Lulu Group is planning to establish a sourcing and export hub for Central Europe in Poland

OMV and retailer Billa have launched a new food retail chain

Nine Elms schoolchildren enjoy apple tasting as part of British Food Fortnight
Schoolchildren at St. George's Primary School in Nine Elms, south London, have been taste-testing four varieties of English apples as part of the ongoing British Food Fortnight (BFF), which runs until Sunday, October 1. Nearby, New Covent Garden Market delivered more than 400 Kent-grown apples to the school for the children to enjoy. The market also created a teaching pack - a digital deck of 13 slides - called 'The Tastebud Challenge,' which described the different varieties of apples and set simple interactive tasks.

Billa and OMV launch new format in Czechia
Petrol station operator OMV and retailer Billa have launched a new food retail chain under the Viva Billa banner. The first Viva Billa store opened at the Strakonicka gas station near Chuchle in Prague, the retailer added. In addition to an assortment of fresh food, mainly sourced from Czech suppliers, shoppers also find fresh fruit, vegetables, cold meats, cheese, drinks, and pastries, among others.

French bill moves food price deadline up to middle of January
Food retailers and producers in France will have to wrap up annual price negotiations by January 15 instead of by the traditional March 1 deadline under a bill the French government will send to the parliament.

UK potato supplier Branston prepares to open "pioneering" potato protein facility
Branston, one of the UK's largest potato suppliers, will begin production at its new "pioneering" potato protein extraction facility in early 2024. The company is currently best known for its fresh potatoes, along with products such as French fries. But as demand for plant-based foods continues to grow, Branston plans to expand by producing protein for the food industry.

UK: Getir partners with Uber Eats
Getir, the ultrafast grocery delivery company, and Uber announced a new partnership that will enable customers to use the Uber Eats app to order from Getir's selection of everyday groceries.

Traders association: food product prices in Latvia should go down in September
Food prices should go down in Latvia in September, as LETA was told by the Latvian Traders Association (LTA), referencing the comparison of prices at various stores around Latvia. In the fruits category, there was price growth observed for lemons, with the price growing by 11%. At the same time, prices have increased for kiwifruit - by 36%. In the fruit category, prices have fallen and continue to fall only for bananas - currently, they cost 1.31 EUR/kg, whereas a year ago, the price of bananas was 1.64 EUR/kg and 1.59 EUR/kg this summer. Information compiled by LTA also indicates that in the vegetable group, the price growth ranges between 1% and 9%. Prices are up for long cucumbers (by 49.6%) and tomatoes (17%).

Lulu Group to establish sourcing hub in Poland for Central European region
The UAE-based retailer Lulu Group is planning to establish a sourcing and export hub for Central Europe in Poland. Lulu Group has signed two separate MoUs with Polish government entities, Olsztyn Mazury Airport and the Polish Investment & Trade Agency, for this purpose.

Mercator to centralize warehousing activities in Serbia
The Serbian unit of Slovenian retailer Mercator has leased around 68,000 square meters of warehouse space from Amsterdam-based industrial and logistics properties CTP.

Australia: Deakin program aims to give food and drink retail a healthy refresh
Deakin University is leading a new national effort to improve the healthiness of Australia's retail food environments. The five-year program to support food retailers and their customers will be delivered by the Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health: Next Generation (RE-FRESHING), which will be supported by $2.5mln funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). "Only 5% of Australians eat the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, and at least 35% of the energy intake of adults and 41% of the energy intake of children comes from unhealthy food and drinks", Associate Professor Cameron said.

Aldi Nord tests self-checkout in the Netherlands
German grocery chain Aldi Nord is testing self-checkout solutions at several stores in the Netherlands. The scan & go technology, kiosks, and exit terminals are supplied by shopreme, an Austria-based self-checkout solutions provider.

Fire up the barbie: Curtis Stone launches a sizzling new BBQ collection at Coles to give value to customers
Customers are also encouraged to look out for QR codes in store and in the Coles Magazine to access sizzling recipe content using Coles' fresh meat, bakery, and in-season fruit and vegetable products to take their skills to the next level.

US: Kroger breaks ground on first Marketplace store
Kroger has started construction on its first Marketplace store in Plano, Texas, which will replace a smaller Kroger store nearby, reports local news outlet The Dallas Morning News. Kroger's first Marketplace store is the largest format at 124,000 square - 55,000 square feet bigger than the existing store.

Amazon Go opens 6th U.S. suburban-format location
As part of its efforts to expand its physical presence, Amazon opened an Amazon Go store in Puyallup, Washington. The location is the third suburban-format store in the Seattle area, as well as the sixth store of this format to open in the United States. The company also operates three suburban stores outside of Los Angeles, in Whittier, Torrance, and Woodland Hills.

US: Costco tops quarterly earnings expectations, even as sales remain soft
Costco's net income for the fiscal fourth quarter rose to $2.2bln, or $4.86 per share, compared with $1.87bln, or $4.20 per share, a year earlier. Comparable sales for the company rose 1.1% year over year but only 0.2% in the U.S. Excluding changes in gas prices, the metric rose 3.8% overall and 3.1% in the U.S.

Target to shut 9 stores across 4 US states amid rising retail crime
Target said it would close nine stores across four U.S. states, including California, citing that theft and organized retail crime was threatening the security of the retailer's employees and customers.

UNFI closes out fiscal 2023 with disappointing 4th quarter
United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) finished fiscal 2023 on a down note, posting a net loss and a smaller sales gain in the fourth quarter. UNFI said that, for the fourth quarter ended July 29, net sales totaled $7.42bln, up 2% from $7.27bln in the fiscal 2022 quarter, when the top line rose 8%.

FTC sues Amazon, says the e-commerce giant is a monopoly
Amazon is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorney generals for "acting like a monopoly" and preventing businesses from emerging and succeeding.

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