Kroger sees e-commerce as future profit engine

Empire reports $125.7M net earnings as it rebounds from Sobeys cyberattack
Empire Company Ltd. said its net earnings hit $125.7 million in its latest quarter as its Sobeys supermarket chain rebounded from a November cyberattack. The results reported Thursday for the grocery store operator’s third quarter compared with $203.4 million in net earnings during the same period the year before. Its earnings for the period ended Feb. 4 amounted to 49 cents per share, down from 77 cents per share in the third quarter of the prior fiscal year, when Empire said it incurred “unusually large” lease termination income and higher property sales from Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust. Its adjusted net earnings totalled $164.8 million, down from $203.4 million a year earlier.

Source: RedDeerAdvocate 

Shoppers slammed with surcharge as retailers make major store change for plastic bag ban
Over 30,000 Americans have been hit with a shopping surcharge as their local government has made the controversial decision to ban plastic bags entirely. Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, officially began the plastic bag ban on Wednesday, but the initiative was approved in September 2022. Under the new rule, no single-use plastic bags are permitted in grocery stores or restaurants. However, stores can give out recyclable paper bags for an extra 10-cent fee. Customers can bring their own reusable bags free of charge. "From an overall environmental and economic perspective, the best alternative to plastic is a shift to reusable or recyclable paper bags,” town officials said in a statement, according to Philadelphia NBC affiliate WCAU.

Source: The Sun 

Kroger sees e-commerce as future profit engine
The retailer is looking to its automation partnership with Ocado and its young retail media business to help achieve its goal of making money online, Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said Wednesday. Kroger believes its online operations have the potential to eventually yield margins that are at least as strong as what it sees with its traditional supermarket business, Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said Wednesday during the Bank of America Consumer & Retail Conference. “If you look at our online business, the [in-store] business incrementally now is profitable. Barely. And if you look at the delivery, you know, that still has a lot of work to do. But I feel very confident that we’ll get there and we’ll figure it out,” McMullen said.

Source: GroceryDive 

Walmart pumps $200 mln into Indian fintech PhonePe in ongoing fundraise
Indian digital payments firm PhonePe said on Friday it has raised $200 million from majority backer Walmart Inc (WMT.N) at a pre-money valuation of $12 billion. PhonePe, already India's most valuable payments firm and among the country's most highly-valued startups, said the investment is part of its ongoing fundraise of up to $1 billion. It has raised $350 million from private equity firm General Atlantic and $100 million from Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global and TVS Capital Funds in the past two months, at the same $12 billion valuation. American retail behemoth Walmart, which acquired a majority share in PhonePe in 2018, will continue as a majority investor, the Indian company said, without disclosing its stake. PhonePe separated from Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart late last year, when it also shifted its registered headquarters from Singapore to India, with Walmart picking up the nearly $1 billion tax bill for the move.

Source: Reuters 

The Netherlands: Jumbo profit suffers from ailing Belgian expansion
Dutch retailer Jumbo has posted disappointing results, as it suffers from rising costs due to inflation and start-up losses in Belgium. Rising prices pushed down customer satisfaction, the company’s annual report shows. Jumbo did manage record sales of almost 10.3 billion euros in 2022 (including restaurant chain La Place), but its operating profit (ebitda) went down 5 % to 659 million euros. Net profit after tax fell from 114 to 80 million euros. The 27 Belgian shops accounted for consumer sales of 216 million euros last year, the Dutch supermarket chain reports in its 2022 annual report.

Source: RetailDetail

New Zealand: Woolworths to supply Circle K stores in New Zealand
Woolworths has entered a wholesale agreement with Pamma Retail Group – the New Zealand master franchisee for global convenience retailer Circle K – to supply groceries to its New Zealand stores. The agreement represents the sixth confirmed wholesale customer since Woolworths NZ launched its wholesale business, New Zealand Grocery Wholesalers (NZGH), in June last year. Australian-headquartered Woolworths is the owner of the Countdown, SuperValue and FreshChoice grocery chains in New Zealand.

