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Save Mart Companies: One-year mark of offering frontline workers weekly hazard pay

Imperfect Foods is applying its sustainability mission inward to its operating model

US: Smaller shopper base pulls down February online grocery sales
U.S. online grocery sales in February fell from a prior-month peak due to a decline in participating households and fewer orders, the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey found. For February, online grocery sales totaled $8bln, down 14% from $9.3bln in January, Brick Meets Click said. The biggest decrease came in ship-to-home sales, which dropped 18.2% to $1.8bln from $2.2bln, while delivery and pickup sales slid 14.1% to $6.1bln from $7.1bln.

US: Save Mart marks one year of pandemic hazard pay for workers
The Save Mart Companies has passed the one-year mark of offering frontline workers weekly hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic. Modesto, California-based Save Mart said that it’s the only grocery store chain that has provided hazard pay and other COVID-19-related benefits “without interruption” since the outbreak of the virus.

US: Imperfect Foods expands sustainability commitment to operations
Online grocer Imperfect Foods has pledged to accelerate its plans to become a net-zero carbon operation by 2030 ahead of other major retailers by applying its sustainability mission inward to its operating model. “Sustainability is at the core of everything we do at Imperfect Foods, but we know we can do more to drive change", said Imperfect Foods CEO Philip Behn.

Inside Amazon Australia’s mammoth warehouse that will be operated by high-tech robots and humans
E-commerce giant Amazon is set to complete its mammoth Sydney warehouse - the largest in the southern hemisphere - by the end of 2021. With more steel than the Sydney Olympic stadium and more space than Taronga Zoo, the Amazon warehouse will be home to more than 11mln items that will be housed on site. “It’s the equivalent of 24 rugby league fields”, Amazon Director of Operations Craig Fuller told reporters.

UK: Ocado overhauls own label packaging with JKR has revamped its own label range, claiming the move has reduced 27 tonnes of plastic and removed 9mln “non-essential packaging components”. The online grocery retailer has linked up with design agency JKR to create the new range, which also features updated artwork. The own label range comprises over 530 products including coffee, berries, salad and tinned goods.

Les Mousquetaires sees 2020 retail sales up 7% in Portugal
French retail group Les Mousquetaires recorded sales of €2.2bln in its Portuguese operations last year, down marginally from €2.3bln the previous year. Capital expenditure investment amounted to €38.9mln, mainly for the expansion of the network from 308 to 330 stores (of which 254 trade under the Intermarché banner), with the group now present in 189 municipalities, while total retail sales area reached 415,000 square metres (+4%).

UK: Costcutter extends supply contract with SimplyFresh
After its acquisition by Bestway was completed last month, Costcutter has confirmed that its supply contract with independent convenience store operator SimplyFresh will continue and run for a minimum of 2 years. The new agreement continues the existing partnership between the 2 businesses, which began in 2009. It aims to support SimplyFresh as it accelerates plans to develop its existing chain and attract new retailers into the symbol group.

China: Pinduoduo steals Alibaba’s crown with 788mln annual active users
For the first time, Pinduoduo has surpassed Alibaba in annual active users, marking the Chinese e-commerce upstart’s meteoric rise over the course of 5 years. The milestone also indicates Pinduoduo has overcome the early stereotype that it was an app for users in China’s less-developed, low-tier cities. Pinduoduo made its name by removing intermediary distributors and selling cheap fruits and daily items, but it has gradually diversified its offerings to be all-encompassing, like heavily discounted iPhones.

Portugal: Sonae Q4 profit falls as COVID-19 hits shopping centres
Portugal’s Sonae, which owns the country’s largest food retailer, said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 3.4% from a year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic sapped its shopping centre business. The group, which runs around 300 Continente hypermarkets and large supermarkets, Worten consumer electronics stores, Sportzone stores and other retail chains in the country, said its net profit fell to 75mln euros ($89.57mln) in the October-December period.

UK: Ocado Retail's revenue growth accelerates in latest quarter
British online supermarket Ocado Retail said revenue rose 39.7% in its first quarter to February 28, an acceleration from the previous quarter, reflecting continuing strong demand for grocery deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ocado Retail, a joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, said revenue totalled 599mln pounds ($838mln) versus 429mln pounds in the same quarter last year. Revenue growth in the previous quarter was 34.9%.

Australia: New shopping technology for major supermarket chain
Woolworths is offering a ‘scan and go’ service, which is similar to Amazon Go stores in the US, retail expert and QUT professor Gary Mortimer explained. “[It’s] really exciting”, he told Scott Emerson. “Woolworths is trialling the technology here in Brisbane; we’ve got 3 stores, 1 in Annerley, 1 down in Loganholme and 1 in south Brisbane, just near Fish Lane. This technology means you simply download the Woolworths app, you walk in to the store and you scan your items and rather than lining up at a staff registers or a self service register you just simply walk straight out, you tap your phone on the post as you leave. I guess this is speeding up that service process”.

Netto completes Tesco Poland acquisition
Salling Group’s discount banner Netto has completed its acquisition of Tesco Poland, following approval from local competition authorities. The move will see Salling Group acquire 300 stores and 2 distribution centres. For Tesco, the exit from Poland reduces its central European business to the 3 much smaller markets of Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The deal, which is worth PLN800mln (€181mln), is both Salling Group and Netto’s biggest investment to date and will mark the first time that Netto operates more stores internationally than in its domestic market of Denmark.

Portugal: Wholesaler Makro gains market share despite pandemic
Wholesaler Makro Portugal has managed to gain market share during the pandemic, despite the impact to its business, its chief executive has told local media. Chief executive David Antunes told Portuguese daily Jornal Economico that global sales at the beginning of the 2020 financial year “showed encouraging dynamic growth and were at the upper limit of our expectations".

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