Giant Co. has launched a new initiative to help local public schools across its market area

Sprouts Farmers Market has launched portobello mushrooms and pea protein burgers

U.S. holiday retail sales rise 3% as online shopping booms - Mastercard report
U.S. retail sales rose 3% during this year’s expanded holiday shopping season from October 11 to December 24, a report by Mastercard Inc said, powered by a pandemic-driven shift toward online shopping. U.S. ecommerce sales jumped 49% in this year’s holiday shopping season, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse report, underscoring the COVID-19 pandemic’s role in transforming customers’ shopping habits.

US: Giant Co. addresses kids’ food insecurity
To alleviate food insecurity among students, The Giant Co. has launched a new customer giving initiative to help local public schools across its market area. The initiative enables school districts to cover outstanding student meal debt, expand food distribution programs and offer on-campus food pantries, among other hunger relief efforts.

US: Sprouts Farmers Market launches mushroom-based vegan burger patties
Supermarket chain Sprouts Farmers Market has launched its first private label vegan burgers, sold under the name Plant Based Burger Patties. The burgers are made with portobello mushrooms and pea protein. Unusually, Sprouts has chosen to make the burgers part of its meat line, known as The Butcher Shop. The burgers will even be positioned in the meat aisle.

UK: Morrisons' sales rise 8.1% in latest trading period
Morrisons, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket group, reported a rise in underlying sales in its latest trading period, encompassing Christmas and benefiting from out of home eating and drinking being restricted by strict COVID-19 regulations. The group said that group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 8.1% in the 22 weeks to January 3 - a period that spans Morrisons third quarter to November 1 and the 9 week Christmas trading period.

Pingo Doce to commence trading in the Azores
Portuguese retail brand Pingo Doce has announced that it is to commence operations in the Azores. The Finançor Group, through its subsidiary Finançor - Agro - Alimentar, S.A. (Finançor), and the Jerónimo Martins Group, have signed an agreement to expand operations to include the Azores food sector, under the Pingo Doce and Recheio banners. 

Holland: Jumbo Group’s turnover hit €9.73bln in 2020
Jumbo reported it generated a turnover of €9.73bln in 2020, including sales through its La Place restaurant chain. The turnover at its Jumbo stores increased by 15% to €9.68bln, with its online sales up by more than 50% to over €500mln. Jumbo said its eponymous stores saw turnover growth of 15% to €9.68bln, aided by a 53rd week. Without the affect of the additional week, Jumbo said turnover would have risen by 13%. Organic growth at existing stores reached 11% in 2020, 9% excluding the effect of the 53rd week.

British grocery sales hit record 11.7bln stg in December - Kantar
December was the busiest month ever for British supermarkets as tightening COVID-19 restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars and cafés meant shoppers spent 11.7bln pounds on groceries, industry data showed. Market researcher Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose 11.4% year-on-year over the 12 weeks to December 27 - a period spanning both the November national lockdown in England and Christmas.

Grab seeks $750mln term loan, revenue jumps 70% in 2020
Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab is seeking a $750mln term loan, a term sheet showed after it announced that total group net revenue jumped by about 70% year-on-year in 2020 and had recovered to comfortably above pre-pandemic levels. “In addition, we’ve hit our growth and profitability targets, and reached several new milestones,” Ming Maa, Grab’s president, said in an emailed newsletter update on the business.

UK: Aldi reports record Christmas sales
A spike in demand for premium products helped drive Aldi’s best ever Christmas sales, the supermarket has revealed. In the 4 weeks to December 24th, sales rose by 10.6% compared with the same trading period a year ago. The supermarket also saw strong growth in its online Wine and Special buy offering, with sales in December up 75% on the previous year. Thousands of customers also ordered their groceries online through its click-and-collect service and on-demand delivery partnership with Deliveroo.

Switzerland: Spar acquires 60 forecourt stores
Spar Switzerland has expanded its presence in Switzerland's forecourt business with the acquisition of 60 Avia forecourt stores from Store Service AG. The acquisition came into effect at the start of this year, adding to the 16 Spar stores already in place at Avia petrol stations across the country. Store Service AG, which is owned by numerous Avia member companies, employs around 550 staff members, all of whom retained their roles during the acquisition.

China: Newly opened Seven Fresh provides tailored service for elderly customers
Seven Fresh, JD’s offline fresh produce supermarket chain, has opened a new store in the Fangzhuang area of Beijing, reaching many old residential compounds and elderly people. The new Seven Fresh store can solve the problem by providing tailored services, such as doorstep delivery in as fast as 30 minutes, a special service section for elderly people inside the store, as well as teaching elderly people to place orders online at their compounds.

UK: New Edinburgh Aldi store opening as well as shops in East Lothian and Dalkeith
Aldi is to open four new stores across Scotland as part of a £20mln ($26mln) investment, including a new shop at Edinburgh's Hermiston Gait. The planned new stores are expected to bring 600 jobs to Scotland, and will take the number of stores the budget retailer has in Scotland to 100.

India: Reliance denies allegations of engaging in contract farming, buying land
Reliance Industries (RIL) is not engaged in contract or corporate farming and has no plans to do so, the company clarified. The company said it will also insist to its suppliers to abide by the minimum support price (MSP), as it seeks to assuage farmer unions’ concerns. Reliance has been a target of the ongoing farmer protests and its mobile towers have been damaged in Punjab. The group’s retail arm controls nearly half of vegetable and fruit sales in the organised retail space and it is being viewed by the agitators as a beneficiary of the new farm laws.

UAE's Majid Al Futtaim launches Carrefour in Uzbekistan
Majid Al Futtaim has inaugurated its first Carrefour store in Tashkent in Uzbekistan to meet the country's growing demand for modern retail. With over 16,000 items, Carrefour provides the Uzbek market with the best retail practices, customer services, and in-store hygiene processes, according to a press release.

Metro AG announces takeover of Davigel Spain
Metro AG has announced the takeover of foodservice distribution company Davigel Spain, for an undisclosed fee. The wholesaler said that the acquisition of the business from US operator Sysco will enable it to 'strengthen its strategic profile in the Spanish wholesale market'.

Malta: Scotts supermarket in €35mln outlet sale to discount giant Lidl
Four supermarkets from the Scotts chain are to be acquired by the Lidl discount supermarket chain. The transaction is under the evaluation of the Office for Competition, a Lidl company spokesperson confirmed with Malta Today. This newspaper understands that the value of the transaction is for €35mln for the entire transfer of buildings and land.

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