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Belgium: Colruyt Group forecasts 50% net-profit growth in 2023-24

UK: Morrisons kicks off search for 3,500 Christmas workers
Morrisons has opened applications for 3,500 extra jobs this Christmas to work in its stores, food manufacturing sites, and logistics operations over the busy festive season. The supermarket says there is a variety of flexible and temporary roles available in stores and sites across the UK, ranging from customer assistants to home delivery drivers and production and warehouse operatives for those who are "friendly and willing to help." It also said that many of the team members who joined in temporary roles in previous years have gone on to find permanent positions within Morrisons.

Source: Retail Gazette

Belgium: Colruyt Group forecasts 50% net-profit growth in 2023-24
Belgian retail group Colruyt expects its operating profit and net profit to increase by more than 50% during the 2023-24 financial year. The company forecasted this growth on the back of its increased market share, its ability to pass on the increase in cost price to the selling price, and cost control measures implemented thereby. The retailer's market share in Belgium, where it operates the Colruyt Lowest Prices, Okay, and SPAR banners, increased by more than 1%, to 32.2%, in the period between April and August 2023.

Source: ESM Magazine

Aldi wants to add 700 European stores by 2026
German discounter Aldi Nord is speeding up its foreign expansion. After implementing a new corporate structure for its European branch a few days ago, it is now embarking on a multi-billion-dollar plan to create 700 new outlets over the next three years. CEO Torsten Hufnagel wants to have as many as 6,000 European branches under his belt by 2026, which is 700 more than today. The biggest growth should come in France, Poland, and Spain, Lebensmittel Zeitung reports.

Source: RetailDetail

UK: Spar UK wins big at the 2023 Retail Industry Awards
The 2023 Retail Industry Awards on Sept. 19 saw an incredible 13 wins and 10 Highly Commended awards going to SPAR and EUROSPAR stores across the UK. The Retail Industry Awards are recognized by many as a spotlight for convenience, grocery retail, independent retailers, and entrepreneurial excellence. They are designed to bring together the UK's most dynamic and innovative convenience and retail businesses. In total, there were 51 finalists from Spar and EuroSpar stores across the UK, earning 13 wins and 10 highly commended awards.

Source: Spar

Dubai: Lulu Group enters Dubai Mall with 72,000 square feet mega-hypermarket - with self-checkouts too
The Dubai Mall is getting a hypermarket, with Lulu Group opening a 72,000 square feet retail spread at the world's biggest shopping destination with 100 million visitors a year. This is Lulu's biggest in-mall hypermarkets across its network, and the look and feel will be quite different from the previous ones. Lulu is also going all hi-tech at the new locations, offering shoppers to do self-checkouts or stick with being billed at the counter by a staff member. All told, there will be more than 5,000 SKUs (stock-keeping units) at the store. And that's sizeable.

Source: Gulf News

Vietnam: Foreign retail giants flock to Vietnam
Big retailers from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore are eyeing the Vietnamese market, with an estimated value of $350 billion and 100 million consumers. Reuters has quoted a source as reporting that GIC, the Singaporean national investment fund, and some Thai investors want to buy 20 percent of shares of the third largest retail chain in Vietnam – Bach Hoa Xanh, which is valued at $1.5-1.7 billion.

The deal is about to be closed, possibly in the first quarter of 2024. Foreign retailers have recently expanded their networks in Vietnam.

Source: Vietnam Net

New Zealand: Grocery suppliers costs to supermarkets increased in September
There was a further slowing in the average rate of supplier cost increases from suppliers to supermarkets in September 2023. The Infometrics-Foodstuffs New Zealand Grocery Supplier Cost Index (GSCI) shows a 6.1 percent increase in what suppliers charged supermarkets for goods in September 2023 compared to a year ago. "Costs have continued to increase, but at a less intense pace than during 2022 and early 2023, with September's monthly increase closer to the monthly increases seen in 2019," said Infometrics Chief Executive and Principal Economist Brad Olsen. "However, underlying cost pressures are still running at nearly four percent per annum."

Source: Supermarket News

Canada: Industry minister is calling global CEOs in bid to boost competition
The federal industry minister says he has begun calling the heads of foreign companies to promote investing in Canada, a move aimed at creating more competition and driving down prices — including in the grocery sector. In an interview with Mercedes Stephenson that aired Sunday on The West Block, Francois-Philippe Champagne was asked if he was "open to allowing foreign firms… to come into Canada, whether it's grocery, telecom or airlines, to reduce some of these prices and create competition." The minister replied he was trying to get that to happen.

Source: Global News

US: Wawa planning 40 stores with Kentucky expansion
Wawa, a convenience retail chain, plans to open 40 stores with its expansion into Kentucky in the next eight to ten years. The first five locations are expected to open in mid-2025, according to a press release. Wawa, a privately-held family-owned chain, currently operates stores in six states and Washington, D.C. "We can't wait to begin putting shovels into the ground next year! As we get closer to our grand openings in 2025, we will be sharing even more details on our growth in Kentucky and connecting with more customers, communities, partners, and nonprofit organizations that together make this such an incredible region to be a part of," Joe Collins, director of store operations for Wawa, said in the release.

Source: Retail Customer Experience

US: Costco posts strong September amid return to online growth
Costco Wholesale Corp. reported strong top-line growth in September, buoyed by rising comparable sales across all its divisions. The report came on the heels of a strong fourth quarter that included a 9.5% increase in net revenue. On the company's earnings call, CFO Richard Galanti said Costco plans to open 10 new stores in the next three months, with nine in the U.S. and one in Canada. The membership warehouse club retailer had net sales of $22.75 billion for September (the five weeks ended Oct. 1, 2023), an increase of 6% from $21.46 billion last year.

Source: Chain Store Age

US: Amazon Fresh lowers its free delivery threshold to $100
Amazon Fresh has lowered the threshold its Prime customers need to meet in order to receive free grocery delivery, the retailer confirmed in an email to Grocery Dive. As of Thursday, Amazon Fresh orders over $100 in the U.S. no longer carry a delivery fee for Prime members. The change comes almost 10 months after Amazon significantly raised the order minimum for fee-free Amazon Fresh delivery to $150 for Prime members. With this latest update, Amazon only altered the order minimum for free delivery for Prime members. For those shoppers, deliveries under $50 still incur a $9.95 fee, while orders costing between $50 to $100 have a $6.95 fee. Customers who don't have a Prime membership incur delivery charges between $7.95 and $13.95 depending on basket size and the delivery window selected.

Source: Grocery Dive