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High street giants form sector 'jobs alliance'

Aldi has opened its largest distribution centre in Portugal

India: This agritech startup promises to deliver fresh fruits & vegetables to your doorstep via video shopping
Although convenient, buying fresh produce online has its own challenges. With only stock photos to rely on, customers can never be sure of how fresh a product is. Founded in 2019, Bengaluru-based Atomaday takes this guesswork out of ordering fruits and vegetables online by allowing customers to video shop via a mobile app. The platform offers a wide range of produce from baby spinach to Brahmi leaves. Vegetables range from lotus stems, and water chestnuts to white brinjals while fruits range from wild pomelos to exotic berries and definitely the regulars from all regions across India.

France: Groupe Casino names new chief executive at Monoprix, Naturalia
Groupe Casino has named Guillaume Seneclauze as the new chief executive of its Monoprix and Naturalia business arms, replacing Jean-Paul Mochet, who is leaving the group. Commenting on Mochet's departure, Jean-Charles Naouri, Groupe Casino chairman and chief executive, said “I warmly thank Jean-Paul Mochet for what he has brought to the Casino Group banners he was in charge of, particularly within Franprix for many years”.

UK: Easter supermarket sales slow as shoppers rebalance basket spend
Total till sales at UK supermarkets fell -1.8% over the last 4 weeks ending 23 April, with spending during the Easter period helping to lift sales up from -4.1% seen in March. According to the latest data from NielsenIQ, UK shoppers spent £10.1bln on groceries in the last 4 weeks ending 23 April. This is down from £10.5bln over the same 4 week Easter period in 2021 but is above the £9.6bln in sales recorded in 2019. Furthermore, data from NielsenIQ revealed that the number of items in the basket declined from 11.5 to 11.2 in the last 4 weeks.

Inside Ocado's giant 'Hive' warehouse in south-east London where an army of 2,000 robots pick up to 2mln food items per day - 5 times faster than a trained human worker
British grocery giant Ocado is using an army of robots at its 563,000 square foot warehouse in Erith next to the Thames to gather up items for customer orders. More than 2,000 robots are working there non-stop for 20 hours a day, each picking up to 2mln food items in a shift - far beyond the capability of a human worker. The 8-wheeled robots scoot around a giant grid-like structure called the 'Hive', so-called for its honeycomb-like holes that contain inventory.

Dutch retail turnover up 9% in March: CBS
The latest data from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) for the Netherlands revealed that the country's retail trade increased by 8.8% in March 2022 compared to the same period last year. Sales volume increased by 3.7%, while turnover in the non-food sector grew by 27%. However, turnover in the food sector dropped by 0.9% in this period.

“Price is one of the keys to growing the plant-based category”
More and more consumers are aware that the future is plant-based, a large proportion still need to be convinced. Taste, texture and price positioning remain focal points for producers and retailers, says market leader Garden Gourmet. "To reduce our ecological footprint, we will also need to reduce our meat consumption. Brand manufacturers and retailers are putting their shoulders to the wheel in the plant-based category. However, the first months of the year were not great for the meat substitutes market," says business manager Arthur Duquesne de la Vinelle of market leader Garden Gourmet.

Aldi opens its largest distribution centre in Portugal
German discounter Aldi has opened its largest distribution centre in Portugal, in which it has invested €60mln. Located in Moita, the new 57,000-square-metre logistics warehouse is designed to supply goods to more than 150 stores in Portugal.

UK: High street giants form sector 'jobs alliance' in fresh push for rates overhaul
Retail giants including Tesco, J Sainsbury, Greggs and Waterstones are forging a new coalition to urge Rishi Sunak to plough ahead with reforms to Britain's decades-old business rates regime. Sky News has learnt that a group calling itself the Retail Jobs Alliance has been set up by some of the country's biggest chains, and has written to the chancellor to demand that he "cuts the shops tax".

New Zealand: More online grocery delivery options for South Canterbury residents
Residents in parts of South Canterbury will now have another option for ordering groceries online with New World supermarkets in Temuka and Waimate expanding their services. Foodstuffs South Island has launched online delivery for New World stores in South Canterbury almost a year after it launched the service in the South Island and plans to further increase its offering this month.

US: Schnucks offers delivery and pickup directly through Schnucks Rewards app
Schnuck Markets said that, in partnership with grocery enablement platform Instacart, customers can now order Schnucks Delivers curbside and delivery directly through the Schnucks Rewards app. Previously, customers were redirected outside the app to place a Schnucks Delivers or Curbside Pickup order.

US: Kroger launches local supplier program for second year
The Kroger Co. announced the second year of its Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, a program designed to enhance and accelerate the selection of local items sold in Kroger stores. The country’s largest supermarket operator, Cincinnati-based Kroger operates more than 2,700 stores throughout the United States. The Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator program provides a pathway to entry for local businesses of all sizes by allowing American-based growers and producers the chance to work directly with the retailer, according to Kroger.

Canada: Loblaw sees food and drug sales uptick in Q1
Loblaw Cos., Canada’s largest grocery retailer, delivered another strong quarter in a retail environment experiencing fewer COVID-19 related restrictions in Canada and continued inflationary pressures driving customers to the retailer’s discount banners. For the first quarter of 2022, ending March 26, retail sales were $12.04bln Canadian, an increase of 3.2% over the first quarter of 2021. Food Retail (Loblaw) same-store sales increased by 2.1%, while Drug Retail (Shoppers Drug Mart) same-store sales increased by 5.2%.

EBay deepens e-commerce gloom with disappointing forecast
EBay Inc became the latest e-commerce retailer to give a gloomy revenue forecast as growth slows in the sector after 2 years of rapid expansion during the pandemic, sending its shares down 6% in extended trading. The company projected second-quarter revenue between $2.35bln and $2.40bln, compared with the average analyst expectation of $2.54bln, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Its full-year forecast was also below market estimates.

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