M&S Food launches the Innovation Hub

Spar Group: Strong performance in Ireland and Switzerland

UK: New fresh taste for Sainsbury’s Hempstead Valley store
Shoppers in Hempstead Valley will be the first to sample Sainsbury’s new “Fresh Food Market” with the retailer unveiling a new look and feel shopping experience. The new format is brought to life with a market-style presentation of fresh fruit and vegetables, new signage and a focus on seasonality and proud British heritage. Sainsbury’s is committed to championing the freshest food at the most affordable price and is confident customers will really enjoy this spacious, safe and inviting shopping environment.
Source: about.sainsburys.co.uk 

Penny Italia’s pilot grocery delivery service
Rewe-owned Penny has revealed it has started testing online food deliveries in Milan and Catania, under the brand Penny a Casa. The retailer has partnered with ReStore, with the latter company picking and delivering orders, while also managing the website. Orders over €50 will be delivered, using electric vehicles, free of charge. The service will be expanded if the trial is successful. Penny’s online store will initially offer shoppers a range of 2,000 products, but the retailer plans to offer different regional products in the future.
Source: retailanalysis.igd.com 

Spar Group sees earnings up 8.8%, strong performance in Ireland, Switzerland
South Africa's Spar Group has reported a 8.8% increase in full-year earnings, supported by strong demand for groceries during the coronavirus lockdown period. The grocery chain and wholesaler, which also has operations in Ireland, Switzerland, Poland and the UK, said normalised diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose to 1,262.6 cents in the year to September 30, from 1,160.6 cents a year earlier. Group turnover rose 13.5% to 124.3bln rand (€6.83bln), while profitability increased 15.6%, driven up by a change in the sales mix, as more home consumption boosted higher-margin grocery and fresh categories. The group reported revenue of 78.6bln rand (€4.32bln) at its Southern Africa operations, with its Spar banner seeing sales of 62.8bln rand.
Source: esmmagazine.com 

UK: M&S Food to supercharge disruptive innovation with the launch of dedicated new team
M&S Food is launching the Innovation Hub, a new specialist team that will focus on disruptive innovation to create industry-leading products and address some of the biggest sector-wide challenges. The nine-strong team spanning packaging, nutrition, product innovation and business development will be made up of existing M&S experts as well as being bolstered by the recruitment of new talent to drive its Food transformation.
Source: corporate.marksandspencer.com 

HelloFresh competitor Mealhero targets Europe
With a deep-frozen alternative to the well-known chilled meal boxes, Ghent-based startup Mealhero wants to conquer more European countries in addition to Belgium and the Netherlands. New investors are injecting 2.5mln euros into the company. Mealhero provides fresh frozen ingredients that consumers can easily prepare at home in an intelligent steamer. The concept guarantees 'hands-free' cooking: the healthy meal is ready within 25 minutes. The company offers a choice menu of 30 dishes and 70 individual ingredients to put together a meal yourself. The concept is aimed at young families who want to eat tasty and healthy meals, but who want to spend their time optimally.
Source: retaildetail.eu 

China: JD.com to invest more in supermarkets as consumers shift toward online grocery
JD.com Inc. will invest further in its supermarket business amid an accelerating shift toward online grocery in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, executives said after the company reported a 29.2% revenue increase in its third-quarter earnings. Total order volume in the Chinese retailer's supermarket unit grew 48% year over year in the third quarter, contributing to a 35% increase in gross merchandise revenue, CFO Sandy Xu said.
Source: spglobal.com 

UK: Portsmouth wholefoods shop Wild Thyme in Southsea is shortlisted as one of Britain's best
Wild Thyme, an independent wholefoods shop in Palmerston Road that opened in May 2015, is in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020. Wild Thyme, which is a worker co-operative, which means it is owned and controlled by the people who work there, runs on a not-for-profit basis. The shop offers a wide range of food that has been processed as little as possible, including organic fruit, vegetables and bread as well as a wide range of groceries, household products and toiletries.
Source: portsmouth.co.uk 

US: Target’s grocery and online growth help drive Q3 gains
Food and beverage sales, along with e-commerce, helped drive year-over-year sales growth of 21.3% for Target in the third quarter of 2020. Food and beverage sales growth was in the “high teens”, the retailer said, while digital comparable sales posted a 155% increased in Q3, among the highlights of Target’s financial results. Total revenue reached $22.66bln driven by sales growth of 21.3% and an 18.1% increase in other revenue. Store comparable sales increased 9.9% year over year. Operating income was $1.9bln in third quarter 2020, up 93.1% from $1.0bln in 2019.
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

US: Hy-Vee is going on a hiring spree
Hy-Vee is racing to meet the new labor demands of an unprecedented holiday shopping season. The grocer said that it will be hiring 10,000 new employees to meet the "evolving needs of customers who plan to shop differently this holiday season and beyond". 
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

Canada: Metro Q4 profit, same-store and online sales up from year ago
Metro Inc. increased its profit 11.4% and food and pharmacy same-store sales 10.0% and 5.5% respectively in its fourth quarter 2020 when compared to the same quarter one year ago. Sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 reached $4,143.6mln, up 7.4% compared to $3,858.9mln in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Online food sales are up 160% versus last year.
Source: grocerybusiness.ca 

US: Online grocer Farmstead raises $7.9mln to accelerate national expansion, shift the grocery e-commerce paradigm
Farmstead, the first online grocer to offer fresh, high-quality groceries, delivered for free, at better prices than local supermarkets, announced that it has raised a $7.9mln Series A round of funding to accelerate its national expansion and recruiting. This brings Farmstead’s total funding to date to $14.5mln. Farmstead’s business has grown swiftly in 2020, driven partially by shoppers’ preference for delivery over going to the store during the pandemic. Now, with stay-at-home orders lifting, Farmstead has found that the vast majority of customers are continuing to use delivery. 75% of Farmstead customers are on its free weekly recurring program, ensuring that they have a regular delivery slot each week, plus access to discounts on staples.
Source: globenewswire.com 

US: Big Y seeks to fill 1,000+ job openings
Big Y has more than 1,000 job openings it wants to fill in all areas of the company in response to its expansion. The new positions include both full- and part-time jobs. including management and support roles, in every one of the company’s location across Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

US: Walmart doubles number of personal shoppers
In advance of a holiday season in which more consumers than ever are expected to use pickup and delivery services, Walmart has more than doubled its number of personal shoppers from last year. “This means customers can rest easy knowing we have over 157,000 friendly and knowledgeable associates ready to fill grocery orders for all the big meals, as well as pick holiday gifts and stocking stuffers for all,” noted Tom Ward, SVP, customer product at Walmart, in a recent blog post.
Source: progressivegrocer.com 

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