Walmart: New form of grocery delivery

Couche-Tard is exploring a potential acquisition of Carrefour

US: Digital investments pay off for Albertsons
Surging online grocery sales lifted Albertsons Companies to stronger-than-expected earnings during the third quarter. For the period ended December 5, same-store sales at Albertsons grew 12.3% on the strength of digital sales, which skyrocketed 225%. Albertsons said it has spent approximately $1.1bln in capital expenditures, which included accelerated investment in digital and technology initiatives, during the first 40 weeks of fiscal 2020.

US: Walmart offers new form of grocery delivery
Walmart is bringing some new sophistication to grocery delivery. Beginning this spring, participating customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart directly into a temperature-controlled HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home, according to Tom Ward, SVP of customer product, Walmart U.S.

US: Hy-Vee builds up employee benefits
Hy-Vee Inc. has provided incentives to becoming an essential worker at its locations by giving more than $167.2mln in bonuses and other benefits to its employees in 2020. With sales of $11bln annually, Hy-Vee’s more than 88,000 employees have the opportunity to share in the company’s success through a variety of ways.

Amazon simplifies its grocery proposition
Amazon has discontinued its Pantry delivery service in the US and India, as it looks to offer a clearer, simpler grocery proposition to customers. The aim of the service was to allow shoppers to stock up on everyday products, that are not typically shipped for free, and that could be sent in one parcel. Products previously available on Amazon Pantry have been transferred to Amazon’s main website. It has also discontinued Amazon Pantry in India, following the expansion of the service to 300 cities across the country in June 2020.

US: FreshDirect forecasts home cooking trends
Online grocer FreshDirect is providing an early view of grocery, e-commerce and customer trends with the release of its top food predictions for 2021. Overall, since consumers are spending more time in the kitchen, FreshDirect sees them gravitating toward more meal solutions and higher-quality products such as premium meats and fresher produce.

US: The Fresh Market raises the bar for curbside pickup
The Fresh Market has upped the service level for click-and-collect via a program dubbed “The Friendliest Curbside Experience in America”. The Greensboro, North Carolina-based specialty grocer said that the initiative offers curbside pickup customers designated personal shoppers, orders that are double-checked by managers and verified with their signature, and wait times of less than five minutes for groceries to be brought to their vehicle.

Canada: Couche-Tard said to explore purchase of Carrefour
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian convenience-store giant that owns the Circle K chain, is exploring a potential acquisition of French grocer Carrefour SA, people with knowledge of the matter said. Couche-Tard has made an initial approach to Carrefour to discuss a combination, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Spain: El Corte Inglés to open 28 Supercor stores amid adverse weather
Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés has announced that it will open 28 Supercor supermarkets to provide food and other essential items amid adverse weather conditions. Out of this total, 23 stores are located in Madrid and 5 are in other towns of the country.

UK: Morrisons pay to break £10 an hour barrier
Morrisons announced a new pay deal for its store colleagues, becoming the first UK supermarket group to guarantee pay of at least £10 an hour (For colleagues who have passed their probation period). The new deal will start in April (The pay deal is subject to a ballot opening on 27 January 2021, closing on 7 February, and the final results being announced on 12 February) and will mean a significant pay increase for nearly 96,000 Morrisons colleagues. For the majority of colleagues the pay increase is approximately 9%.

SPAR UK partners with social media influencer ‘The Fitness Chef’
SPAR UK has started the New Year with a bang by partnering with social media influencer Graeme Tomlinson - also known as The Fitness Chef. In partnership with the nutrition coach and personal trainer, SPAR UK is sharing nutritional advice and recipes throughout January to help consumers find a balanced lifestyle.

Russia: Magnit tallies up New Year sales
Magnit PJSC (the Company), one of the leading Russian retailers, has summarized its sales in the period preceding the New Year. From December 17 to 31, 2020, the Company’s revenue grew by 11.9% (Operational figures are based on management accounts. Increase in LFL sales and average ticket calculated based on revenue with VAT) year-over-year, with LFL sales growing by 8.9%. 

Deliveroo to expand into 100 new UK towns and cities in 2021
Online delivery group Deliveroo plans to expand into around 100 new towns and cities across the UK in 2021 as it seeks to capitalise on its popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, it said. Demand for home delivery of restaurant food and groceries has soared during the crisis with the hospitality industry largely closed. Deliveroo’s expansion means around 4mln more people will be able to access its services for the first time in 2021, it said.

UK: Lidl cheers record Christmas sales surge despite pandemic
Discount supermarket Lidl has hailed a “record” Christmas as it revealed that sales surged during the key December trading period. The retailer said total sales jumped 17.9% in the 4 weeks to December 27, compared with the same period last year. Lidl said the increase in sales was partly driven by customers buying more items during their shopping trips, with the average basket size increasing by 24.8% during the period.

Hungary: Spar fined for retroactive rebate agreements w/o turnover specifications
Hungarian food safety authority Nébih said it fined the local unit of supermarket chain Spar HUF80mln for signing retroactive rebate agreements with suppliers without specifying any link to sales, according to a report by state news wire MTI. In a probe of Spar's compliance with conditions in supplier contracts, Nebih found that Spar had made such agreements with five of ten suppliers, adding up to HUF75mln in damages to those business partners. Nébih noted that retroactive rebate agreements must be linked to turnover. Spar did not appeal the Nébih resolution.

France: Auchan changes management team and structure
France trade publication LSA has reported that Auchan Group has changed its management team to bring in new governance of the group with the appointment for each country of a president and vice-president. LSA, quoting a document, said the appointments are ‘…a question of accelerating the move towards decentralisation by allowing greater responsibility and autonomy for all Auchan employees, while maintaining the pride of belonging to a whole serving the same aim: “a food culture”. The decentralisation process that has been initiated will be amplified and consolidated by the gradual transformation of Auchan's organisation into a federation of companies in autonomous countries’.

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