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Whole Foods Market CEO: "Ultimately, we want to be opening 30 or more stores a year"

Kroger has teamed with Google Cloud and Deloitte

US: UNFI gears up for Orlando selling show
United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has revealed plans to host about 4,000 customers, suppliers, vendors and emerging brands at its Spring and Summer Show, scheduled for February 7-8 in Orlando, Florida. The show, the first of the distributor’s major selling shows in 2023, enables attendees to meet with experts from the natural, GM/HBC, meat, seafood, produce, and bakery and deli departments to take advantage of unique deals, see what’s trending in the New Product Showcase and network with industry experts.

US: Kroger sees success with purpose-built applications
The Kroger Co. has teamed with Google Cloud and Deloitte on cloud technologies to increase associate productivity across the grocer’s nearly 2,800 stores nationwide. The food retailer recently implemented a range of Google Cloud data analytics, artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-learning tools under an application framework co-developed by Deloitte and Kroger. The new tools are already enabling store leaders and associates to make real-time operational decisions to provide a better shopping experience.

US: Whole Foods’ Jason Buechel bullish on brick-and-mortar expansion
Whole Foods Market is ramping up its store expansion in a big way, CEO Jason Buechel told attendees at the National Retail Federation’s NRF 2023 Retail’s Big Show in New York City. “We are so bullish on our potential to continue to add stores”, said Buechel. “We currently have about 50 stores in our pipeline. We're looking to grow that to at least a hundred. Ultimately, we want to be opening 30 or more stores a year. For us, it’s the ability to serve more customers.”

Petrol forecourt tycoons to fill tank with £1bln sale of American sites
EG Group, which is owned by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, has hired bankers from Eastdil to explore the disposal of a package of its US operations, Sky News learns.

Owners of UK supermarket Asda and EG Group considering merger, the Times reports
British supermarket chain Asda could be merged with petrol forecourts business EG Group under plans being explored by the owners of both companies, the London-based Times reported.

Tesco boss in 'parallel universe' over price rises, says UK farmers' chief
Asked by BBC television if food producers were taking advantage of the poorest in society, Tesco chairman John Allan said it was "entirely possible". He said the retailer was trying "very hard" to challenge price hikes it thinks are illegitimate. Minette Batters, president of Britain's National Farmers' Union, said she was "slightly baffled", by Allan's comments. "It was almost like he was living in a parallel universe", she told BBC radio, noting farmers and growers were facing unprecedented hikes in production costs.

Amazon launches air freight service in India Inc launched its own air cargo fleet in India, Amazon Air, as it seeks to expand and speed-up deliveries across one of its key markets. Amazon has tied up with Quikjet Cargo Airline Private Ltd, a Bengaluru-based freight carrier, which will use a lone Boeing 737-800 jet to fly shipments, the company said in a statement.

UK: Morrisons cuts prices of 1,000 of its products from today
Morrisons is today reducing the price of a further 820 popular products, taking the total number of cuts available to customers in January to more than 1,000. The products that have been lowered and locked include items such as sirloin steaks, fruit and vegetables including potatoes, pears and aubergines, ham and chicken.

Norwegian startup Chew snaps up Finnish competitor Carrot Kitchen to inspire a new generation of healthy eating
Aiming to inspire a love for healthy eating from a young age, Norwegian early-stage startup Chew has moved quickly to snap up Finnish player Carrot Kitchen. Chew is now planning to consolidate itself in the Nordic market before expanding.

India: Hyderabad’s Red Rose Group of Industries is all set to disrupt the retail sector with its chain of supermarkets
Hyderabad’s Red Rose Group of Industries has gained immense trust and respect across Telangana. From real estate and FMCG to hospitality and health equipment, Red Rose thrives in multiple domains with successful ventures. By entering the retail sector, it aims to expand its umbrella of businesses and cater to its audience in a different way. Red Rose Group’s first store ‘Red Rose Mart’ is open for public in Falaknuma, Hyderabad.

UK: Meal delivery firm Deliveroo breaks even as orders dip
British meal delivery company Deliveroo expects to be profitable this year after better cost control and higher customer fees helped it break even in the second half of 2022 even as order numbers slipped from pandemic highs. The company, which had benefited from surging demand during the pandemic, said the value of orders on its platform increased 6% to 1.8bln pounds ($2.2bln) in the fourth quarter, as the rise in restaurant prices offset a 2% drop in orders.

India: JioMart sees jump in orders via WhatsApp
JioMart the online commerce play of Reliance Retail registered a jump in quarterly orders via WhatsApp apart from an uptick in active customer base, top executives at the company said.

India’s windfall tax hits Reliance Industries
Reliance Industries Ltd reported a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly profit as India’s biggest company by market valuation took a hit from the government’s windfall tax on fuel exports. Its consolidated profit fell nearly 15% to 157.92bln rupees ($1.95bln) in the third quarter, with the windfall tax eating into that by 18.98bln rupees ($233.3mln).

Amazon quietly tests even cheaper Prime membership in India
Amazon is quietly piloting a new tier for its Prime membership in India, providing customers with access to popular benefits such as free two-day delivery and ad-supported Prime Video in standard definition at a lower price. The new tier, called Prime Lite, is currently available to select customers at a discounted annual price of $12 (999 Indian rupees).

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