Posted on

UK retailers team up with government to protect supply chains and international workers

UK retailers team up with government to protect supply chains and international workers

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has launched the ‘vulnerable supply chains’ facility in partnership with some of the UK’s largest retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer. Retail Gazette reports that the £6.85 million fund includes investment from UK businesses to keep vulnerable workers in their supply chains in safe and secure employment and bids to ensure a steady supply of products like vegetables, coffee and clothes. The fund consists of £4.85 million from the DFID and a £2 million from its retail partners.

The initiative will focus primarily on supply chains and workers in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. Meanwhile, retailers will work with charities and non-governmental organisations to improve working conditions and support greater access to healthcare in some of the world’s poorest countries.

M&S has pledged to work with international aid charity Care to improve health services for 80,000 factory workers in Bangladesh. The government said the scheme aims to help alleviate the ongoing disruption to international supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK’s International development secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said, “We want to ensure people in Britain can continue to buy affordable, high-quality goods from around the world. This new fund will strengthen vital supply chains for UK consumers while supporting some of the most vulnerable workers in developing countries. It will make a real difference to people in the UK and abroad.”

Posted on teams up with neighbourhood stores teams up with neighbourhood stores - Richard Liu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of /// ©
Richard Liu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of /// ©


Chinese e-commerce leader is to offer franchised fresh fruit sections to the country’s small retailers.  The “JD’s Good Fruits” initiative allows small independent shop owners access to JD’s fresh fruit purchasing, supply chain and logistics operations. Neighbourhood shops are a common feature of Chinese towns and cities, and the first “JD’s Good Fruits” franchised fruit section was opened last month at a small store in Beijing. Participating shop owners are supplied with branded signage and can order their fresh fruit inventory online, with orders subsequently delivered by JD Logistics.

The shop owners can take advantage of digital marketing and sales tools, such as community group buying, whereby customers place orders for in-store pickup via their phones using the WeChat messaging app.

A press release stated: “Mom-and-pop stores often face challenges of quality procurement, transportation and storage. During the pandemic, with a shortage of supply from wholesale markets, many small shops lacked procurement channels. Product offerings and the ability to negotiate good prices are also often restricted due to the limited scale of mom-and-pop operations. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the community has played an important role in ensuring people’s daily life, as movement restrictions have made proximity more relevant. As a result, the ‘community-based economy’ has faced both extraordinary opportunities and challenges.”

The new franchised fruit shop programme is expected to provide JD Fresh with a means of tapping into a new sales channel.

Posted on

Italian retail promises greater sustainability

Italian retail promises greater sustainability
© Eurofresh Distribution Magazine


The Marca 2020 exposition presented the key aspects of Italian retail’s commitment to sustainable development.

More sustainability is the watchword of Italian supermarkets for now and for the years to come: this is what emerged from the 2020 edition of Marca, the private label product show held in Bologna on 15th and 16th January. This greater sustainability must be translated not only into more eco-friendly packaging, but also into short supply chains, circular economies, low environmental impact solutions, fair trade policies that protect the environment and workers, and transparent communication. All of the individual activities pursue a common purpose.

When offered more sustainable alternatives, 61% of Italian consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits, even if it requires a radical shift. Meanwhile, 24% believe that a purchase can be defined as sustainable if it guarantees a fair income to the producer, and 88% judge a company sustainable if it is able to provide information transparently. These are the findings of a study by SG Marketing. Thus, the trend of sustainability in Italian retail is following in the tracks left by other European countries some time ago. Terms like “plastic free”, “adaptive intelligence” and “fooby” (derived from blending “food” and “beauty”) are very much on the agenda and starting to take root in Italy, too.

What does “sustainable” mean to Italians?

When asked what makes a supermarket’s products more sustainable, 8.5% of Italian consumers stated that it means being based on local products; for 8.4%, it involves providing eco-friendly packaging; for 7.7%, it means offering typical products; for 6.9%, it means the products have a reduced environmental impact; for 6.8%, it means the products come from fair trade chains that respect workers and the environment; for 6.4%, it means the offer comes from ethical chains; for 6.3%, it relates to zero-residue products; for 6.2%, products are sustainable if their sale helps to finance development programmes; for 5.7%, it means organic products; for 5.6%, it means the products come from disadvantaged areas; and for 5.5%, it means the products are offered in packaging that increases shelf life, according to SG Marketing data.

