US: Stop & Shop to begin A&P conversions
Stop & Shop on Thursday said it would begin converting the 25 stores it acquired in A&P’s bankruptcy auction, with the first five stores planned to reopen under the Stop & Shop banner Oct. 16. Stop & Shop’s signature fresh departments will be featured throughout the converted stores as key destinations. Produce departments will feature an assortment of fresh and locally-grown fruits and vegetables and a variety of organic produce. Stop & Shop said the reopened stores would also include an extensive assortment of natural and organic products, including over 1,400 Nature’s Promise products as well as gluten-free and special diet selections. Peapod, the country’s leading Internet grocer, will also be available to customers. (supermarketnews.com)

UK: Walmart's Asda profit tops £1bn for first time
Profits at supermarket operator Asda, the British arm of Walmart, surpassed 1bn pounds for the first time last year, despite a decline in sales and slight loss of market share. According to annual accounts filed on Thursday, Asda's operating profit rose 1.9% to 1.013bn pounds in the year to Dec. 31 2014, helped by its drive to reduce costs. That compares with major profit falls last year at all three of Asda's "big four" rivals in Britain, market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. Asda said 2014 revenue fell 0.4% to 23.2bn pounds, sales at stores open over a year decreased 1% and UK market share dipped 0.1 percentage point to 17.1%. (Reuters)

US: Amazon Fresh launches in London
Amazon is delivering fresh chilled and frozen food in selected London postcodes for the first time, testing the waters for Amazon Fresh. A fresh pint of milk, tub of Ben and Jerry's or a packet of fish fingers for tea can be on some Londoners' doorsteps in less than 60 minutes with the new delivery service starting from yesterday. Amazon is delivering fresh chilled and frozen food in selected London postcodes for the first time, testing out the waters for Amazon Fresh. It's believed to be testing out its network of distribution centres ahead of a full launch next year. Currently here are around 50 fresh products on offer in the trial, with a minimum order of £20. (cityam.com)

Groceries now available from Amazon Spain
Amazon Spain has just entered the Spanish grocery market via a new ‘Supermarket’ section on the amazon.es portal but at this stage is not offering fresh produce. Following its activities in other world markets, it is taking on local supermarket chains such as Carrefour, Mercadona and Hipercor by offering a wide range of non-perishable food and cleaning products. (euroweeklynews.com)

Japan: Lawson reports growth in H1
Lawson reported a 4.1% increase in net sales to JPY1,035bn (US$8.6bn) in H1, with operating profits also up 5.1% to JPY42bn (US$350m). During the half, Lawson strengthened its convenience business by focusing on stores, products and its franchise network. Initiatives included: expanding the number of franchise stores, launching a semi-automatic ordering system to help improve in-store availability and concentrating on growth areas like food-to-go. (igd.com)

US: Tops names new president, current CEO will remain
Tops Friendly Markets has a new president and COO. The supermarket chain announced this week that John Persons will take on the roles. Tops' current leader, Frank Curci, will remain chairman and CEO. (syracuse.com)

US: Publix fresh VP Bridges to retire

Publix said Thursday that David Bridges, VP of fresh product business development, announced his decision to retire Jan. 1, after 49 years of service to the company. (supermarketnews.com)

US: C&S to close 2 Safeway warehouses

C&S Wholesale Grocers has told state authorities in Maryland that it would be closing two distribution facilities serving Safeway stores by Dec. 5. The Keene, N.H., distributor intends to consolidate the distribution at the facilities to other C&S operated locations in Cecil County, Md., and in Pennsylvania. The facilities, doing business under the Collington Services name, include a grocery and perishable warehouse in Upper Marlboro, Md., and a general merchandise warehouse in Landover, Md. (supermarketnews.com)

US: Fresh Thyme Farmers Market expands in Chicago with three stores

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is upping its store count in the greater Chicago market. The new specialty grocer will open three Chicagoland stores on Oct. 14, with one in the city, one in Crystal Lake and one in Naperville. The openings will give Fresh Thyme seven Chicagoland locations. The chain, which offers organic products at value prices, recently opened a central support hub in Downers Grove, Illinois. (chainstoreage.com)

UK: Tesco boss buys first shares more than a year after joining
Dave Lewis has bought his first shares in Tesco more than a year after becoming CEO of the ailing supermarket chain. A group of Tesco directors have bought almost £450,000 of shares in the retailer, with Lewis, who joined on October 1 2014, snapping up £200,000 worth. The share purchases come a day after Lewis said the Tesco board had barred him from buying shares because he possessed too much inside information about the progress of asset sales and the Serious Fraud Office investigation into an accounting scandal at the company.“We as a board took a decision that while those things were ongoing, we would exclude ourselves from being able to trade Tesco shares,” Lewis said as Tesco reported half-year results showing a 55% drop in operating profits before one-off items. (theguardian.com)

US: Ohio Grocers names interim CEO

The Ohio Grocers Association said Thursday it has named Kristin Mullins as interim president and CEO. She will succeed Nate Filler, who announced earlier this week he will resign Oct. 20 to take a job heading the government affairs team at Dayton Power & Light. (supermarketnews.com)
 
