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Farmstead has opened the waitlist for its expansion to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Walmart: Solid sales gains in Q3

US: Kroger has nearly 400 open positions for holiday season in Virginia
Kroger Mid-Atlantic announced it is hiring to support seasonal holiday business at its Virginia stores and across e-commerce channels. Across the state, there are nearly 400 open positions. Since the start of the public health crisis, the grocer has hired almost 11,000 associates in its Mid-Atlantic division - many from the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic such as restaurants, hotels and food service distributors.

US: Farmstead expanding to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Online grocer Farmstead has opened the waitlist for its expansion into the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, area, where the company’s delivery service will make its official debut early next year. The waitlist is limited to the first 1,000 people to sign up. Raleigh-Durham is Farmstead’s second expansion market, following its launch this month in Charlotte, North Carolina.

US: Walmart continues sales momentum in third quarter
Walmart posted solid sales gains and topped Wall Street’s high-end earnings forecast for its fiscal 2021 third quarter as it continued to adapt to changing consumer behavior and operational challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. For the quarter ended October 31, Walmart totaled revenue of $134.61bln, up 5.2% from $127.99bln a year earlier. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, revenue rose 6.1% to $135.8bln, the company said.

US: Supermarket chain Costco declares special dividend of $10 per share
Membership-only supermarket chain Costco Wholesale Corp declared a special dividend of $10 per share as it benefits from consumers stocking up essentials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sending its shares up about 2% after the bell. The dividend totaling $4.4bln would be funded through existing cash. It will be paid on December 11 and is the company’s fourth such payout in 8 years. Higher demand for fresh produce, appliances and gardening and sporting goods has helped the warehouse chain record growing sales and traffic at its stores, where customers typically buy items in bulk at lower prices.

Walmart launches new Express banner in Mexico
Walmex has launched an innovative new supermarket banner in Mexico. Its first Walmart Express store opened November 5 in Lomas del Valle, in the city of Puebla. With an initial investment of MXN1.3bln (US64mln), the business plans to convert existing Superama supermarkets to the new format, as well as opening new stores.

China's JD Q3 2020 earnings: A great potential for fresh produce on JD
“JD has long paid high attention to the fresh produce category”, Lei Xu, CEO of JD Retail, explained on JD’s third quarter 2020 earnings call. Xu explained that JD’s fresh produce category is divided into 5 business models: online B2C, SEVEN FRESH (JD’s offline fresh supermarket), social e-commerce group buying, B2B and the forward warehouse model, which means putting the most frequently bought inventory nearest to customers. “We noted that many companies have selected one model to attract traffic flow, however for JD, we would rather create a more sustainable and long-term business model by building supply chain and service capabilities”, said Xu.

Channel Islands Co-op launches online shopping
Customers at the Channel Islands Co-operative can now order groceries online. The company will be using Guernsey and Jersey Post for its internet food delivery service in Jersey and Guernsey after a successful trial during lockdown. Both are aiming to deliver orders within 24 hours.

Analysis: After continental retreat, South African retailers strain for profits at home
After a losing bet on the potential of economies across the African continent, South African retailers are in retreat to their home market - and their timing could hardly be worse. In recession-hit South Africa, consumer spending is shrinking as unemployment has hit a record high. Food sellers are best placed to execute a homeward pivot. Johannesburg-listed supermarket chains, including Shoprite Holdings and Woolworths, told Reuters they were seeking to win over South African consumers with new financial services offerings, product lines and store layouts.

7-Eleven to enter Israel
7-Eleven, the largest convenience chain in the world, is set to enter Israel. Local media, including Israel News, reports that apparel retailer Fox and electronics and appliance retailer Electra have received franchise rights to operate 7-Eleven stores in Israel. They will sign a memorandum of understanding to operate 7-Eleven as 50-50 joint venture partners. They plan to open 250 stores in the first few years. Through area licensee agreements, 7-Eleven has stores in 20 markets trading over 71,000 outlets. It continues to strengthen its leading position in Japan, and expand abroad through a combination of organic growth, licensees and acquisitions.

Pinduoduo-like platform in the Philippines bags $1mln in seed round
Resellee, a social commerce platform based in the Philippines, announced that it has secured US$1mln in a seed round from MinTech Enterprises and Hofan Capital. Products often on offer include fresh produce, prepaid load, fashion items, electronics, and grocery products, among others.

UK: Morrisons asks food and drink brands to help fight war on plastic
Morrisons has asked its branded suppliers to help fight the war on plastic, as part of its commitment to reduce the amount of the material in its stores and supply chain operations. The supermarket made the appeal at its annual supplier conference, to which 1,600 suppliers were invited. Morrisons is asking its branded suppliers to reduce plastic in both product packaging and on the shelf display packaging, as well as in the materials in which these products are transported to stores.

UK: Asda's quarterly sales rise 2.7% on strong e-commerce
British supermarket Asda said its third quarter comparable sales rose 2.7% year-on-year, reflecting strong growth in groceries, particularly online. The outcome compared to growth of 3.8% in the previous quarter. Asda, Britain's third-largest supermarket group after market leader Tesco and Sainsbury's, said net sales online in the quarter to September 30 soared 72%.

CJ Express in Thailand plans expansion
CJ Express Group is boosting its footprint to 1,500 stores, up from 530 stores it is currently operating. Founded in 2005 by Mr Sathien, CJ Express operates mainly convenience stores and some supermarkets in the central and the western provinces. The retailer plans to have 580 stores by the end of the year. "The retail business is not as easy as expected. We take time to learn and our business has just seen 20% average growth a year over the past 3 years", said Mr Sathien.

China: Pinduoduo expects online grocery sales to double this year
The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed the way people buy groceries, says the vice president of China’s Pinduoduo. To capitalize on the trend, the company in August launched Duo Duo Maicai, which sells fresh produce. Pinduoduo, the third-biggest e-commerce company in China after Alibaba and, has its roots in agriculture.

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