Pinduoduo: Better-than-expected quarterly revenue

Walmart is selling a majority stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu

Croatia: Studenac grows through acquisitions
Croatian supermarket chain Studenac has rebranded the first 15 stores it took over as part of its acquisition of grocery retailer Sonik Market in December 2019. The rebranding of Sonik Market, which has 88 stores mostly along the Adriatic coast, should be completed by the end of the year. The Zadar-based chain was acquired from founder Nikola Sorić for an undisclosed sum. According to Studenac CEO, Michal Senezuk: “Our goal is to preserve the value that Sonik represents to its customers and gradually improve the entire offer, but also to provide customers with special benefits”, reported local daily Poslovni Dnevnik.

UK: Robots to take on more supermarket tasks
A task which is so simple for humans - quickly and efficiently packing a bag of groceries of different sizes and shapes without crushing anything - is something that until recently has been beyond the abilities of robots. It requires vision systems to locate the produce, a flexible and strong hand to grab items and a sophisticated artificial intelligence which knows that a carton of eggs should not be stacked under a four-pint bottle of milk. It is a problem that James Matthews, the chief executive of Ocado Technology (part of the Ocado Group) is wrestling with in the warehouses that handle online orders. The company has a sophisticated warehouse in Erith in east London, which is already highly automated.

Walmart sells majority stake in Seiyu, nearly exiting Japan
Walmart Inc is selling a majority stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to investment firm KKR and e-commerce company Rakuten for over $1bln, after years of struggling to make money amid stiff competition. The deal, which values Seiyu at 172.5bln yen ($1.65bln), comes after on-off speculation about the U.S. retail giant looking to exit Japan. It is well below the 300-500bln yen it reportedly sought a few years ago.

Russia: Ozon targets $750mln in IPO as e-commerce booms - sources
Russian online retailer Ozon plans to raise about $750mln in an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States to help fund its expansion in a rapidly-growing e-commerce market at home, three financial market sources said. Russia’s fragmented e-commerce market is forecast to grow by more than 40% to 2.5tln roubles ($32.4bln) this year, according to Euromonitor research group, and by 10-15% a year over the next 5 years.

China: Pinduoduo beats quarterly revenue estimates
Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue, helped by strong demand as the domestic economy began to show signs of a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue jumped 89% to 14.21bln yuan ($2.15bln) in the third quarter ended September 30, beating analysts’ estimates of 12.34bln yuan ($1.86bln), according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

This Dutch packaging-free online supermarket bags €2.7mln funding, makes circular packaging possible
Supermarkets and grocery stores generate a lot of plastic waste and packaging. Until recently, these were overlooked environmental issues. Now, grocery stores are moving towards a zero plastic waste system. One such startup is Rotterdam-based online supermarket Pieter Pot. In a recent development, Pieter Pot has raised €2.7mln to make circular packaging for groceries the norm. 3 impact-oriented venture capital funds - SHIFT Invest (also the party behind Vandebron), Future Food Fund and InnovationQuarter have invested in Pieter Pot. The company will use the investment to meet the enormous consumer demand for sustainable alternatives to single-use packaging.

UK: Central England Co-op introduces new value range
Central England Co-op has introduced a new value range of own-brand food and grocery essentials as it looks to attract budget conscious shoppers. The new Co-op Honest Value range includes British fresh meat and Fairtrade products, fruit, vegetables, ready meals, soft drinks and dairy items, as well as household goods.

India: Grofers to raise over $55mln From SoftBank
Online grocery store Grofers is reportedly in the final stages of raising $55-60mln from its largest investor, the SoftBank Vision Fund. The Japanese multinational conglomerate is the largest investor in the Gurugram-headquartered company with around 46% shareholding. In the latest round, Grofers’ existing investors Tiger Global Management and KTB Ventures could also invest $30mln.

Holland: Ahold Delhaize elevates its position as a world leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index
Ahold Delhaize announced that it has elevated its position as a world leader in the Food and Staples Retailing sector in the 2020 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). Ahold Delhaize improved its score with 14 points compared to the 2019 score, receiving 83 out of 100. This score is well above the industry average of 31 points. This year marks the fifth consecutive year the company has been ranked among industry leaders.

Mexico same-store retail sales up 2.8% October, first rise since March
The members of Mexican retailers' association ANTAD said that same-store sales rose by 2.8% in October versus the same month a year earlier, the first increase since March as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic hit consumer demand. The figures reflect sales at over 62,000 stores across Mexico, including at chains such as Soriana and Chedraui, that have been open for at least a year.

US: Instacart taps Goldman Sachs to lead IPO at $30bln valuation - sources
Instacart has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead its initial public offering (IPO), which could come early next year and value the U.S. grocery delivery app at around $30bln, people familiar with the matter said. Instacart was valued at $17.7bln last month, when it raised $200mln in a private fundraising round. Were the IPO to push Instacart’s valuation to close to $30bln, it would underscore the rapid growth of its business as more consumers turn to it to shop for groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon attracts food stamp users for online grocery orders during pandemic: report
Amazon is becoming more popular among people who use food stamps for online grocery orders, according to a recent report. In fact, online grocery orders for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users have spiked 50-fold this year because of the pandemic, according to a report from Bloomberg.

US: Dollar General to build 1st dual distribution center
Dollar General's efforts to gain market share in food and consumables have taken an interesting turn in an unlikely location. The company is constructing a first-of-its-kind dual-purpose distribution center in eastern Nebraska that will handle general merchandise and provide another location for the expanding DG Fresh distribution network. The combination dry and DG Fresh distribution center in Blair equates to an approximately $85mln investment in Nebraska's Washington County. At full capacity, the 800,000-square-foot facility is expected to create 400 jobs and support more than 1,500 stores in the Midwest.

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