Spinneys expands in Egypt
Spinneys has opened a new 3,000 sq. m store in Cairo’s Giza district as the retailer continues its expansion in the country. The retailer has maintained its pace of expansion, adding its core hypermarket format where possible, but also opening relatively smaller supermarkets to enable it to open stores in urban areas, closer to shoppers. Commenting on the changing strategy, Spinneys Egypt’s CEO, Mohanad Adly, said: “Our growth plan looks different today than it did a few years back, driven by shoppers’ expectations for convenience and high service levels. The varying size and locations of these stores will enable Spinneys to create a unique shopping experience with an extensive food variety customised for each community.” The Giza store is part of Spinneys’ aim to add five stores in Egypt in 2015. (igd.com)

Spinneys rejects merger offer from Kuwait-based Sultan Centre
After a period of speculation, Spinneys’ CEO, Michael Wright, has said that it has turned a proposed merger with Kuwait-based retailer The Sultan Centre (TSC). Wright was quoted as saying that Spinneys remained a fast growing chain and that it would be stronger as an independent entity, rather than merged with TSC. (igd)

Carrefour franchisee in Morocco to maintain pace of store openings

Carrefour’s franchisee in Morocco, Label’Vie has said that it is committed to adding new stores to turn it into a nationwide chain. The company has said that before the end of 2015 it is planning to open five Carrefour Market supermarkets, a Carrefour hypermarket and one Atacadão. (igd.com)

UAE: Majid Al Futtaim recommits to doubling in size in five years

Although previously announced, Majid Al Futtaim has recommitted to its plan to double the size of its operations over the next five years. The statement came from the CEO of the company’s shopping mall business, Michael Cesarz, who went on to say that while other countries were likely to receive investment, the UAE would remain its core market in the medium term. (igd.com)

Portugal: Continente puts the spotlight on private label ranges
Although not a new mechanic, it is effective, and so Continente has announced that it is to run an initiative called ‘Taste & Approve’ to enable shoppers to feedback about its private label products. The programme will be run across the retailer’s banners and will be housed in an in-store ‘minilab’ to allow shoppers to try the private label products and give them a score. (igd.com)

Portugal: Pingo Doce prepares to launch online
Jeronimo Martins’s COO, Pedro Pereira da Silva, has said that the retailer is looking to launch an online service for Pingo Doce. He said that the retailer is investing in its online grocery operations so that it can launch the service with an efficient supply chain to support it. In 2015 grocery e-commerce penetration is low in Portugal, with Pingo Doce’s leading rival, Sonae-owned Continente, dominating the channel. (igd.com)

Brazil: Super Muffato embarks upon expansion

Paraná-based retailer Super Muffato has opened its first store in São José do Rio Preto as it prepares to increase its presence in the state of São Paulo. Super Muffato is also investing US$7.3m in an atacarejo outlet in São José do Rio Preto, due to open in November 2015. This low price, no-frills format is growing strongly in the troubled Brazilian economy as customers seek value and volume. (igd.com)

Canada: Moisson Montreal reaping rewards of food recovery program

Moisson Montreal is proud to announce that it has recovered nearly 855 tons of food since the beginning of supermarkets Recovery Program (SRP) in October 2013. With sparkling results the first two quarters of 2015, the food bank will stay on course to March 2016, when it expects to have recovered 1,200 tons of food in supermarkets of Greater Montreal and help a growing number of organizations who would otherwise not have the means to feed their customers. "Our network partners supermarkets widen; Now more than 90 supermarkets of the island of Montreal and the South Shore donate their unsold to our organization instead of sending them into the container to be destroyed or composted. In partnership with Loblaws supermarkets, Provigo, Maxi, Metro and Super C, Moisson Montreal following its deployment plan and will include four other members Harvest Program to recovery by Christmas supermarkets. (CNW Group)

UAE gets new hypermarket chain

Qatar-based Saudia Group has opened its first Kenz Hypermarket in the UAE, in the emirate of Ajman, after investing AED80 mn (US$21.8 mn) in the nearly 15,000 sq. m store. Speaking at the store’s opening, the Group’s managing director, Rashid Musthafa Abdu, said that Saudia was planning to invest a further AED45 mn (US$12.2 mn) to nearly double the size of the hypermarket in the short term. (igd.com)

Slovak Tesco received fifth fine worth a million

Tesco has received another fine of €1m from the State Veterinary and Food Administration (ŠVPS) over shortcomings discovered during a food inspection carried out on October 25, 2014, in Veľké Kapušany in the Košice region, the TASR newswire reported. Tesco Stores has received four previous fines, each into the seven-figure range, from ŠVPS for shortcomings detected at its stores. (spectator.sme.sk)

Lawson expands rapidly in Thailand

Lawson 108, the retailer's convenience banner in Thailand, is set to open 119 new stores next year, increasing the total store network to 160 and plans 1,000 stores by 2019. (igd.com)

Metro strengthening its position in Germany
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Will Amazon Fresh mean supermarket delivery services shake-up?
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