Switzerland: Lidl announces management changes
Lidl Switzerland has announced the appointment of Alessandro Wolf as its new chief real estate officer, effective 1 October 2019. Most recently, Wolf served as the chief operating officer of the retail group in the country. He is an experienced professional and has been a part of the company for more than 10 years, in various top management roles. Meanwhile, Christian Steimle will step in as the new chief operating officer of Lidl Switzerland. Steimle began his career as a regional manager of the company in the canton of Thurgau. In the years that followed, he also served as a plant manager and sales manager.
Boss of UK’s Waitrose to quit, ahead of John Lewis Partnership restructuring
The boss of British upmarket supermarket Waitrose, part of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, is to step down next year, the group said. It said Rob Collins will quit after a 26-year career. The partnership also said that from February 2020 it will have one executive team and there will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for the eponymous department stores business and Waitrose.
Lithuania: Maxima Grupė posts consolidated lfl sales growth of 3.8% in H1
Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupė has posted a consolidated like-for-like sales growth of 3.8% in the first half of its financial year ended 30 June 2019. The company’s consolidated revenue grew by 23.9% to €1.9bln, mainly driven by rapid expansion in Poland and the acquisition of the Stokrotka retail chain. Retail revenue in the Polish market amounted to €424mln, the retailer said. In the Baltics, the company saw a revenue growth of 4.6%, boosted by rapid expansion in Latvia, where its revenue grew by 8.2%. Maxima emerged as the leading retailer in the country with a market share of more than 25%.
Singapore: Honestbee wins creditor reprieve
Struggling grocery retailer and delivery startup Honestbee has been granted a four-month debt moratorium by the Singapore High Court. While two months shorter than the protection period the company sought from the court, it allows the business to restructure free from creditor pressure. Reports by Singapore business media show Honestbee owed around US$236mln in current liabilities as at the end of June. On top of that it has debt of around $210mln owed to some 1800 convertible noteholders which it is trying to exchange for equity. While Honestbee’s debt is a major impediment to the ongoing business, as much as 80% of the liability is to investor Brian Koo and entities controlled by himself or family interests. Koo stepped down as chairman of Honestbee in mid September but is believed to support the debt restructure scheme.
Switzerland: Migros sells retail chain M-Way to Swiss E-Mobility Group
The Swiss E-Mobility Group announced the acquisition of Migros owned M-Way AG e-bike retail chain. According to this Group: “The take-over of Swiss M-Way would result in a strong e-mobility company with competencies in both development and production as well as a nationwide retail network”. The acquisition of M-Way is part of Swiss E-Mobility Group’s strategy to strengthen its market position in Switzerland and expand into Germany and Austria.
UK: Tesco chief Dave Lewis announces surprise departure
The Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, has announced his surprise departure after five years at the helm of the UK’s biggest retailer. The former Unilever executive said he had completed the turnaround plan he set in train following the company’s 2014 accounting scandal and would leave the company in a “position of strength”. He will be succeeded next summer by Ken Murphy, a Boots lifer who most recently was the chief commercial officer of its American parent Walgreens Boots Alliance. “My decision to step down as group chief executive is a personal one”, said Lewis. “I believe the tenure of the chief executive should be a finite one and that now is the right time to pass the baton”.
Brasil: Carrefour buys 49% stake in Brazilian fintech
Carrefour Brasil said its subsidiary has agreed to buy a 49% stake in Brazilian fintech Ewally Tecnologia e Serviços S.A. for an undisclosed amount, as part of plans to offer digital checking accounts to its customers. Under the terms of the deal, the local unit of French retailer Carrefour SA will have the option to acquire the control of Ewally in three years. Carrefour Brasil intends to reach customers who currently have no access to the company’s credit cards, Carlos Mauad, chief executive officer of Banco Carrefour, said in a securities filing.
US: Fresh departments draw consumers into stores, report says
Fresh departments including deli, bakery, meat, seafood and produce are retailers’ key to luring shoppers into stores, according a recent report from Nielsen. Top-performing retailers in fresh categories generated 43% of sales from perishable foods, the report found. Among all retailers, the seafood department represented 5% of in-store sales growth, followed by the deli (4.9%) and the in-store bakery at 4.2%. While more customers are making grocery purchases online, the report found that online shoppers spend 1.5% more on fresh food in-store than the average shopper.
US: United Natural Foods, Inc. reports fourth quarter fiscal 2019 results
United Natural Foods, Inc. (the “Company” or “UNFI”) reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended August 3, 2019. Highlights: Fourth quarter net sales increased to $6.41bln, or 2.8% when excluding the contribution from SUPERVALU and the additional week in the quarter compared to last year’s fourth quarter. Fourth quarter net income of $18.9mln. Fourth quarter earnings per diluted share (EPS) of $0.36; Adjusted EPS of $0.44. Net outstanding debt decreased by $166mln since the end of the third quarter and $353mln since the end of the first quarter.
US: Giant Eagle joins InComm Healthcare’s Retail Network
InComm, a leading payments technology company, announced that it is welcoming multi-format food, fuel and pharmacy retailer Giant Eagle, Inc. to InComm Healthcare’s OTC Network, which provides health plan supplemental benefit and incentive spending solutions designed to encourage healthy purchases. With the new partnership, the more than 5mln health plan OTC Network cardholders will now be able to use their benefit cards at any of Giant Eagle’s 200-plus locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Indiana.
US: New Acosta report finds grocery delivery and non-traditional grocery channels gaining popularity among urban grocery shoppers
With residents of the top 50 most populous cities comprising nearly 16% of the total U.S. population and city growth rates consistently topping those of suburban and rural areas, urban grocery shoppers are becoming an increasingly influential demographic. Research “The Urban Grocery Shopper”, the latest Hot Topic report from Acosta provides insights into the grocery shopping world of city dwellers, which varies significantly from that of suburbanites and those living in rural areas. “For urban grocery shoppers, crowded stores are the norm so convenience is a major priority”, said Colin Stewart, Senior Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “City dwellers are more likely than suburban and rural shoppers to have groceries delivered, buy groceries at small neighborhood stores, pop into stores for pre-made offerings and dine out rather than make meals at home.”
US: Save Mart favorites now delivered by DoorDash
Reaffirming their commitment to making shopping convenient for the Central Valley, Save Mart has introduced DoorDash delivery for their most sought after prepared foods and custom-made sandwiches. The service is available now in many communities throughout the greater Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto areas. The company plans for an expansion throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and Reno in the coming months. The DoorDash offers shoppers the quick, on-demand delivery of hot food items like whole Rotisserie Chickens, Chicken Tender Bites, salads, custom-made sandwiches and desserts. Menu hours are open from 10:30AM to 7:30PM daily. “Our aim is to meet shoppers where they are at – literally. DoorDash delivery offers a quick, convenient meal solution and complements our home delivery services”, explains Bobby McDowell, Vice President of Operations for Save Mart.
Report: Grocery stores upcoming from Amazon
Amazon reportedly is moving forward with the opening of U.S. grocery stores separate from its Whole Foods Market subsidiary. The Wall Street Journal reported that Seattle-based Amazon aims to open a chain of stores beginning in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. Citing anonymous sources, the Journal said the e-tailer has signed more than a dozen leases in the Los Angeles area, starting with locations in Woodland Hills, Studio City and Irvine that could open by the end of this year. These grocery stores would be part of dozens that Amazon plans to open nationwide, according to the Journal. The retailer also is eyeing sites in metropolitan New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including spaces of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet in shopping centers, the report said.