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Teamsters ratify national contract at Kroger

Jayapal calls for FTC investigation into Kroger-Albertsons merger
Congressmember Pramila Jayapal is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Kroger's proposed acquisition of Albertsons. The Seattle representative says the merger will stifle competition, hurt consumers, and small businesses, and will ultimately lead to higher prices and fewer products on the market.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has made similar arguments in his efforts to keep a $4 billion payout to Albertsons' shareholders from going through. A judge delayed a hearing on that matter until Dec. 9. There is currently a temporary restraining order on any payout to shareholders. Jayapal called for the FTC to look into the $25 billion merger at a press event Monday afternoon at Seattle's Junction Park Plaza. She was joined by local members of UFCW 3000, which represents grocery workers.

Source: Kuow.org 

Food retailers fight inflation with creative solutions
During a period of record inflation, grocers large and small have adapted to industry challenges with creative innovations to meet shifting shopper behaviors. According to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report from FMI – The Food Industry Association, despite the fact that 70% of retailers reported earlier this year that supply chain disruptions negatively affected their business, 73% of them adapted by adopting new technologies and methods such as foodservice and delivery, mobile checkout and grocery pickup.

Retailers also expanded their fresh or perimeter departments with more than 80% increasing space for fresh-prepared grab-and-go products and 70% increasing foods that focused on health and well-being, FMI found, specifically expanding locally sourced and organic produce, plant-based foods and animal protein alternatives and allergen-free selections.

“A major trend that has emerged from the pandemic is shoppers are looking for fresher, healthier, more convenient options at their grocery store,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “Food retailers have absorbed this feedback and are making great strides to create both online and in-person shopping destinations that cater to shoppers’ evolving tastes.”

Source: Smartbrief 

Teamsters ratify national contract at Kroger
Teamsters at Kroger have voted by an overwhelming 88 percent to ratify a new national contract. The five-year master agreement covers over 1,500 Kroger workers nationwide and provides significant improvements to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

"The strength of this agreement is a direct result of locals working together and putting members first. Thanks to coordinated bargaining as well as the input and participation of rank-and-file members, we were able to win the most lucrative deal in the history of the national contract at Kroger," said Tom Erickson, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.

For the first time, the national negotiating committee included rank-and-file members who work in the industry. Those members played an instrumental role in the bargaining process, attending negotiation sessions and providing feedback.

"After months of hard-fought bargaining, we're so excited to announce that we have ratified a new contract that will improve the working conditions of all Kroger Teamsters and put more money in workers' pockets," said Aaron Washington, an order selector at Kroger and union steward for Teamsters Local 667 in Memphis, who took part in negotiations. "It wasn't an easy process, but we remained strong throughout negotiations and stuck together, and that's why we have this win today."

Source: PR newswire 

Natural Grocers posts flat Q4 comps amid traffic declines
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage said its fiscal fourth-quarter profits were down, and comparable-store sales were basically flat, as traffic declined and inflation gave the company less of a boost than it did for its conventional peers.

While overall fourth-quarter sales at the natural-and-organic grocer rose $1.6 million, to $274.2 million, an increase of 0.6%, over a year ago, the company attributed the gain primarily to $2.9 million from new-store sales. The 0.2% decrease in comp-store sales included a 2.6% decrease in daily average transaction count, partially offset by a 2.5% increase in daily average transaction size, the company said.

The company also said it experienced less inflation on its natural/organic product offering than its peers did on conventional products. Cost inflation was an estimated 7% for the quarter and 5% for the year, Todd Dissinger, chief financial officer, said during the call.

Source: Supermarketnews 

Israel: Carrefour private brand already cutting prices
Even before the launch of the French retail giant's supermarkets, Carrefour Israel CEO Uri Kilstein reveals the private brand products that have already impacted prices. The imminent entry into Israel of French retail giant Carrefour, together with its broad range of private brand products, is arousing huge interest among Israeli consumers.

Electra Consumer Products (TASE: ECP), which is bringing Carrefour to Israel, is pinning its hopes on Carrefour's thousands of private brand products. Since June, Electra Consumer Products Mega and Yeinot Bitan supermarket chains have been selling 50 of these private brand products, which have been gradually introduced onto the shelves, and the company is now for the first time publishing data about these sales.

Source: Globes 

UK: Theft is on the rise in UK stores as cost-of-living crisis grows
The bright yellow security labels and products boxed up in hard-to-conceal packaging on Britain's supermarket shelves have a story to tell: theft is on the rise along with the soaring cost of living. Incidents of shoplifting in the UK increased 18% in the 12 months through June as the highest inflation in more than four decades has pushed up prices on items ranging from bread to pasta, making it more difficult for consumers to afford basics.

With more inflation set to come, theft may spread further, and retailers have become more vigilant over shoplifting or "shrink," as the industry calls it. Stores that used to attach anti-theft devices to pricey items like alcohol have shifted to also protect unlikely products - butter, cheese, washing detergent and protein bars, some of them retailing at just two Pounds ($2.37).

Grocery price inflation hit a record 14.7% last month, adding an extra Pound682 to the average annual shopping bill. More than a quarter of UK households say they're struggling financially - twice as many as last year - and the vast majority say that higher prices on food and drink is a major concern.

Source: Gulf News  

France: Lidl sees strongest share growth in France in October
Lidl reported a 0.3 percentage point increase in market share in France in October, to 8.3%, new data from Kantar has shown, making the discounter the best-performing grocer in the period. Data for the P11 period (October 3 to 30) found that Aldi also had a strong month, growing its market share by 0.2 percentage points to 2.8%.

Elsewhere, Groupement Les Mousquetaires, which holds 16.7% of the French grocery market, gained 0.2 percentage points. Other retailers that saw a marginal increase were Groupement U, Carrefour and market leader E.Leclerc, which each saw their market share rise by 0.1 percentage points, to 11.4%, 19.3% and 22.0% respectively.

It's not the first time this year that Lidl has been the best-performing retailer in the French market – back in the summer, the discounter also reported a 0.3 percentage point increase in the period from 11 July to 7 August.

Source: ESM Magazine 

Belgium: Colruyt Group fully committed to zero emission transport by 2035
To further curb its climate impact, Colruyt Group intends to make all its goods transport zero emission by 2035. Both for its own transports to and from the stores and to the distribution centres via suppliers, the Belgian retailer intends to fully deploy zero emission vehicles. The company will achieve this by using complementary technologies: both battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen-electric vehicles will be needed to make this transition happen. Due to the in-house expertise of Virya Energy and DATS 24, as well as years of experience in transport, Colruyt Group is confident that this ambition will be accomplished. Moreover, the retail group actively discusses this in dialogue with the ecosystem of (transport) partners and suppliers that it works with closely.

The ambition to go for zero emission transport by 2035 will have a significant impact on Colruyt Group's direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The retail group currently emits 87,547 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.1 In 2008, the group drew up a CO2 balance for the first time, which resulted in a reduction plan focused on four hotspots: cooling, heating, energy and mobility. This reduction plan takes into account life-cycle analyses to reach the most eco-friendly solution for each specific application. Since then, emissions decreased both in absolute values and relative to sales for scope 1 and 2 (according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). Over the past five years (2017-2021), it even went down by more than 25% in absolute values. A trend the group is only too happy to continue.

Source: Colruyt Group 


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