Couche-Tard: Entry into Asia with acquisition of Hong Kong c-store network

Costco: October sales results

US: Nielsen IDs new spending groups for holidays
As travel constraints and health rules force smaller gatherings this holiday season, spending patterns will no doubt be different compared with years past. With this in mind, Chicago-based Nielsen has identified 5 groups of shoppers that will emerge during the 2020 holidays. The 5 groups are: Constrained and Restricted; Constrained but Free; Cautious Middle; Insulated but Restricted; Insulated and Free.

US: Alfalfa’s Market offers a modern take for a long time natural retailer
At Alfalfa’s Market, the banner alone makes a simple, straightforward statement about the new Alfalfa’s Local Market in Longmont, Colorado: Bold. Clean. Modern. Local. Step inside and the bounty of organic and local produce sits front and center neatly aligned row by row on pared-down produce displays. Simple tags state source, attribute and price, not overly shouting the sourcing story that lies behind building a quality produce program like Alfalfa’s. The bins of local organic apples (a feat to source in this plains-meets-mountains state) doesn’t brag as it puts food forward. That’s the goal, according to Alfalfa’s president, Mark Homlish: modern simplicity that lets food shine. 

Canada: Alimentation Couche-Tard announces entry into Asia with acquisition of Hong Kong c-store network
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. ("Couche-Tard" or the "Company") announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares, on a fully diluted basis, of Convenience Retail Asia (BVI) Limited ("Circle K HK") for HK$2.79bln, or approximately $360mln. Circle K HK, a subsidiary of Convenience Retail Asia Limited ("CRA"), operates a network of Circle K-licensed convenience stores, with 340 company-operated sites in Hong Kong and 33 franchised sites in Macau. 

US: Costco Wholesale Corporation reports October sales results
Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) reported net sales of $13.82bln for the retail month of October, the four weeks ended November 1, 2020, an increase of 15.9% from $11.92bln last year. For the nine weeks ended November 1, 2020, the Company reported net sales of $30.66bln, an increase of 16.4% from $26.33bln last year.

Delhaize has growth ambitions in Luxembourg
Delhaize, already number two in the market, sees growth potential in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Today, the supermarket group has 55 points of sale and 1,100 employees there, slightly less than market leader Cactus with its 60 or so branches. In 2021, however, the number is expected to be 59: four openings are planned.

UK: Retailer John Lewis to cut 1,500 head office jobs
British retailer John Lewis said it would cut 1,500 head office jobs as part of its strategy to return to sustainable profit by 2025. The employee-owned department stores and Waitrose supermarket group, which reported a first-half loss of 635mln pounds ($824mln) in September, said the proposed redundancies would save 50mln pounds a year. The cuts will fall on employees - or what it calls partners - at its sites in central London and Bracknell, west of London, where the group employs about 5,000 people in total. The job loses will be complete by April 2021, it said.

India: Grofers re-enters on-demand vegetable and fruits delivery
Online grocery delivery platform Grofers has made a re-entry into the fresh vegetables and fruits delivery segment. The company has rolled out the service in select areas of Gurugram and soon it will be available in other parts of the national capital region or NCR.

UAE: NRTC Fresh experiences exponential growth of over 1,000% increase in orders within the past year
In the last one year NRTC Fresh, the online delivery platform for fresh fruits and vegetables, is proud to announce an increased growth of 1,617% in its number of orders as well as its expansion across various grocery platforms in the UAE. In recognition of its impressive growth, NRTC Fresh was one of only 19 winners awarded The Middle East Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in the e-commerce category amongst 500 participants. The increased turnover came in response to the growing demand for fresh produce as well as the need for easy online shopping to support precautionary measures in the fight against COVID-19.

UK: M&S suffers first loss in 94 years
Marks & Spencer sank to the first loss in its 94 years as a publicly-listed company as the coronavirus crisis hit trading. In the 6 months to 26 September, the retailer made a loss of £87.6mln, compared with profits of £158.8mln in the same period last year. But chief executive Steve Rowe said the firm's performance had been "much more robust than at first seemed possible". The group also reported strong growth in its Ocado Retail joint venture, which started delivering M&S food as the start of September. It said the partnership has reported a 47.9% jump in sales, while profitability has also improved.

Spain: El Corte Inglés turns department stores into logistics centers
El Corte Inglés has redesigned its distribution network in Spain. The department store chain turned 90 of its stores across Spain into online logistics centers. El Corte Inglés wants to accelerate its online sales and further compete with Amazon. The group has increased its distribution capacity by using department stores as distribution centers. 

UK: Sainsbury's to cut 3,500 jobs and close 420 Argos stores
Sainsbury's has announced 3,500 job cuts, mainly from the Argos chain it bought in 2016. The retailer said it planned to close about 420 standalone Argos stores by March 2024, although it would open 150 more outlets in Sainsbury's stores. Jobs will also go in the supermarkets with the closure of its delicatessens and fresh fish and meat counters. The firm also posted half-year results, revealing a £137mln loss which it blamed on closures and "market changes".

Woolworths doubles Australian e-commerce sales
Shoppers are continuing to embrace online shopping and alternative delivery and pick-up methods, lifting Woolworths Group e-commerce sales to $1.5bln in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Across Woolworths, Big W and Endeavour Group, e-commerce sales increased 87% from the corresponding period a year ago, supported by extra home delivery and pick-up options for customers.

Russia: Magnit launches new delivery service
Russian retailer Magnit has launched a new online ordering and delivery service, offering around 5,000 SKUs with delivery available within 60 minutes or at a predefined time within the following two days. The new service, which is being initially launched within all districts of Moscow within the MKAD ring road, is available via the Magnit Dostavka app. The range of products available includes food, non-food and fresh produce, with promotional discounts that are similar to those available in the retailer's stores.

M&S lobbying UK government for extended trading hours in December
British retailer Marks & Spencer is lobbying the UK government for store trading hours on Sundays to be extended in December to help make up for lost trade in November's COVID-19 lockdown, its boss said. “We are lobbying quite hard with the rest of the industry for the extension and de-regulation of some Sunday hours, particularly as we get closer to Christmas”, Chief Executive Steve Rowe told reporters.

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