Couche-Tard has signed a deal to sell 49 stores in Oklahoma

Produce distribution center opened by Sprouts Farmers Market

US: Douglas Hacker to succeed Dennis Eidson as SpartanNash chairman
SpartanNash Chairman Dennis Eidson plans to retire after nearly 5 years in the post, and Lead Independent Director Douglas Hacker has been nominated as his successor. Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash said that Eidson is slated to step down from the board when his term expires at the company’s 2021 annual shareholders meeting on May 26. Plans call for Hacker, tabbed as the new chairman by the board’s nominating and corporate governance committee, to be elected to the position after the annual meeting.

US: Sprouts Farmers Market opens produce distribution center
Sprouts Farmers Market has opened a new distribution center in Aurora, Colorado, its first in the state and 6th across the country. Servicing 45 of the chain’s 360-plus stores, including all locations in Colorado, 5 stores in Utah and 8 in New Mexico, the purpose-built 135,000-square-foot facility features 55° Fahrenheit and 34° Fahrenheit storage and fruit-ripening rooms. Sprouts has teamed with Reading, Pennsylvania-based Penske Logistics as its third-party logistics provider for the distribution center and dedicated transportation fleet, creating 70 new full-time jobs in the local market.

US: Dollar General hatches big plans for store expansion
Dollar General didn’t hold back brick-and-mortar expansion in fiscal 2020, as the dollar store chain tallied growth of more than 20% in net sales and over 15% in same-store sales for the year. Dollar General executives said 2 new store formats are slated to launch in 2021 and, over the long term, the company foresees opportunities to double its store count. This year, the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retailer also expects to wrap up phase 1 of DG Fresh, its two-year-old program to shift to self-distribution of perishables and sell more fresh and frozen food in stores. “And while produce is not included in our initial rollout plans, we believe DG Fresh provides a potential path forward to expanding our produce offering to more than 10,000 stores over time as we look to further capitalize on our extensive self-distribution capabilities”, according to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Owen.

US: Quicklly expands industry-leading digital marketplace to New York-New Jersey Metro Area
On the heels of a remarkable $1.27mln pre-seed funding round, Quicklly, the nation's largest and most comprehensive Indian and South Asian food marketplace, announced the expansion of their footprint to now serve customers in the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area. 

US: Couche-Tard signs deal to sell 49 stores, puts 306 more up for sale
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has signed a deal to sell 49 stores in Oklahoma to Casey’s General Stores Inc. for $39mln. The deal includes 46 leased and 3 owned properties and is expected to close by July 31. The convenience store company also says it has hired a real estate advisory firm to help with the sale of 306 other sites across North America, following a strategic review. The stores up for sale include 269 locations across 25 states in the United States and 37 sites across 6 provinces in Canada.

Amazon loses market share in France
Even though Amazon saw its sales in France increase significantly, the e-commerce giant could not fully benefit from the Covid-19 pandemic. In relation to the market, the company lost ground. Through its French website, Amazon realised a turnover of 8.3bln euros last year, 7% more than the year before. French newspaper Le Figaro reports this based on figures from market research agency Kantar. However, this growth is rather modest compared to the boost that the entire e-commerce market experienced: last year, online sales increased by no less than 24% to 43bln euros. As a result, the market share of the American giant dropped from 22 to 19% in 1 year. Nevertheless, Amazon remains the clear market leader in France, with Cdiscount as number 2 by a considerable margin.

China: launches fresh produce markets digital transformation pilot
Chinese e-commerce big hitter has revealed plans to help nearly 100 fresh produce markets in Shanghai go digital. A pilot programme, the result of a partnership between JD Fresh, Shanghai Municipal Government and Beijing Rally Data Software, has launched. Using JD’s omnichannel fulfilment service, people will be able to access fresh produce online via JD and get their orders delivered in as quickly as 1 hour.

Indian court drops restraint on Future Group chief's sale of personal assets
An Indian court put on hold an order restraining Future Group chief Kishore Biyani from selling personal assets, amid legal challenges to the group’s $3.4bln retail deal. The legal fight over Future’s assets has embroiled 2 of the world’s richest men, Jeff Bezos of U.S. e-commerce giant Inc and Mukesh Ambani of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries. 

France: Groupe Casino announces new refinancing plan
French retailer Groupe Casino has announced a new refinancing plan to extend the maturity of its debt and reduce costs. The refinancing plan includes a new Term Loan B to mature in August 2025 of a targeted size of €800mln. It also includes the potential launch of a new €425mln senior unsecured debt instrument, scheduled to mature in April 2027.

China: to invest $800mln in Dada Group
China’s JD.Com said it would invest $800mln in on-demand delivery platform Dada Group, following which the e-commerce firm will own about 51% of Dada. The investment comes at a time when is spinning off its logistics business, the in-house delivery network that gave it competitive advantage over larger rival Alibaba Group. JD had merged its online-to-offline unit, JD Daojia, with Dada in 2016. Dada-JD Daojia, a Chinese online grocery and delivery firm, then in 2018 raised $500mln from Walmart Inc and JD.

Portugal: Mercadona introduces recycled plastic bottles for fresh juices
Mercadona has introduced new recyclable bottles made from 100% recycled plastic for freshly squeezed juices in Portugal. Currently, the bottles are used in the fruit and vegetables section for packing freshly squeezed orange juice. The move will help the company eliminate 700 tonnes of virgin plastic from its operations annually.

Variety discounters to grow at four times the speed of UK food and grocery market
New research from IGD reveals that variety discounters - Home Bargains, B&M, Poundland, Wilko and smaller players - will be worth £12.6bln by 2022, up from £11.1bln in 2020. The channel will take a 5.8% share of the overall UK grocery market and its growth of 6.8% per year will be over 4 times the pace of the overall UK food and grocery market.

Wundermart opens first unstaffed stores in Belgium
The Dutch start-up Wundermart is opening its first two unstaffed 'hotel stores' in Belgium this week. More will follow later this year. Wundermart's first Belgian outlets will be at the Hilton Brussels Grand Place and The Hotel Brussels. According to the Dutch company, new locations will be quick to follow, despite the Covid crisis.

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