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Choppies to depart from three more African countries

Carrefour Italia: Agreement with Conad to acquire 28 Auchan stores

40% of Swedes don’t want to pay for same-day-delivery
Same-day-delivery is an increasingly popular method of delivery for online orders. But such a service costs money, of course. In Sweden, it seems that 4 in 10 consumers don’t want to pay a thing for same-day-delivery. A recent study, conducted by YouGov, among over 1,000 respondents from Sweden shows this result. But the willingness to pay for getting the goods very fast differs per age group. For example, in the age of 18 to 29, the survey shows that 41% is willing to spend 51 Swedish kronor (4.87 euros) to get their package handed to them on the same day the order took place. And 23% can even imagine paying something between 4.87 and 9.56 euros for same-day-delivery.

Ireland: Dunnes tops supermarket rankings ahead of Christmas rush
Dunnes has retained its position at the top of the supermarket rankings with a 22.8% share of the market here in the 12 weeks to December 1. New figures from Kantar show that SuperValu extended its lead over Tesco as the country's second biggest grocer with a market share of 21.6% compared to Tesco's share of 21.3%. Meanwhile, Aldi is the country's fastest growing retailer at 7.9%, although this is a drop back from the 9.6% it saw in the previous period with its market share standing at 12.2%. Kantar also said that Lidl's growth rate climbed to 5.8%, which helped to lift its market share to 11.6%. Kantar said that Dunnes' growth slowed slightly in the latest 12 weeks under review, but noted that it was gaining traction outside of its usual Dublin heartland, growing strongly in Connacht and Ulster where it has historically held a smaller share.

Australia: Woolworths says it has started paying back unpaid wages to workers, rejecting suggestions of 'wage theft'
Woolworths says it has started paying back some of the estimated $200mln to $300mln it owes workers. The supermarket giant told investors at its annual general meeting in Sydney it had started making back payments for the past two years to nearly 6,000 supermarket staff for unpaid wages, superannuation and interest. Woolworths is facing a class action and an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman after the company discovered it had underpaid staff members, including supermarket managers, under the General Retail Industry Award over the past decade.

Belgium: Delhaize reorganises to stop empty shelves
Delhaize Belgium is trialling a new internal organisation, that should fill empty shelves faster and make sure stores become more profitable. A test with fifteen stores is ongoing, the other self-owned stores should follow next year - if the trial is successful and the unions agree. Staff will have to be more flexible in the new organisation: they are divided into five departments and two teams, one focused on customers (like cashiers) and the other focused on products (like order-pickers). The organisation will not make a distinction between different categories, meaning staff in the cosmetics department can as of now also be asked to work in the food aisles as well. The first results are positive, spokesperson Roel Dekelver told Belgian newspaper De Tijd: "The targets of the new structure have already been achieved". These include a faster replenishment of empty shelves, leading to more attractive supermarkets and a higher profitability.

China: Alibaba integrates two core services
The ecommerce giant has integrated its local service platforms, Koubei and, with its group-buying platform Juhuasuan. Part of the life-style services offered on local services platform Koubei and, including Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, KFC, and other services like photo shooting and body care, are now available on Juhuasan, a group buying platform. Koubei and developed digital coupon capability this year, allowing local service providers to offer promotions including multibuy: “buy one get one free” and “50% off” for the first time. The integration allows Koubei and to gain an additional sales channel through Juhuasan to compete with Meituan.

Finland: K Group develops energy recycling system for food stores
K Group has announced that it has developed an energy recycling system that is capable of reducing the consumption of heat in supermarkets by as much as 95%, rendering the property almost carbon neutral. The reduction in emissions will correspond to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of a municipality of nearly 7,000 people, the retailer added. The system comprises a low-emission refrigeration system that runs on natural refrigerants, a heating pump, and recovery systems for energy recycling. It uses the heat generated during condensation from cooling systems to meet the heating requirements of the store.

Italy: Carrefour acquires 28 Auchan outlets from Conad
Carrefour Italia has signed an agreement with Conad, to acquire 28 Auchan stores in the Lombardy region in Italy for an undisclosed amount, reports suggest. Most of the stores are of proximity format, with the sales area ranging between 150 and 600 square meters. According to Carrefour Italia, the agreement will enable the retailer to strengthen its presence in the Lombardy region, "with strong development potential that favour formats that are increasingly in line with the new purchasing habits of Italian consumers". The transaction is scheduled to close in the beginning of next year, and includes provisions to safeguard the jobs of existing employees.

Botswana: Choppies to depart 3 more African countries
Botswana’s budget retailer, Choppies, which had shrugged off more than 60% of its market cap on September this year following a delay to its release of financial statements and remained suspended from Botswana Stock Exchange for over three months, had issued a statement saying that the loss-making company would depart three more African markets aside from its South African operations. Choppies would ditch out its operations in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique after South African business, which in effect would have halved the company’s footprint in Africa in to just four countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.

