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Sales up by double digits in June for Kesko Group

John Lewis and Waitrose are planning to cut 1,000 jobs

Hungary: SPAR continues store network expansion with €5.3mln investment
SPAR Hungary has recently opened 2 new supermarkets and reopened 2 modernised stores as it continues to invest in its store network. The new stores are located in a residential area in Budapest and Sopron, Western Hungary, respectively. The reopened stores have been upgraded with a more expansive range of convenience products, fresh food, and cutting-edge technologies to improve the shopping experience. Investment in these 4 stores totalled nearly €5.3mln.

Finland: Kesko Group sees sales up by double digits in June
Finnish retailer Kesko Group has posted a 10.4% like-for-like sales increase in June 2020, with its grocery trade seeing a 4.4% increase. Kesko Group sales for the month stood at €1.07bln, the group said. Grocery sales at the business stood at €533.7mln for the month, with its foodservice and wholesale arm seeing a 22.5% increase year-on-year, boosted by the reopening of hospitality.

UK: John Lewis and Waitrose plan to cut 1,000 jobs
John Lewis and Waitrose are planning to cut 1,000 jobs as part of a shake-up of store management. The move follows the closure of 8 John Lewis shops earlier this year, which put almost 1,500 jobs at risk. John Lewis, which owns Waitrose and the department store chain, is trying to cut costs as shopping habits change and more people shop online.

Belgium: Colruyt invests in payment app Digiteal
Colruyt Group is stepping into the capital of the Walloon start-up Digiteal, which has developed a handy mobile payment app. "We are constantly looking for solutions that make our customers' lives easier," says the retailer.

UK: Iceland trials reduced plastic and plastic-free potato and fish packs
The frozen food retailer is now selling its British White Potatoes in paper bags and its packs of 4 Atlantic Cod Fillets and 8 other fish lines in boxes made largely of cartonboard, containing 90% less plastic than the previous packaging. The new potato packaging has launched in 33 stores in London while the fish packaging is being trialled in 17 stores in the Manchester area.

Sweden's Axfood: Strong quarter with high intensity
Axfood reported: "Axfood is developing in a fast pace and is taking significant steps to ensure future competitiveness. A few weeks ago, the acquisition of Bergendahls Food and a minority stake in City Gross was announced - a logical deal that is beneficial to customers and strengthens the parties’ market positions, and is currently being reviewed by the Swedish Competition Authority. Axfood is also now solidifying the base of its future logistics platform with a number of new, important investments."

E2open to modernize Tesco’s global logistics and transportation management
E2open, a leading network-based provider of 100% cloud-based, mission-critical, end-to-end supply chain management software, announced that they are working with Tesco PLC, a UK-based multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer. Tesco will replace its legacy transport management system and utilize the E2open platform for increased visibility, transport execution, invoice processes and supply collaboration.

US: Dollar General seeks more workers ahead of Labor Day
Dollar General has set an ambitious goal of opening 1,050 new stores in its fiscal 2021 and is gearing up to support the expansion. The retailer is on a major hiring blitz, planning to bring on 50,000 or so employees between now and Labor Day.

US: Sam’s Club pilots Scan & Ship service in 3 clubs
Sam’s Club has begun testing a new in-store service that provides a ship-to-home option straight from the aisle. Called Scan & Ship, the service enables members to use the Sam’s Club mobile app to scan a product QR code - on a shelf tag or the package - for eligible merchandise and place a direct-to-home order, the Walmart-owned warehouse club chain said. The program leverages Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go service, which allows members to scan items with their smartphone as they shop and pay through the retailer’s app, skipping the checkout line.

US: SpartanNash to open new micro-fulfillment center to better serve online grocery shoppers
Grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash announced plans to open its first SpartanNash Micro-Fulfillment Center, located at 5199 68th St. SE in Caledonia, Michigan. The 55,000-square-foot facility will hold 16,000 products and pick and pack Fast Lane orders for 24 Ada Fresh Market, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare and Forest Hills Foods stores throughout West Michigan, primarily in the Grand Rapids and Holland area.

US: Fresh Direct cuts prices to win back New York customers
Fresh Direct pioneered selling groceries online years before most Americans even considered shopping that way. But now the retailer isn’t even the market leader in New York, where it debuted 2 decades ago. Enter Ahold Delhaize, which bought Fresh Direct in a deal that closed in January. The acquisition gave the Dutch retailing giant (2020 revenue hit 75bln euros) a foothold in the $9bln online grocery market, America’s biggest. And now it’s turning to Farhan Siddiqi, who is serving as Fresh Direct’s interim chief executive officer while keeping his role as Ahold’s chief digital officer, to better compete with Instacart and Amazon.

US: GrubMarket acquires Pacific Farm Management to become major provider of farm management services
GrubMarket announced it has completed the acquisition of Pacific Farm Management ("PFM"), a full-service farm management services company - one of the largest providers of agricultural employment (payroll) and workers compensation insurance services in California with additional footprint in Oregon and Arizona.

US: Labor shortage pressures grocers to take a hard look at worker benefits
Companies are offering hefty signing bonuses, but they also need to examine scheduling flexibility, advancement opportunities and other incentives, labor experts and retailers say. Salad bars are opening back up across the country, but at Metcalfe’s Market the self-service station at 1 of its 3 Wisconsin stores remains closed. The culprit isn’t pandemic restrictions, but rather the labor shortage that’s frustrating retailers across the U.S. “I can guarantee you that our customers want our salad bar,” said Tim Metcalfe, co-owner and president of the grocery store. “They want a self-serve option for hot foods. Metcalfe’s is not providing that.”

US: Giant Eagle Commits to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040
Giant Eagle has pledged to improve its climate impact by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with an initial target of 50% carbon dioxide reduction by 2030.

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