Smart & Final Q2 sales up | Ahold's rival Sligro enters Belgium

Dunnes 'in talks to open up to 40 UK stores'

Finland: Kesko’s sales slide in H1
Finnish retailer Kesko has released its first half results for 2015, revealing that total net sales decreased by 4.2% to €4.31bn, although overall profitability improved significantly, reports. The retailer’s grocery performance was better than its total business, although sales still declined by 2.2% to €2.25bn and grocery profitability was also impacted. Most grocery formats also reported declining sales in the first half of 2015, although the retailer’s wholesale format, Kespro, reported sales growth of 0.3% to €381m. In May, Kesko unveiled its new grocery strategy, targeting 'profitable growth' in grocery, with the primary ambition of turning 'market share around in Finland in 2016'. In doing so, the retailer committed to invest €1bn in supermarkets and convenience stores, focus on wholesale and online and expand further in Russia. (

Carrefour's Bulgarian merger cancelled
Carrefour's Greek franchise, Marinopoulos, is not now going to merge with Bulgarian chain Piccadilly, according to reports, writes. News website 24Chasa stated that Piccadilly's executive director Tanya Koseva-Boshova said the merger failed due to unfavourable economic conditions. A further source said KMB BV, which is owned by Marinopoulos and which holds the franchise in Bulgaria, made a statement: "KMB BV will continue to manage its network autonomously with new experienced management team that will immediately put into force the action plan for the continued development of operations, setting customer needs at the centre of the company's business."

China: Wal-Mart buys mainland e-commerce firm
Wal-Mart Stores announced it has acquired the remaining shares in e-commerce business Yihaodian, taking full ownership of the fast-growing mainland company, reports. In a statement, the company said that Yihaodian will be led by Wang Lu, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce in Asia. Wal-Mart previously had owned 51% of the online supermarket, said to be one of China's top e-commerce businesses

US: Smart & Final Q2 sales up, earnings flat

Smart & Final Stores said Wednesday sales rose on unit expansion for the second quarter and first half ended June 14, while net profits dipped in the quarter and recovered in the half following the company’s initial public offering last September and comparable stores sales rose 3.5%, reports. The company opened five new Smart & Final Extra! stores during the quarter and converted four legacy Smart & Final stores to the Extra! format. Sales for the 12-week quarter increased 9.3% to $905.1m. Net income was flat at $11m following an increase of approximately 17.6m shares, including shares issued last September in an IPO.

Irish Dunnes 'in talks to open up to 40 UK stores'
Irish department store chain Dunnes Stores is reportedly in talks to acquire up to 40 stores in the UK as part of a review of its property portfolio, reports. The retailer currently has 34 stores in the UK, with 23 in Northern Ireland, six in England and five in Scotland. It has 116 in the Republic of Ireland and five in Spain. The retailer is said to be looking at under review BHS stores and Marks & Spencer stores that have recently closed or are closing, sources told Drapers’ sister title Retail Week. Its UK business, which employs 3,151 people, made sales of £24.5m and a profit of £966,000 in the full year to February 1, 2014.

USPS: Grocery delivery service won't impact small biz (US)
Small businesses that deliver groceries have nothing to fear from the Postal Service, it told the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in a filing on Wednesday, reports. The USPS began working with Amazon Fresh on grocery delivery last year. (Click here to read more)

UK: Musgrave appoints Mark Aylwin to head up GB business
Musgrave Group has appointed Mark Aylwin as the new head of its Musgrave Retail Partners GB operation, reports. Aylwin comes into the role on 17 August, having previously held senior positions with Booker and Safeway, as well as Musgrave. He replaces Peter Ridler, who has been appointed international director with clothing chain White Stuff. In May, Irish wholesaler Musgrave announced that it was selling its Budgens and Londis retail operations to Booker, a move that is still awaiting competition approval.

Ahold's rival Sligro enters Belgian market

Dutch wholesaler Sligro is set to follow its rival Ahold and establish its first outlets in Belgium next year, reports. It made its announcement in an interim management statement to announce its first half figures, in which it posted a 1.1% sales increase to €1.27bn. In the statement, Sligro said that it believes 'there are opportunities for Sligro to establish a position in Belgium with a combination of cash & carry outlets and delivery service'. It expects to open the first of these in the autumn of 2016. Sligro operates supermarkets, foodservice and cash & carry outlets in its native Netherlands.

India: E-grocery startup raises $315K in angel funding
Ahmedabad-based e-grocery startup has secured about $315,000 in angel funding from Oswal Industries’ director Jayant Bokadia, reports. The four months-old startup would utilise the money to upgrade technology infrastructure and expand further in Gujarat, as per a press statement.

China's slump hits supermarkets
China's market slump is making itself felt in corporate earnings around the world, reports. Retail and consumer-goods companies are also feeling the pain after China's individual investors suffered losses in the stock market. French supermarket operator Carrefour SA said July 16 that Chinese customers are spending less when they shop and the prices of certain products have fallen. The grocer's comparable sales fell 12% in the Asian country in the second quarter, excluding fuel and calendar effects.

Chinese Better Life partners with Dangdang
Chinese retailer Better Life forms partnerships with book retailer Dangdang, driving online and offline synergies for both businesses, reports. Hunan based retailer Better Life will offer products from Dangdang’s site in its network of 452 stores, likely to be delivered through an online collection pick up service.

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