UK: Sainsbury's CEO: 'Public won't buy wonky fruit/veg'
The boss of Sainsbury’s yesterday blamed customers for not wanting to buy ‘wonky’ fruit and veg. Mike Coupe, the store’s CEO, said that shoppers demand quality products – and the shape of a vegetable is part of that. When it was suggested ‘shape is not about quality’, he responded: ‘It can be. In the eyes of some customers. Shape, texture, there are no ends of visual cues our customers will look at in judging the quality of the product. In the end, if we don’t sell quality products our customers will go elsewhere. (

UK: Lidl turning up heat by investing £1.5bn

Lidl is to invest £1.5bn over the next three years as it steps up its store expansion with new-look outlets that include self-checkouts – and customer toilets. The German discounter said it was aiming to open 40-50 stores a year in the UK, up from the 30-40 announced planned and the 20 opened in 2014. The fast-growing company, which has helped revolutionise British shopping habits, will also refurbish up to 150 existing sites to its “store of the future” concept over the next three to four years. Today, Lidl will open the first £2m store of the future in Rushden, Northamptonshire. (

US: Walmart employees want a discount on food

After successfully lobbying Walmart Stores to raise wages, workers have a new demand: Give employees a discount on food. For the world’s largest retailer, that could cost more than $400m. (

US: Kroger buys Roundy's for $800M

Shares of grocery store operator Roundy's surged Wednesday after it agreed to be bought by a larger rival, Kroger, for about $800m, including debt. Kroger said it will run Roundy’s as a subsidiary whose stores are largely based in Wisconsin and the Chicago area. Kroger says it has no plans to close Roundy's stores. Following the deal, Kroger will expand its Midwestern operations with Roundy's 151 stores and 101 pharmacies in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisc. that are operated under the Pick 'n Save, Copps and Metro Market brands. Roundy's, which had about $4bn in sales last year, also operates 34 Mariano's stores in the Chicago area. Analysts say the deal makes geographic sense for Kroger since it lacks presence in Wisconsin and Illinois. (

US: Weis 3Q sales soar
Weis Markets posted strong sales results for the third quarter but said full financials were awaiting completion of a review of its self-insurance reserves, which could result in adjustments to historical financial reports. Weis said it expects to file earnings with the SEC by Dec. 1. For the third quarter ended Sept. 26, sales increased 4.1% to $711.9m, while comparable store sales increased 4%, the Sunbury, Pa.-based retailer said. For the 39-week period sales increased 3.9% to $2.1bn while comparable store sales increased 3.9%, Weis said. (
Turkey: Are Yildiz Holding selling supermarket chain Sok?
Yıldız Holding have allegedly started negotiations concerning a possible sale with the Anadolu Group, a shareholder of Migros, reports The retail sector in Turkey has been lively with acquisitions recently and Yildiz Holding, owners of Ulker, have been especially active. In 2011 the company bought Sok from Migros for €195m. The Spanish supermarket Dia was also bought for close to €114m as well as 119 branches of the Istanbul chain Onur. For the sale of Sok, meetings have allegedly begun with Migros, in the Anadolu Group there is a lot of interest concerning the purchase. The number of Sok stores grew from around 1,200 in 2011 to more than 2,250 in 72 regions today.

UK: Asda promises revamped delivery service will be 'a game changer'

Asda is to allow customers to collect orders from other retailers within its supermarkets in an attempt to revitalise its larger stores and take advantage of its nationwide delivery network. The grocer described the new service, called ToYou, as a game changer. (

US: Smart & Final expects to convert 32 Haggens in 1H16

Smart & Final Stores said Wednesday it expects to get approval in the next few days to acquire 32 Haggen stores and to convert and reopen them under its Smart & Final Extra banner by mid-2016. The company also said it expects to open between six and eight additional Extra stores in 2016 for an annual growth rate of 15% to 16%, though Hirz said it will return to its normal 10% annual growth rate in 2017. (

Lidl Italia 'Retailer Of The Year' third year in a row
Discount supermarket chain Lidl Italia has won the Retailer of the Year in Italy award for the third year running. The record of three consecutive wins had never been recorded previously by any other participating retailer. In addition, Lidl Italia won the 2015 award as Best Supermarket of the Year in Italy, prevailing over Coop, Esselunga, Eurospin and Tuodi. (

NZ: Fruit/veg prices fall as milk prices come down
Falling fresh milk prices led the way for grocery prices to go down last month, Statistics New Zealand says. Seasonally lower prices for fruit and vegetables also influenced the overall drop in prices. (

Ocean Spray launches online store in China on Tmall Global
Alibaba Group announced that Ocean Spray, a renowned American agricultural cooperative of cranberry and grapefruit farmers, has opened its first online flagship store in China on Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global platform. (

Croatia: Agrokor strengthens with management reshuffle
Agrokor, the Croatian owner of the Konzum and Mercator grocery retail chains has recently announced a senior management reshuffle. Hrvoje Kraljević, currently CEO of Ledo, a leading Agrokor food manufacturer, has been appointed as Managing Director of Tisak. Dario Vrabec, currently Director of Marketing and Developent in Ledo, will become Ledo’s CEO. (