US: How the coronavirus pandemic helped convince grocery chains to experiment with new tech
The rapid shift to online grocery ordering has been labeled as the next phase of grocery shopping, but legacy grocers and retail heavyweights are both investing in technology in their brick-and-mortar stores. Price Chopper, Wegmans and Giant Eagle have introduced checkout-free technology in some of their stores. Retailers view contactless technology as a way to make shoppers feel safer when they visit their stores.
Amazon bringing 10,000 more jobs, new buildings to Bellevue
Amazon announced it is planning to bring 10,000 more jobs to Bellevue, in addition to 15,000 new jobs already planned for the East side city. It's the latest sign that Amazon is cooling on its hometown of Seattle in favor of what the company perceives as a more business-friendly environment in Bellevue.
US: Walmart to roll out a new supplier excellence program in early 2021
Walmart told its more than 100,000 suppliers about its new Supplier Quality Excellence Program (SQEP) which will measure suppliers on four areas as part of an effort to improve supply chain efficiency. A memo from Scott McCall, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., and Greg Smith, executive vice president of supply chain logistics and transportation at Walmart, outlined how the new program will work. Through SQEP, suppliers will be required to meet Walmart supply chain standards. Suppliers will be charged when product shipped through the supply chain does not meet the standards to offset any costs generated because of non-compliance, according to the memo.
Shoprite ends Kenya expansion, plans retreat from the country
South Africa’s Shoprite Holdings said it expected to close or dispose of its remaining two stores in Kenya in the year ahead, leaving the East African country after opening its first store there more than two years ago. The supermarket chain has been reviewing its long-term options in Africa as currency devaluations, supply issues and low consumer spending in Angola, Nigeria and Zambia have weighed on earnings.
UK: Morrisons supermarket chain takes on thousands of new staff
Morrisons is hiring thousands more permanent staff as it expands its online delivery service and steps up in-store cleaning, building on a dramatic workforce expansion since the pandemic took hold. The Bradford-based supermarket chain, which employed about 97,000 workers at the start of the year, hired 45,000 extra staff after the coronavirus crisis hit the UK. Many of the new recruits temporarily replaced permanent workers who were vulnerable or forced to self isolate.
South Africa: SPAR Group announces leadership appointments
JSE-listed household goods distributor SPAR Group, which is a member of SPAR International, with a footprint across 48 countries, has appointed Brett Botten CEO and Graham O’ Connor nonexecutive chairperson, following the retirement of Mike Hankinson. The effective dates for the changes will be March 1, 2021, when Hankinson formally steps down.
Australia: Harris Farm Markets turns to AI to manage fresh produce
Harris Farm Markets has deployed artificial intelligence (AI) modelling across its supply chain to get the right amount of fresh produce on its shelves at the time consumers want it. The growing grocery chain partnered with enterprise AI provider DataRobot to reduce its own data science workload and make accurate predictions about produce availability and customer demand. Head of IT Phil Cribb said the company began with a focus “very much” around fresh produce.
Spain's DIA appoints new chief executive of Argentina operation
Spanish retailer DIA has appointed Martín Tolcachir as the new chief executive of its business in Argentina, in a move that will 'strengthen its operating model'. Tolcachir previously worked for Carrefour and electrical goods firm Electrolux, working in a general management role at the latter before going on to lead the business in the Cono Sur region.
UK: New Co-op initiative to save tonnes of ‘scrunchable’ plastic
A new initiative designed to save tonnes of “scrunchable” plastic - including carrier bags, ready meal lids and biscuit wrappers - has been launched by the Co-op. Special in-store collection points have been set up in 50 stores across the south of England, which will encourage shoppers to recycle more flimsy plastic products. Recyclable items include plastic carrier bags, lids from ready meals and yoghurt pots, wine box inners, chocolate, cake and biscuit wrappers, fruit and vegetable flow wrap and toilet roll wrappers.
UK: Booker’s CEO stepping down
Tesco has announced that Booker’s long-serving Chief Executive Charles Wilson is to retire in February 2021 having been diagnosed with throat cancer a couple of years ago. Following treatment, he remains in remission. However, Tesco stated that Wilson had decided that now was the time to step back and take it a little easier. He will be succeeded by Andrew Yaxley, who is currently Chief Product Officer for Tesco.
UK: Morrisons cuts prices of 400 grocery essentials
Morrisons has cut the price of over 400 of its most popular items due to family budgets being increasingly under pressure this autumn. The supermarket said the move follows feedback from customers who have been saying that budgeting and value for money have become more important since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prices have been reduced by an average of 23% on everyday items with cuts spanning the fresh food, store cupboard and cleaning categories. Products include fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, bread and cornflakes, rice and pasta as well as bleach, cleaning fluid and toilet rolls.