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Walmart changes CFO, gets new chief merchant

Tesco takes on rivals in new price war | Whole Foods opens new DC

UK: Ocado 45% more expensive than Amazon's
Ocado is 45% more expensive on average than Amazon on the chilled and frozen products the latter began selling in the UK last week, according to analytics firm Profitero. (retail-week.com)

Walmart changes CFO, gets new chief merchant in latest shuffle
Walmart Stores Inc on Friday named a new CFO and installed a chief merchant, marking the latest shuffling of its management ranks as the retailer grapples with sluggish earnings. The world's largest retailer by revenue said 47-year-old Brett Biggs, who runs the finances of the company's international division, would take over the CFO role from Charles Holley, 59, who will retire from the job at the end of the year. In a separate release it said Steve Bratspies, who has been in charge of food, was appointed CMO, a key role deciding what and how Walmart will sell items at its 4,500 U.S. stores. Bratspies fills a position left vacant for a year following the departure of Duncan Mac Naughton before the holiday season last year. He starts on Oct. 19. (Reuters)

US: Whole Foods opens new DC

Whole Foods Market has opened its new distribution center Vernon, California. The 128,000-square-foot distribution center has nearly 100 full-time workers and serves the company’s 56 stores in Arizona, Hawaii, Southern California and Southern Nevada. It replaces an older center, also in Vernon. “This facility ships and receives 1.2m cases of product per month, including perishable items like meat, poultry, cheese, produce, floral, bulk, seafood and bakery, and it has the largest recycling center in the company” Bryan Bergez, facility team leader, said. “We are very excited that this updated center will offer new and improved efficiencies and innovations.” (supermarketnews.com)

UK: Tesco takes on rivals in new price war
Tesco stepped up the battle with its main U.K. supermarket rivals by introducing a price-matching program that offers immediate discounts, rather than money-off vouchers. Britain’s biggest grocer will compare the overall cost of branded goods purchased by each customer with what it would have cost at nearest competitors J Sainsbury Plc, Walmart Stores Inc’s Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. If the overall amount would have been cheaper elsewhere, shoppers will get an immediate deduction from their bill. The program is a break from the common practice of U.K. grocers issuing customers a voucher to spend on their next visit. It may test a sense of investor optimism around the grocery industry spurred by Sainsbury’s announcement last month that it expected to exceed full-year profit estimates and had seen a pause in price cutting by its rivals. Discounting over the last 18 months has contributed to shrinking profit margins at the U.K.’s largest grocers. The immediacy and ease with which customers will get their money back is “a real game changer," Bryan Roberts, an analyst at Kantar Retail, said by phone. Tesco’s Brand Guarantee program is available only in larger stores and online. It will compare prices against those of Sainsbury, Walmart Stores Inc’s Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, although not against German discounters Aldi and Lidl. (Bloomberg)

Turkey: Food prices to be discussed at retail conference
The Turkish Retailers Federation (TPF), the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and representatives of relevant NGOs will attend a retail conference in Izmir, October 14, to discuss food prices and innovations in the agricultural sector, reports memleket.com. The conference has been held in Turkey since 1989 in different provinces to shape the present and future of the retail industry. Food price stability and food price increases will be debated and members of numerous associations will be speaking. Discussion will focus on increasing employment in the retail sector, lowering the price of consumers’ weekly shop and on food price increases which rose above the general rate of inflation.

Lidl Northern Ireland pay u-turn welcomed by Usdaw
The shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed Lidl’s decision to extend its pay increase to staff working in Northern Ireland, after the German discount chain initially said the rise would only apply to Lidl shop workers across England, Scotland and Wales. (talkingretail.com)

Next store to come up in 2017, Punjab likely site: Walmart
Continuing with its cautious expansion in India, US-retail giant Walmart will open the next cash and carry outlet only in 2017 and is zeroing in on Punjab for that. The company, which had opened 21st store in India in August after a gap of over two years at Agra, had stated that it would open 50 wholesale outlets in the country within 4-5 years. (indiatimes.com)

India: Easyday hypermarket banner to disappear
Future Retail plans to merge the 15 Easyday hypermarkets into its Big Bazaar format whilst retaining the 188 Easyday supermarkets. Big Bazaar is a key format of Future group and accounts for around 90% of its sales. The company plans to open 20 additional Big Bazaar stores in FY2016. (igd.com)

Irish Online ordering driving Tesco turnaround

Results released last week showed that a decline in Irish like-for-likes sales is narrowing. Data from consumer insights agency Kantar Worldpanel meanwhile showed the Irish business enjoyed a sales increase of 0.3% in the 12 weeks to September 14, its first quarterly period of growth in this country since early 2013. Sales volumes and sales transactions have both increased in recent months. Spending by families and an increase in online ordering is helping to drive growth, the Sunday Independent has learned. Online ordering and family shoppers driving Tesco turnaround. (independent.ie)

Amazon Pantry launches in Germany

Following its success in the US, Amazon has launched Amazon Pantry exclusively for Prime members in Germany. Amazon is making stocking up on everyday grocery and health & beauty essentials easier for its Amazon Prime members in Germany with the launch of Amazon Pantry. For a €4.99 delivery fee, shoppers may now load up a 20kg box with individual packs of ambient and household items including confectionery, bread and bakery, cereals and soft drinks. Launching with around 2,000 SKUs, Amazon Pantry will aim to build Amazon’s grocery credentials and take advantage of a growing appetite for online shopping in Germany. The service in the US has grown rapidly and now offers around 45,000 SKUs. (igd.com)

Mexico: Approval granted for Soriana/La Comer deal
The Mexican competition authority Cofece has given its seal of approval for Soriana's acquisition of La Comer stores, subject to certain conditions. The retailers are working together to "analyse and resolve the conditions set by the Cofece in certain markets", but did not specify what these were; it may be that the authority requires Soriana to sell some of the stores. (igd.com)

US: Woods set to acquire three stores
Woods Supermarket said Thursday it has agreed to purchase three Paul’s Supermarkets in the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri. The three stores will boost Woods from nine locations to 12 by the end of October. According to Craig Easter, CEO of Woods, “The addition of these three stores will expand Woods’ customer base and our service areas, as well as make us a stronger company of family-owned supermarkets. (supermarketnews.com)

Marks & Spencer cool off possible expansion into Australia
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