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Consumers spread cost of Christmas food, Sainsbury’s reports

Retailer shares secrets of sustainability
Embracing green energy, cutting waste and a having big heart are the secrets of sustainability, according to the Co Armagh shopkeeper named the UK's most sustainable independent retailer. It's the second year running that Emerson's Supermarket has been given the title. "For us this covers a variety of aspects of our business, from staff retention, using renewable sources for our energy, reducing food waste, food provenance, supporting local producers, supporting local families and creating jobs."

Top Argos marketer exits as Sainsbury's acquisition takes shape
Stephen Vowles, marketing director at Argos, has left the retailer following its acquisition by Sainsbury's, Argos has confirmed. Argos said that Vowles had "stepped down from his role to pursue his career outside of Sainsbury's Argos". It added that it was looking for his replacement, but did not indicate what impact the merger of the businesses would have on the marketing operations of Argos.

Michigan to pour $550,000 into Flint grocery improvements
The State of Michigan has pledged $550,000 in grants to aid Flint grocery stores in a bid to improve the health of residents still buffeted by the impact of the drinking water crisis. The initiative is expected be undertaken and administered by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. The effort will assist existing grocery stores on the north side of Flint to implement capital and operational improvements ensuring a higher quality of food offerings and the sustainability of grocery store functions in an underserved area.

Spar France opens in Aix-en-Provence
The recent launch of the Spar brand in Aix-en-Provence was a success, Spar France announced on Monday. In the period before the opening, the store launched an SMS raffle campaign and distributed 2,500 promotional leaflets. Business and institutional representatives attended the grand opening, which offered taste-tests of different products. The new 275 metre-square outlet has emphasised food-to-go and fresh foods, in order to optimise convenience options.

Auchan to open first supermarket in Corsica
French retailer Auchan has announced it plans to expand into Corsica, with the first supermarket under the banner to be built in the capital of Ajaccio. Sarl Primo, a subsidiary of the Rocca group, has undertaken the Auchan franchise for the island. The store will be part of a new shopping centre named L’Atrium, which will cost roughly €100 million and open at the end of 2017.

Conad sees 2016 growth in revenue
Italian grocery retailer Conad will close 2016 with €12.5 billion in turnover, up 2.6% compared to last year. This increase is in line with a steady upward trend since 2012 that has led to a doubling of sales. Conad's market share amounts to 11.9%, and the company has strengthened its leadership in the supermarket segment with a 20.2% share, according to its figures. The retailer operates a total of 3,088 points of sale, which include 25 Conad Hypermarkets, 203 Superstores, and 1,078 Conad stores among others, as well as discount stores and cash & carry.

UK retail sales grow at fastest pace in more than a year
UK retail sales grew at their fastest annual pace in more than a year this month, according to the Confederation of British Industry, which also warned that pressure on shoppers’ budgets could increase over the coming year. The CBI’s monthly retail-sales index climbed to 35 in December, the highest since September 2015, from 26 in November. Clothing and hardware stores led the gain, which “rounds off a fairly solid quarter” for retailers, the group said on Tuesday. The CBI also said that inflation fuelled by the pound’s drop against all major global currencies looks set to squeeze consumers in the coming year. Consumer-price growth, at 1.2% last month, could accelerate to 2.3% by the second quarter of 2017.

'Feeding Britain's Future' inspired 17,000 youth: IGD
Retail research firm IGD announced on Tuesday that its flagship charitable initiative, 'Feeding Britain's Future', inspired 17,000 young people this year, providing advice and skills for a career in the retail industry. Two-thousand volunteers from close to 300 food and grocery companies helped showcase the range of jobs available in the industry and hone key skills such as communication, teamwork and decision-making. The initiative, which has been running for five years, consists of two central programmes: The Schools Programme and Skills For Work Month.

McColl's Co-op acquisition given green light
McColl's announced on Tuesday that its acquisition of 298 Co-op stores has been given final approval by the Competition and Markets Authority. The deal was originally announced on 13 July this year. McColl's will start the store changeover in late January 2017, and expects that all conversions will be done by the end of August next year. After the acquisition, more than 75% of McColl's total estate will be made up of convenience stores, the company said.

Metro Group publishes Corporate Responsibility report
Metro Group has published its annual Corporate Responsibility report, with the retailer saying that it has made significant improvements in sustainability since subscribing to the principles of the UN Global Compact in 2010. The 2015/16 Corporate Responsibility Report illustrates how the group has made improvements in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption measures.

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