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Lidl named UK’s cheapest supermarket 

Lidl named UK’s cheapest supermarket 
Photo: Lidl UK

German discounter Lidl has been crowned the UK’s cheapest supermarket of 2020. Aldi followed close behind in the Which? Rankings, which tracked the prices of 45 popular products in eight major supermarkets between January and December 2020. The average price of each item was calculated over the year and the total average cost of all 45 items in the “trolley”, taking into account the weight and quality of items. This was the first time Which? has included Lidl and Aldi in its annual study, which now includes own-label items as well as branded ones.

Lidl’s basket cost £42.67 on average, 34p less than its rival Aldi. Asda was the third-cheapest supermarket (£48.71). Waitrose was the most expensive supermarket in the study (£68.69). Which? also found marked price differences between own-label products at Waitrose and Lidl. Online retailer Ocado was the second most expensive supermarket in the study (£66.83), followed by Sainsbury’s (£56.38).

 

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Tesco to return money meant to support struggling retailers

Tesco to return money meant to support struggling retailers © David Lally, licensed under Creative Commons Licence

© David Lally

 

UK retailer Tesco has promised to pay back the £585 million it saved from a business rates holiday aimed at helping struggling retailers cope with the Covid-19 crisis. Tesco’s chairman, John Allan, said that the retailer was conscious of its responsibilities to society and that the Big 4 giant did not need the saving due to remaining open and trading strongly throughout the pandemic.

The decision comes as supermarkets face growing calls to hand back the savings which were aimed at helping retailers that were unable to open and struggling to make ends meet.

Data compiled last month by real estate adviser Altus Group projected that the UK’s four largest grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – and German rivals Aldi and Lidl would save around £1.87 billion as a result of the rates holiday.

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Walmart sells off Asda

Walmart sells off Asda to Zuber and Mohsin Issa © PR (The Guardian)
Zuber and Mohsin Issa © PR (Source: The Guardian)

 

Walmart has sold its majority stake in Asda in a deal that values the UK supermarket chain at £6.8 billion. The purchasers are a consortium of brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa and private equity firm TDR Capital, which will take a majority stake in the chain. It means the grocer will return to majority UK ownership for the first time in two decades.

The Issa brothers own EG Group, which has more than 5,200 petrol stations across the UK and Europe. According to the BBC, Walmart said that, under the new owners, Asda will invest £1 billion in the supermarket over the next three years. Asda will keep its headquarters in Leeds and its chief executive, Roger Burnley, will remain in place.

A merger with Sainsbury’s was previously blocked as it would represent unfair competition. Walmart bought Asda in 1999 for £6.7 billion and will retain a minority stake in the retailer.

Asda already has a business relationship with the Issa brothers with its forecourt activities. The supermarket recently announced that it is to open convenience store formats called “Asda On the Move”, which will initially be trialled at three of EG Group’s fuel station forecourts in the Midlands.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa said they wanted to support Asda’s management to achieve long-term growth. “We believe that our experience with EG Group, including our expertise around convenience and brand partnerships and our successful partnership with TDR Capital, can help to accelerate and execute that growth strategy,” they said.

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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.

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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.

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A first store for The Food Warehouse in Northern Ireland

Photo credit: www.newtownabbeytoday.co.uk /// 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.”

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Tesco expands home delivery services to meet surge in demand

UK retailer Tesco has expanded its home delivery and click-and-collect services following a sharp increase in demand that led to shoppers reporting difficulties in securing online delivery slots. The firm’s delivery and collection capacity has risen from 660,000 to around 780,000 in the past two weeks, with plans to increase this by another 100,000 in the coming weeks. Tesco has also added over 200 new vans and recruited another 2,500 drivers and over 5,000 pickers, as part of the delivery expansion.

Last week, Tesco said it was limiting shoppers to only 80 items per online order. Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said the Covid-19 pandemic has “led to unprecedented levels of demand for grocery shopping services. We’re doing everything we can to increase the number of slots available and to support vulnerable people.”

Meanwhile, online grocer Ocado announced it was recruiting an extra 3,000 staff to work in its logistics division to meet the current surge in demand.

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Aldi eases rationing of products

Aldi’s banana price cut denounced

Aldi UK has announced that it is to relax shopping restrictions for a series of products that were previously being rationed at its UK stores. The discounter, which has recorded an 11% jump in sales in the past month, had limited customers to four of every product after panic-buying in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Products such as fresh fruit and vegetables and meat will no longer be rationed for shoppers. However, Aldi customers will continue to be limited to only two of its most popular items, which include antibacterial hand gel, UHT milk and baby formula. Meanwhile, other popular items such as nappies, bleach, toilet roll, pasta, tinned tomatoes, beer and hand wash will be limited to four items per person. 

A statement from the German retailer said: “While we would still encourage people to buy only what they need, product availability in store is good and the move will make it easier for people to shop for vulnerable people and those who are self-isolating.”

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Sainsbury’s commits to £1 billion to become Net Zero by 2040

Sainsbury's commits to £1 billion to become Net Zero by 2040

UK retailer Sainsbury’s has issued a pledge that its operations will become Net Zero in line with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, and a decade ahead of the UK Government’s own target. The project will focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging, water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating    Sainsbury’s will work collaboratively with suppliers and will ask suppliers for their own carbon reduction commitments. 

According to a press release issued by the retailer, its current carbon footprint is one million tons, which is a 35% absolute reduction in the last 15 years despite its space increasing by 46% over the same time frame. For the last six years Sainsbury’s has been awarded an A rating for taking action on Climate Change by the CDP, the highest rating of any UK supermarket.

Sainsbury’s will use the £1 billion investment to implement a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating. The investment will enable the business to fulfil Scope one and Scope two emissions, putting the business on course for Net Zero a decade ahead of the UK government’s deadlines. 

The retailer will work with the Carbon Trust to assess emissions and set science-based targets for reduction, publicly reporting on progress every six months. The targets will align the business with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. Sainsbury’s will work with suppliers to set their own ambitious Net Zero commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Mike Coupe, now former CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “Our commitment has always been to help customers live well for less, but we must recognise that living well now also means living sustainably.  We have a duty to the communities we serve to continue to reduce the impact our business has on the environment and we are committing to reduce our own carbon emissions and become Net Zero by 2040, ten years ahead of the government’s own targets, because 2050 isn’t soon enough. We have a strong heritage of reducing our carbon emissions – we have reduced them by 35% over the past fifteen years despite the footprint of our business increasing by over 40%. We invested £260 million in over 3,000 initiatives over the last decade, including the start of our LED lighting programme and refrigeration. Over the next 20 years we will invest a further £1 billion in programmes that will transform the way we do business and put environmental impact at the forefront of every decision we make.”

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Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse

Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse
Credit: Peter Nicholls, Reuters, The Times

 

Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, has announced his resignation but will remain in his post until the end of May. His replacement will be current retail and operations director, Simon Roberts. Coupe has denied that his resignation is linked with the collapse of the £12 billion merger with Asda, emphasising that it was his own decision to leave. 

Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda fell through last year when the CMA found that the deal could lead to higher prices for customers. Speaking to the BBC, Coupe said, “If you looked at our AGM last year, 99.5% of our shareholders voted for me to carry on what I’m doing. It’s absolutely my choice You see the amount of change that is going on in the world of retail, who knows what will happen in the next five to 10 years, but one way or another there will be a significant rationalisation of brands you have taken for granted for a generation.”