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NRF expects holiday sales to rise by all-time record, despite congested ports

Record sales and profits for independent grocers

US: New York Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien joins Instacart’s board
Meredith Kopit Levien, president and CEO of The New York Times Co., and Lily Sarafan, co-founder and executive chair of senior care provider Home Care Assistance, have been named to the Instacart board of directors. Plans call Kopit Levien and Sarafan to join Instacart’s board effective October 28, the San Francisco-based online grocery giant said.

Mexico: Grupo Comercial Chedraui, S.A.B. de C.V. 3rd quarter 2021 results
Grupo Comercial Chedraui, S.A.B. de C.V. reports its 2021 3rd quarter results. All figures in this report are shown in nominal terms and reported in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Quarter Highlights: 9.1% same store sales increase in Mexico vs. ANTAD's 5.4% increase. 7.5% consolidated EBITDA margin, +46.5% year on year, +11.7% on a comparable basis. 40% consolidated Net Income increase YoY; +261% vs Q3'19. Close of Smart & Final acquisition on July 28, 2021. Proforma leverage ratio: 0.91x in Q3'21.

Meijer earns industry recognition for sustainable freight supply chain by U.S. EPA
Meijer received 2 SmartWay Excellence Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recognizing the retailer as an industry leader in freight supply chain environmental performance and energy efficiency.

US: Independent grocers reach record sales and profits
The 2021 edition of the Independent Grocers Financial Survey, a joint study between the National Grocers Association (NGA) and FMS Solutions, finds record financial and operational performance benchmarks in a banner year for the $253bln independent supermarket industry. In fiscal year 2020, that ended on March 31, 2021, for many retailers, sales increased an average of 17%, boosted by an increase in transaction size to an average of $31 and a big upswing in online orders. While inflation was high, sales still gained 13.5% once adjusted for the price increases.

US: Target, Walmart up the omnichannel ante for the holidays
With U.S. consumers more apt to buy online more than ever before, Target and Walmart are making e-commerce easier with expanded pickup and delivery for the holiday season. Target unveiled enhancements to its Drive Up curbside pickup, Order Pickup in-store pickup and Shipt same-day delivery services to give customers more flexibility in holiday shopping. That followed Walmart’s announcement of extended hours, time windows and eligible products for delivery during the holidays.

Instacart is leading the ‘fight against Amazon’, CEO Simo says
3 months into her job as chief executive officer of Instacart Inc., Fidji Simo is making her mark on the grocery delivery startup, determined to prove the company isn’t just a pandemic phenomenon and that its business model is resilient enough to withstand the scrutiny of public markets. A stock offering for the company, which has a private market valuation of about $39bln, “will happen at some point”, Simo said in an interview with Bloomberg. For now, Instacart’s focus is “building a company that will stand the test of time”.

US: Retail trade group expects holiday sales to rise by all-time record, despite congested ports
The National Retail Federation said it expects holiday sales during November and December to rise between 8.5% and 10.5%, for a total of between $843.4bln and $859bln of sales. The retail trade group acknowledged headwinds for retailers, including supply chain disruption and labor shortages. However, NRF President and CEO Matt Shay said retailers have planned ahead to make sure they have plenty of inventory and consumers have taken cues by starting to shop in October.

Australian supermarkets form 'task force' to tackle pallet shortage
Australia’s 2 largest supermarket operators have formed a “task force” to solve a shortage of delivery pallets, the No. 2 grocery chain said, the strongest sign of the sector’s exposure to supply chain problems gripping the world. Coles Group Ltd CEO Steven Cain said the company and larger rival Woolworths Group Ltd had joined industry body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) to address a shortage of the wooden crates, linked to a lack of raw material and extended lockdowns. “Across the nation there is a bit of a pallet-gate going on,” Cain said on an earnings call. “The lack of wood means not many new ones are being produced.”

Growth of Dutch cross-border purchases slows down
Though Dutch consumers are still placing more cross-border orders within the EU, in Q2 2021 there was a growth of 17% when compared to last year. In total, they spent more than 800mln euros in online stores within the EU. This is a slower growth than in previous quarters. Statistics Netherlands published a report about the online orders placed by Dutch consumers with stores outside of the Netherlands, within the EU. According to that report, the growth that was seen in Q2 in 2021 is comparable to the quarterly growth in the pre-pandemic years.

Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins' quarterly profit rises 19.5%
Portugal’s second-largest retailer Jeronimo Martins posted a near 20% rise in 3rd-quarter net profit, boosted by robust sales in its key market Poland and a rebound at home with the easing of coronavirus restrictions. The company reported a net profit of 137mln euros ($159mln) between July and September, when Portugal and Poland where lifting the curbs put in place to control the pandemic, from 115mln euros a year ago.

China: JD Logistics deploys autonomous delivery vehicles to locked down Beijing neighborhood amid outbreak
Since 2020, JDL has deployed its autonomous delivery vehicles for COVID-19 relief 4 times: in Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou, and now in Beijing. Residents who order deliveries will receive an SMS notification when the autonomous vehicle has arrived outside their building. The vehicles can carry up to 200 kilograms of goods, and operate all day.

Australia: Supermarket Coles sales rise as recurring lockdowns keep demand steady
Reuters reported: "Australian supermarket chain Coles Group reported a 1.6% rise in 1st-quarter sales, as consumers stocked up on household essentials during fresh lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 Delta variant. The over 100-year-old grocery chain reported total sales of A$9.76bln ($7.33bln) in the quarter, up from A$9.61bln last year and beating a UBS estimate of A$9.65bln."

India: Tata Sons and a $2bln plan for super app Tata Neu
Tata Sons Ltd plans to invest at least $2bln in its ambitious super app TataNeu, and later raise an additional $5bln from external investors by selling minority stakes in the digital venture, 2 people aware of its plans said.

Exki post-Covid: "We remain relevant by following our customers"
Healthy fast food chain Exki has bounced back after the Covid crisis. The pandemic has taken a nasty toll, but Exki is again looking ahead and trying to stay close to its customers with innovations like 'connected fridges'. This is what marketing and innovation director David Esseryk told RetailDetail during an interview.

Jack Ma visits Dutch research institutes as Alibaba’s founder pursues post-retirement passion in agriculture technology
Jack Ma was photographed visiting a number of research institutes in the Netherlands for a study tour of technology related to agriculture. The founder of Alibaba Group Holding, who retired as chairman in 2019, is undertaking the personal trip, according to sources familiar with his plans.

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