NZ: Countdown's top-3 products are bananas, tomatoes and broccoli
A spokesperson for Countdown, one of New Zealand’s biggest supermarket chains, told Radio New Zealand that many consumers are buying fresh produce instead of the myriad chemical-laden junk on shelves. “The first department our customers see when they enter a Countdown is the fresh fruit and vegetables. Our top ten products sold over the last 12 months are bananas, tomatoes, broccoli, white bread, carrots, milk 2L, avocado, cucumber, onions and grapes,” the spokesperson said. “Some of our customers want to cook from scratch, others want convenience offerings, and we provide that choice.” (source: munchies.vice.com)

Spain: El Corte Inglés sells stake to Qatar Investment Authority
Following a challenging period for the retailer, which has suffered during Spain’s economic downturn by being focused on premium products in its department stores and having comparatively high prices in its grocery formats, El Corte Inglés has announced that it has sold a 10% stake in its business to the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), igd.com reports. The retailer said that the stake’s purchase us a strategic one for QIA and that QIA was supportive of its longer term strategy. The injection of funds into El Corte Inglés will help it invest in its department stores, to add new services and ranges, and to cut prices across its grocery estate.

France: Market share: Leader Price and Géant stand out

Lsa-conso.fr reports that according to Kantar, Leader Price and Géant have seen the biggest developments (for the period 15th June to 12th July 2015). However the leaders, Leclerc and Carrefour, are stable. Leader Price show a +0.2 pt increase and 155,000 more buyers. Géant, which have 2.5% market share, increased by +0.1 pt. Carrefour and Carrefour Market are said to be “stable +” (10.7% and 7.7% market share respectively). Carrefour hypermarkets have a stable clientèle and Carrefour Markets see a €1 increase per shopping cart. E.Leclerc is described as stable, with a 20.2% market share. Lidl has a stable 4.9% market share and 374,000 more buyers than last year.

Belgium: Carrefour continues to expand in Brussels
According to boursier.com, Carrefour has announced that they are continuing their development in Belgium and 3 new Carrefour Express stores will open this summer. The first will open in Mol and the 2 others near Brussels and Louvain. The group says that with these new openings, they will have 266 convenience stores in the country.

US: Kroger wants to hire 2000 for its Atlanta Division
The Kroger Co. will host a three-day job fair this weekend to hire more than 2,000 employees at its Atlanta Division’s 185 stores, bizjournals.com reports. The Cincinnati-based supermarket chain said positions include baggers, cashiers, clerks, as well as positions in the bakery and deli departments. The Atlanta Division’s stores are spread out across Georgia, South Carolina and part of Alabama.

US: Weis unveils online shopping
Weis Markets begins offering online ordering at some of its stores in Northeast Pennsylvania on Aug. 9, thetimes-tribune.com reports. Weis shoppers can go online and order the same products available in any store for the same price.

UK: Tesco shortselling at record as investors bet against Lewis
Tesco short sellers are coming back in droves, esmmagazine.com reports. The number of bets taken out against the company’s share price has risen sevenfold since Tesco’s annual results in April as optimism around Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis’s revival plan has waned, sending the shares down 9.6%. Short- selling is now equivalent to 3.6% of the shares outstanding, the highest since records began, according to data compiled by Markit.

US: H-E-B to only offer domestically grown cilantro
H-E-B is taking steps to make sure the fresh cilantro they sell is all domestically grown, avoiding any cilantro from Mexico whatsoever, keyetv.com reports. The Food and Drug Administration is banning imports of some fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, after a government investigation found human faeces and toilet paper in growing fields there.

UK: Morrisons is expected to lose 25% profit
Morrisons has taken another battering in the past six months and is expected to report that profits have fallen 25%, according to the company’s newly appointed broker Shore Capital, thisismoney.co.uk reports. Shore’s analyst Clive Black said he expected profit to have fallen from £181m to £135m in the first half of the supermarket’s financial year, which ends today. The City is braced for another dire set of results from the leading supermarkets this autumn, starting with Morrisons early next month, as chains battle with deflation and German discounters Aldi and Lidl. The prediction is a stark reminder that competition in the sector could get tougher before it starts to ease. Analysts forecast that Sainsbury’s profit will slide by a fifth over a similar period as the supermarket follows price cuts at its rivals.

Russia: X5 Retail Group signs lease agreement with Freight Village RU for DC
X5 Retail Group and the Freight Village RU group of companies have signed a preliminary agreement to set up a distribution centre for the Pyaterochka retail chain at the Freight Village Vorsino logistics complex at the border of New Moscow and the Kaluga Region, property-magazine.eu reports. Colliers International advised the transaction.

France: Casino declares itself a ‘good citizen’ in agrifood price dispute
Jean-Charles Naouri, president of Groupe Casino, has said that the French retailer is a “good citizen” in the midst of a complicated and heated debate between retailers and suppliers of agricultural goods in France, LSA reports. Announcing positive results for the second quarter of 2015, Naouri stated, “We have tried to be good citizens, and have increased the prices we pay agricultural goods, as per the advice of the experts and the government. "All parties must demonstrate solidarity in this regard.” (source: esmmagazine.com)

Polish plan to honor Portuguese-run supermarket sparks anger
Poland's government has postponed plans to bestow a top honor on the Portuguese businessman who runs popular discount supermarket chain Biedronka after a public outcry over the company's alleged exploitation of workers, newsobserver.com reports. The incident exposes growing tensions between Poland's pro-market government, which in this case wanted to reward a foreign company that has created jobs, and Poles who feel the government's pro-business policies are enriching corporations to the detriment of workers. Voter anger threatens to unseat the ruling Civic Platform party in fall parliamentary elections. Poland's foreign minister had planned to bestow the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on Pedro Pereira da Silva, director of the Portuguese food distribution group Jeronimo Martins in Poland, on Wednesday. The order is meant to honor foreigners or Poles abroad who have helped Poland's development. (please click here to read more at newsobserver.com)


US: Hy-Vee unveils online grocery shopping program
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Spain: El Corte Inglés sells stake to Qatar Investment Authority

Following a challenging period for the retailer, which has suffered during Spain’s economic downturn by being focused on premium products in its department stores and having comparatively high prices in its grocery formats, El Corte Inglés has announced that it has sold a 10% stake in its business to the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), igd.com reports. The retailer said that the stake’s purchase us a strategic one for QIA and that QIA was supportive of its longer term strategy. The injection of funds into El Corte Inglés will help it invest in its department stores, to add new services and ranges, and to cut prices across its grocery estate.

Spain: Covalco maintains expansion programme
Covalco has added 52 new stores, which cover 17,200 sq. m of selling space, to its operations, igd.com reports. The company said that 52 stores were opened under a mixture of banners: 20 Tradys; 14 Coaliment, nine Comarket, seven Supersur and two Don Market. The company said that the new stores should enable it to add 100 stores in total during 2015. Covalco has said it is focusing its expansion plans on Andalusia, Catalonia and Lavante.