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Hy-Vee: Winner of the 2021 Healthiest State Large Workplace Award

Giant urban flagship store in Philadelphia

Walmart's Mexico unit boosts logistics spending in $1bln capex plan
Walmart’s Mexico unit will ramp up logistics spending this year as a part of a 22.2bln peso ($1.09bln) plan aimed at further boosting online sales, which soared in 2020, the retailer said. Walmart de Mexico said it will put a quarter of its capex into logistics, compared to just 14% devoted to the segment in 2020, and invest even more heavily in the area over the next 5 years while pulling back on spending for brick-and-mortar supermarkets. The move mirrors its parent company’s investments in online sales.

US: Hy-Vee wins Healthiest State Workplace Award
Hy-Vee, Inc. was announced the winner of the 2021 Healthiest State Large Workplace Award in a virtual ceremony. The award recognizes Hy-Vee for efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of its employees. “We are proud to recognize Hy-Vee with this award”, said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “Hy-Vee achieves their high level of workplace wellness through corporate programming, incentives and amenities to engage employees”.

US: Groceries and sporting goods were big gainers in the Covid e-commerce boom of 2020
Americans spent $791.7bln during 2020 on e-commerce, up 32.4% from 2019, according to data by the U.S. Census Bureau. That behavior translated to e-commerce accounting for 14% of total retail sales, compared to 11% in 2019. Categories with big spikes included groceries, items to help relieve boredom during lockdowns (like sporting goods and musical instruments), and gear for home improvements.

US: Giant gets more urban in Philly
Philadelphia soon will become the home of the urban flagship store of The Giant Co., the food retailer said. The new Riverwalk store, located at 60 N. 23rd St., is scheduled to open March 19. Philadelphia has recently been home to more grocery activity geared toward higher-income consumers and shoppers who prefer the commerce experiences of the city core.

Majid Al Futtaim taps IBM blockchain for food traceability at Carrefour stores
Carrefour will use blockchain to enable food traceability across the supply chain. Majid Al Futtaim, which holds the Carrefour franchise for the Middle East, Asia and Africa, will leverage IBM Food Trust, a blockchain-enabled platform for the food industry run on IBM Cloud. The initiative will start with two initial products categories, Carrefour’s fresh chicken brand and microgreens harvested from select in-store hydroponic farms, before expanding into more product lines.

UK: John Lewis considering fresh store closures in response to Covid
John Lewis is understood to be considering a fresh round of store closures, underscoring the toll that the pandemic is taking on Britain’s deserted high streets. The 156-year-old retailer is understood to be reconsidering the scale of its national network of branches, less than 8 months after it announced the closure of 8 stores to cope with the impact of coronavirus.

Chinese grocery app Xingsheng Youxuan raises $2bln in new funding round: sources
Chinese community grocery shopping app Xingsheng Youxuan has raised about $2bln in a new funding round that values the company at $6bln prior to the fresh capital injection, 3 people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Private equity firms FountainVest Partners, Primavera Capital Group and KKR & Co are among investors in this round, 2 sources said. Internet and gaming giant Tencent Holdings, which is an early backer of Xingsheng Youxuan, also invested in this round, one of them said.

PE firm Navis mulling sale of Malaysian supermarket owner
Asian buyout firm Navis Capital Partners is exploring a sale of premium supermarket chains in Malaysia, which could be worth about 1bln ringgit ($247mln) according to people with knowledge of the matter. The firm is asking banks to submit proposals on the potential divestment of The Food Purveyor Sdn., the vehicle that owns the Village Grocer and Ben’s Independent Grocer supermarkets, said the people. The Kuala Lumpur-based firm bought a majority stake in The Food Purveyor, then known as Village Grocer Holdings Sdn., in 2014, according to the retail company’s website.

Aldi prepares for e-food in Germany
Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd are to merge their e-commerce activities in Germany and appear to be preparing to sell groceries online in the near future. Both companies have now jointly founded Aldi E-commerce Verwaltungs GmbH, based in Düsseldorf, reports Lebensmittel Zeitung. In this joint venture, both Aldi branches are equally represented. The company is led by externally recruited managers. The aim is to develop a joint webshop without regional differences. Until now the discounter only sold non-food articles in its own country. But Aldi would now like to sell food and other products via the internet.

UK: Snappy Shopper app now live through 650 convenience stores
Proprietary online ordering platform, Snappy Shopper is now being operated by 650 convenience stores across the UK, and is being used by over 100,000 shoppers. The app, which provides a ready-made shopper ordering and payment solution, allows independent retailers to quickly launch an online offer, enabling them to target opportunities in the current high and sustained demand for local home shopping.

South Africa: Massmart plans further store closures, flags wider net loss this year
South African retailer Massmart said it was planning further store closures and flagged a deeper full-year net loss of more than 1.7bln rand ($116.8mln) after curbs related to the COVID-19 pandemic hammered sales. Chief Executive Officer Mitch Slape, a veteran of the retailer’s majority owner Walmart Inc, announced a turnaround plan last year to return Massmart to profitability by shutting underperforming stores and cutting costs.

UK: John Lewis Partnership signs up to HRH The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta
The John Lewis Partnership has become the first retailer to sign-up to HRH The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta, which forms part of HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative, and puts nature, people and planet at the heart of global business.

Discounter Pepco has all of Europe in its sights
Pepco Group, which owns British discount retailer Poundland, has targeted 400 store openings across Europe in its 2020-21 financial year as it expands its PEPCO brand beyond central and eastern Europe, its boss said. The group opened a net 327 new stores in its 2019-20 year, taking the total to 3,021 in 15 countries. The PEPCO brand entered western Europe for the first time with openings in Italy and it plans its first foray into Spain in April or May.

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