Amazon exceeds Walmart in market cap and launches pick-up

Canadian Loblaw to close 52 stores

US: Sales of organics growing at Smart & Final
Increased offerings of natural and organic products are helping boost sales for Smart & Final stores, particularly among home-delivery customers, Dave Hirz, CEO, told analysts Wednesday, supermarketnews.com writes. “Natural and organic is growing really exponentially, albeit off a small base. We began the year with 1,000 natural and organic items, and we’re now up to 1,400 in our larger stores. We think [the category] is helping us attract a customer we maybe couldn't attract before.”

Turkish entrepreneur Begendik pursues Tesco's Kipa

According to fortuneturkey.com, Haci Duran Begendik, owner of the rapidly growing market chain Real Turkey and CEO of the Begendik group has been busy of late. In an interview with Hurriyet Newspaper, Begendik responded to the claim that they are buying 11 Kipa stores with the following: “It’s too early to disclose at the moment. I can only say that we are buying one store from the Anadolu chain. We will continue to grow. We will continue to open new Real markets. In business opportunities are like buses, one comes, one goes. Anadolu are important for us.” Kipa shares increased by 6.25% with the news.

US: Amazon just surpassed Walmart in market cap
Investors loved Amazon's quarterly profits so much Thursday that the online retailer is now worth more than the nation's top retailer Walmart, usatoday.com reports. Shares of Amazon soared a staggering $81.82, or 17%, to $564.00 in afterhours trading. That jump makes Amazon worth $262.7bn - which is 12% more than Walmart's $233.5bn market value as of the end of trading Thursday. However, Walmart still generates more sales than Amazon. Amazon pulled in revenue of $95.8bn over the past 12 months, which is just a fifth of the $485.5bn hauled in by Walmart over the past 12 months.

US: Amazon planning drive-up grocery stores
The e-commerce giant is developing a new drive-up store concept in Silicon Valley that will allow consumers to order grocery items online, then schedule a pickup at a dedicated facility, according to industry sources familiar with Amazon's plans, bizjournals.com writes. If confirmed, the project could signal a new distribution strategy for Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, while adding an additional threat to a grocery industry already in the throes of change.

Russian retailer O'Key says customer numbers start to recover
Russian food retailer O'Key Group said it saw signs of a recovery in shopper numbers after it revised its product ranges and prices because customers had less cash to spend, Reuters reports. O'Key's hypermarkets and supermarkets have fared less well than the discount stores of rivals Magnit, X5 Retail Group and Lenta as an economic slowdown and high inflation have forced consumers to cut spending. The company also suffered from Russia's ban on Western food imports, imposed in retaliation for sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, and a failure to speed up new store openings. The company said on Thursday its shopper numbers declined 5.2% in the second quarter on a like-for-like basis, after a 1.9% year-on-year drop in January-March.

Canadian grocer Loblaw to close 52 unprofitable stores
Loblaw said it would close 52 unprofitable stores following a review of its 2,300 grocery and other locations launched last year, Reuters reports. Despite the closures, Loblaw will increase its network this year, it's CEO said. Loblaw said in March it would invest more than C$1.2bn in Canada this year to open more than 50 stores and renovate more than 100. The store closures will reduce sales by about C$300m a year but add about C$35-C$40m to operating income, Loblaw said. Loblaw’s Q2 results reveal a stable trading performance, underpinned by solid sales growth, good cost control and disciplined integration of the Shoppers Drug Mart business, igd.com writes. Retail segment sales increased by 2.2% to C$10.3bn, with adjusted operating income up 16.0% to $574m. Food retail same-store sales were up 4.2% (excluding fuel).

US: Southeastern Grocers to transfer BI-LO to K-VA-T Food Stores
K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. and Southeastern Grocers, LLC today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which K-VA-T will acquire 29 BI-LO stores located in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Northwest Georgia from Southeastern Grocers, businesswire.com reports. K-VA-T intends to continue to operate all of these stores under the Food City banner and hire the vast majority of their store associates, retaining their years of service.

UAE: Lulu targets 5% of sales from online business

With plans to launch an online grocery shopping service next month, Lulu Hypermarket said it had targets to expand its online business to account for 5% of the retail chain’s total sales over the next three years, gulfnews.com reports. The Abu Dhabi-based chain already has an online shopping service for electronics, and will be adding grocery products to the website just before the back-to-school season in September. In an interview with Gulf News, Stuart Davidge, Lulu’s head of e-commerce, said that the move comes in line with a generational shift towards online shopping.

UK: Andy Adcock promoted to M&S director of food
Andy Adcock, currently trading director, is to step up to be director of food, reporting to Bolland on an interim basis, retail-week.com reports.

US: Price Chopper names first non-family president
The Golub Corp., parent company of Price Chopper Supermarkets, said Scott Grimmett has been named president — the first non-Golub to hold that title in the company’s 84-year history, supermarketnews.com reports.

AU: Woolworths may sell two David Jones stores in revamp efforts
Woolworths Holdings Ltd., the South African food and clothing retailer which bought David Jones last year, may sell two of the Australian retailer’s sites as it looks to revamp other stores in central business districts, moneyweb.co.za reports. The company is considering selling locations in Melbourne and Sydney. Woolworths could raise almost $400m from the sale, the Sydney Morning Herald said Wednesday, citing Chief Executive Officer Ian Moir.

Chinese Wumart: good organic growth in H1

Wumart delivered a strong sales performance in the first half: total sales rose 11.9% to $1.9bn, though tougher profit performance, with net profit decreasing 19.5% to $40m, igd.com reports.

Russian retailer Lenta explores possibility of e-commerce
The Russian retailer has not excluded the possibility of internet commerce, reports fruit-inform.com. Lenta’s CEO, states that the company is constantly looking for opportunities to improve business, and thus is looking at developing internet sales, “Internet sales are a trend which we will actively explore. But I do not expect that we will come to the e-commerce market this year. This project is far from the immediate agenda, but we have experts in our IT- department who develop these opportunities.” At present there are only two large retailers in Russia offering internet shopping, ‘Auchan’ and ‘O’key’, but ‘Auchan’ offers only non-food produce with the exception of baby food.

US: Double 8 Foods shuts down

A nearly 60-year-old, family-owned grocery chain in Indianapolis has closed. Double 8 Foods has four locations in the city, insideindianabusiness.com reports. In a statement, the company said declining revenues were "too much of a challenge to overcome."

Interesting links on retail:

Future of online grocery shopping in India
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Five reasons why Casino's doing better in France
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