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Apollo Global Management leads race to buy Asda

Countdown is testing out a contactless Scan&Go service

Kenya: Carrefour to open branches on the Coast
French based retailer carrefour supermarket plans to enter the Kenyan coast following the exit of South African chain Shoprite. Located in Mombasa, the first store will officially open their doors in November 2020 at City Mall Nyali formerly occupied by Shoprite. The second store will be at Diani Centre Point Plaza. A third store will also be launched as part of the development of Shanzu Mall which will be completed by 2023.

China: Alibaba debuts new delivery robots
Alibaba has unveiled its autonomous logistics robot for last-mile deliveries. Developed by the Alibaba DAMO Academy, the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, the delivery robot can carry 50 packages at one time and cover 62 miles on a single charge. It is estimated the mobile robot should be able to deliver as many as 500 packages a day to one designated community or campus. Chinese consumers can use either the Cainiao or Taobao mobile apps to select a preferred timeslot during the day for delivery. The robot then arrives at the designated destination, where users retrieve their packages by entering a passcode they receive in the app.

UK: Private-equity group Apollo leads £6.5bln race to buy Asda
The private-equity firm Apollo Global Management is thought to have edged into the lead in the £6.5bln bidding war for Asda after its rival Lone Star Funds dropped out. It is believed that a third bid from private equity firm TDR Capital remains in the running - the group is understood to have been working on a deal with the billionaire Issa brothers, who are behind the British forecourts operator EG Group.

New Zealand: Countdown unveils contactless shopping and artificial intelligence with new Scan&Go tech
Countdown is testing out a contactless Scan&Go service where hi-tech scales know what you’re buying and customers can skip the regular checkout for an easy in-store shopping experience. Available at Countdown’s busy Ponsonby store in Auckland, Scan&Go lets customers shop via an app - scanning, bagging and paying for their groceries all from their smartphone. Specially-designed scales in the produce area use image recognition to identify which type of fresh fruit and vegetables customers choose, including letting you know if you’ve left your keys or phone on the scales, or telling the difference between different types of apples.

TCS bags contract from UK supermarket chain Morrisons
TCS has bagged a five-year contract from Morrisons, a leading supermarket chain in the UK. TCS did not specify the deal value but said it involves setting up application management, data and cyber security services, which will help accelerate Morrison’s plan to simplify and modernise its technology to improve the shopping trip, eliminate wasted effort and become more popular and accessible to its customers.

The UK’s first social supermarket chain has opened a store in Liverpool
Community Shop, an award-winning social enterprise and the UK’s first social supermarket chain, has opened its new store at 211 Walton Road in Liverpool 4 - providing the local community with access to high-quality, low-cost food and household products. The store was opened with Liverpool City Mayor Joe Anderson cutting the ceremonial ribbon, alongside Community Shop’s Founder and Chairman John Marren.

India: KKR to invest $754mln for stake in Reliance Retail
KKR & Co. will buy a $754mln stake in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail business, bolstering Mukesh Ambani’s plan to raise funds for his consumer operations. The U.S. private equity group will hold a 1.28% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd., the Mumbai-based company said in a statement, valuing India’s biggest retailer at 4.2tln rupees. The deal follows Silver Lake Partners’ $1bln investment earlier this month in the retail unit controlled by Ambani’s refining-to-telecom conglomerate.

Supermarket strike in New Caledonia worsens
A long-running labour dispute in New Caledonia has worsened with striking workers blocking access to the distribution warehouses of a key supermarket chain. This follows unsuccessful negotiations between a union umbrella group and the management of the Hayot group of supermarkets in the Noumea area. The unions have a list of grievances about the way the establishments are run. One large supermarket of the Geant, Casino chain has been closed since the beginning of last week, involving dozens of staff. The warehouse blockade was called in a bid to get management to restart talks.

France: E.Leclerc replaces plastic bags with reusable hessian bags
French retailer E.Leclerc has announced that it has replaced plastic bags from its cash registers with reusable hessian bags in all 721 stores across the country. The initiative is part of the retailer’s efforts to remove plastics from its operations and will help in eliminating 7,000 tonnes of the material annually. The new reusable burlap bags with organic cotton handles are priced at €1.50 each, E.Leclerc added.

China: to spin off health unit, list in Hong Kong
Chinese e-commerce retailer is planning to spin off its health unit and list it on the Hong Kong stock exchange, the New York-listed company said, a move that follows escalating Sino-U.S. political tensions. Several Chinese companies are putting off plans for U.S. listings amid mounting tensions between the world’s top two economies, while those listed in New York are seeking to return to exchanges closer to home., which is listed on the Nasdaq in New York, raised about $3.87bln in its Hong Kong secondary listing earlier this year.

US: FreshDirect sees pandemic surge seeding new growth
The coronavirus crisis provided a second opportunity for FreshDirect to exercise dormant advantages of a two-decade head start on competitors in grocery e-commerce, with the momentum generated by that event not only optimizing its revamped capacity but seeding progress in markets outside of its New York City stronghold, officials say. In an interview with WGB, Scott Crawford, chief merchandising officer of FreshDirect, said the e-tailer’s state-of-the-art facility in the Bronx - which famously opened two years ago amid a spate of unexpected service glitches and an explosion in competition that saw the business reportedly go on the sales block - recovered from those setbacks in time to benefit from the onset of the pandemic in March, with sales both soaring and sustaining from new customers who found its service as a necessity, regular shoppers relying more heavily on it, and on geographic expansion powered in part by leveraging capacity, capability and technology advantages it might have missed 2 years ago.

US: The Fresh Market holds national holiday hiring event
Specialty grocer The Fresh Market is holding a national holiday hiring event for seasonal and part-time team members. The event will take place at all 159 store locations on October 2nd from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on October 3rd from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, with qualified applicants receiving on-the-spot interviews. The Fresh Market is looking to add 1,500 team members for the holiday season across the company. Candidates are encouraged to apply online at The Fresh Market’s website before attending the hiring event so specific interview times can be scheduled, but walk-ins will be accepted as well.

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