In a situation where purchases of fruit and vegetables account for almost 30% of the basket of fresh products, various best practices are taking hold in the major Italian chains. These range from the elimination of unnecessary packaging to the adoption of packaging that is either made of recycled materials or is 100% recyclable. Other initiatives involve incentivising bulk purchases, reintroducing weighing assistants, and adopting dried fruit and legume dispensers. Similarly, greater attention is being paid to local and short-chain products or seasonality to reduce CO₂ emissions. Moreover, dedicated organic and/or fair trade islands are being created in stores, and reusable packaging brought from home is being encouraged.

Italian retail guidelines

The data released at Marca reveals that out of the 17 Italian retail brands investigated with regard to their fruit and vegetables, 12% already offer zero-residue products, while 59% intend to do so in the future. Similarly, 18% offer products from ethical chains and 53% intend to do so in the future.  The corresponding proportions of brands that offer products with a longer shelf life are 18% and 47% respectively, while for fair trade products the share is 24% and 47%. The relative shares of brands offering products with a low environmental impact are 29% now and 47% in the future, while for products with an eco-friendly packaging the figures are 65% and 35%, for resistant varieties, they are 12% and 35%, for products from disadvantaged areas, they are 41% and 21%, and the percentage of brands offering a greater assortment of typical products are 87% now and 6% intending to do so. All of these numbers demonstrate how Italian retailers still have a long way to go to develop sustainability in their offer of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Posted on

Lidl aims to conquer US

Lidl aims to conquer US


Lidl’s new store in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta is the German retailer’s fifth in Georgia and 99th Lidl in the US. Having opened its first US outlet in 2017, the discounter aims to continue its steady expansion along the East Coast, with the target of reaching 1,500 stores across the country, according to Progressive Grocer.

Lidl’s US headquarters is located in Arlington County, Virginia. Its newest fulfilment facility opened recently in Perryville between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The 705,000-sq.-ft. facility is the smallest of the company’s DCs. The company’s first distribution centre in Fredricksburg, Virginia, just south of Washington D.C. measures 919,000-sq.-ft. An 850,000-sq.-ft. facility that opened in the summer of 2017 is located midway between Greensboro and Durham, NC. A fourth facility, the company’s largest to date at 925,000-sq.-ft., will be located in southeast of Atlanta and an opening date has not been disclosed. 

Lidl operates more than 11,000 stores in 32 countries, employing about 287,000 employees worldwide. It currently operates more than 75 stores in nine East Coast states.

Posted on

X5 Group reports five-fold increase in online sales

X5 Group reports five-fold increase in online sales
© X5 Group


Russian retail giant X5 reports a 470% increase in online sales in the space of one year. Total revenue in the year up to April 2020 amounted to €21.3 million, making the X5 Retail Group the number-one online grocery delivery company in Russia, according to Retail News. In April 2020, online sales represented 2% of X5’s turnover in Moscow, the Moscow region and St Petersburg, where online services are available. At the end of the month, X5 was delivering more than 23,000 orders per day, with the number continuing to grow.

X5’s CEO, Igor Shekhterman, said, “During the quarantine designed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Russia and introduced for the period from March 21 to on May 11, our consumers more than ever need safe ways to get food to feed their households without having to visit a store. In the largest cities where we operate, we at X5 have been able to offer our fellow citizens two convenient ways to meet this demand: first by stocking up via our online supermarket (in Moscow, the Moscow region and St Petersburg), which offers a wide assortment of food, household goods, personal hygiene products, children’s goods and pet supplies; second with express delivery from a nearby Pyaterochka store (176 outlets in Moscow and Kazan), with deliveries completed in 1.5-2 hours based on the assortment of our standard proximity store.”

