Meijer’s neighborhood market store: 1st year operating in pandemic

Amazon: Sales record and CEO Jeff Bezos steps down

US: Kroger blames pandemic pay for store closures
Kroger is blaming mandated pandemic hazard pay for the upcoming closings of two supermarkets it owns in Long Beach, California. The stores scheduled to close are: The Ralphs store located at 3380 N. Los Coyotes Diagonal, and the Food 4 Less store located at 2185 E. South Street. The two closures decrease the chains’ store count by 25% in Long Beach.

US: The Fresh Market launches 1st monthly magazine
The Fresh Market has debuted a new magazine that aims to capture the experience of shopping at the specialty food retailer. The Fresh Market: The Magazine is the grocery store chain’s first-ever monthly publication.

Amazon sets sales record as Bezos reveals succession plan
The big news for Amazon was the announcement that CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos will transition in the third quarter to executive chair. Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon Web Services, will become CEO at that time. The announcement came as the e-commerce operator and cloud computing and logistics giant reported $125.6bln in fourth quarter revenue, up 44% year over year - the largest quarterly revenue Amazon has ever reported. The Q4 revenue also beat Wall Street expectations of $119.7bln.

US: PCC Community Markets comes out against grocery pay increase
One of the nation's most innovative independent grocers says "hazard pay" mandates would be "deeply damaging" to the grocery industry. Independent grocers face acute challenges as local authorities push through pandemic pay increases, at least according to the leader of PCC Community Markets.

US: Meijer’s neighborhood market store celebrates 1st year operating in pandemic
When Meijer debuted its smaller-format neighborhood market store Woodward Corner Market, in Royal Oak, Michigan, on January 29, 2020, the grocer didn't anticipate that the location would be operating during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Yet even in the face of challenging times, store leadership moved forward with numerous programs to make it easier for customers to shop.

US: Badger Technologies introduces the Badger UV Disinfect robot to elevate health and safety in grocery and retail stores
Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, introduces the Badger™ UV Disinfect robot, an autonomous ultraviolet (UV) disinfecting robot designed to combat COVID-19 and high-risk pathogens commonly found in grocery, food-service and retail environments. The latest in the lineup of Badger Technologies® autonomous robots, the Badger UV Disinfect robot is equipped with advanced UV-C technology developed by UltraViolet Devices Inc. (UVDI), a leading provider of air and surface disinfection solutions.

British lockdowns drive acceleration in grocery sales growth
The British grocery market saw sales growth accelerate to 12.2% in the latest 12-week period as reintroduced lockdown restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19 caused people to spend more on food and drink, industry data showed. Market researcher Kantar said the outcome for the 12 weeks to January 24 compared to year-on-year growth of 11.4% in last month’s report and reflected the curtailment of eating out of the home as cafés, restaurants and pubs were forced to close. In January alone, shoppers spent 1bln pounds ($1.4bln) more on supermarket food and drink items compared with the same four-week period last year, Kantar said, with the average family spending 50 pounds more on groceries.

UK: IGD unveils new brand identity
IGD has unveiled a new brand identity that reflects the dynamism of the industry that the organisation sits at the heart of and underpins its commitment to be a force for good. The new visual identity includes a new logo and bold colour scheme, which has already been implemented on the website. In addition, the IGD's trading company has been rebranded as Commercial Insight, while the charity will now be known as Social Impact.

Changing shopper behaviour with healthy fresh produce options in India and Nigeria
As snacking and healthy eating are growing trends around the world, SPAR has joined forces with the international vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan. In SPAR stores in India and Nigeria, new vegetable snacking varieties were introduced aimed at changing shopper behaviour. The focus is on providing innovative, high quality, locally grown healthy fresh produce options in stores.

China: Despite solid Q3 earnings, Alibaba faces great regulatory uncertainty
Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group reported impressive earnings figures for the last quarter with a 37% surge in revenue thanks to a robust economic recovery in China. What was also clear from the widely-anticipated quarterly report was the great uncertainty facing the company from an antitrust probe and the suspension of its fintech affiliate Ant Group’s IPO.

UK: Ocado using electric and pedal power for Zoom delivery service
Ocado has started trialling the use of electric and pedal-powered vehicles for its rapid grocery delivery service in London as part of a wider commitment to cut emissions. Ocado Zoom deliveries using the environmentally-friendly vehicles has begun from a site in Acton, West London. The vehicles are a mix of electric refrigerated vans and pedal-powered cargo bikes which can travel up to 40 miles. Ocado claims that every vehicle is zero-emission and each delivery made with them replaces the need for a petrol alternative.

Brits make it the biggest Veganuary yet and demand for low & no alcohol also soars
Brits have made this Veganuary the biggest ever with demand for plant-based foods up by more than a third on the previous year’s event, Tesco can reveal. And despite the temptations for Brits to abandon ‘Dry January’ this year because of lockdown, the supermarket also saw a sharp rise in demand for many low and no alcohol products versus 2020. In total demand for plant-based foods soared by more than 35% this month on last Veganuary.

UK: Update in relation to acquisition of Asda by Issa Brothers and TDR Capital
Following the announcements by EG Group as well as the Issa Brothers and TDR Capital outlining the proposed financing structure behind the acquisition of Asda, Roger Burnley, Asda Chief Executive, said: “Today’s announcements mark an important step in the purchase of Asda from Walmart by the Issa Brothers and TDR. The main elements relate to how they are planning to finance their purchase and include the proposed sale of the Asda petrol forecourts sites to EG Group. Whilst the transaction remains subject to CMA approval, we will work closely with our new owners on how these Asda sites would operate as part of the EG Group under the Asda brand and ensure they continue to be a price leader in the fuel sector”.

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