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Countdown opens new Palmerston North distribution centre 3 weeks early

Lenta LLC has completed the acquisition of Semya Group

French retailer Auchan cautious on H2 due to COVID restrictions
Retail group Auchan said shopping activity in the second half of the year would depend on pandemic restrictions, although cost savings under its revival plan boosted profits in the first half. Asked about speculation Auchan and French rival Carrefour could swap some assets, notably in Spain, Auchan Retail non-executive chairman Yves Claude said the Spanish grocery chain Alcampo “is not for sale”. Auchan Retail’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 3.7% to 594mln euros ($698.60mln) in the first half. Revenue fell 3.2% to 14.847bln euros, which Auchan blamed mostly on health restrictions in France but also in Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Russia and Spain. 

India: Future files new case against Amazon in top court over $3.4 bln retail deal
India's Future Retail filed a new case against Inc at the Supreme Court in its latest effort to seek clearance for its $3.4bln retail assets sale, which the U.S. firm has challenged.

Russia: Lenta completes acquisition of Semya Group
Russian retailer Lenta has announced that its indirect subsidiary Lenta LLC has completed the acquisition of Semya Group for approximately RUB2.45bln (€28mln). The purchase price reflects certain closing adjustments related to actual levels of cash, debt, and working capital of the business, the retailer added.

New Zealand: Countdown opens new 3.8ha $100mln Palmerston North distribution centre 3 weeks early
Right when food and supermarkets are such a focus, a new $100mln distribution centre has been opened 3 weeks early to cope with demand. New Zealand's second-largest supermarket chain Countdown has opened its new Palmerston North building, which is 38,000sq m - 3 times bigger than the previous distribution centre it had there.

UK: Waitrose lorry drivers are earning more than lawyers and architects as salaries soar above £53,000 amid national shortage
Waitrose is offering lorry drivers more money than some head office executives amid a national shortage. The supermarket is offering up to £53,780 annually to large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers, who it says are of 'critical importance'. This dwarfs the salaries being offered for several head office jobs advertised at John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose's parent company. 

UK's Morrisons plans shareholder vote on CD&R deal in early October
British supermarket chain Morrisons, at the heart of a $9.5bln bidding war, plans to hold a shareholder vote on the offer from U.S.-based private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) around October 5, it said.

South Africa's Massmart to sell 14 Game stores in East and West Africa
Massmart is disposing of all its general merchandise Game stores in West and East Africa to stem losses in that struggling business, chief executive Mitch Slape said, after the Walmart majority-owned retailer reported a narrower half-year loss.

UAE: Majid Al Futtaim secures $1.5bln Sustainability-Linked Loan
Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping malls, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has signed its inaugural $1.5bln (AED5.51bln) Sustainability-Linked Loan (SLL), a financial instrument secured primarily on environmental, social and governance (ESG) related performance. 

UK: Aldi announces latest cut-price Super 6 offers on fruit and vegetables
Budget supermarket Aldi has announced some of the latest Super 6 offers coming to its stores in September. The retailer works with its suppliers all year-round to offer quality fresh produce at unbeatable prices and every fortnight, picks 6 of its favourites to offer to shoppers at super low prices, and at no extra cost to suppliers. This month, shoppers will be able to purchase the following Super 6 items: Mini Pears (39p / 550g); 7 Pack Mini Bananas (59p / 7 pack); Grapes Snack Pack (59p / 170g); 6 Pack Mini Apples (59p / 6 pack); Baby Plum Tomatoes (59p / 325g); Baby Cucumbers (59p / 200g).

Australia: Coles and Woolworths are moving to robot warehouses and on-demand labour as home deliveries soar
Lauren Kate Kelly (PhD Candidate, RMIT University) reported in The Conversation: "As lockdowns continue across Australia, many households are doing something they may not have considered just 18 months ago: ordering groceries online. Australia’s supermarket duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, have raced to implement new technology and transform labour arrangements to keep up with the e-grocery boom. Both are investing in “smart” warehousing and distribution systems with various degrees of automation, as well as making extensive use of app-driven gig workers for grocery picking and delivery via platforms such as Uber and Airtasker."

Delivery Hero suffers loss of nearly 1bln euros
In the first half of the year, Delivery Hero, the meal delivery company, posted a loss of 918.1mln euros. The loss has more than doubled compared to last year. 

US: Richmond/Hampton Roads associates ratify new agreement with the Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division
Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division associates in the Richmond/Hampton Roads bargaining unit have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement between the company and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 400. Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division will invest $27mln in wage increases and benefits during the 3-year term of this new agreement.

US: Schnucks debuts smaller format focused on fresh
The new Schnucks Fresh store, Schnuck Markets Inc.’s smaller-format design, is now open in Jasper, Indiana. The store concept focuses on the retailer’s fresh departments, including produce, meat, seafood and bakery. “As a new format for us, Schnucks Fresh will be a store that customers will be able to quickly and easily navigate, where they will find an extensive selection of the same fresh products for which Schnucks is known throughout the Midwest,” said Schnucks Markets Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck.

US: Fresh N’ Lean Announces $100+mln in revenue, expansion plans for new state-of-the-art facility to produce 3mln meals per week, and executive team growth with CMO Search
Fresh N’ Lean, America’s #1 organic Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meal delivery company committed to feeding human potential, celebrated $100mln in LTM by announcing plans for a new state-of-the-art 170,000 square foot facility in Las Vegas and a nationwide search for a new CMO, as the company bolsters its executive team. The corporate news follows being included in the Top 700 of the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies and its recent announcement of World Series Champion Justin Turner being named Head of Sports Wellness for the company and launching a Whole30 Approved® new meal plan.

US: New Walmart distribution center in the Charlotte region to add more than 500 jobs
Walmart plans to build a distribution center that will bring more than 500 full-time jobs to the Charlotte region. The 1mln-square-foot fulfillment distribution center in Troutman in Iredell County will expand Walmart’s supply chain network to help grow online sales, the Arkansas-based retail giant said in a news release. Troutman is about 35 miles north of Charlotte off Interstate 77.

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