Lidl and Kaufland strengthening their digital capabilities

Sobeys: Bonuses to workers in lockdown areas

Canada: Sobeys to issue bonuses to workers in lockdown areas
Sobeys says it is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect. Parent company Empire Company Limited says it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba, Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of non-essential businesses. Each week, eligible employees will receive between $10 and $100 extra, depending on how many hours they work and how long the government lockdowns last. Empire says it currently expects to spend $5mln per quarter on the program, but that could change if further lockdowns are introduced.

Europe: How Lidl and Kaufland are strengthening their digital capabilities 
Schwarz Group, Lidl and Kaufland parent’s company, is set to launch smart cloud solutions in early 2021. Lidl is reorganizing its IT and digital divisions to focus on the digital transformation of its stores, while the recent acquisition of the marketplace will accelerate Kaufland’s omnichannel transformation. Schwarz Group will launch cloud computing solutions in January 2021 as it aims to compete with the likes of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The solutions are being developed by STACKIT, Schwarz Group’s digital brand for IT services. The acquisition of software specialist Camao IDC in May 2020 saw Schwarz bring on board more than 70 digital and technology specialists, who have contributed to the development.

Analysis: Battle of the billionaires - Bezos, Ambani gun for India retail supremacy
Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani, 2 of the world’s richest men, face a turning point in a battle for pre-eminence in India’s booming, nearly trillion-dollar retail market. The outcome of a legal dispute which has embroiled the billionaires’ and Reliance Industries Ltd empires - where a court ruling is imminent - may shape India’s retail landscape for years to come. The winner in the fight for Future Retail Ltd, Amazon’s estranged local partner, will get pole position in the race to meet the daily needs of more than a billion people.

UK: Tesco to implement 24-hour opening times in over 300 stores
Tesco has reportedly said it will implement a 24-hour opening time at over 300 of its stores in the run-up to Christmas. The Big 4 grocer will have over 300 of its largest-format stores trade for 24 hours a day from December 14 to Christmas Eve, while the remainder of stores extend opening hours an hour early from 5am until 11pm, Retail Week reported.

Pinduoduo rises to China's grocery challenge
Pinduoduo is rising to China’s grocery challenge. The e-commerce company unveiled plans to raise as much as $6.1bln partly to expand next-day delivery for fresh produce. Competition is fierce and building out logistics will be costly, but its model of matching farmers to shoppers could give it an edge over rivals. And boss Chen Lei has successful experience as an underdog.

M&S warns that 15% of food lines may be unavailable in Northern Ireland
Marks & Spencer has warned that up to 15% of its food product lines could be unavailable in its Northern Ireland shops in January. From 1 January, Northern Ireland will stay in the EU single market for goods but the rest of the UK will leave. The EU has strict rules on which food products can enter its single market. Negotiations between the UK and EU on how these rules should be applied on food entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain are ongoing. This matter is separate from the trade talks between the EU and UK and will not be directly resolved by a trade deal.

French watchdog fines Carrefour 3 mln euros for privacy rule breaches
French watchdog CNIL has fined two of Carrefour’s subsidiaries a total of 3.05mln euros ($3.63mln) for breaching European Union data privacy rules. The watchdog said Carrefour France and Carrefour Banque, the French retailer’s financial services subsidiary, had failed to properly inform internet users about loyalty programmes and credit card applications on their respective websites. It said information was also lacking on how long Carrefour France intended to keep customers’ personal data. The initial data retention period of four years was deemed excessive by the watchdog.

FamilyMart Taiwan strengthens foodservice offer
With more consumers staying at home for meals in Taiwan, FamilyMart has partnered two famous chefs to launch some new ready-to-eat dishes. Taiwan is an important market for FamilyMart. After Japan, it is the retailer’s second largest market, trading more than 3,500 stores. Within Taiwan, FamilyMart is also the second largest convenience chain and it continues to look for creative ways to improve in-store operations, as well as adapt to meet new customer needs. Its latest initiative follows 7-Eleven also testing foodservice pre-order and collection services.

UK: Sainsbury's Christmas home delivery slots 2020 are now open to book
Sainsbury's has opened its Christmas slots for customers to book for home delivery for the peak week in December. Unlike other supermarkets, Sainsbury's will stagger its delivery slots with shoppers able to book December 20 initially with new days released daily.

Slovenia: Mercator group’s net loss at EUR69mln in first nine months
The retail group Mercator saw its sales revenue rise by 2.1% to EUR1.6bln in the first nine months compared to the same period last year, but the group operated with a net loss, which climbed to EUR69mln, shows a report. It says that revaluation of the group’s real estate on the one hand resulted in an increase of equity, while on the other it had a negative effect on operating profit. Group revenue in the core activity of retail increased by 3.9% to reach EUR1.3bln, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) remained flat at EUR126.3mln.

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