Since 2017, X5 Retail Group has been investing in expanding infrastructure for its online platforms, including the commissioning of four dark stores, a fleet of 283 delivery trucks, as well as the IT infrastructure and user interfaces for online operations. The group’s plans for 2020 include launching in Nizhny Novgorod in the summer, based on an innovative solution of transforming a former Karusel hypermarket into a dark store. This will be Russia’s first fully fledged online food retail platform boasting a wide product range, including fresh produce, offered in regional markets outside Moscow and St Petersburg. By the end of 2020, X5 plans to scale up its express delivery service while continuing to refine the efficiency of business processes in order to increase market share in this segment and to achieve break-even sooner. In addition, X5 plans to launch express delivery from Perekrestok stores using the new Perekrestok.Bystro mobile app.

Posted on

New challenges, new opportunities

New challenges, new opportunities, © Azbuka Vkusa
© Azbuka Vkusa


Almost all the wold currently overcomes a most complicated period caused by the rapid spread of the contagious disease. Economic recession and confinement influence negatively the sales at consumer markets. Russia was not spared of the crisis. For instance, the sales shrank by 40% in good hypermarkets, by 30% in supermarkets and by 15 % in convenience shops during two last months.

How do the retailers cope with the circumstances? Denis Sologub, President of Azbuka Vkusa premium class stores, spoke on air of Channel24 program. “Since the beginning of the confinement, the daily traffic has decreased, but online sales have swollen manifold at the same time,” he said. “Moreover, we hope that the tendency to order online will keep on from now on, as new consumers have being  accustomed to this convenient way of shopping. We also launched an innovative means of sales: we installed a fridge in a large apartments mansion -a kind of vending machine with a range of food products, and our clients can buy foodstuff without leaving the house.” With this approach, the retailer not just overcome the challenges, but sees into the future.

Posted on

Record sales for UK supermarkets

Sainsbury’s booked a fall in sales last month for the fifth straight quarter as the UK’s supermarket price war further erodes profit margins.

The covid-19 outbreak sparked the busiest month on record for UK supermarkets, with grocery sales in March soaring by 20.6% compared to the previous month. All 10 major UK supermarkets recorded sales increases during the first 3 months of 2020, according to the new data. Aldi reported an 11% rise in sales. Of the Big-4 supermarkets, Sainsbury’s performed best, with 7.4% growth. The UK’s second-largest supermarket, Sainsbury, is likely to see a further boost to its sales over the coming months following an agreement with WHSmith to sell over 90 new product lines in WHSmith hospital stores. These products will mostly consist of essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and UHT milk.

Posted on

Morrisons teams up with Deliveroo for contact-free delivery

To help UK consumers cope with the current lockdown, retailer Morrisons has partnered with Deliveroo to offer on-demand delivery in 30 minutes to families struggling to secure delivery slots. The partnership is aimed at expanding delivery capabilities, with Morrisons now offering 70 “essential household” items via the Deliveroo app. The service is available from over 130 Morrisons stores across the UK on new £35 lockdown food boxes

Morrisons chief executive, David Potts said, “Our partnership with Deliveroo will help us to continue to play our full part in feeding the nation. It’s a great combination of traditional and modern methods and it will provide more vulnerable people with the opportunity to receive their home delivery.”

Last week, Morrisons announced a similar partnership with DPD to provide next-day delivery of its £35 food boxes. The Meat Eaters Food Box and a Vegetarian Food Box contain enough chilled, fresh and tinned food items to feed a couple for up to a week. Over 200,000 orders have been fulfilled since the partnership was announced.

Deliveroo announced a similar partnership this week with McColl’s to offer “contact free” delivery from over 120 stores.

Posted on

Coviran reduces environmental impact

© Corivan

In 2019, Covirán redoubled its efforts to ensure sustainability and respect for the environment in its business model, with the reduction of emissions, the improvement of energy efficiency, the optimisation of resources, and the use of waste.

President of Covirán, Patro Contreras, stressed that the investment effort of the Cooperative and its partners “has been targeted at modernising the facilities,” which in addition to contributing to the profitability of the supermarkets, allows it to reduce its carbon footprint.

