US: Walmart gives bonuses to employees, extends emergency leave as pandemic worsens
Walmart is paying a fourth special bonuses to hourly employees on December 24. Since March, the big-box retailer has hired more than half a million employees and more than 20% of those have moved into permanent positions at Walmart. For all grocery store workers, rising cases and hospitalizations in small towns and cities across the U.S. means they’re risking their health and their family’s health when they go to work each day.
US: Kroger misses quarterly sales expectations, shares fall
Supermarket chain Kroger Co missed Wall Street estimates for sales as online grocery demand slowed in the third quarter, sending shares down 4%. Kroger’s quarterly sales rose to $29.72bln in the third quarter from $27.97bln a year earlier, but still missed the Refinitiv IBES estimate of $29.97bln. Digital sales more than doubled, but was down compared with last quarter’s 127% growth.
US: Meijer signs up with Instacart to provide delivery service
Meijer has partnered with Instacart to offer same-day delivery service from nearly all of the grocer’s more than 240 stores, according to a press release. Instacart shoppers will deliver groceries and thousands of other items Meijer’s stores carry to customers across the retailer’s six-state region, which covers Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, in as little as one hour. Meijer’s agreement with Instacart expands on its existing third-party delivery partnerships with Shipt and DoorDash.
US: WinCo Foods partners with Afresh Technologies to reduce food waste and drive profits chain-wide
Afresh, the artificial intelligence-powered fresh replenishment platform, and WinCo Foods announced a partnership in which WinCo Foods is implementing Afresh's software across their entire chain of grocery stores. In the partnership, WinCo Foods will use Afresh in produce departments to reduce food waste, optimize produce inventory, place orders, and boost profitability.
Britain's John Lewis won't return pandemic business rates relief
The John Lewis Partnership, owner of the eponymous department store chain and Waitrose supermarket, said it had no plans to repay to government the business rates relief it has received during the COVID-19 pandemic. The employee-owned group said the outlook remained “incredibly uncertain” and government support was crucial to help it navigate the crisis.
Spain: "Deliver anything" app Glovo expects to double income in pandemic year
Spanish start-up Glovo expects revenue to double this year from last as lockdowns boost its quick delivery service of everything from curries to contact lenses, its co-founder Sacha Michaud told Reuters. Glovo, which clinched “unicorn” status a year ago when a cash injection led by Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala pushed its valuation past $1bln, delivered groceries and medicines long before the coronavirus pandemic prompted rivals to expand beyond restaurant meals.
Sainsbury's, Asda and Aldi waive tax relief as UK supermarkets hand back 1.74bln pounds
Sainsbury’s, Asda and Aldi will forgo UK property tax relief during the pandemic, following rivals Tesco and Morrisons and taking the total saved by the government from supermarket groups to 1.74bln pounds. Sainsbury’s said it would now pay 440mln pounds ($591mln) of so called business rates, while Walmart owned Asda will pay 340mln pounds and German-owned Aldi will pay 100mln pounds.
UK: Tesco move to pay business rates not linked to Asia special dividend - CEO
The boss of Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, said a decision to waive government business rates relief during the pandemic was “disconnected” to plans to pay a special dividend once a deal to sell its Asian business is completed. “It’s completely disconnected. That dividend has been flagged for a number of months, I think people, the market, everybody, was aware of it”, Ken Murphy told Sky News.
Grab launches grocery delivery service GrabSupermarket in Malaysia
Super app Grab has announced the launch of its newest venture, the delivery-only GrabSupermarket, in Malaysia. GrabSupermarket currently services the Klang Valley, delivering over 2,500 products including household goods, pantry essentials, beauty and health essentials, and freshly sourced produce. It was launched last month as part of a pilot program.
UK: Quarter of shoppers bought online for first time during pandemic - Waitrose
A quarter of shoppers bought food online for the first time during the pandemic and the digital shift is set to stay, according to Waitrose. The supermarket chain, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership chain, said customers’ regular shopping and eating habits have been “fundamentally reshaped” by the pandemic, in its latest Annual Food Report. Waitrose said it expects many trends which emerged during the pandemic to continue to grow in 2021.
UK: Aldi launches first click and collect services in Cornwall
Supermarket chain Aldi has launched a click-and-collect service in select Cornwall sites, with 200 more UK shops being trialled by Christmas. The store hopes the scheme will improve contact-free and socially distanced grocery shopping. After a successful trial at St Austell, select stores in the Duchy will now let customers order groceries online and collect them once the items are ready.