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VkusVill is closing its stores in the Netherlands

Asda owners unveil plans to overtake Sainsbury’s as 2nd biggest supermarket in UK

UK: Food sales increase slows to a crawl, says BRC
Food sales rose fractionally compared with last year over the 3 months to February and inflation has started to bite, according to the latest sales monitor produced by the British Retail Consortium and accountant KPMG. The BRC-KPMG sales monitor reported that over the 3 months to February food sales were up by 0.1%, but that they decreased 0.3% on a like-for-like basis. This is below the 12-month average growth rate of 1.7%.

VkusVill closing stores in Netherlands
Russian retailer VkusVill is closing its stores in the Netherlands, where there are currently 3 VkusVill stores and a Vkus store. "We are closing VkusVill stores in Amsterdam and selling off our products," VkusVill told Interfax. The team tested various hypotheses, but there is currently no technical ability to continue operating, the press service said.

Asda's billionaire Issa brothers target Sainsbury’s UK's 2nd biggest supermarket position
Asda owners the Issa brothers have unveiled plans to overtake fellow Big 4 grocer Sainsbury’s as the 2nd biggest supermarket in the UK. Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mohsin Issa said: “We [Mohsin and Zuber Issa] are happy to commit whatever we need to get to that position. It’s not like we have got a clear 5-year ‘get out’ plan; we and TDR have bought this business for the long term”.

Belgium: OKay opens brand-new, sustainable local supermarket in Hoegaarden
OKay will open its 144th store in Hoegaarden on Friday 11 March. In the practical local supermarket at Tiensestraat, customers can find everything to do their daily shopping quickly, inexpensively and conveniently. "In the freshmart, the wide aisles ensure a pleasant shopping experience. Our extensive range of fresh fruit and vegetables is shown to its full advantage", store manager Manon explains. The offer of fresh products is indeed one of OKay's major assets: not only fruit and vegetables, but also dairy products, meat, charcuterie, fish and ready-to-eat meals. "We also placed a stand just outside the freshmart, that offers a wide range of meat, fish and veggie snacks to spend a nice aperitif evening with friends."

Spanish rule protecting gig-economy riders leads to labour shortage, Uber says
A Spanish law passed last year forcing food delivery companies to contract their couriers as staff has caused a labour shortage as many prefer to remain self-employed and work for rivals that flout the regulation, Uber Eats said. The Spanish branch of Uber’s online food delivery platform published an open letter to the Labour Ministry complaining that the contracts it offered to freelance ‘riders’ failed to retain enough of them to assure its services. “Our fleets of collaborators can’t find enough couriers because these prefer to be self-employed to work with Glovo,... the only company that allows it, against the Rider Law”, Uber Eats said, referring to the May 2021 decree demanding firms grant formal work contracts to protect gig-economy workers.

Romania: modern food retailers unveil plans for 600 new stores
Modern food retailers in Romania target some 600 new store openings and relocations in 2022, which means the universe of local hypermarkets, supermarkets, modern convenience stores, discount and cash & carry stores will be nearing 4,500 units, in line with calculations by Ziarul Financiar daily.

Supermarket report 'disappointing', Matt Tukaki blasts Commerce Commission
Māori suppliers have been let down by the Commerce Commission’s supermarket report, says National Māori Authority chair Matthew Tukaki​, who wants to get the commission's work reviewed by Australia’s competition watchdog. Tukaki made a submission to the commission as part of its market study into competition in the supermarket sector, arguing that a duopoly did not treat ensure fair treatment of Māori suppliers, along with others. He also wanted the commission to consider recommending the forced sale of Foodstuffs and Countdown’s Four Square and Fresh Choice stores as an option to help make way for a 3rd player.

Amazon is turning grocery-picking gig workers into Whole Foods employees as delivery demand booms
Amazon grocery-picking gig workers are being offered jobs as Whole Foods store staff, according to a letter to employees that was viewed by CNBC. The e-commerce giant is streamlining parts of its sprawling grocery business in an effort to meet growing demand for online orders. Some gig workers, who valued the former role because of its flexibility, are concerned that they won’t have the same freedom as store employees.

US: Ultrafast grocery delivery services vie for space in crowded Chicago market
Ultrafast grocery delivery companies promising 15-minute deliveries to satiate late-night cravings and last-minute grocery needs have flocked to Chicago. “It’s the ultimate convenience”, said John Mercer, head of global research at Coresight Research, an advisory and research firm specializing in retail and technology. “It’s one of these services that consumers don’t know that they need or that they want until it’s put in front of them”.

US: Walmart selects Shippensburg, Pennsylvania for new fulfillment center, opening spring 2022
Walmart announced plans for a new fulfillment center in southern Pennsylvania to support the retailer’s rapidly increasing supply chain network and eCommerce capabilities. The 1.8M+ square-foot Shippensburg facility will be located at 2281 United Drive and is set to open Spring of 2022, creating up to 600 permanent, full-time jobs across the region.

US: Seattle startup Swiftly lands $100mln to help grocers fend off Amazon and other e-commerce players
Swiftly, a Seattle startup that provides software to brick-and-mortar grocery retailers such as Family Dollar and The Save Mart Companies, raised $100mln in a Series B funding round.

America's leading app-based companies launch Flex, a new industry association
America's leading app-based platforms, representing more than 52mln workers, have joined together to form Flex, a new industry association that will serve as the voice of the app-based economy. Founding member companies include DoorDash, Gopuff, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Shipt, and Uber.

US: Dollar Tree names Mantle Ridge founder to board
Discount store operator Dollar Tree Inc said it has named Paul Hilal, founder of activist investment firm Mantle Ridge, to its board, with rival Dollar General top executive Richard Dreiling appointed as its executive chairman.

US: Buyk halts service due to financing roadblock
Ultrafast grocery delivery company Buyk has temporarily furloughed workers amid cash flow challenges, Buyk CEO James Walker said in an emailed statement. Walker said Buyk’s financing from the company’s Russian founders, Slava Bocharov and Rodion Shishkov, is “untenable” due to restrictions Russia has put in place following U.S. sanctions. Walker said the 2 founders, who were providing bridge financing until Buyk closed its next investment round, have not been sanctioned, but with access to financing from them cut off, Buyk is seeking funding in the U.S. The ultrafast delivery service, which is based in the U.S. and operates in New York City and Chicago, has a note on its app to consumers: "Our services are temporarily unavailable. Check back soon!”

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