Tops has expanded its participation in the Flashfood program

Amazon made its first-ever purchase of Boeing 767-300 aircraft

US: Hitchcock’s Markets introduces nutrition incentives
North central Florida independent grocer Hitchcock’s Markets has joined forces with the Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) program in the Sunshine State, part of the non-profit Feeding Florida food bank network, to offer nutrition incentives in all but one of its stores. FAB partners with farmers markets to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers a discount on fruits and vegetables with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Hitchcock’s has become the program’s first independent grocer participant. 

US: First Publix supermarket in Northern Virginia opens for business
In mid-December, a new Publix store opened in Stafford, Virginia, on the southern edge of what is considered the NoVa region, per the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area designation. The new 48,000 s.f. store opened in the Embrey Mill Town Center shopping plaza.

US: Tops grows Flashfood partnership
Tops Markets LLC has expanded its participation in the Flashfood program. Launched initially at 6 stores in western New York this past year, Flashfood enables customers to buy food nearing its sell-by date to save money and help reduce food waste. Items such as fresh produce, meat, deli, bakery and dairy may be offered for up to 50% off on the Flashfood app, and then are available for pickup at a designated Tops location. The program’s success has led the grocer to add 21 more stores in Buffalo, New York, 2 stores in the Chautauqua County, New York region, and 4 in the Hudson Valley region of New York state to the number of its supermarkets taking part in the innovative in-store initiative.

US: Safeway to replace delivery workers with DoorDash drivers - but says it's not tied to Prop. 22
Safeway, Vons and other stores owned by Albertsons Companies will be laying off delivery drivers - and in their place, using third-party drivers from the app-based delivery service DoorDash starting February 27. “While we know that this move will help us create a more efficient operation, it wasn’t a decision we made lightly or without a great deal of consideration”, Wendy Gutshall, a Northern California Safeway representative, told SFGATE. “This decision will allow us to compete in the growing home delivery market more effectively”. Proposition 22, which passed with 58.6% of the vote during the November elections, permitted the likes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Postmates to classify drivers and other workers as independent contractors and prevent them from accessing full-time employee benefits.

Amazon purchases 11 aircraft from Delta and WestJet to join Amazon Air’s network
Amazon made its first-ever purchase of Boeing 767-300 aircraft, expanding its fleet to continue to serve customers. The purchase includes 11 aircraft, which will join the network by 2022. Amazon Air’s fleet expansion comes at a time when customers are relying on fast, free shipping more than ever. “Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the U.S. in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal”, said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air. “Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which, in turn, helps us to keep pace with meeting our customer promises”.

InRetail buys Makro stores in Peru
Peruvian business InRetail has acquired Makro’s cash and carry stores in Peru for US$360mln. Makro’s South American operations are owned by SHV Holdings, a Dutch business and one of the world’s largest private trading groups. InRetail has agreed to acquire 100% of its operations in Peru (16 stores), which will help it to bolster its multi-format strategy. "This incorporation strengthens our vision of developing the modern market for mass consumption products, offering all Peruvians a variety of quality products, at low prices and in safe spaces". Juan Carlos Vallejo, InRetail CEO.

Britain's Asda urges lockdown shoppers not to stockpile
British supermarket group Asda urged its customers to shop considerately and not buy more than they normally would after new COVID-19 lockdowns were introduced across the United Kingdom to stem the spread of the virus. Asda, Britain’s third largest supermarket group after market leader Tesco and Sainsbury’s, said it had strong product availability across its stores and depots and its staff were working around the clock to keep shelves stocked.

UK: Sainsbury's raises profit outlook after stellar Christmas
British supermarket group Sainsbury’s raised its full-year profit forecast as it reported strong trading in the Christmas quarter, benefiting from COVID-19 restrictions that kept people eating and drinking at home. Sainsbury’s, Britain’s largest grocer after Tesco, said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 8.6% over the 15 weeks to January 2, its fiscal third quarter. After forgoing business rates relief of 410mln pounds ($557mln), it expects to report underlying profit before tax of at least 330mln pounds in its year to March 2021. That is above a forecast made last month of at least 270mln pounds, though down from the 586mln it made in the previous year.

Ireland: Brexit delays leave M&S fresh food shelves empty in Dublin
British retailer Marks & Spencer said Britain’s withdrawal from European Union trade rules last week was responsible for near-empty fresh-food aisles at some of its Irish stores. Aisles selling fruit and vegetables and some fresh pre-made meals were almost empty at one Marks & Spencer store in Dublin. Pictures posted on Twitter by journalists showed similar scenes in at least two other Dublin Marks & Spencer stores. Several other supermarkets in Dublin had full fresh fruit and vegetable shelves.

SPAR Far East opens fresh supermarket in Russia’s Nakhodka city
SPAR Far East has opened a new store in Nakhodka, a port city in Russia’s Primorsky Territory. On a total store area of 1,500m2, SPAR Nakhodka offers customers a variety of solutions for every eating occasion. Customers are welcomed with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread and pastries, as well as a great selection of delicious, prepared foods.

Days after Brexit, many products vanish from Sainsbury’s in Northern Ireland and are replaced with Spar brand
Days after the Secretary of State declared “there is no Irish Sea border”, scores - and possibly hundreds - of products are disappearing from supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland because of that new border, the News Letter can reveal. Sainsbury’s has taken the highly unusual step of using a rival supermarket’s branded products to prevent bare shelves in its Northern Ireland stores, entering into a deal with Spar in Northern Ireland to stock some of their products.

UAE: Carrefour introduces ‘Cookit Yourself’; cook at home recipe boxes with chef-inspired dishes
Carrefour, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE has launched “Cookit Yourself” - a curated recipe box created to bring a hassle-free yet tasty and healthy alternative cooking experience to customers’ kitchens. Delivering exceptional value and added convenience, the Cookit Yourself box is packed with pre-portioned fresh Carrefour ingredients and step-by-step chef-inspired recipes, designed to encourage people to cook and enjoy a meal at home without having to purchase separate ingredients.

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