German discounters Lidl and Kaufland to add EV charging
The German Schwarz Group supermarket operator has announced a nationwide expansion of charging stations for electric vehicles. Every new Kaufland and Lidl store will in future be equipped with at least one charging station. In the course of modernisation, each branch will have one column. In the medium term, the declared goal is to have a charging station on every parking lot in front of one of the approximately 3,900 Kaufland and Lidl stores in Germany. The average distance between two charging points of the Schwarz Group is to be reduced to less than 20 kilometres.

Japan: KDDI ties up with store chain Lawson for payments, buys stake
Japanese telecom company KDDI Corp is taking a 2.1% stake in convenience store chain Lawson as part of a tie-up in smartphone payment services, amid a push by the government and businesses to bolster their digital options. The partnership will combine KDDI’s 5G technologies and Lawson’s network of stores, along with both companies’ fledgling payment and loyalty systems, the companies said. They did not disclose the price paid for the stake, but KDDI’s investment would be worth more than 13bln yen ($118.8mln) based on Lawson’s last closing price.

Australia: Woolworths says shareholders approve Endeavor restructuring
Australia’s largest supermarket operator Woolworths Group said its shareholders have approved the first stage of a plan to combine and spin off its drinks and hospitality businesses. Woolworths said in a statement that 99.5% of its shareholders had voted in favor of the first stage of the restructuring, which paves the way for the combination of the Endeavour Drinks and ALH Group businesses. The company said the combined entity would eventually be separated through a demerger or other “value added alternative”. It expects the merger of the two businesses to take place on February 2, 2020.

Costa Rica: New attempt to sell supermarket chain
Almost a year after Walmart’s attempt to acquire Grupo Gessa’s supermarket chain in Costa Rica was not approved by government regulators, a new agreement is now announced between Grupo Gessa and Grupo Empresarial de Retail SA, which belongs to the Yan family of Chinese origin. In January of this year, it was reported that local authorities ratified their ruling against Walmart’s request to buy supermarket chain Gessa - Perimercados, Súper Compro, Turribásicos and Saretto - arguing that the transaction presented problems of eventual concentration. The new attempt by Grupo Empresarial de Supermercados SA (Gessa) requires the approval of the Comisión para Promover la Competencia (Coprocom) - Commission to Promote Competition.

Brazil: Food delivery app iFood looks to grow in retail in 2020
Brazilian app iFood, which specializes in delivering ready-to-eat meals to consumers in large cities, is looking to expand its services to other areas and plans to increase operations in retail, chief financial officer Diego Barreto said. The app, which is controlled by Brazilian company Movile and received an investment of $500mln last year from Naspers and Innova Capital, plans to increase to 1,000 from 200 the number of supermarkets served by its platform. The plan comes at a time when large supermarket chains such as GPA are investing to boost their online-ordered deliveries, and other companies such as urban mobility app 99 start a food delivery service, the 99 Food.

Everything we know about Amazon’s new grocery store in Los Angeles
Amazon’s highly anticipated new grocery store chain is likely to open in February, Yahoo Finance has learned. A recent trip to the store in the Woodland Hills neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles suggests the grocery store is still a work in progress. The entire plaza is undergoing a massive renovation. The opening has been postponed from November to early 2020, likely February, according to a person who works for Amazon. The location choice shows Amazon’s desire to stay close to its core Prime members while experimenting with products Whole Foods can’t offer, according to Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData. “I think Amazon has probably looked to where its existing customers are and wanted to move into that area”, said Saunders. “So it's going to pull in a more affluent demographic, but it's going to be a much wider spread of customers than Whole Foods will probably attract”.

Canada: Farm Boy and Voilà are Empire’s weapons for winning in Ontario
Empire is under-penetrated in Ontario’s urban markets, but the company is betting on Farm Boy and Voilà, its e-commerce solution, to remedy that. About a year ago, the parent of Sobeys scooped up Ontario-based grocery chain Farm Boy for $800mln. On a conference call with analysts, following the release of its Q2 fiscal 2020 earnings, Empire president and CEO Michael Medline said Farm Boy was “outperforming all of our expectations”. Medline also shared details on the forthcoming Voilà service, referring to it as the company’s “game-changing” e-commerce solution. While most players in the industry are focused on “inefficient” store-pick models to fulfill online grocery orders, Medline said Empire’s focus is on building automated warehouses powered by the U.K.-based Ocado Group’s grocery technology. He said the system will be flexible enough for customers to be able to place orders in the morning for delivery later the same day. He added that Empire plans to build on Ocado’s infrastructure to make it even more flexible, over time, to meet customer needs.

US: Implementing a cold-storage infrastructure strategy for ecommerce grocery fulfillment
In a recent report from The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), “The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper”, FMI laid out the following thought-provoking statistics regarding the habits of today’s supermarket shoppers - and what those habits might soon evolve into: More than 50% of grocery sales in the United States are now digitally influenced; Upwards of 60% of shoppers check their mobile device for sales or coupons before heading to the store; American consumers could spend as much as $100bln on food-at-home shopping by 2025; 70% of American households will do all of their grocery shopping online within the next 10 years.

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