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Dia to raise pay by up to 12% to cope with soaring inflation

Spain: Dia to raise pay by up to 12% to cope with soaring inflation
Spanish retailer Dia has agreed to give employees at supermarkets and warehouses pay rises of up to 12% over the next two years, plus special bonuses to some lower-paid workers, to help cope with skyrocketing prices, the company told Reuters. Under a preliminary deal with unions, the company will pay increases of between 8% and 12% for 2023 and 2024 as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Supermarket and warehouse staff earning 23,847 euros ($24,779) or less per year will also receive a one-off fixed bonus of 350 euros. A performance-linked bonus will then be paid out in 2024. "This is a major step towards the long-term stability of the company's transformation project in Spain," Dia said on Friday.

Source: Reuters 

UAE: After Dubai, LuLu Group to rollout grocery sales on Amazon across UAE and Saudi cities
The LuLu Group will retain its own online grocery services even as the retailer adds more cities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia as part of its new alliance with Amazon. It was only last week that LuLu opened a new online channel for grocery sales with Amazon, with the trials taking place in Dubai ahead of a full launch in a month.

“Grocery already makes up more than 60 per cent of sales through LuLu’s online platform,” said Ashraf Ali M.A., Executive Director at LuLu Group. “Through Amazon, we are opening up new possibilities for shoppers to access a dominant part of our stocks.

"Our target for LuLu online is 20 per cent of the Group’s annual turnover. It’s only been four years since we launched, and this deal with Amazon will take us faster to that 20 per cent." - Ashraf Ali M.A., Executive Director at LuLu Group

Source: Gulf News 

Vietnam: E-grocery app raises US$4.5m for R&D
Vietnamese e-grocery shopping platform Cooky has raised US$4.5 million in a funding round led by South Korea-based investment firm Nextrans and Vietnamese venture capital firm Do Ventures. The fresh funds will go towards Cooky’s research and development efforts to create a greater variety of healthy meal kits at better prices, the company said in a statement on Monday.

The Cooky app combines an online grocery store and a meal kit delivery service, where customers can shop for individual ingredients and full recipes. The app has clocked 1.5 million downloads after 1.5 years of operations. Cooky was founded by Minh Dang and Dai Nguyen, who are also founding members of Vietnamese food delivery player Foody. Foody was acquired by Sea Group in 2017 for US$64 million.

Source: Business times 

South Africa: ‘Fictitious’ loan puts Spar CEO under the spotlight
JSE-listed Spar sold a Midrand store it owned to a retailer twice in three weeks in what is claimed to be an attempt to write off losses and inflate income on the accounts of one of its distribution centres. According to documents seen by Business Day, the Mega SuperSpar in Midrand was sold for R1,000 before being sold three weeks later to the same buyer for R8m.

Source: BusinessLive 

US: Ingles cites expenses as margins slip in Q4
Ingles Markets on Wednesday reported 8.2% sales growth for its fiscal fourth quarter, but net income slipped as gross margin rates declined amid higher costs.

The Asheville, N.C.-based retailer said net income for the quarter, which ended Sept. 24, was down about 2.1%, to $70.2 million, compared with the year-ago period, as gross margins fell to 25.1% of sales, from 25.6% a year ago. Sales for the quarter rose to $1.45 billion, buoyed by comparable-store sales gains of 5.2%, excluding gas.

For the full year, net income rose about 9.3%, to $272.8 million, on a sales increase of 13.8%, to $5.68 billion. Comps for the full year, excluding gas, were up 7.7%, but gross margins slipped to 24.9% of sales, down from 26.1% of sales a year ago.

Source: Supermarketnews 

US: Walmart overtakes Amazon in shoppers’ search for Black Friday bargains
Walmart is top of mind for holiday shoppers who are hunting for Black Friday deals, according to new research. The big box retailer is dominating online searches for Black Friday discounts as of Friday morning, according to advertising technology company Captify, which tracks more than 1 billion searches a day from websites globally.

Searches for Black Friday discounts on Walmart surged 386% year over year, leapfrogging rival retailer Amazon, which last year ranked first in Captify’s survey of most searched retailers on Black Friday. This year, the world’s largest e-commerce company ranked fourth, behind Target and Kohl’s, respectively.

The National Retail Federation said it expects holiday sales during November and December to rise between 6% and 8% from last year, a decline when factoring in the effect of inflation. Online sales during the months of November and December are forecast to grow a meager 2.5% to $209.7 billion, compared with an 8.6% increase a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics.

Source: CNBC  

US: H-E-B, Walmart, Kroger keep testing self-checkout technology
Inside the massive H-E-B plus! store in Schertz, shoppers are testing a new way to check out. On the way in, they grab a handheld scanner and shopping bags and scan a QR code on their cart or basket. Then, while shopping, they scan items as they’re picked out and bagged.

The scan-as-you-go checkout system is part of a limited pilot program, H-E-B said. If it proves effective and accepted by customers, it could add to the technology-enabled options consumers have to make their shopping trips more efficient.

Multiple concerns and challenges — including theft, system glitches and the hefty costs of implementing new technology — have kept retailers from expanding various options to more stores. East Coast supermarket chain Wegmans shut down its self-checkout app this past fall, citing losses.

Source: Express News 

US: Letter to supermarkets: Stop digital-only savings discrimination
In an open letter to the supermarket industry dated Nov. 15, a coalition of national consumer advocacy groups said the digital-only offers "digitally discriminate," shutting out plenty of shoppers — especially those who are elderly, have limited incomes or lack access to the internet or a smartphone.

"It’s digital discrimination, and the most vulnerable people are being shut out of these online discounts at the worst possible time given record high inflation," Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumer World website, said in a statement. "Big supermarkets need to provide an offline alternative to the digitally-disconnected so they can reap the same savings that connected shoppers enjoy."

For example, Kroger stores recently advertised a digital offer on sweet potatoes for 19 cents a pound. In order to get that price, customers needed to download a digital coupon online to loyalty cards or via an app on a smartphone. The regular sale price, according to the sale circular, was 99 cents per pound.

Source: Detroit Free Press