These investments have been accompanied by the selective collection of waste, the decrease in the consumption of water, plastic and paper, as well as the optimisation of the logistics network.

“The data proves the growing commitment of Covirán partners and workers to the proper management of waste, following the circular economy model that seeks efficiency in the use of resources and cost savings,” said Contreras.

More recycling and energy efficiency

In 2019, a total of 1,006 tons of non-hazardous waste (cardboard, plastic and pallets) was recycled, 67.7 tons more than the previous year, and 600 kilos of hazardous (batteries and oil) were reused.

Thanks to the investment in air conditioning equipment, the electricity consumption of the Covirán facilities has been reduced by 10%.

Likewise, the energy consumption of refrigeration facilities has been reduced by 4% after the decision to use refrigerants with low PCA (Atmospheric Heating Potential) and natural refrigerants.

Significant water savings

Since 2016, the policy of saving water in the network of logistics platforms has been accentuated, achieving in four years a cumulative decrease of 25.1%, a saving that stands at 33% if we include improvements in water economisers, installation of reduced discharge tanks, and training on responsible use and consumption.

The plan had a particularly strong impact in 2016, when measures were adopted to allow consumption to be reduced by 17%, a trend that has been gradually maintained in the following years: 4% in 2017, 2.5% in 2018 and 1.6% in 2019.

Less plastic

Covirán has been working for years on different initiatives to reduce plastic consumption as much as possible, both in stores and in the logistics platform network.

Only in plastic film, essential to seal the food transported on pallets, around 5 tons less were used in 2019 than in the previous year (-4.34%).

At the points of sale, Covirán launched reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables. The ‘Bring your bags from home and give them a new life’ campaign was also launched, a collaborative project with customers that began in the La Ilusión supermarket in Granada to extend the use of plastic bags (up to 15 times).

© Corivan

Another option offered to customers, in an increasing number of supermarkets, is the use of paper bags in bulk dispensers, a more sustainable proposal that dispenses with plastic packaging.

More digitisation and less paper

In 2019, digitisation work was intensified in all offices to reduce paper consumption, with the consequent improvement in management efficiency and savings in sheets and printers. This measure has been complemented by awareness campaigns aimed at employees and partners to avoid, as far as possible, the use of paper.

Covirán also reduced the number of prints of promotional brochures in the last year: from 1.35 million copies it has gone down to 980,000, more than 30% for each print run. To compensate for the decrease in brochures, more digital screens have been enabled and the service has been enhanced through the mobile and the website.

Much of the savings in paper has its origin in the elimination of mailboxes in many of the municipalities where Covirán operates.

Posted on

A first store for The Food Warehouse in Northern Ireland

Photo credit: /// Article source: Retail Gazette

The Food Warehouse has entered Northern Ireland for the first time with the opening of a flagship in County Antrim that has created 30 new jobs.

Located in Longwood Retail Park, Newtownabbey, parent company Iceland invested close to £1 million for the new 9500sq ft store.

It is also the 121st store opened in The Food Warehouse’s six-year history.

The Newtownabbey store will continue The Food Warehouse’s mission to offer shoppers a wholesale grocery store without the need for membership, in an open plan, easy-to-shop environment.

“Since the first door opened back in 2014, The Food Warehouse has grown from strength to strength, exceeding our expectation,” Iceland managing director Richard Walker said.

“Moving into Northern Ireland is a huge landmark for the business, as it continues to perform extremely well.

“We’re proud to work with local suppliers in Northern Ireland across our fresh, frozen and grocery products.”

Fresh, frozen and ambient food deals are available across more than 3000 product lines in each Food Warehouse store, as well as “When it’s Gone, it’s Gone” deals and homeware items.

“It’s incredibly important to innovate and understand what their customers want, which is how The Food Warehouse came to be,” Walker said.

“As the future of the high street remains uncertain and more and more bricks-and-mortar stores lie empty, there’s a responsibility to the government, but also retailer, to rethink how they operate in the increasingly competitive grocery retail sector.”