Sainsbury’s plans to cut an additional 500 jobs

Mercadona has shared profits with its entire workforce

Online shopping, private brands boost Israel's Shufersal profit
Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, reported a 2.6% rise in quarterly profit, boosted by a jump in revenue from higher online sales mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic that kept many shoppers home. Shufersal said it earned 120mln shekels ($36.5mln) in the fourth quarter, compared with 117mln a year earlier. It noted net profit grew 87% year-over-year excluding one-time items.

Australia: The Friendly Grocer beats rivals in supermarket satisfaction poll
The Friendly Grocer has surpassed its rivals to be ranked as the best-rated supermarket in the Finder Retail Awards. In the best-rated supermarket category, The Friendly Grocer won 4 subcategories out of 6 - best overall, customer service, produce quality and most recommended. The supermarket chain came out on top with a 100% recommendation score. Costco came out the second-best rated supermarket in the list, only 0.3 point behind The Friendly Grocer. Aldi was ranked the best supermarket for value for money, with IGA the lowest. Meanwhile, Woolworths won the ‘best range of produce’ subcategory. Hosted by financial comparison site Finder, the awards evaluated brands based on data provided by insight and consulting company Kantar, which conducts thousands of customer interviews.

UK: Sainsbury's to cut 500 more jobs, shrink office space
British supermarket group Sainsbury’s plans to cut an additional 500 jobs and reduce its office space as it simplifies administrative functions for the post-pandemic era, it said. The job cuts are on top of 3,500 put at risk after new CEO Simon Roberts embarked on a major restructuring in November that closed Argos shops and in-store meat, fish and deli counters.

China’s market regulator fines 5 platforms over price war in online grocery sales
China's State Administration for Market Regulation has fined 5 community group buying platforms due to their unfair price competition practices, a move showing the country's strengthening supervision on emerging online businesses. The top market regulator has issued the "maximum fine" of 6.5mln yuan ($1.01mln) in total to the 5 companies, including Chengxin Youxuan, Duo Duo Maicai under Pinduoduo, Meituan Youxuan under Meituan, Nicetuan under Beijing Shihuituan Tech Co, and Wuhan-based Shixianghui.

New Zealand: Supermarket chains brush off competition concerns in submissions to watchdog
Countdown has told the country’s market watchdog that the price of groceries has fallen in real terms over the past 10 years and doesn’t appear high compared to overseas.

UK: Grocery sales soar 15% on lockdown boost
British grocery sales soared 15.1% year-on-year in the four weeks to February 21, the fastest growth since June 2020, as the latest national lockdown curtailed spending in cafes, restaurants and bars, market researcher Kantar said. The pandemic has been changing the way Britons shop for a full year. Overall, shoppers have spent 15.2bln pounds ($21.2bln) more on groceries during the crisis, said Kantar.

Spain: Mercadona shares profits with workforce
Spanish supermarket group Mercadona has shared €409mln of its 2020 profits with its entire workforce of 90,000 employees. Some €366mln was distributed this week, on top of the €43mln from April 2020 that employees received in recognition of their commitment and effort during the beginning of the pandemic.

UK says planning to allow more time for post-Brexit Northern Ireland adjustment
Britain will introduce new operational rules for supermarkets and suppliers to Northern Ireland, saying more time was needed to implement the post-Brexit rules it agreed with the European Union. “We are taking forward a series of further temporary operational steps which reflect the simple reality that there is more time needed to adapt and implement new requirements as we continue our discussions with the EU,” Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis told parliament.

German grocery delivery venture Flink raises $52mln
Berlin-based on-demand grocery delivery startup Flink has raised $52mln in seed financing. The round was led by Target Global and existing investors Northzone, Cherry Ventures and TriplePoint Capital. It brings total funding to date to $64mln. Flink, which only officially launched earlier this year, is expanding into the Netherlands and France, and has opened 10 dark stores in a number of German cities. The venture claims to deliver groceries from its own network of fulfilment centres in under 10 minutes.

UK: Waitrose’s new London fulfilment centre creates 800 jobs
Waitrose has opened its third fulfilment centre in London’s Greenford to expand its online business across the city. The site, which will create 800 jobs, will deliver 25,000 orders every week by the time it is fully operational later this year. This will generate 5 times more online slots each week across the capital in comparison to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Walmart sweetens pay for most U.S. hourly workers on the coasts
Many Walmart Inc hourly workers will collect bigger paychecks on the U.S. east and west coast markets where the cost of living is higher and competition for labor among retailers is more intense, the company told Reuters. The world’s biggest retailer also said it has seen a slight increase in job applications for digital and stocking roles, mostly internally. “(This) tells us that we’re becoming more competitive for this type of work”, said Drew Holler, Walmart’s head of people operations.

US: Publix says pandemic boosted fiscal 2020 sales by 12.1%
Publix Super Markets tallied big sales and earnings gains for its 2020 fourth quarter and fiscal year, fueled by booming consumer demand for food and groceries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For the quarter ended December 26, sales climbed 14.8% to $11.2bln from $9.8bln a year earlier, with same-store sales rising 13.4% year over year, Publix reported. The Lakeland, Florida-based grocer estimated that the pandemic’s impact lifted sales for the period by 8.7%, or about $850mln.

US: Harps Food Stores sells and leases back 13 stores
Harps Food Stores Inc. has wrapped up a sale-leaseback deal involving 13 grocery stores for $30.1mln, according to a published account. All of the locations are in Arkansas and Missouri and account for a collective 459,525 square feet, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported.

US: New Seasons/New Leaf CEO to depart
West Coast independent grocers New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets, operators within the Good Food Holdings family of brands, have revealed a strategic growth plan that includes a change in leadership and 2 new store leases. Forrest Hoffmaster will step down from his leadership position as CEO for both banners in late March 2021. A comprehensive executive search is currently underway, with a successor expected to be named before Hoffmaster departs. Hoffmaster will continue to lead both organizations, along with the transition team to ensure a smooth transition.

US: Dollar Tree is opening a pandemic store format
Dollar Tree plans to open hundreds of new "combination stores" as part of the retailer's push to continue to be a one-stop shop for consumers looking to buy pandemic essentials. The new concept, a store with both the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar banners, affords a "transformational opportunity to serve more customers in all types of markets", the company said.

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