged salads - to store shelves starting in early October. Wholesome Pantry products are made to offer quality equal to or better than national brands and are located in most departments, including center store, frozen, produce, dairy and meat.

US: Ahold Delhaize to report healthy food sales
Ahold Delhaize USA plans to publicly disclose the percentage of food sales from healthier products via a collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). Starting this year and then annually thereafter, Ahold Delhaize USA - the operator of East Coast supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Food Lion and Hannaford - will report the percentage of total-store food sales generated from private- and national-brand products earning star ratings in its Guiding Stars nutrition program.

US: SpartanNash launches hiring push for 1,000 grocery store jobs
Grocery distributor and retailer SpartanNash aims to fill more than 1,000 job openings in its 155 corporate-owned and -operated supermarkets. The hiring drive, includes store associate, director and manager positions; department-specific roles such as bakery leads, deli clerks and meat apprentices; and specialty jobs such as baristas and personal shoppers for online grocery orders. SpartanNash said additional openings also are available at its distribution warehouses and corporate service centers.

US: FMI releases 71st annual The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report
The annual The Food Retailing Industry Speaks (Speaks) report, released by FMI-The Food Industry Association, finds that in 2019 the food retail industry saw strong operational performance, which helped the industry face challenges in 2020. At the same time, outside forces including trade, credit/debit card interchange fees and health care costs impacted food retailers and kept profit margins steady.

US: Penney Judge urges Aurelius Group to bid with 9 days to deadline
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones is urging a group of J.C. Penney Co. creditors including Aurelius Capital Management to submit a competing bid to buy the ailing retailer. “I want to see what your folks can do”, Jones said in a telephonic court hearing. “I want to see it sooner rather than later”. The push comes as J.C. Penney, its biggest landlords and holders of most of its senior debt work to execute a bid that would rescue the company by October 16. The deal - which would see Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Property Partners buy the retailer’s operations and keep stores open - was announced nearly a month ago but no definitive agreements have been signed.

US: Southeastern Grocers expands Fresco y Más into Southwest Florida
Southeastern Grocers, Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announced plans to expand its popular Hispanic grocery store into Southwest Florida. SEG will reveal the newest Fresco y Más store, and the grocer’s 27th location, on October 21 in Lehigh Acres, Florida.

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