Bestway Wholesale is to restructure Costcutter

Mercadona is planning 9 store openings in Portugal

Irish grocery sales reach highest level since November 2020: Kantar
Take-home grocery sales in Ireland grew by 17%, with shoppers spending an additional €151.1mln in the latest 4 weeks ended 21 February, new data from Kantar has revealed. It is also the highest since November 2020, when Irish consumers spent an extra €164mln on groceries.

UK: Bestway unveils plans to restructure Costcutter
Bestway Wholesale is to restructure Costcutter as the first step of the integration of the business into Bestway Wholesale. Managing director, Dawood Pervez, confirmed that the 2 businesses would be “integrated seamlessly, in order to unlock additional value for customers and streamline efficiencies within the combined business”.

Portugal: Mercadona planning to open 9 new stores claims Mercadona is planning to open 9 store openings in Portugal during 2021. The discount supermarket is set to open 2 in Aveiro, 2 in Braga and 5 in Porto. Following the opening of the new stores, Mercadona’s total network in Portugal will reach 29. Furthermore, the retailer announced plans to open a distribution centre in Povoa de Varzim in 2022.

Sweden: ICA sees sales up 1.9% in February
Swedish retailer ICA has reported a 1.9% year-on-year growth in sales to SEK9.8bln (€970mln) in February of this year. In January-February 2021, total sales amounted to SEK20.1bln (€2bln), reflecting an increase of 3.6% compared with the previous year. The company estimated a negative calendar effect of -3.6% for February 2021 due to the leap day last year.

Germany: Edeka secures 15 locations in the southwest of the country
Edeka is allowed to take over 44 Real locations from owner SCP - but most of the specific locations are not yet known. The antitrust approval does not yet mean that a registered location will actually go to Edeka in the end. As the "Lebensmittelzeitung" reports, at least 15 takeovers in the area of Edeka Südwest are now certain, including Böblingen-Hulb, Aschaffenburg, Dettingen, Freiburg, Kaiserslautern, Kirchheim/Neckar and Weingarten. A 3-digit million sum is available for this. A single store like the one in Böblingen-Hulb could already cost around 60mln euros.

Italy: Esselunga brings laEsse store format to Rome
Italian supermarket chain Esselunga has opened its first laEsse neighbourhood store in Rome, in the heart of the Prati district. The store is located on the first floor of the historic building that houses the Coin Excelsior department store and covers an area of around 380 square metres.

Lockdowns drive online share of Britain's grocery market to record 17%: NielsenIQ
COVID-19 lockdowns drove the online share of British grocery sales to a record 17% in February, a 1% increase in share in just a month, industry data showed. Market researcher NielsenIQ said British shoppers spent 1.5bln pounds ($2.1bln) on online groceries in the 4 weeks to February 27, a jump of 132% year-on-year. It said the number of British households shopping for groceries online has more than doubled over the last year to 11.8mln or 41%. “Online grocery has now become a permanent fixture for many UK shoppers - it is now past the ‘tipping point’ and is at the ‘sticking point’ ”, said Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

Shops return to rural Sweden but are now staff-free
Dark clouds loom over the pine forest surrounding Hummelsta, a town of 1,000 people that hasn't had any local shops for a decade. Since December, a red wooden container, about the size of a mobile home, has offered a lifeline. It's a mini supermarket that locals can access round-the-clock. There's a wide assortment of groceries available, from fresh fruit and vegetables to Swedish household staples like frozen meatballs, crisp breads and wafer bars. But there are no staff or checkouts here. You open the doors using the company's app, which works in conjunction with BankID, a secure national identification app operated by Sweden's banks. Then, you can scan barcodes using your smartphone and the bill is automatically charged to a pre-registered bank card. The store is part of the Lifvs chain.

Canada: Giant Tiger updates its fresh offering in Ottawa store
Giant Tiger has announced a series of interior and exterior enhancements to its flagship Walkley Road store in Ottawa, including an increased emphasis on its produce and meat offering. Jason Gardiner, vice-president of grocery buying and category management for Giant Tiger in Ottawa, says the enhancements include a “right-sizing” of the store’s grocery section that includes reducing the footprint of centre-aisle products and nearly doubling the size of fresh goods.

US: Weis Markets reports results for 2020 and fourth quarter
Weis Markets, Inc. reported total sales of over $4.1bln for the 52-week period ended December 26, 2020, up 16.1% compared to the same period a year ago, while annual comparable store sales increased 16.4%. Income from operations increased $78.5mln, or 92.8% over the same period in 2019 to $163.2mln. The Company's net income for fiscal year 2020 increased 74.9% to $118.9mln compared to $68.0mln in 2019 while earnings per share for the same period increased $1.89 to $4.42 per share.

US: How Hy-Vee plans to grow
Hy-Vee is on the brink of major expansion. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based grocery store chain, which operates more than 275 stores across 8 Midwestern states and has sales of $11bln annually, is emerging from the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic in a stronger place than ever. “This year is the biggest capital budget that we’ve ever had, by a long shot”, asserts Chairman of the Board, CEO and President Randy Edeker, who didn’t disclose the actual amount. “We have a new format that we’re building called Dollar Fresh, where we’re focusing on building those. We have a dozen of those built. We’ve kind of just done it quietly”.

Canada: Sunterra Market expands into Red Deer
Sunterra Market is moving into new digs at a Red Deer mall. The Alberta-based retail and farming company is opening a two-level, 20,000-sq.-ft. store at Bower Place, a regional mall that’s undergone a significant redevelopment over the past few years. The space is a new build with access from both the parking lot and the mall interior. Sunterra Market currently has 9 locations in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as farming operations in nearby Acme and Trochu.

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