Source: Reuters

France: Picnic expands to Paris
Dutch online supermarket Picnic is finally ready to conquer the French capital. This should be done before the month is over – nine months behind the earlier schedule. The delay was due to a number of unforeseen obstacles, LSA reports. First, there was a steel shortage, which prevented the company from completing its refrigerated warehouses on time. It was supposed to open ten new logistics hubs in northern France last year, but managed to open only two. The next issue was the capacity needed for Picnic’s electric delivery vans. The company had to wait months, but has finally resolved the issue last week. This year should therefore herald an acceleration for the grocery delivery company: by operating in Paris, Picnic hopes to triple or even quintuple its French sales. Last year, (Northern) France accounted for 30 million euros in sales.

Source: RetailDetail 

UK: 'Russian Lidl' Mere planning to relaunch in the UK
Last year, Mere, which has been dubbed Russia's version of Lidl, closed its first and only UK store in Preston. It also halted its plans to open more shops in the UK. Mere also paused its operations across other European countries. However, the retailer is now recruiting in the UK again ahead of a planned relaunch reports The Grocer. In a post on LinkedIn this week, Mere UK's Managing Director Olena Solodka wrote: “We are hiring!”

Source: Mirror 

Zimbabwe: SPAR Zimbabwe goes for 500m2 of ‘fresh is best’
In an ongoing programme of retail experience transformation, SPAR Zimbabwe invested in another of their core stores. The renovation was completed in just four weeks and has increased the area dedicated to fresh and frozen foods as well as the food service offer. Almost 500m2 in the refurbished SPAR Supermarket now highlight SPAR’s ‘fresh is best’ policy. State-of-the-art fixtures and fittings reflect future supermarket trends, complemented by improved shelving, innovative point-of-sale technology, focus lighting and linear LED lighting. “We are delighted to announce the re-opening of SPAR Bridge. Our renovations were completed in a record time and we are very excited with the result – it’s a massive step forward for retail excellence in Zimbabwe,” said Cypren Borerwe, General Manager of SPAR Zimbabwe.

Source: Spar 

UK: John Lewis scraps Waitrose staff bonus and warns of job cuts after £234m loss
John Lewis and Waitrose staff will not get a bonus this year after the retail group fell into the red, posting a worse than expected £230m full-year loss. Sharon White, the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, warned of job losses to come as she said “inflation hit us like a hurricane”, with higher freight, energy, labour and fuel bills adding £180m in costs. These helped push the group into the second ever full-year loss in its history. White said some Waitrose shoppers had turned to the discounters, as the business “saw a post-Covid shift in grocery from online to shops” and belts tightened at a time of record-low consumer confidence.

Source: The Guardian 

UAE: Consumers did slow down spending in Q4-2022
UAE consumers started turning cautious during the final months of 2022 after successive interest rate hikes and amidst more concerns that the global economy would soon enter a full-blown recession. Shoppers were ‘opting for discounts and deals for essential items, and cutting back on non-essential’s such as electronics’, says the latest state of the market report from Majid Al Futtaim, the hypermarket and malls operator. “Average spend per transaction in hypermarkets and supermarkets was down 3 per cent. However overall spending in the segment was up 11 per cent on the year prior, showing movement towards smaller basket value and more frequent transaction.”

Source: Gulfnews 

Belgium: 83 Delhaize shops remain closed
83 Delhaize supermarket shops did not open their doors to customers on Thursday as the protest against franchising the 128 Belgian outlets that remained under direct company management. Yet the other 45 self-owned supermarkets are accessible, spokesman Roel Dekelver reported. This mainly concerns shops in Wallonia and Brussels that remain closed as staff are protesting against the supermarket chain's plans announced last week to turn all 128 shops under its own management into franchises. Doing so would result in lesser working and wage conditions for Delhaize staff, something trade unions will not accept. Delhaize hopes that more shops will open in the coming days. The fact that shops remain closed damages the company and its future, Deklever said.

Source: Brusselstimes 

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