Carrefour's six China DC's to be opened within two years -
The world's leading supermarket retailer Carrefour announced that the company will enhance investments in logistics distribution centers in mainland China over the next two years, reports. Carrefour's new distribution center in Kunshan was completed in June 2014, serving the East China region; and its distribution center in Chengdu was completed in April 2015, serving the West China region. In 2015, the company plans to build two more distribution centers: one in Wuhan, Hubei province, and the other is responsible for the Beijing and Tianjin region. In 2016, Carrefour expects to have two more logistics distribution centers for Northeast region and South China region, respectively.

German retailer Aldi plans Southern California expansion

German-owned discount grocery chain ALDI plans to continue its U.S. expansion with 45 new stores in Southern California over the next year, reports. The expansion is part of a $3bn plan to add 650 new stores across the nation. The company said Thursday the new Southern California outlets would be open by the end of 2016, creating about 1,100 jobs. A regional headquarters and distribution center will be built in Moreno Valley, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

US: Grocery store chain A&P files for bankruptcy

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co, the supermarket company known as A&P, and certain affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late on Sunday, Reuters reports. The company, which owns stores such as A&P, Best Cellars, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum's, listed assets and liabilities of more than $1bn in its bankruptcy filing. A&P was founded in 1859. The grocer has received debtor-in-possession financing of $100m from Fortress Credit Corp, court documents show. The company has lined up buyers for 120 of its 296 stores with total expected proceeds of about $600m, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Ahold eyes A&P
Fresh from sealing a planned merger deal with Belgian retailer Delhaize, Dutch retailer Ahold is now eyeing a takeover of US chain A&P, reports. Ahold’s rival Kroger is also considering a bid for A&P but the Dutch giant appears to have the early upper hand.

US: Organic upgrades as Whole Foods tweaks responsibly grown
After widely-reported criticism of its Responsibly Grown rating system, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to boost organic ratings across the board, reports. The retailer worked with Santa Cruz-based organic advocacy group California Certified Organic Farmers to adjust the program to “ensure that the leading achievement of USDA’s certified organic growing system is organized within the rating system and clearly communicated to Whole Foods Market customers,” according to a news release from the CCOF. All certified organic produce and floral will automatically receive a minimum “good” rating, instead of “unrated” in stores until January 1, according to the release. This will allow time for certified organic growers to start or resume Responsibly Grown compliance efforts. (Read more at

UK: Tesco appoints broiler chief as head of agriculture
Tesco will appoint the British broiler chief at poultry giant Moy Park as its new head of agriculture, reports. Farmers Weekly understands Barney Kay will take on a similar role to Tom Hind, who resigned as agriculture director in May.

Ocado falls sharply amid Amazon Fresh concerns
Shares in Ocado plunged as investors more than 3,000 miles away piled out of the stock amid a bearish broker note, reports. Minutes after the opening bell sounded on Wall Street, the online supermarket, which is heavily traded by hedge funds, fell sharply as US shareholders digested a rating downgrade and unsubstantiated reports Amazon’s grocery delivery service Fresh may launch in September in London.

UK: Supermarket wars hit food suppliers hard
Heavy discounting and delayed payments from supermarkets fighting to win back customers from the discounters is putting the UK’s smallest food suppliers, independent grocers and farmers at risk of collapse, warns Begbies Traynor, reports. According to Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert research for this year’s second quarter, the UK food and beverage manufacturers sector, which includes many of the food suppliers and farmers that supply the major UK supermarkets, witnessed the highest year on year increase in “significant” distress of all sectors monitored by the Red Flag research. The business recovery specialist said the tally rose 54%, with 1,622 companies now struggling to make ends meet; up from 1,052 at the same stage last year.

UK: Sainsbury's boss promises store 'reinvention' to fight discounters
The CEO of J Sainsbury, Mike Coupe, has pledged to “reinvent” the supermarket and “push the boundaries” of shopping in an attempt to fight back against falling sales, reports. The supermarket boss is drawing up plans for six stores across the country that will be revamped in a new format. The overhaul is designed to make the supermarkets more convenient for shoppers and help large out-of-town stores challenge online, the discounters and convenience stores. In an interview to mark his first anniversary since succeeding Justin King, Mr Coupe said: “Our challenge is to reinvent the superstore for the next generation, for the future.

AU: Lidl in talks with Victoria

Lidl has sought the ear of the Victorian state government in a move that is likely to be read as further proof of its serious interest in the Australian market, reports. It's understood the discount retailer has met with the state government on several occasions in the past six months, including meetings at the Frankfurt office of Invest Victoria. Details of these discussions have not been revealed or which party instigated the meetings however it's believed the latest took place within the last month. The state government confirmed "discussions" had taken place with Lidl, but a spokesperson said the government regularly spoke to interstate and overseas businesses about the strength of the Victorian economy and the "great opportunities there are in investing in our state."

Mercator expands in Montenegro
Montenegrin retailer Mercator Crna Gora, owned by Croatian food-to-retail consortium Agrokor, has opened five new stores under the Roda brand, reports. According to local media reports, the stores were opened in the coastal cities of Budva (2), Sutomore and Susanj, near Bar. The Roda brand consists of three formats - Megamarket (hypermarket), Supermarket and Market (neighbourhood store) – across a total of over 90 retail units. Merkator Crna Gora has also taken over five retail stores owned by Solaris in Ulcinj and four shops from the Kaća chain, from Bar. All nine stores will retain their current banners, but will now be part of a larger retail group.

Hy-Vee has aggressive growth plan for Twin Cities market

Hy-Vee’s first two Twin Cities stores set to open in September will be the beginning of a long-term shake-up of the area’s supermarket business, reports. Des Moines-based Hy-Vee’s quest is to eventually make Minneapolis-St. Paul its top market by sales volume, bigger than its hometown operations and current No. 1 metro area of Kansas City, Mo. “We see this as being our largest market some day,” Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker told the Star Tribune in an interview Friday. “Over the next 10 years, we see steady growth here.”

Interesting links about retail

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